Why 12 Nashville charter school organizations are forming a collaborative
Twelve charter school organizations, within Nashville public schools, are forming a collective in an effort to learn from one another and leverage resources.
The Nashville Charter School Collaborative, an effort launched Thursday, is expected to help the 12 organizations — representing 32 schools — share resources, ideas and support each other in educating students.
It’s also an effort meant to help the organizations better communicate with Metro Nashville Public Schools, which contracts with the publicly funded, privately operated schools.
“The collaborative is an idea that is 12 or 13 years in the making,” said Randy Dowell, KIPP Nashville executive director. “Over the years we have casually collaborated as needed. We have decided over the last year to go from a casual, informal group to a more regular dialogue where we can collaborate and share best practices.”
The collaborative will also serve as a way for the group of charter operators to elevate their work, Dowell said.
Lagra Newman, Purpose Prep founder, said certain Nashville charter schools also specialize in teaching groups of students, which provides an avenue to learn from each other.
For example, she said, STEM Preparatory Academy predominantly serves English-learning students and the collaborative members have begun to learn from the school’s efforts.
“It gives us more opportunities to evolve to what is going on, look at areas of improvement, see what schools offer and then vice versa,” she said.
Dowell said there are many other ways to work together, including “how to help our people develop in their roles, as well as cross train, share training resources and look at how we plan.”
The collaborative wants to use its collective voice as a way to better communicate with the district, Dowell said. Since last spring, representatives from charter schools have been invited to Director of Schools Shawn Joseph’s executive team meetings.
By having one representative from the collaborative at the meetings, Dowell said it will help streamline how the charters react to big district goals and initiatives.
“It helps everybody move in the same direction,” Dowell said.
The 12 Nashville charter school organizations
- Intrepid College Prep
- KIPP Nashville
- LEAD Public Schools
- The Martha O’Bryan Center
- Nashville Classical
- Purpose Preparatory Academy
- RePublic Schools
- Rocketship Public Schools
- Smithson Craighead Academy
- Strive Collegiate Academy
- STEM Preparatory Academy
- Valor Collegiate Academies