Fate of Southwest Early College High School’s charter to be determined by SCS board this week

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com)- After an investigation conducted by the SCS Office of Charter Schools found five of the nine allegations against the school substantiated.

A few of the allegations included shortage of teachers and teachers not licensed to teach. 

Parents and students are concerned that they will not get education they were promised. For students who qualify, they can earn their high school diploma and Associate’s degree at the same the time.

The allegations that were found to be true from the investigation included incomplete class schedules, staffing shortages, students with IEPs not receiving proper resources, lack of textbooks for dual enrollment, and students unable to take credit recovery classes.

The allegation claiming “students do not have complete schedules” was found substantiated because the school could not show proof of the completed class schedules.

Stated in the investigation was, “On September 3, 2019, of the 81 enrolled 9th graders, 16 had no 7th period, two had no 6th period, two had no 5th period, and one had no 1st period. Five 9th graders had no courses scheduled. Of the 79 enrolled 10th graders, four had no homeroom and two students had no schedules. Finally, of the 37 enrolled 11th graders, “none are fully scheduled.”

“Staffing shortages” were found substantiated because of the amount of substitute teachers teaching courses and many of the teachers not having the proper licenses to teach.

The investigation did find that all of the classes had an instructor, but the lack of teachers with a permit or license was problematic. 

“A staff list provided by SECH indicates that Algebra I and Biology are currently being taught by unlicensed teachers who need waivers pending their taking of the Praxis in late September. English II is being taught by a long term sub hired from a third-party service. Algebra II and Geometry are being taught through Proximity Learning.”

Investigators found in the claim, “Students with IEPs not receiving proper services” that students in special education classes did not receive some of their accommodations because class schedules were not completed by the first day of classes.

The claim that there were “no textbooks and coursework for dual enrollment” was found substantiated because they were not accessible by the first day of classes. The investigation stated, “SECH submitted an email chain that identifies some plans to purchase text books in advance of the academic year, but admits they did not have the required textbooks for the start of the college courses.” 

The final claim, that was in part substantiated, was that “students were unable to take credit recovery classes.” The investigation stated, “This allegation is substantiated in part, as SECH is still accepting credit recovery, but will not be offering credit recovery itself.”

A final hearing with the SCS board will be held on Monday for any final remarks before the board votes. Ashley Smith, CEO of Artesian and founder of Southwest Early College High School, said “they are looking forward to sharing their side of the story and presenting evidence that contradicts the allegations.” 

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