- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Nashville Metro school officials have launched a campaign to compete with charter schools in recruiting students.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1x2J1MG) reports that part of the initiative involves school administrators, teachers and parents doing door-to-door canvassing on weekends, a campaign-style strategy long ago adopted by the charter sector.

And Metro recently added a new central office administrator whose job is to find ways for faculty to recruit students.

One school on the radar of Metro Schools Director Jesse Register is Jere Baxter Middle School, which has 408 students and is operating at only 53 percent of its building’s capacity.

It’s part of Register’s turnaround plan for East Nashville that could include closing some schools, turning others over to charters and creating a new “choice zone” to let parents pick their children’s schools.

“Their achievement scores are tremendous, and honestly, they out-recruit us,” Metro Director of Schools Jesse Register told a crowd of 75 this week at Jere Baxter. “I can’t recruit many children to Jere Baxter. But Jere Baxter faculty and parents can. That’s the way we recruit.

“You’re our best salesmen,” he said to teachers in attendance.

Jill Peeples, who will lead recruiting and community engagement efforts, said she believes every school has something to sell to families and area businesses.

“A lot of times, we have those good things that we’re doing and we’re working really hard, but it’s not as obvious to others,” Peeples said. “My position will really empower teachers and leaders to tell their story to people.”

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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

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