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Tennessee Department of Education awards nearly $5 million to increase number of high-quality school options for students

Thursday, June 15, 2017 | 10:13am

NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has announced the 10 schools selected to receive a total of $5 million as part of the state's Charter School Program (CSP) grants. This funding will support newly authorized, non-profit operators through start-up and replication of successful high-quality school options for students and families in Tennessee.

"All of our students deserve a school where they will be challenged, supported, and provided an environment to thrive," McQueen said. "These grants will allow more families the opportunity to have high-quality educational choices for their children."

Tennessee's CSP grant recipients were selected through a rigorous and competitive application process aligned to state specific priorities and goals for student achievement. Applicants were evaluated on their ability to improve learning for historically disadvantaged students, serve and prioritize students attending state's lowest performing schools, and demonstrate a proven track record of student academic success.

The 10 CSP grant recipient schools, which are all located in Memphis, are:

  • Artesian-Southwest Early College High School (9–12)
  • Gateway University (9–12)
  • Legacy Leadership Academy (6–9)
  • Memphis School of Excellence Elementary (K–5)
  • Kaleidoscope School of Memphis (6–8)
  • Promise Academy (K–5)
  • Memphis Delta Preparatory Charter School (K–5)
  • Memphis STEM Academy (6–8)
  • Memphis Business Academy Hickory Hill Elementary School (K–5)
  • Memphis Business Academy Hickory Hill Middle School (6–8)

Funding for the CSP grants came from a $19 million grant the department received from the U.S. Department of Education in fall 2016. This grant was awarded to the state with the goal of expanding the number of high-quality charter schools available to students by providing financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of new schools. To ensure quality and accountability, awardees will be monitored throughout the grant period to examine effective uses of funds and to support the overall strategy for increasing the number of high-quality charter schools in the state. 

For more information about the Charter School Grant program, contact Marcy Tidwell, director of school choice, at For media inquiries, contact Sara Gast, director of strategic communications and media, at (615) 532-6260 or