Rutherford County’s First Charter School to Open Fall 2024

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Photo from Rutherford Collegiate Prep website

Beginning as a K-6 school, Rutherford Collegiate Prep (RCP) is currently building their new school at 4420 Manson Pike in Murfreesboro. It is scheduled to open for the 2024-2025 school year. Grades 7-8 will be added beginning in the 2025-26 school year. 

“Our groundbreaking is a testament to the dedication of our team and the tremendous support we’ve received from our community,” said Dan Boone, Chair of the ReThink Forward Board, which will serve as the governing body of the school, in a press release. “Rutherford Collegiate Prep is more than just a school; it’s a movement that will shape the future of education in Rutherford County.”

The mission of RCP is to provide a personalized, engaged, supported, and challenging environment that will strengthen students academically, socially, and emotionally, according to their website. Students will leave RCP with the skills and mindset necessary to not only face reality but create improvements for the next generation.

Working to ensure students are provided with the necessary support and learning experiences that lead to each student’s achievement of Tennessee Academic Standards (TAS) in Kindergarten through eighth grade, their leadership team and staff focus on whole child learning. 

RCP focuses on six core values: Striving for excellence, collaboration and teamwork, developing each person in the RCP’s community to be their best self, continuous improvement through hard work, student ownership and choice, and creating a community.

The second charter school created by ReThink Forward, this 501(c)(3) non-profit organization aims to provide a K-12 education option for communities and families. RCP is managed by Noble Education Initiative (NEI), a Cognia Accredited, non-profit charter management organization that delivers a wide range of services from leadership development to operational oversight of entire schools, districts, and organizations.

Inside the new school building, the community will find classrooms provided with the newest technology and teaching aids that promote collaboration and friendship; state-of-the-art science, art, and music labs to nurture student’s creativity and curiosity; an atrium equipped with a collaborative area and a slide to add a bit of fun; a multi-purpose field; and safe learning spaces for early learners.

ReThink Forward’s vision is to prepare students with the knowledge and skills to become critical thinkers and lifelong learners who are equipped for success in their post-secondary opportunities and/or the workforce, according to their website. They work to build student confidence, teach the importance of social and emotional intelligence, and ultimately nurture them to become productive citizens in a global society.

Dr. Dan Boone, PhD, is the President of Trevecca Nazarene University, and the Chairman of ReThink Forward. He is joined by Thomas Lee, Rebecca Dinda and Sharon Smith, who is Chief of Federal Programs for the Tennessee Department of Education.

Charter schools are controversial, and this one was initially turned down in 2021 by the Rutherford County School (RCS) system. Rethink Forward appealed the decision, and the RCS decision was overturned by Tennessee’s Public Charter Commission in January of 2022.

While the first year’s test scores for Nashville Collegiate Prep, ReThink Forward’s first charter school, are lower than the state average, their student’s academic progress is far above the state average, according to greatschools.com. Charter schools have a higher number of economically disadvantaged students and students with limited English proficiency, which means their student population tends to start at a lower baseline than public schools.

“Change is hard and sometimes it’s very hard to be first,” Eve Carney, Executive Vice President of NEI, told WKRN, “but what we know is that we continue to push forward on behalf of kids and families. “Because every parent regardless of where they live deserves high quality choice options for their kids.” 

For more information, visit them online at https://www.rutherfordcollegiate.org/, call them at (615) 600-4713 or email them at [email protected]. Find Rutherford Collegiate Prep @RutherfordPrep on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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