Monday, June 24, 2013

Murphy's Law at Boys Prep

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 10:32 AM

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On the cover of this week's issue of The City Paper, Andrea Zelinski dives deep into the troubles at Boys Prep Nashville, an all-boys charter school that has turned out to be a test case for what happens when a charter school goes wrong.

You may remember that no matter how you do the math, Boys Prep was near the top of the list when it comes to student attrition at district schools, whether charter or traditional.

The problems don't end there. Zelinski reports that there has been near constant turnover on the Boys Prep board and in the principal's office, and controversy that led to school founder Martin Kennedy's ouster, including assault allegations against Kennedy that were ultimately thrown out.

A sampling, after the jump:

The Boys Prep board also began hemorrhaging members. In the charter’s short history, 18 people have left the board, some of whom said they felt forced out or were exhausted from dealing with the school’s internal politics.

While The City Paper reached out to current and former members of the Boys Prep board, many never responded, and almost all who did reply refused to talk about their experience on the record, if at all. That includes Monica Davis, an instructor at MTSU who resigned from the board this month after finishing two-thirds of her three-year term. She, too, refused to comment.

“The turnover that they’ve had is primarily related to their inability to settle on strong leadership and consistent board leadership at the beginning,” said Alan Coverstone, MNPS’ charter school guru and the executive director of the district’s Office of Innovation, which oversees charters.

“Lots of groups have good ideas about what a school would look like, but actually running a school is a bigger challenge,” he said. “This is a startup organization. It’s a school. It’s a nonprofit. It’s a lot of things all at once. If you don’t have a pretty good board collegiality — and a pretty good board understanding of how organizations work — it’s a big red flag that we look for,” he said.

Read the whole story here.

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