SCS approves UofM Middle School at Tuesday’s meeting

(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Feb. 26, 2019 at 10:08 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Shelby County School Board approved two major initiatives at Tuesday night’s meeting – a new school and a new way for students to get around town.

Supporting free public transportation for students and partnering with a local university to open a unique new school were both big ideas that got enthusiastic approval from the Board.

The Board unanimously approved University Middle School, a lab-based, teacher training school to be housed in the old St Anne Catholic School on Highland.

"I think this is a great project,” said SCS Board member Scott McCormick. “I think we'll be able to provide quality teachers out of this. It will be a true learning experience for both students and teachers."

"Glad about the partnership,” said SCS Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray. “Excited for our students. I look forward to working with the University of Memphis."

SCS and the UofM already partner on The Campus School, which is Pre-k through fifth grade and will be a feeder for University Middle.

Commissioner Kevin Woods cautioned the U of M to keep an eye on student diversity.

"I will be supporting this, but I will be watching,” Woods said.

Woods was the sponsor of the other big news of the night: the SCS Board moved one step closer toward providing MATA passes for high schoolers.

"We know there are after school programs,” Woods said. “We know there are kids who want to go to work. We know we have truancy challenges."

If it’s greenlit, SCS would provide 15,000 students in grades ninth-twelfth year-round bus passes

The idea's backed by the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center and the Memphis Bus Riders Union.

"They deserve to be mobile and autonomous just like adults do,” said Paul Garner with Mid-South Peace and Justice Center.

"I think this is a great opportunity for students here in the city,” said Justin Davis with Memphis Bus Riders Union.

The board requested a financial feasibility study to see how much this would cost.

"If all goes well, I'm hoping it would be in place next year,” Woods said.

The new University Middle School will open this fall, with 60 sixth graders.

The school will add an additional grade each year after that.

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