Just as Metro schools start the new school year, the State Department of Education has released a list of schools in the bottom 5 percent in academic achievement.
Most of the schools on the so-called "priority list" are in Memphis; however, Metro Nashville can lay claim to six schools on the list: Napier Elementary, Buena Vista Elementary, Brick Church Middle School, Bailey Middle School, Smithson-Craighead Middle School, and Gra-Mar Middle School. All are in danger of a state takeover.
Metro school leaders told Channel 4 News the schools have been on Metro's radar screen for three years. They hope to improve achievement levels in three ways. The first begins with the principal.
"Making our principals more effective in terms of leading instruction in their school. A lot of time has been spent in professional development," said Meredith Libbey, Metro Schools public information officer.
Teachers are the centerpiece of the plan.
"The research shows the biggest effort on student achievement is really having a great teacher in the classroom. That's one of our main goals," said Libbey.
The final piece of the plan involves parents.
"It's really setting a structure, making education a priority, asking children if they have done their homework, knowing who the teachers are. It also involves going to the school asking for additional help for their child," said Libbey.
A school listed as a "priority school" stays on the list for years. Metro school leaders are hopeful achievement levels will improve quickly.
"Even if they are not removed from the list, we want to be in a position where they say it makes no sense to keep that school on the list, it's such a great school," said Libbey.
Copyright 2012 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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