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For Immediate Release

March 29, 2016


John Crooks

(865) 223-4513



Total Enrollment Applications Outnumber Availability by 5 to 1


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The enrollment period has ended, and for the second year in a row, hundreds of families have submitted applications for Emerald Academy, Knoxville’s first public charter school.


The school opened in July to kindergarten and first graders and will be adding second and sixth grades for the 2016-2017 school year. A total of 631 enrollment forms were received, nearly double what was received last year. Of the 631 applications, 468 are for the 120 available kindergarten and sixth grade slots in the next academic year.


Because there are only 120 spaces available, the school will conduct a lottery operated by an independent third-party. Families will receive notification of acceptance by letter, and students who are not selected through the lottery system will be placed on a waitlist.


“Last year, there were 334 families who completed enrollment forms for 120 seats. To have that number almost double after just one year of operation is really an encouragement,” said Emerald Charter Schools president Steve Diggs. “City families are deeply interested in their child’s education, and their five applications for every available seat have made it clear that they want this option.


“Moving forward, it is critical that the community provide support to achieve our mission of growing scholars into leaders.”


During the school’s first year of operation, 92 percent of its scholars were from the city center, and 88 percent qualified for free and reduced lunch.


“These numbers mean that not only do parents of city children believe that they are able to achieve at high levels – they are hungry for the vehicle to help them do so,” said Emerald Academy school director Jon Rysewyk. “Parents and guardians understand that we will hold their children to a rigorous, educational standard and they believe that the opportunities at school can literally change the trajectory of their child’s future.”


The goals of the school include the following:

  • Scholars will read at or above grade level.

  • Every scholar will be ready for high school and on their way to a four-year college.

  • Emerald Academy will rank in the top 5 percent of schools in Tennessee within the first 10 years of operation.


For more information about the school and how to become involved, visit


About Emerald Academy

Located in the historic Moses School Building in Old Mechanicsville, Emerald Academy is a free, independently-operated, K-8 college preparatory school launched by Emerald Charter Schools. The school’s mission is to grow scholars into leaders by creating the best learning culture for city students to develop the skills, habits, and values for success in high school, college and life.

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