Parents Fight to Keep Smithson-Craighead Middle School Open - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Parents Fight to Keep Smithson-Craighead Middle School Open

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by Emily Luxen

MADISON, Tenn. - Parents at Smithson-Craighead Middle School are fighting to keep the school open.

Last week, the Metro Nashville school board voted 8-1 to revoke the school's charter, and shut it down at the end of this school year.  Board members said since the school opened in 2009, it has had consistently low test scores, and performed in the bottom 5% in the state, and it has experienced a lot of leadership turnover.

Parents maintain the decision came with no warning, and they believe they should have been able to plead their case in front of school board members.

"This school has done so much for my children and my family," said parent Victoria Burton, "I am just shocked with the way it went down."

Parents met with officials from Metro Schools at the Smithson-Craighead gym Monday night to get help applying to other schools.  The meeting quickly turned emotional.  Parents shouted questions at officials, and demanded that they clarify why the school is being shut down.

"These are bright children," said one parent, "How can you do this to them?"

"Three years is not enough time to show what we can do," said another parent, "our test scores are improving."

Alan Coverstone, the Executive Director of the Metro Office of Innovation, which oversees charter schools, said he supports students and it is in their best interest to close the under performing school.

"We have strong district schools that are available that are beating the district average and creating real opportunities for your kids," said Coverstone.

Coverstone said the school board's vote is final, but parents still lined up to sign a petition to keep the school open.  They vow to keep fighting.

"We are not about to stop at this point," said Dr. Carolyn Baldwin Tucker, director of the school, "We are on our way to great things."

Students have until November 30 to apply for Metro magnet schools and other schools of choice.  Charter schools will accept applications into January.

Smithson-Craighead Middle School will close its doors at the end of this school year, on May 24, 2013.  The elementary school will remain open.

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