School Board Votes To Close Smithson Craighead Middle School - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

School Board Votes To Close Smithson-Craighead Middle School

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.- The Metro School Board voted to revoke the charter and close Smithson- Craighead Middle School during their regular meeting Tuesday.

The school has been open since 2009, and district officials said that low test scores and high turnover are several reasons they believed it should closed. In addition to the low test schools officials said the school has struggled to find steady leadership, having replaced four school principals since the school opened.

"Those of us who believe in charter schools also believe in quality," said Alan Coverstone, Metro Schools' executive director for the Office of Innovation, the district office that oversees charter school operations. "If all we do is swap one governance structure for another, without improving the educational outcomes for children, we have accomplished nothing. As painful as it is, we believe closing Smithson-Craighead Middle School is the right decision."

School leaders protested saying that three years is not enough time to really determine how much they're impacting students.

Dr. Carolyn Baldwin Tucker, leader of Smithson Craighead Middle School spoke during the meeting and attempted to defend the school.

"The untimely recommendation has caused a disruption in the school community and undue anxiety among our student and parents," said Tucker.

After the 8-1 vote to close the school, a large crowd of parents and students who attended the meeting stormed out.

"You're gonna take these kids away from what they are used to and put them in Metro," said one parent with tears streaming down her face.  "Metro doesn't care about these kids."

"My son has been attending Smithson since second grade, and I wouldn't have him anywhere else," said another parent.

The school will close its doors at the end of this school year, on May 24, 2013.  Metro Schools officials said they will work with parents and students to ensure they are able to smoothly transition to other schools.

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