Rocketship Tennessee is appealing to the State Board of Education to open a new charter school in Nashville after Metro Nashville Public Schools denied their application on appeal earlier this month in an 8-1 vote.
But in a letter to the State Board of Education, Rocketship Tennessee claims that Metro Nashville Public Schools took longer than the 30 day period to act on the appeal, which would mean the two schools should have been automatically approved. The Tennessee Public Charter School Act of 2002 clearly explains how the appeal works.
The local board of education shall have thirty (30) days either to deny or to approve the amended application. Should the local board of education fail to either approve or deny the amended application within thirty (30) days, the amended application shall be deemed approved.
Rocketship Tennessee claims they submitted their amended application on July 7th. Based on the 30 day rule, Rocketship Tennessee says the Metro Nashville School Board had until August 8th to deny or approve the appeal. The school board did not meet until August 10th, outside of the 30 day time limit, which Rocketship says should mean both of their applications should have been approved.
That is just a small portion of the appeal to the State Board of Education. Rocketship Tennessee currently has over 1,100 students in their two Nashville locations. Unlike most charter schools, Rocketship opened a full K-4 school at once instead of the grade by grade expansion that other charter schools do. Rocketship Tennessee has a waitlist of over 200 students for their Nashville schools.
With the lack of TNReady assessment data, Rocketship is providing their own normative assessment data to show that the school should be approved.
Our confidence in our Rocketeers’ continued growth is grounded in their performance on the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment, a nationally norm-referenced exam that evaluates both math and reading/language arts proficiency. On MAP last year, 63% of our students moved up one or more quartiles (or remained in the top quartile). Our first-year Rocketeers in Nashville grew 1.5 years in math and 1.4 years in reading.
This is powerful proof that our personalized learning model is meeting the unique needs of each and every student. By meeting students where they are academically, we are putting them on the gap-closing path.
This is the second time that Rocketship Tennessee has appealed to the State Board of Education, with the original appeal being rejected in October 2015.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport.