Sweeping Changes Expected at Metro's Lowest Performing Schools - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Sweeping Changes Expected at Metro's Lowest Performing Schools

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There's a new sense of urgency in Metro Schools, with the lowest performing being put under a microscope. Tuesday, Dr. Jesse Register unveiled a plan to speed-up improvement after consultants say ineffective lesson plans and a central office bureaucracy are part of the problem.

Once labeled for its low test scores, Margaret Allen Middle is now Metro's poster child for school turnaround.

"It just gets harder and harder," one student said.

At the beginning of the 2011 school year, England based consulting company the Tribal Group was hired to assess what was happening at the school.

"The outcomes across the district as a totality are too low and are not improving fast enough," Tribal Group Project Manager, David Moran said.

The concerns at Margaret Allen were shared at the 34 lowest performing schools in the district.

Moran found nearly eighty percent of teacher's lessons were not effective, there are low expectations of students and a central office bureaucracy is hindering growth.

"We've got to move forward aggressively now and we're going to start this year," Dr. Register assured the crowd of educators.

They say when you know better, you do better and now the problems are in black and white.

"There's more one on one and more aggressive teaching because they're trying to get our scores up," another student noticed about the changes he's seen at Margaret Allen over the last two years.

At Margaret Allen there's more collaboration between the teachers and students. The turnaround also lead to some staff being fired.

"We have never not been able to deal with ineffective teachers," Dr. Register said. "We just haven't had the will to do it. We've got the will to do it now.

No one said change would be easy, but Metro leaders says it has to start now.

"We are going to improve whatever it takes."

Part of the solution includes giving the best principals more autonomy, eliminating positions in the central office and working with charter schools to share ideas about what works best.

The Tribal Group just completed its first year of work. Their contract is for a total of five years and amounts to more than $6 million.


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