Nashville Mom: “Purpose Prep Changed the Course of My Daughter’s Life”

Today happens to be school selection results day and tens of thousands of families spent the weekend with stomachs filled with butterflies waiting to find out if Lady Luck or the Woman Upstairs worked on their behalf. 

I vividly remember the angst of those days leading up to Education Fate Day. At the time, my family had fewer choices as charter schools were not an option for us. Today, in addition to magnets, thematic options, and open enrollment, families throughout the county can choose one of the many high-performing charter schools in the district. 

Some of the first posts I read this morning were Nashville parents thanking God or the Universe for honoring prayers and robust vibing for receiving their first school choice. Of course, my heart is with those families who attempted to choose a school that best fits and the Universe offered something different. Schooling should not be a crapshoot. 

In the blog below, a former parent of Purpose Prep charter school in North Nashville shares her personal educational journey which led to a relentless commitment to change the trajectory for her children. This mom refuses to leave her children’s future to chance. 

By Yolanda Webster, from Nashville Charter Collaborative blog

A few years ago, very shortly after quitting high school, I realized that I had taken my education too lightly, and that I had to direct my children down a different path in order for them to get the education that they needed.

I grew up in an extremely big family, and we lived in public housing. I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time, but my neighborhood limited us in many ways, by dictating what we could do, where we could go, and, most importantly, the schools we could attend. It didn’t matter if the school I was zoned for was poor performing, or just wasn’t a good fit for me. Choosing another option just wasn’t available for me or my siblings. There were no other options.

By the time I reached high school, I actually had a chance to attend the high-performing Hume Fogg, but I wasn’t able to take advantage of the opportunity because there were no school bus routes for that school in my area, and catching the city bus wasn’t free for students at that time. Money was hard to come by, so I was forced to attend my zoned high school with the same students who also lived in my same public housing which, looking back, meant none of us were pushing each other to do better than the lives we were born into.

For the full testimonial, go to Nashville Charter Collaborative blog.


Nashville Charter Collaborative provides its “member schools with an official structure to continue growing their work together.”

One thought on “Nashville Mom: “Purpose Prep Changed the Course of My Daughter’s Life”

  1. This comment is stunning “I was forced to attend my zoned high school with the same students who also lived in my same public housing which, looking back, meant none of us were pushing each other to do better than the lives we were born into.”

    Could it be that Williamson County has no charter schools or magnet schools because Williamson County has no (little) public housing? because in Williamson County there are fewer kids to flee from?

    If attending a school with other higher scoring students is critical to academic success, then you are right to advocate for segregation by charter, or by test score (Meigs Middle).

    Before we get too excited about that, lets remember that every shred of data tells us that for overall cities like Nashville, all this segregation accomplishes is that we have much happier parents, and see higher average scores at the segregating school (charter/magnet/private), but then lower average scores from the students left behind at the zoned schools. When I look at cities like Phoenix, I see overall scores that are _lower_ as a result of this fragmentation.

    Are you sure that choice-choice-choice is helping our kids? And, if leaving behind poor kids is best, shouldn’t all of us with jobs and transportation get a get-out-of-jail-free card?

    I will continue to ask you. What is your vision for the kids left behind, as the rest of us take off for our islands of “excellence”?

    And, what do you tell all the other parents like Yolanda who want to flee, but who are left holding losing tickets on our endless waitlists, when there are no waitlists whatsoever in Williamson County, where there is zero choice, and where so many friends move.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s