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September 7, 2018
As Griffin battles low enrollment in Tennessee’s state district, she looks to a school with a waitlist
The Achievement School District is looking to Westwood Elementary to help her find answers to one of the state district’s longtime issues: lack of students.
DIGGING INTO SCORES
August 22, 2018
It’s been six years since Tennessee took over its first low-performing schools. How are they doing?
Of the six schools in the original state-run Achievement School District, four had fewer than 10 percent of students tested at grade level in math or English during the 2017-2018 academic year.
Updated August 23, 2018
How one Memphis school is caught in the crosshairs of state and local improvement efforts
The Tennessee Department of Education is reviewing the district’s plan for American Way, and has not yet decided whether or not it will be subject to a takeover.
TN scores dump
August 16, 2018
School-level test scores are in for the Achievement School District. And they’re bleak.
In English and math exams, not a single Achievement School District elementary, middle or high school had more than 18 percent of students scoring on grade level.
August 13, 2018
Coaching will be key as Griffin adds two from Memphis iZone to state district team
Here are the members of Sharon Griffin's new leadership team for the Achievement School District.
August 6, 2018
After 18 months, Shelby County Schools is still without a leader to drive academic improvement
The search is ongoing, says Superintendent Dorsey Hopson.
July 31, 2018
Leaders of Tennessee’s state-run district call test scores ‘sobering,’ ask educators for new energy
“High school principals, you have the hardest job," Sharon Griffin said. "This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to tackle the issues. But a double-digit gain this year is what we need to be on track again.”
Silver Lining Playbook
July 19, 2018
Memphis’ youngest students show reading gains on 2018 state tests — and that’s a big deal
Those working to improve early literacy rates in Shelby County Schools got a small morale boost from newly released TNReady scores.
June 19, 2018
After five years, the Tennessee-run district isn’t performing any better than low-performing schools receiving no intervention, research says
The study compares Tennessee's state-run district with other and found that average test scores “before and after the reform is no different from the difference during the same period for comparison schools.”
June 1, 2018
Here’s what Sharon Griffin wants to do in her first month as Tennessee’s new turnaround leader
Sharon Griffin, a longtime Memphian, said she wants to quickly launch an advisory team of local parents, students, and faith leaders for the Achievement School District.
passing the mantle
April 25, 2018
With Sharon Griffin’s departure, Shelby County Schools has big (stiletto) shoes to fill
She just unveiled an academic plan for the district, but education onlookers say she has built a team that can see it through.
April 25, 2018
Tennessee’s struggling state-run district just hired the ‘LeBron James’ of school turnaround work
Sharon Griffin’s new job is to better the state’s Achievement School District and use her experience to strengthen the relationships with local districts across the state.
April 3, 2018
Memphis district’s first academic plan since 2013 is out for review. Take a look
Shelby County Schools is aiming to present a finalized version of the plan at the board work session on April 17.
February 12, 2018
Workforce training programs may soon look different in Memphis schools
A proposed revamp of career and technical education will be presented this month to the school board for Shelby County Schools.
grappling with grades
February 6, 2018
Stung by low test scores and grade tampering, Memphis leaders consider a major change in grade practices
Tennessee's largest district researches a possible switch to standards-based grading and away from A-F letter grades.
January 31, 2018
How ‘central office’ in Memphis is taking on a new meaning under Sharon Griffin
A year after becoming the first chief of schools, Griffin is working to make central office more responsive to needs of schools rather than imposing top-down mandates.
December 14, 2017
We read all 279 pages of reports about grade changes in Memphis. Here are five big takeaways.
Reports detailing how grades were falsified at one school open the door to look at the scope of grade-changing at other Memphis high schools. Here are the highlights.
November 6, 2017
Memphis leaders are developing Shelby County Schools’ first academic plan since the merger. And they want input.
A community listening tour kicks off this week as Chief of Schools Sharon Griffin hones strategies aimed at reaching the district's 2025 goals.
November 2, 2017
A harder English curriculum arrives in Memphis elementary schools next week. Here’s how teachers are preparing.
Shelby County Schools is adding Expeditionary Learning to its curriculum mix as the district seeks to expose its students to more complex reading content.
Looking for bright spots
August 30, 2017
Memphis high schools see lowest scores rise, but few students are passing
Memphis high schoolers who are failing state tests are improving in most subjects — one of a few silver linings amid mostly gloomy results for Shelby County Schools.
August 17, 2017
Tennessee wants to boost third-grade literacy. Here’s why it’s looking to early childhood education as the answer.
Tennessee has been waging war on illiteracy for years but is increasingly zeroing in on early childhood ed as the best platform for boosting children’s reading skills.
August 8, 2017
Inner circle: Here’s who Superintendent Hopson leans on to lead Memphis schools
The 11-member leadership team helps to oversee Tennessee's largest district in one of the most challenging education landscapes in America.
July 17, 2017
Former Memphis principal will lead iZone, turnaround work for Shelby County Schools
Antonio Burt returns to Memphis as assistant superintendent of priority schools and iZone schools.
a failure of accountability
July 14, 2017
High-stakes testing may push struggling teachers to younger grades, hurting students
it’s a big problem when schools encourage their least effective teachers to work with their youngest students. And a new study says that the pressure of school accountability systems may be encouraging exactly that.
April 18, 2017
McQueen wants to prevent non-tested early grades from becoming a dumping ground for weaker teachers
Tennessee's education commissioner says a new teacher evaluation system for lower grades should help strengthen the quality of the state's early instruction.
March 29, 2017
How Memphis is taking lessons from its Innovation Zone to other struggling schools
Shelby County Schools is seeking to magnify the success of its iZone by replicating less expensive components of the school turnaround model.
March 28, 2017
Memphians weigh in on Hopson’s investment plan for struggling schools
Shelby County Schools holds a community meeting about Superintendent Dorsey Hopson's plan to address 19 schools dubbed "critical focus" schools.
movin' on up
January 4, 2017
Turnaround leader Sharon Griffin promoted to chief of schools in Memphis
In her new role, Griffin joins the superintendent's cabinet as part of a reshuffling of the academic office for Shelby County Schools.
Voices and choices
October 17, 2016
Change is coming, say Memphis school leaders as community meetings launch
Shelby County Schools kicks off a series of community meetings by preparing parents and teachers that many schools likely will have to be closed or merged.
June 30, 2016
Here are the players helping to draft Tennessee’s transition plan to the new federal education law
An array of educators, researchers and advocates will help the State Department of Education plan for a new era in education dictated by the Every Student Succeeds Act.
May 2, 2016
iZone chief Sharon Griffin on fixing Memphis’ most challenging schools
A Q&A on school turnaround strategies that work, the challenges of urban education, the importance of coaching and supporting principals and teachers, and more.
March 10, 2016
Griffin hiring more top leaders for expanding iZone
As Shelby County Schools prepares to add more schools to its school turnaround initiative, regional Superintendent Sharon Griffin is putting three lieutenants in place.
February 29, 2016
Indianapolis school leaders visit Memphis iZone with eye on increased autonomy for principals
Four years into their school turnaround initiative known as the Innovation Zone, education leaders in Memphis are seeking to move schools from triage to sustainable…
February 22, 2016
Report: For Memphians, ASD’s sullied image rooted in city’s racial history
Researchers charged with providing an impartial assessment of the district’s work conclude that the city's divisive racial history is a barrier to the state-run district's work.
January 13, 2016
D.C. Public Schools officials tour Memphis iZone
The mounting success of Shelby County Schools' iZone attracts national attention from other districts exploring school improvement initiatives.
December 16, 2015
Latest iZone expansion will leave few Memphis priority schools to improve on their own
Shelby County's Innovation Zone will absorb three more priority schools, growing turnaround efforts by the local district, in addition to the state's turnaround work.
October 28, 2015
iZone leader Sharon Griffin named Tennessee supervisor of the year
Sharon Griffin, who helped to create the Innovation Zone for Shelby County Schools in 2013, is Tennessee's 2015 supervisor of the year.
April 8, 2015
Shelby County expands education reform efforts amid $125 million shortfall
While Shelby County Schools are cutting staff and services under a $125 budget shortfall, the district is expanding and investing in its Innovation Zone.
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