NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Nashville educator wants one mid-state community to have more school options.
Brenda Jones is trying to design, build and open her own charter school in Nashville. Currently, Metro Nashville Public Schools has 28 charter schools under its jurisdiction.
Jones wants to add another school. She is a former charter school teacher, assistant principal and MNPS graduate, and she said it's her vision to open her own school.
She is in the process of opening Invictus Nashville for the fall of 2024.
"Its time to do something different, and while there are things in traditional classroom settings that I would keep and that I love and I would highlight, there are things we need to change so we can continue to grow," Jones said. "It’s all about doing what’s best for the kids. It’s not whether it’s a charter or a traditional or not, it’s about what does your family..."
Jones is already getting the word out and wants to set up her school in the Hermitage and Donelson area, which has just one charter school.
"This is an area that I feel is under-served in a charter-like world. And I think that they could use something different," she said.
Invictus Nashville would be set up like a Montessori for kindergarten through fifth grade students, according to Jones.
She said this allows students some autonomy and self-direction in the classroom around activities and community service.
Jones said this is why she's gathering parent and community input to include their ideas in her charter school application, which is due by February 1, 2023.
"I want a way for parents to authentically engage in what we are preparing to do. So unlike other schools, I have an entire year before I submit an application, and I'm out in the community saying, 'what do you want? Does this make sense?' What can we do better before I even put it on paper and say, 'here: love it, like it; come to my school,'" Jones said.
The Metro Nashville School Board is required to review five applications submitted by three different charter operators to open new schools in Davidson County.
The first step is for a charter operator to submit a letter for intent to MNPS that outlines their general plan to submit a new charter school application. The letter of intent includes the number of seats they will be seeking to authorize by grade level, the timeline, and a general description of their application.
The MNPS Board of Education is required to vote on those applicationwithin deadlines set by the State of Tennessee.