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How state-run district and Memphis charter schools are planning to return to school

A tablet on top of a stack of books.

About 30,000 Memphis students attend state-run or charter schools, or about 23% of the city’s public school students.

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Editor’s note: School plans could change. This information may not be up to date after July 31. Please check with your school’s leadership directly for the most recent information. 

State-run and charter schools have announced reopening plans over the past couple of weeks — some with all-online instruction and some with an in person option. 

Shelby County Schools, Memphis’ largest school system, is beginning the 2020-21 school year online on Aug. 31. The state-run Achievement School District and the city’s nearly 60 other charter schools do not have to follow the local district’s calendar or reopening guidelines. But they still must obtain approval from the state for their education plans. 

Tennessee was one of four states flagged by federal health officials this week about troublesome rises in coronavirus cases as Gov. Bill Lee urged districts to provide in-person instruction.

About 30,000 Memphis students attend state-run or charter schools, or about 23% of the city’s public school students. Below are some of their reopening plans:

Achievement School District

The Achievement School District oversees 26 schools in Memphis, all but three of which are run by charter operators. The state-run district began taking over low-performing schools in 2012 and is expected to release them from district control by 2022. The district enrolled about 9,800 students last school year. Most schools have reported start dates and/or education plans to the state as of Wednesday evening: 

  • Frayser-Corning Elementary, Georgian Hills Elementary, and Whitney Elementary will start Aug. 31. Parents have the choice between in-person or online instruction. Only students choosing online instruction will receive laptops.
  • Journey Hanley Elementary, Journey Hanley Middle, and Journey Coleman (formerly Aspire Public Schools) will start online on Aug. 31.
  • Cornerstone Prep Lester, Lester Prep and Cornerstone Prep Denver will start online on Aug. 31.
  • Humes Middle, MLK Prep, and Westside Middle, all run by Frayser Community Schools, will start online on Aug. 10.
  • Fairley High, Hillcrest High, Kirby Middle, and Wooddale Middle, all run by Green Dot Public Schools, will start online on Aug. 10.
  • KIPP Memphis Academy Elementary (and other KIPP Memphis schools) will start online on Aug. 10 with plans to possibly reopen buildings in October.
  • Libertas School of Memphis, a Montessori school, will start on Aug. 24 with options for in-person instruction or a mix of online and hands-on learning. One option would require “higher family involvement” by an adult at home.
  • Memphis Scholars Caldwell Guthrie and Memphis Scholars Florida Kansas will start online on Aug. 31. School leaders plan to return to buildings after fall break.

Compass Community Schools

The six campuses of Compass Community Schools will start the academic year online on Aug. 3 with plans to return to buildings after Labor Day. Parents can then choose between online learning or alternating online and in person during the week.

Freedom Preparatory Academy

Freedom Preparatory Academy will start classes online on Aug. 31. Parents can choose from morning or afternoon classes with live instruction for their children depending on their schedules. The other school hours will include assignments from teachers that students will work on independently. Students who need a place to go during the day for online classes can go to one of the charter network’s campuses with adult supervision while their teacher is remote.

Gestalt Community Schools

Gestalt Community Schools will start all online classes on Aug. 3. After that, depending on coronavirus spread in Memphis, the charter network plans to partially reopen school buildings Sept. 8 that includes in-person instruction and at-home learning. 

Crosstown High School

Crosstown High School, now in its third year, plans to start the academic year online on Aug. 10 until at least Sept. 8. The school is one of few, if any, that have announced specific coronavirus metrics in Shelby County that must be met before students and staff return to in-person instruction: 

  • Fourteen days of fewer new coronavirus cases
  • Weekly testing positivity rate is less than 10% 
  • Hospital bed capacity is greater than 15% of the county’s reserve
  • Child deaths from COVID-19 are not increasing

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