Applications for the 2024-2025 school-year will be available on December 1, 2023.



Is McFadden a county or city school?

McFadden School of Excellence is a Rutherford County Academic Magnet School of choice for K – 5 students. Any student living in Rutherford County (including Murfreesboro City, Smyrna, LaVergne, Eagleville) can apply. Proof of residency is required by the first day of school (August 7, 2024). 

How many students apply each year?

Between 500 - 600

How is McFadden different from a traditional public school?

McFadden is a challenging, academically accelerated school for high achieving students.

Is McFadden a charter school?

No, we are an academic magnet school within Rutherford County Schools.


How does the application process work?

The application is entirely digital, and you will be required to upload various documents, including a photo of your child.  The photo ensures that we are testing the correct child.  It is imperative that the completed application is submitted between December 1, 2023, and January 31, 2024. Prior to submitting your application, you will be directed to choose a screening date and time. 


What documents (all digital) are needed to complete the application?

  • Photo (all applicants)
  • Most recent report card (applicants entering grades 1-5)
  • 4th Grade:  2nd Grade ELA and Math TNReady scores
  • 5th Grade: 2nd Grade ELA and Math TN Ready scores, 3rd Grade ELA, Math, and Science TNReady scores
How will I know if my child's recommendation has been submitted?

Log in to the Scribbles Family Dashboard.  You will be able to see if the person you selected has submitted the recommendation or not.  If they haven't, please reach out to them directly.  

How many seats are available for each grade?

Known openings each year occur in kindergarten (60) and in 4th grade (15).  Availability for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades depends on the number of students who do not return for the next school year.  We encourage you to apply and have your child screened in the event a seat becomes available.


What if there is inclement weather on the day of your screening and schools are closed, delayed, or if my child is ill?

Delete your old slot and sign up for a new slot using the signup on the admissions webpage.  You may call our office if you need assistance.



What type of screening is used for incoming students?

The screening instrument is a cognitive assessment that predicts a child’s ability for academic success in our program. Each grade level has an added component relative to their curriculum standards in the screening. The assessment instrument has been updated to secure the validity of the test. Screening slots must be selected from available dates and times – we cannot work around pre-school, dance lessons, etc. All applicants will be screened.  Students are screened one-on-one with a certified teacher.


What are the steps to being accepted?

Upon completion of all screenings, student applications are ranked from highest to lowest screening score. In order to be accepted or placed on the wait list, students must meet the minimum score. Students that have the same score are pooled together and drawn randomly to be placed in order. The exception is the sibling policy (see next question). Example for kindergarten: 300 students are screened and 200 meet the minimum score. The top 60 scores are offered a seat at McFadden. The remaining 140 are placed in order of their score on the wait list. As students decline seats, families are contacted and offered a seat.


What is the sibling policy?

Qualifying siblings of CURRENT students attending McFadden are given priority consideration.


What do students typically score on the screening?

Based on averages of past screenings, students typically score between 100 and 130.


When will we be notified of our entrance status?

It generally takes us the entire month of February to review/screen applicants. Letters will be mailed mid-March, possibly sooner.


Can I get a copy of my child’s scores from the screening?

Due to the volume of screenings, we do not send out individual scoring information.


If my child did not gain entrance, must I reapply the following year?

Yes, students must reapply each year if still interested in our program.


Does my child have to be retested or maintain a level of achievement to remain in the advanced academic program once accepted?

No, a formal test is not given each year to remain in the program. However, academic success, good behavior, and attendance are important. Students can be removed if academic success and good behavior does not occur.


What if I plan to apply at Thurman Francis Arts Academy as well?

TFAA and McFadden use the same screening tool for applicants. Students wishing to apply at both schools may only screen one time. Scores will be shared between the schools. Applicants are asked to choose their screening location on the application itself. Students are not permitted to screen at both schools. 

Applications must be completed at both schools if you intend to apply at both schools.


Is bus transportation provided for students?

Bus transportation is not provided before or after school.  See below for a few options. 


Are there any after school programs available? 

Yes.  If you have questions, please contact the afterschool program directly.


YMCA Fun Company

Onsite after-school program (limited space)



Stevens Family Taekwon Do

Shuttle transportation to their facility



Space Shuttle

Van transportation after school to any destination within the local area




Boys and Girls Club

Bus transportation to their facility




 Additional Information:

  • School hours are 7:45 to 2:45. Doors open at 7:00am. All students must be picked up by 3:00pm.
  • The date the application is received in our office, standardized scores, or gifted status does not increase your acceptance opportunity.
  • To qualify for sibling status, the family must have a student already enrolled for 2024-2025 school year.
  • Kindergarten students must turn five on or before August 15 to apply for kindergarten.
  • School tours will be offered on Wednesdays at 1:00pm in January.  Check our website in late December to sign up.
If you have any further questions, contact our Assistant Principal, Andy Roach, at [email protected]