What's going to happen at Thurman Francis when Rocky Fork Elementary opens?

Nov 15, 2018 at 10:00 am by Michelle Willard

Rocky Fork Elementary rendering

In August 2019, Rutherford County Schools plans to open not one, but two new schools.

The new schools, Rockvale High School and Rocky Fork Elementary School, mean many students will be shifted around and assigned to new schools.

It also means that space will be opened at Thurman Francis Arts Academy to become a full magnet school.

Thurman Francis Arts Academy will host their parent information night on Nov. 26 at 6 p.m.

Applications will be available that evening and, according to principal Jeff McCann, Thurman Francis will have the “possibility of expanding the magnet seat by 40 percent” in K–5 for the 2019–2020 school year.

In the meantime, Thurman Francis Principal Jeff McCann answered a few questions about the changes that are coming to the Smyrna school and how students can apply for those prized magnet spots.

For those who aren't familiar with Thurman Francis, can you explain the school?

Thurman Francis is an academically-accelerated school with an emphasis on the arts. We are able to offer additional courses in various arts that other schools do not. Students must qualify academically to be admitted but get many choices of arts and athletics on which to concentrate. We serve students from the entire Rutherford County district.

I heard there are some big changes coming to Thurman Francis. What plans are in the works?

Next year we will have the capability to expand our magnet seats by up to 40% as we transition to a true magnet setting. Currently, we have a portion of our population that are zoned to attend our school but do not qualify for the magnet. With the opening of Rocky Fork Elementary in 2019, those students will be re-zoned.

What does the opening of Rocky Fork Elementary mean for TFAA students?

What this means for students is that they will be able to attend a school setting where all other students are on a similar level and have a similar mindset. This will allow them to move at a more challenging pace and prepare them well for the next step in school, and life.

What do your current parents need to know about the rezoning?

In regards to the re-zoning, parents need to know that all students attending TFAA in subsequent years, must qualify for admittance to the magnet program. There will no longer be classes for non-magnet students.

How do students apply for admittance? What criteria will you use to choose? Will there be sibling preference?

Students apply by submitting a complete application packet between 12/1/18 and 2/1/19. They may stop by to pick up a packet or access that on our website, www.tfs.rcschools.net.

Criteria for admittance is delineated in the application packet but they are academic in nature. Students in K-2 grades are screened with a standardized IQ test. Grades 3-8 use test scores from TNReady and/or Cognitive Abilities Tests (CogAT).

Siblings get priority admittance.


RCS has held a series of community meetings to discuss the new zones. The next one is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3 at Stewarts Creek High School. An interactive map of the proposed zones can be found here

Also Murfreesboro City Schools also plans to rezone its schools when it opens the yet-to-be-named Overall Creek Elementary School. You can read more about it in the DNJ.

Image: A rendering of Rocky Fork Elementary 

Michelle Willard is a freelance journalist who fills her days with social media marketing, politics, true crime, and taking complaints. You can complain to her on Twitter @MichWillard or by email michelle(at)murfreesborovoice.com.



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