Three charter school organizations, including Nashville’s LEAD Academy, are candidates to manage Metro’s Cameron Middle School, which is bracing for an overhaul to help steer an academic turnaround.
The school board is expected to select one of the applicants at next week’s board meeting.
A nine-member review committee — which includes school board members JoAnn Brannon and Ed Kindall, and Metro Council members Kristine LaLonde and Sandra Moore — has already evaluated each proposal. The panel is expected to recommend one of the charter groups to the board.
LEAD, founded in 2007 by educator Jeremy Kane, currently serves low-income middle school students in its North Nashville location. A new LEAD high school is scheduled to open next school year.
The two other organizations that submitted proposals to pilot Cameron’s transition are the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering, and the William E. Doar Jr. Foundation, which operates a performing arts-based school in Washington, D.C.
“I was really pleased with the quality of the applications,” said Alan Coverstone, executive director of charter and private schools at Metro Nashville Public Schools. “We had a short timeline and had traditionally not been an attractive place to open a charter school, so it’s a really good sign that we have such high-quality applicants.”
Though the charter organization would begin working at Cameron next school year, full management wouldn’t be in place for another three to five years, according to Coverstone.
Last month, MNPS and state officials opted to experiment with Cameron by bringing in a charter group to govern the school, a response to the middle school’s continued failure to meet federal No Child Left Behind benchmarks.
A sense of urgency came after the drafting of the state’s Race to the Top application, which outlined an “achievement school district,” a new state-controlled district composed of 13 underperforming schools across Tennessee, which includes Cameron, as well as Glencliff High School.