NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023 – Today, the Tennessee Charter School Center announced its first-ever group of public charter high schools honored with the organization’s prestigious Changemaker School designation. This year’s Changemaker Public Charter High School list recognizes the top schools that are preparing students for success after graduation.
In addition, the Tennessee Charter School Center released an in-depth review and case study about one of the state’s most outstanding public charter high schools: Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy. This overview offers readers a closer look at many of the key components of operating a successful public charter high school.
“We are excited to announce our first High School Changemaker list, honoring the public charter high schools that stand out best among their traditional and charter school peers all across the state,” said Dr. Maya Bugg, CEO and President of the Tennessee Charter School Center. “The hard work of the educators and students at each of these Changemaker Schools puts them among the highest performing high schools in the state in serving students and preparing our future workforce.”
To identify the Changemaker High Schools, the Tennessee Charter School Center focused on three major student-centered outcomes: TVAAS scores, Ready Graduate rates, and College-Going rates. 2023 honorees were then recognized in three different categories:
Overall High School Changemakers – Top Schools Overall
Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy – Chattanooga
Intrepid College Preparatory Charter School – Nashville
To determine top Overall High School Changemaker honorees, all public schools in the state were ranked on each of the criteria described above. To receive a top school award, schools must have ranked in the top 25% on at least one of the following: 2022 Ready Graduate rates, 2021 college-going rates, four-year changes in Ready Graduate rates, five-year changes in college-going rates. Additionally, schools must have received a TVAAS score of 4 or 5 in 2022.
Trailblazer Changemakers – Top High Poverty Public Charter High Schools
Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy – Chattanooga
Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering Middle/High – Memphis
Freedom Preparatory Academy Flagship – Memphis
Research consistently shows that, on average, poverty puts students at a disadvantage academically. As a result, schools serving large numbers of these students may be doing excellent work but could be overlooked by the criteria described above. To make sure these top performing schools were recognized, the Tennessee Charter School Center examined the same outcomes, but did so only among public schools where 50% or more of students identified as economically disadvantaged. Among these schools, an award school must have ranked in the top 25% on at least one of the following: 2022 Ready Graduate rates, 2021 college-going rates, four-year changes in Ready Graduate rates, five-year changes in college-going rates. Additionally, schools must have received a TVAAS score of 4 or 5 in 2022.
Rising Stars – Outstanding New Public Charter High Schools
Chattanooga Preparatory School – Chattanooga
Memphis School of Excellence – Cordova
Valor College Prep – Nashville
The Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC) also recognizes that the criteria for our awards focus heavily on graduation and postsecondary outcomes. However, many newer charter schools do not yet have graduating classes. Therefore, they will not have Ready Graduate or College-Going data. However, the TCSC wants to recognize that these schools are doing great things for students and are on track for strong outcomes for future graduates. For schools that did not enroll 12th graders in 2022, honorees must have enrolled at least 30 students in 2021-2022, and received a TVAAS score of 4 or 5 in 2022.
NOTE: TVAAS (Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System) is the state’s “value-added” measure that shows how a school is helping students grow beyond what their previous achievement might predict. Ready Graduate is the state’s indicator of how well high school graduates are prepared for college or a career. A school’s College-Going rate reflects the percentage of graduates who enrolled in a postsecondary institution (4-year, 2-year, and less than 2-year) the year after high school.
Since 2003, Tennessee public charter schools have become one of the most successful and impactful approaches to transforming educational opportunities and outcomes. Charter schools are public schools, but unique in that they are allowed the freedom and flexibility to be more innovative in their approach to educating children but still held accountable for advancing student achievement. Because they are public schools, charter schools are:
- Open to ALL children
- Do not have special entrance requirements
In exchange for the autonomy public charter schools are afforded, they are also held highly accountable for the academic, operational and financial performance of the schools they run and must meet the same local, state and federal regulations as their fellow district-run counterparts.
In 2022, the Tennessee Charter School Center released its initial K-8 Changemaker Charter School List, honoring excellence in achievement, proficiency increase, and TVAAS growth for K-8 charter schools.
For more information about the Tennessee Charter School Center, Tennessee’s many public charter schools, and these award-winning Changemaker Schools, please visit TNCharterCenter.org.