FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) awards Libertas with level 5 designation, showing that students and teachers are performing “above expectations”.
Frayser, Memphis, TN (Thursday, August 15, 2019)
Libertas School of Memphis is transforming the historically under-performing Brookmeade Elementary in the Frayser neighborhood. Last Monday, Libertas began its 5th year as the only free public charter school in Tennessee offering the Montessori curriculum. With multi-age classrooms, and materials designed for students to work independently toward mastery, this unique type of learning environment is usually only available in private schools. And it’s working.
Today the Tennessee Department of Education releases scores for the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). Most parents know that TNReady is the new version of TCAP — the exam that every student takes at the end of each school year to assess student proficiency compared to state expectations in subject areas like math, English language arts, science, and social studies. TVAAS is not a separate test; it takes TNReady data and looks at each student’s growth over time. Rather than comparing student knowledge to an average, TVAAS tracks how each individual child progresses compared to his or her predicted performance.
Libertas was one of three schools in the Achievement School District (ASD) in Memphis to receive the highest possible TVAAS score of 5, meaning that the state is confident that Libertas students and teachers have grown above expectations.
Libertas Executive Director, Bob Nardo, says “When we started this school 4 years ago, we were met with skepticism that this unique method would work in a priority school. We now know that our school is not only working — it is thriving.”
Nardo attributes the successful score to a number of factors. “Through our Montessori curriculum, we offer rich and personalized learning, starting in early childhood” Libertas also has 94% family engagement, totalling 3,000 parent involvement hours annually. And Libertas teachers average 10 years of experience, with 90% of teachers returning each year.
TVAAS is just one promising indicator that Libertas is exceeding expectations. This winter, the school was awarded one of only 10 School Improvement Grants in Tennessee for the “most promising” priority school transformations. Enrollment in the former Brookmeade school has nearly doubled over four years, while suspensions have been dramatically reduced by over 75% through restorative practices. Libertas serves one of the largest PreK populations in the district. And Libertas was named a “program of excellence” for special education; academic growth among its 24% students with disabilities has outpaced general education peers. Overall, Libertas students averaged over 100% of their individual growth goals on the national Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test.
The school is using all of this data to inform continuous growth under its School Improvement Plan. Nardo says, “We are not stopping here. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure that every child has the opportunity to truly flourish and fulfill their potential in our community.”
Families and community members alike are excited about the success of this special neighborhood charter school. Vinessa Brown, Libertas Board Chair, parent, and Frayser community leader, comments, “We want to congratulate children and families on their hard work.”
More information on TVAAS can be found at www.tn.gov/education/data/tvaas.html.
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director | Founding Head of Libertas School of Memphis
Phone: (901) 654-7788
Documentary short profile of Libertas: A Little Piece of Something - Youtube