Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tennessee Charter School Seniors Are College Bound!

TCSA - As graduation ceremonies cap off the 2013 school year, charter school seniors are leaving behind a remarkable legacy. The Tennessee Charter Schools Association (TCSA) is pleased to announce that 88 percent of Memphis charter school seniors have been accepted to post-secondary institutions, earning more than $19 million in scholarships and grants. “These students should be extremely proud of what they have achieved,” said TCSA Executive Director Matt Throckmorton. “Years of hard work, perseverance, and scholarship have prepared this group of seniors to become leaders in their communities. We are honored to commend these scholars, along with the families, teachers and school leaders who have encouraged them to excel.” Highlights of each of the five Memphis charter schools boasting graduating seniors follow.

City University School of Liberal Arts

  • 100 percent of students in the senior class received acceptance letters to post-secondary institutions 
  • 94 percent of the class was accepted to four-year colleges and universities 
  • The class received over $7 million in scholarships and grants

Memphis Business Academy
  • 45 seniors received a total of 117 letters of acceptance to post-secondary institutions 
  • The class earned more than $1.1 million in grants and scholarships 
  • Students will be studying at more than 20 different colleges and universities in the fall, including Middle Tennessee State University, Spelman College, Aeronautical University of Embry Riddle, and Emory University.

Memphis Academy of Health Sciences
  • 94 percent of students in the senior class were accepted into post-secondary institutions 
  • The class, more than half of which are free and reduced lunch students, received more than $1.3 million in scholarships and grants 
  • Salutatorian Jemelah Brassell received $245,608 in scholarships and grants and was accepted to six schools, while valedictorian Kierra Wheeler received $278,032 in scholarships and grants and was accepted to nine institutions of higher learning.

Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering
  • 97 percent of the senior class earned high school diplomas 
  • 47 graduates have been accepted into more than 30 different colleges and universities 
  • Valedictorian Jordan Spearman was accepted to four institutes of higher learning, including the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Vanderbilt University and earned more than $100,000 in scholarships and grants

Soulsville Charter School
  • 100 percent of the class of 2013 was accepted to more than 90 different four-year colleges and universities, including Wake Forest University, Tufts University, Morehouse College and Rhodes College. 
  • The graduating class received more than $9.2 million in scholarships and grants Valedictorian Stephanie Brownlee received a $250,000 scholarship to Brown University

TCSA also congratulates the first graduating classes of two Chattanooga charter schools, Ivy Academy and Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy. Graduates from these two schools have been accepted into colleges and universities across the country, including Xavier University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Louisiana State University, East Tennessee State University, Alabama A & M University, Middle Tennessee State University, Fisk University, and Tennessee State University.

My Comment:  This is phenomenal. Everyone should be celebrating this achievement. Unfortunately, some are more concerned with egalitarian outcomes than they are with some students achieving phenomenal success. If all students can't achieve this kind of success, they reason, then none should do so.

My cousin, Thomas Carter Upchurch is an assistance principal at the Soulsville Charter School. His students are all Black, most are from single mother homes, are on free or reduced lunch programs and many come out of public housing. Soulsville added a grade a year over a several year period and last year was the first graduating class of the school and 100% of the students last year got accepted to college. I understand that almost all of them also got scholarships.  If not for this charter school, probably none would be headed to college, most would be drop outs, some would be in prison by now, some would be dead and about half of the girls would have already had there first child or be pregnant. What is happening in some charter schools is almost a miracle. We should create more charter school and try to learn what makes schools like Soulsville work and try to replicate it in non-charter public schools.

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