Rise & Shine: National charter network to spin off Memphis schools into their own group

Good morning!

A California charter school operator is spinning off its four Memphis schools into a new charter organization with local control. The Aspire school network was one of the first outside charter groups recruited to Memphis five years ago to help operate schools in the state-run Achievement School District. Officials said their decision was based on a number of factors, including sluggish academic progress and a $2 million operating deficit.

In statewide news, committee assignments in the Tennessee legislature were announced Thursday. Sen. Dolores Gresham of Somerville will return as chairwoman of the Senate education committee, while Rep. Mark White of Memphis will lead the House committee. Both Republicans are strong advocates of Tennessee’s score-driven accountability systems for students, teachers, schools, and districts.

— Jacinthia Jones, bureau chief

NEW OPERATION After months of deliberation, California-based Aspire has decided to spin off its Memphis schools into a new, independent charter school organization. Chalkbeat

LEGISLATIVE ASSIGNMENTS Twenty-three legislators in Tennessee’s House of Representatives and another nine in the Senate will serve as the gatekeepers for hundreds of bills dealing with public education over the next two years. Chalkbeat

APOLOGY ISSUED A Memphis elementary school principal apologized to her staff after holding a mock funeral, including a baby doll in a box made to look like a coffin, as a way to motivate teachers into the new year. The Commercial Appeal

UNDER REVIEW Nashville public schools Director Shawn Joseph’s educator license is under review by Tennessee’s state education board after he failed to report numerous teacher misconduct cases. The Tennessean

NEW LEADER A former nonprofit manager with a focus on veterans’ wellness will lead the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation. The Tennessean

BUDGET TALKS The Hamilton County school board is planning a a joint meeting with the Hamilton County Commission and the county’s state legislative delegation for budget discussions. Times Free Press