High-energy Memphis iZone schools outpace state-run efforts

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Accompanied by a hip-hop dance, the students in Angel McKay’s class at Cherokee Elementary rap their knowledge of the water cycle.

“It moves the water, moves it up and down, all around the Earth, the water cycle.”

The philosophy to make learning high-energy is keeping students at the grades Pre-K-5 school engaged.

For some teachers, administrators and parents here, it’s hard to believe the students are the same ones from four years ago.

Back then, Memphis had the highest number of schools in Tennessee in the bottom 5 percent of academic success – 69 of 85 schools.

Born from the bottom 5 percent were the Tennessee Achievement School District and Memphis Innovation Zone, which includes Cherokee Elementary. Nashville, which had six on the list, also started its own turnaround efforts.

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