SCS optional program applications open Jan. 25

Published: Jan. 9, 2022 at 8:47 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2022 at 9:00 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thousand of Shelby County families every year choose optional schools for their children. At Shelby County Schools there are more than 40 schools in the Optional Program providing course work and extracurriculars in specialized subjects.

Sunday was the first step for the next generation of optional students to pick their school.

At an SCS Optional School Fair the 45 different optional schools were represented. Families said the choice of an optional school allows their children to have more say in their education.

There’s always reading, writing and arithmetic, but some families are looking to add a little bit to the traditional course load.

“[My daughter] is interested in choir and drama and drawing,” Parent Marjorie Echols said.

“Right now she’s really into anime and manga,” Parent Scott Elsholz said.

For many, that’s where optional schools come in. Shelby County Schools has 45 elementary, middle and high schools in its Optional Program.

“We have schools that prepare people to be pilots,” Linda Sklar, Director of Optional Schools and Advance Academics at SCS said. “We have schools that prepare kids to be engineers. We have international studies, we have international baccalaureates.”

Next, throughout the month, comes open houses. Then, on Jan. 25 online applications open for the schools.

“Sometimes they don’t even know about some of the schools and this gives us an opportunity to spread the word about the great optional schools we have in Shelby County Schools,” Sklar said.

“It’s hard to make a choice,” Parent Melissa Warwell said.

Sydney Mitchell is a freshman at the optional program at Overton High School.

“It has good art production, it has a great choir,” Mitchell said. “The choir was my favorite.”

At the start of a new year, parents are already getting ready to what’s to come next year.

“Where I grew up they still don’t have this option for students and I have a lot of talented nieces and nephews in my family but they don’t have this option Shelby County is giving,” Echols said.

For more on the optional programs at SCS click here.

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