The district is transforming the school into a conversion charter school. It's the first charter school for the district. Half of the staff has to be brand new.
Cloverdale will become an aerospace technology conversion charter school.
"We get to experiment and learn more about the environment," says Joshua Roston, seventh grader.
"Charter schools are about innovation," says Dr. James Jennings, a school improvement specialist.
Jennings was hired as a school improvement specialist to turn around Cloverdale. It's been under State Improvement for seven years, the longest period for any Little Rock School District middle school.
"We want to target children who have academic difficulty and pull them out for what's called 'intensive targeted intervention' and then put them into a certain class," says Jennings.
Programs like that required the district to apply for a charter. It also allows Cloverdale to have longer class days and use different teachers.
"We have a waiver that says we can hire someone who may not have a teaching license but is an expert in that field," says Jennings.
To accomplish all of this, the school will definitely need some money. The State Department of Education is giving the school $440 thousand to pay for start-up costs that includes, books, supplies, and technology.
Principal Willie Vinson has been busy interviewing teachers, counselors, and assistant principals.
"They can apply now," says Vinson.
Vinson says the overall theme will be aerospace, but teachers will really hammer down on literacy.
"In history, they will write about aerospace and in mathematics they will be writing themes of aerospace in mathematics," says Vinson.
Vinson and Jennings will be collecting data along the way and if the charter works, they hope Cloverdale will become a model for other schools.
Since this is a conversion charter school, the Little Rock School District will continue to operate it and only students within the district can attend. This is different from open enrollment charter schools, which are open to all students.