Green Dot schools hopes for partnership with MSCS despite recent vote

Published: Apr. 29, 2023 at 1:45 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2023 at 7:04 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Fairley High School is one of several schools across the Bluff city wanting to join Memphis Shelby County Schools.

Since 2014, it’s been operated by Green Dot Public schools, a non-profit charter organization that works to transform under-performing schools. School leaders now hope to build a local partnership with MSCS, but they’re facing a few hurdles.

“We were disappointed at how politics played out in front of our students and families,” said Julius Blackburn, the principal of Fairley High School.

The board considered 10 charter school applications with all 10 being denied.

“Green Dot took a chance on Fairley and it was successful, giving more opportunities to kids who need to excel in college, leadership, and life and with that I say...why not Fairley,” said Xavion Clarke, a senior at Fairley High School.

According to Green Dot, the school had an 88% decrease in suspension rates. It also proclaims more than 200% growth rates in math and ELA on iReady exams.

“I came in a standard sophomore student and I am an honor student with an over 4.0 GPA,” said Clarke.

Principal Julius Blackburn says he’s determined to show MSCS his school’s improvement.

“This is not over...they saw the support and they know that we will be back, so what our organization will do is we will amend--resubmit the application in a timely manner and we look forward to a positive outcome for our students and alumni,” said Blackburn.

Fairley school leaders were asked about feedback and were told the district wanted a contingency plan for a new building.

While Principal Blackburn and other school leaders say they do not want a new building, they’ll be working on those plans and adjusting their application in hopes of partnering with MSCS in the future.

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