Aspire Public Schools was approved Monday by Tennessee’s Achievement School District to open and operate charter schools in Memphis beginning in August 2013, marking the first time California’s largest charter management organization is expanding outside the state.
Aspire is one of the largest charter organizations in the nation and the highest-performing large public school system serving low-income students in California. Aspire presently operates 34 schools in six cities, including several within Lodi Unified School District.
The charter school system is expanding in order to serve more students with a high-quality public education, as Memphis is home to 80 percent of the lowest-performing 85 schools in Tennessee, according to a press release.
Aspire is focused on its own Teacher Effectiveness Initiative and has partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to design and implement innovative teacher effectiveness strategies with the goal of ensuring that each student has access to a highly effective teacher and that teachers are supported to reach their full potential as educators.
This year, in what is believed to be the first time in the country for any charter management organization, Aspire will graduate students who have attended its schools for the entirety of their kindergarten through 12th grade education. Eight students who enrolled in Aspire’s first school, Aspire University Public School (now Aspire Vincent Shalvey Academy) in Stockton, as kindergartners in 1998 will graduate from Aspire Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy (also located in Stockton) on Friday.