LEAD Public Schools officials announced today that LEAD Academy High School will be moved to Cameron, a LEAD Public School currently serving the needs of students in grades 5-8 in South Nashville, beginning in August of 2016.
The move is the result of three key points: 1) the high school population has outgrown the capacity of its Heiman Street location; 2) the Cameron eighth-grade population will be able to seamlessly matriculate into the high school; and 3) the Cameron expansion is made possible because of a Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools-approved seat expansion for LEAD High School that allows for LEAD to service up to 400 more seats at the First Avenue location.
“For Cameron families, this is a pathway to high school that specifically serves their neighborhood,” said LEAD CEO Chris Reynolds. “For LEAD High School families, it means we now have a facility necessary to run a true high school program. We will provide transportation to Cameron, and both schools will run as separate entities. This is an exciting day for our LEAD network and communities.”
In addition to thanking the MNPS for its continued partnership and support, Reynolds added that there are many advantages to the transition, including having an actual high school infrastructure — a full gym, auditorium, a track, and a soccer/football field. It also allows the Cameron students to see firsthand the incredible opportunity our high school provides, and they, along with LEAD Middle students, have a guaranteed matriculation pathway.
“Moving the high school allows us to ensure LEAD Academy will enroll more students than in previous years and gives us a permanent location from which to serve our students and families for many years to come,” Reynolds said. “Going forward, we expect Cameron to feed LEAD High, along with other students who choose to enroll, and we expect the extraordinary results that our school leaders and their teams have generated to continue many years into the future now that we are able to serve even more students.”
Of important note in this portion of the city, the transition revisits the rich history of Cameron as a high school in the South Nashville region. From 1955 to 1971, it served as a senior high school for African-Americans before being desegregated. It was then a ninth-grade school in the fall of 1971 and in 1978, it became a pilot middle school serving grades 5-8. To this day, it has a strong alumni presence, one fully supportive of this opportunity.
President Ronnie Johnson, president of the original Cameron High Alumni Association (CHAA), acknowledged a positive irony in the evolution of this historic site into a high school once more after more than 40 years. The Association’s vice president, Gloria Pillow, agreed.
“The most important feature of our high school years half a century ago is the incredible commitment and dedication of our teachers and administrators,” she said. “They nurtured, encouraged, and challenged us at every turn, making sure that we would reach for the stars, regardless of what obstacles we might encounter. We are excited that the leadership at Cameron and LEAD Academy is educating its students today from a similar position. LEAD’s 100 percent college acceptance rate of the Classes of 2014 and 2015 is a powerful testimony to its efforts. We support Cameron’s renewed role as both a middle and high school facility, and will continue to build upon our relationship with the school.”
(Pictured above is Cameron School Director Tait Danhausen greeting a student on the first day of school).
ABOUT LEAD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
LEAD Public Schools, the state’s first charter management organization, was founded in 2007. LEAD Public Schools now operates five schools: LEAD Academy, LEAD Southeast, Brick Church, Cameron, and Neely’s Bend. LEAD Public Schools exist to support, educate and train the next generation of responsible citizens. To learn more about LEAD or to obtain an application for students in grades 5-12, visit www.leadpublicschools.org. Please follow us on twitter via @LEADPubSchools and like us on facebook.