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April 1, 2015




Contact: Hannah Parker

(865) 660-8075



Hundreds of families seek admittance


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The enrollment period has ended, and hundreds of families have submitted intent to enroll paperwork for Emerald Academy, Knoxville’s first public charter school. There were 334 enrollment forms received and 90% were from parents in the center city.  


Because there are only 120 spaces for students, the school will conduct a lottery which will be operated by an independent third-party. The lottery will take place later this week and families will receive notification of acceptance by letter. Students who are not selected through the lottery system will be placed on a waitlist. 


“The response from the community has been tremendous,” said Emerald Charter Schools president Steve Diggs. “Having this level of interest makes it clear that city families want this option. Moving forward, it is critical that the community provide support to partner with us in this mission.”


Emerald Academy will have a longer school day and year with classes beginning in July with 60 kindergarteners and 60 first graders.


“These numbers mean that not only do parents of city kids believe that they are able to achieve at high levels – they are hungry for the vehicle to help them do so,” said Dr. Jon Rysewyk, school director of Emerald Academy.  


“That matches what we’ve heard during dozens of public meetings over the past several months. Parents and guardians understand that we will hold their children to a rigorous, educational standard and they’re encouraged by the idea that this 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 4 year college.

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


The school is currently under renovation and will be located at the Historic Moses School Building, located at 220 Carrick Street in Mechanicsville.  School will start on July 27.


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


About Emerald Academy

Emerald Academy is a free, independently-operated, K-8 college preparatory school which is being 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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