Case Studies: Charter School Turnaround Efforts Produce Dramatic Academic Gains

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The Achievement School District (ASD) was formed to “catapult the bottom 5 percent of schools in Tennessee straight to the top 25 percent in the state. In doing so, we dramatically expand our students’ life and career options, engage parents and community members in new and exciting ways, and ensure a bright future for the state of Tennessee.”

Cornerstone Prep is one school within the ASD doing just that. This Memphis, TN charter public school opened in fall 2012 on the site of a closed traditional public school (Lester). Lester students had been scoring in the bottom 5 percent in the state. But each year since Cornerstone Prep opened, the school has shown double-digit gains in student achievement in math and reading on the state assessment. The National Charter School Resource Center has a case study of Cornerstone Prep on its website, where you can learn more about the school’s approach to its core values, community building, character development, and human capital.

School turnaround is challenging work, but charter public schools are uniquely positioned to use their autonomy to drive academic improvement. The National Alliance has conducted policy analysis and charter school case studies to learn more about effective turnaround practices. As we celebrate National School Choice Week, it is important to recognize the tremendous efforts that go into school turnaround so that every student can attend a high-performing school of their choice.

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