$2M Lets Nashville Charter Hire Fast And Enroll Slow At Its New Schools

In the state report card for the last school year, KIPP Nashville showed top marks across the board for value added scores, while listing nearly 90 percent of students as "economically disadvantaged." (Image via KIPP Academy)

In the state report card for the last school year, KIPP Nashville showed top marks across the board for value added scores, while listing nearly 90 percent of students as “economically disadvantaged.” (Image via KIPP Academy)

A charter school operator in Metro is getting $2 million which will help it expand.  KIPP Nashville already has a pair of middle schools, and the money will help as as it adds an elementary and a high school over the next few years.

The $2 million come from the Charter School Growth Fund.  The philanthropy gets money from big foundations like Walton and Gates.  In Tennessee some of it’s matched with federal Race to the Top dollars.

KIPP has a strong reputation in Nashville, but the Growth Fund’s Darryl Cobb says that’s not why it was chosen.  KIPP’s flagship school is mostly poor and earned top marks last year for student growth.  Cobb says evaluators peruse that kind of raw charter data “blind” before deciding who to fund.

“We’re trying to answer the question, are they helping students from underserved backgrounds achieve at very high levels?  We have a number of different metrics that we look at across that – if the answer to that question is yes, which it was in the case of KIPP, then we get to kind of flip over the card and see who the organization is.”

The head of KIPP Nashville says the new schools will start small, but they’d like to have some of the staff a complete school can afford, like assistant principals.  The 2 million dollars will help them fund those positions while the new schools grow.


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