Eleven organizations have submitted formal charter school applications with the Metro school board, a record high for Nashville and statement of the flourishing times for publicly financed, privately operated schools in Davidson County.
Applications will soon be in the hands of one of four Metro charter review teams, tasked with dissecting the proposals before the district’s charter review committee recommends approval or disapproval of each plan on April 23. Those recommendations will go before the nine-member school board near the end of May.
Identities of the proposed charter schools were revealed in February when the district required applicants to submit letters of intent. Thirteen groups initially signaled intentions to apply for charters; hence, some organizations elected not to follow through.
Metro has 11 operating charter schools, with four additional schools authorized to open next school year.
Phoenix-based Great Hearts Academies, which is pushing for a charter school in parts of West Nashville targeting middle- to upper-class students as well as economically challenged students, is among the crop of applicants.
Great Hearts has proposed an initial K-9 school, with plans to add a high school at a later point. Great Hearts officials have discussed long-term plans to launch a network of five charter schools across Davidson County.
Tennessee State University, led by its interim President Portia Shields, has proposed a charter called University Bound Academy, a K-8 school that would be housed on the TSU campus. The charter school’s board would include TSU deans.
KIPP Academy Nashville, which already operates a middle school in East Nashville, has submitted a letter of intent to apply for an additional school serving grades 5-12.
This year’s charter applicants include three fellows from the Tennessee Charter School Incubator, an apparatus Mayor Karl Dean helped launch in 2009 to assist educators in getting their charter schools off the ground. Boston-based Building Excellent Schools supports the incubator.
The proposed incubator schools are Purpose Preparatory Academy, a K-4 charter; Intrepid College Prep, a 5-12 charter; and Nashville Classical, a K-8 charter.
Leaders of a fourth incubator school, Nashville Girls School, submitted a letter of intent to Metro in February but did not choose to formally apply in April.
Other charter school applications are:
• Antioch Together Prep — a K-5 charter school
• Excel Academy — a charter school that would target adults
• Fusion Connection — a 9-12 charter school
• Genesis Transitions — a charter than would target 17- to 22-year-old students who “would not typically continue on to higher education programs.”
• Gifted Achievers University School — a K-6 school