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Charter School Replication Program to Offer Charter School Operators across Tennessee Guidance for Strategic Growth

(New York, NY)-- With a decade of experience helping to build one of the country's most successful charter school sectors, the New York City Charter School Center – in partnership with Tennessee Charter School Center – is welcoming its second cohort of participants for Replicating Quality Schools: Launching the Next Generation of High Quality Schools (RQS) in Memphis today. The program will provide charter school leaders and emerging networks with the skills, information and resources necessary for strategic growth. The first cohort met in Louisiana this pastfall.

“Many of the 68 charter schools in Tennessee have achieved impressive academic results in their first few years of operating. They have talented leaders and are eager to expand their impact through additional campuses,” said Greg Thompson, CEO, Tennessee Charter School Center. “All that’s needed is the right training and guidance to ensure they build a strong foundation for their growth.”

Extended over three weekends this spring (one weekend in Memphis, March 6-7, and two in Nashville, April 10-11, and May 8-9), program participants will learn from national experts and start to develop a business plan to successfully replicate their schools. In order to qualify, participants had to have operated between one and four charter schools for a minimum of three years, and achieved strong academic results. Graduates of the program will receive grants to support their replication efforts.

“Tackling the challenges of growth in a strategic way is essential to sustainable expansion of the charter school sector and is the foundation of this program,” said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center. “Replicating Quality Schools is an ongoing learning experience for everyone involved. We learned a great deal from the local schools in New Orleans and Baton Rouge when we launched the program this fall. We can now take that knowledge and add to the decade’s worth of experience we’ve had in New York. Each city will provide us with new lessons learned as we move to the next location to help schools scale up and expand.”

Replicating Quality Schools, supported in part by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, provides technical support, exemplars and intensive hands-on trainings on key subjects ranging from curriculum, academic structures, and instructional methodology, financial planning and modeling, to guidance on developing a business plan and gaining approval for initial and subsequent replications. RQS will be led by Cat Alexander, formerly a senior program officer with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s US Education Program, whose expertise includes charter school growth funds, charter school replication, operational performance metrics, business infrastructure and human capital development.

“One of the key reasons the charter movement began was to provide choices for parents who were looking for better schools. The charter schools we’re working with in Tennessee were all born out of their local communities and are hoping to expand due to significant demand from parents,” said Cat Alexander, Director of Replicating Quality Schools. “Helping these schools expand in a thoughtful way will provide the families and children in the communities they serve with more high-quality public school options. The nationally-recognized experts RQS brings to the table will help them achieve this goal.”

The nine charter school operators, based in Memphis or Nashville, participating this spring include:

  • Cornerstone Preparatory School
  • Freedom Preparatory Academy
  • Promise Academy
  • East End Preparatory School
  • KIPP Academy Nashville
  • Liberty Collegiate Academy
  • Nashville Preparatory Academy
  • STEM Preparatory Academy
  • Valor Collegiate Academy

The New York City Charter School Center plans to bring RQS to two cities or regions a year over the next few years. Interested charter school administrators can click here to learn more about the program.


The New York City Charter School Center is an independent non-profit committed to fostering an environment in which public charters can open and flourish, and, through their innovative approaches, provide models for improving all public schools. The Charter Center helps new charter schools get started, supportsexisting schools, and engages the charter school community around key issues. Learn more about the NYC Charter School Center at

The Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC) is the first charter school support organization in the country that simultaneously creates and advocates on behalf of high quality charter schools and the students and families they serve. Its vision is for all students in Tennessee to have access to a high quality public education. Regardless of where they live, Tennessee students must have the opportunity to attend a public school that prepares them for success in the post-secondaryeducation, college, or career of their choosing. Learn more at

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