August 19, 2014
Shelby County Schools Earns State’s Highest Growth Rating

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) has released the academic and performance status report for individual schools, as well as TVAAS data for growth.  District-wide, Shelby County Schools (SCS) remains a TVAAS Level 5, the highest level for growth awarded.  Individual SCS schools also continued to make gains and show improvement in most areas.

Since the last reporting period, there were 19 fewer SCS schools than the combined legacy districts on the Priority Schools list, which is composed of the lowest performing 5 percent of schools in the state. Additionally, 15 SCS schools earned their way off of the Priority list.

“We are pleased with the progress of our schools,” Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said. “While we’re happy with the upward progression, we know that there’s more work to do to ensure that every school is not only in good standing, but moving toward the highest levels of achievement and growth.”

Schools in the SCS Innovation Zone (iZone) outpaced those in the state-run Achievement School District (ASD) with an 11-percent increase in overall student success rates compared to the 2012-13 scores. The goal of the iZone and ASD is to move the county’s Priority schools to the top 25 percent.

“The progress of our iZone schools is evidence that all of our students can achieve,” Hopson said.  “That six of our 13 iZone schools earned their way off of the Priority list is remarkable.”

For more information visit http://tn.gov/education/.

August 11, 2014
John P. Freeman Teacher Joins National Teaching Initiative

Melissa Collins, a second grade teacher at John P. Freeman Optional School, has been selected to participate in the National Education Association (NEA) 2014-15 Science Master Teacher Project. Collins joins a cohort that includes 65 of the nation’s top science teachers in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The Science Master Teacher Project is sponsored by BetterLesson and NEA to “create living, breathing bodies of knowledge around effective science teaching.” This fall, the newest members of the NEA’s Master Teacher Project will collaborate on more than 6,000 Common Core-related lessons to be utilized by teachers across the country.

Collins is a Nationally Board Certified teacher and has served as an educator for 13 years. She is the recipient of several awards and honors, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the National Science Teaching Association Sylvia Shugrue Award and the Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence. Most recently, she was named 2014 West TN Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education.

For more information on the NEA’s Master Teacher Project, visit www.betterlesson.com.

August 7, 2014
Summer School Grade Update - High School Students

“We received Summer EOC test results from the State this week, allowing us to finalize our high school summer school grades and report cards. We appreciate the TDOE working diligently with our staff to resolve issues and complete this process during a very tight window between summer school and the start of the new school year. Students will receive their updated schedules early next week. We apologize for any inconveniences this first week.”

August 5, 2014
Back-To-School Update

Parents, we thank you for your support and patience these first couple of days. It’s an exciting time for everyone, and we’re hearing great things across the District as principals and teachers have welcomed back students. We are working to resolve some issues this week, as we do at the start of every year. Most notably, we know that some buses are running behind schedule. We certainly apologize for any inconveniences. Please know that we are tracking all issues and concerns and evaluating routes every day to make adjustments as quickly and efficiently as we can. If you are registering for school after the first day, please make sure you confirm with your school that a bus route has been assigned for your child before he/she waits at a bus stop. Without an assigned route, drivers may not know to pickup/dropoff at your stop. Remember, to report any back to school issues and concerns, you can use our SCS Troubleshooter tool on our homepage.

August 3, 2014
2014-15 School Year Kicks Off Monday, August 4

The first day of classes for Shelby County Schools (SCS) students is Monday, August 4. Excitement has been building for the start of the 2014-15 school year for weeks, as teachers and principals have been preparing their schools for the return of students and families.
 
Superintendent Dorsey Hopson will be traveling to several schools Monday morning to greet students and staff. Meanwhile, the Superintendent’s staff is prepared to support schools during what will surely be a busy week across the District.
 
Although we anticipate a smooth start, staff understands there may be some challenges to work through with parents and community members during the first couple of weeks. As a result, we have created a new online troubleshooting tool that allows parents to directly report any concerns or issues, such as transportation, registration or any other school-related matters.
 
“This is simply one part of our commitment to improving customer service and community engagement,” Superintendent Hopson said. “We encourage parents to partner with us and utilize this tool to help us make sure students have everything they need to begin the year successfully.”
 
To report an issue, parents should go to the District’s website, www.scsk12.org, and click the “SCS Troubleshooter” button. All concerns will be logged daily and reported to the appropriate staff members. While resolution will be sought for each issue, individual responses may not be possible for every scenario due to the large volume of students and parents.
 
If a parent or student has an issue requiring attention, they should contact their school principal or call (901) 416-5300.
 

July 9, 2014
2014-15 Registration Day is July 29; First Day of Classes is August 4 


The first day of classes for Shelby County Schools (SCS) is August 4, and the District wants to help make the transition into the new school year as smooth as possible for parents and students.
 
Parents can get all the facts they need for the 2014-15 school year at www.SCSFactsFirst.com.
This site includes information about school start times, transportation assignments, important policies and much more.

Registration day for all schools is Tuesday, July 29.  
Parents should register students at their assigned school.

Registration hours for all schools are:
•  8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
•  5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
 
Parents must bring two approved forms of proof of residence for registration.
Parents who live with another person must also provide a notarized Shared Residency Affidavit, which can be downloaded at www.SCSFactsFirst.com.

The following items will be accepted as proof of residence:
•  TN driver’s license or state-issued ID
•  Current Memphis Light Gas & Water (MLGW) bill
•  Lease/rental agreement
•  Public assistance/government benefits
•  Real estate tax receipt
•  Municipal water bill
•  Mortgage statement or deed
 
New Kindergarten students must turn 5 years old on or before August 15, 2014.
Children must turn 5 years old on or before August 15, 2014 to qualify for entrance into Kindergarten for the 2014-15 school year.

The following items are required for registration:
•  Certified copy of Birth Certificate
•  Proof of recent medical examination
•  Tennessee Department of Health Immunization Certificate with proof of a physical exam within 12 months prior to enrollment
•  Social Security Number (recommended)
 
Students can get their required immunizations at one of the SCS Regional Health Clinics.
A Tennessee Department of Health Certificate of Immunizations is required for all Kindergarteners, seventh graders and new SCS students. Students can receive required immunizations, along with other healthcare services, such as physicals and health screenings, at the SCS Regional Health Clinics. The clinics are open by appointment to all SCS students. Parents can call 531-6321 to schedule an appointment. For a list of all required immunizations, visit www.SCSFactsFirst.com.
 
Clinic Locations & Summer Hours:
 
East High School
July 7 – August 12: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Northside High School
July 14 - July 25: Tuesdays, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
July 28 – August 12: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Sheffield Career & Technology Center
July 14 – July 25: Thursdays, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
July 28 – August 12: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Westwood High School
July 14 – July 25: Fridays, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
July 28 – August 12: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
 
ALL SCS students qualify for free breakfast and lunch in 2014-15.
New this year, every student in SCS will automatically receive one free breakfast and one free lunch every day as part of the Community Eligibility Program. As a result, families do not need to complete a meal application.
 
Additionally, beginning this year, SCS will no longer accept cash or checks in the cafeterias. Payments are not required for breakfast or lunch; however, students must still pay for individual items. Parents can pre-pay online by credit card, debit card or check by visiting mypaymentsplus.com. To pre-pay, parents must know the student’s ID number, which can be found on a report card, student schedule, student ID card, transcript or from the school office or cafeteria.
 
For more important back to school information, parents can visit www.SCSFactsFirst.com.

July 7, 2014
Keystone Elementary Teacher Named Finalist for Tennessee Teacher of the Year

Karen Vogelsang, a National Board Certified teacher at Keystone Elementary, has been announced as a finalist for the 2014-15 Tennessee Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education. Vogelsang is an 11-year educator, seven of which have been spent teaching third grade at Keystone.
 
Vogelsang is one of nine finalists selected from elementary, middle, and high school educators from each Grand Division of the state. Grand Division winners and the Teacher of the Year will be selected from this group and announced later this fall.
 
"Teachers are the biggest factor in the success of our students, and it is an honor to celebrate educators that are helping their students grow," Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said. “We celebrate these finalists, but also the thousands of dedicated educators across the state.”
 
Vogelsang will have the opportunity to join the commissioner’s inaugural Teacher Advisory Council. She, along with the eight other Teacher of the Year finalists, will serve as a member of this new body to offer insight, feedback, and advice on issues that impact teachers across the state.

The final winner will represent Tennessee in the National Teacher of the Year competition and is an ambassador for education throughout the year. To qualify, candidates must have been teaching full-time for at least five years, have a proven record of using creative, research-based teaching strategies resulting in measurable achievement, and be effective school and community leaders. A panel of professional educators from across the state scored applications to identify this year’s finalists.

July 7, 2014
Back-to-School Conference Offers Parents Chance to Network, Learn and Prepare for New School Year

Shelby County Schools (SCS) and the Memphis Delta region of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) are teaming up to provide the ultimate Back-to-School parent conference on Friday, July 25, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at the University of Memphis University Center.
 
Parents will learn about and discuss many topics at the conference, including graduation requirements, SCS policies, techniques for addressing academic issues, such as literacy, the Common Core standards and more. Additionally, experts in parent engagement from across the state will present workshops on youth violence prevention and parent organization leadership training, among other subjects. Parents will learn how to become involved partners in their child’s education through participation in parent organizations and collaboration with school staff.
 
“This conference allows parents and family members to proactively kick off the school with current information directly from the District, which can help alleviate misinformation and confusion,” said Mary Earheart-Brown, Manager of the SCS Department of Family & Community Engagement. “It’s important to provide parents with the tools that can help their child succeed in school.”
 
Parents can register for the conference through July 18 by calling the Department of Family & Community Engagement, 416-7600. Space is limited, so parents are encouraged to register soon. There will be childcare provided for youth ages 4-12, as well as free breakfast and lunch at the conference. For more information, visit http://www.scsk12.org/BTS-Parent-Conference/.

June 23, 2014
School Board Approves Contract Extension for Superintendent Dorsey Hopson through June 30, 2018

The Shelby County Board of Education (SCBE) approved a two (2)-year contract extension for Shelby County Schools (SCS) Superintendent Dorsey Hopson during a Special Called Business Meeting on Monday, June 23.

School Board members said they believed it was vital to have stable leadership while the District is developing its 80/90/100 strategic plan.

"An undeniable trait of strong leadership that can never be discounted is stability," Board Chairman Kevin Woods said. "When we take a look at the most successful organizations, they all have strong and stable leadership. That is what we are getting with Superintendent Hopson.  It’s an opportunity to sustain the work that was started before many of us got here."

Hopson initially signed a three (3)-year contract at the start of the 2013-14 school year. This extension runs through June 30, 2018.

"I am very grateful for the Board’s trust and confidence in me to continue leading this great school district," Hopson stated. "Following a challenging, but historic year, the strategic goals and vision that we set forth with the Board’s support presents an incredible opportunity for our students, as well as our community. We have some very hard work ahead, but I am excited and committed to seeing it through."

While the contract includes no change to Hopson’s current yearly salary, the Board has the option of approving bonuses based on the results of his annual performance evaluation. However, Superintendent Hopson asked Board members only to consider the option in years when teachers also receive a performance bonus.

"I recognize that effective teaching is the core of our success, and the role of teachers is directly responsible for the success of our students more so than anything I do individually as Superintendent," Hopson said. "If I am going to be rewarded for performance, it would certainly be due in large part to the performance of teachers in our classrooms."

The contract also includes specific unilateral termination provisions, including a cap on salary payout, should the Board or Superintendent choose to terminate the contract before June 30, 2018.

HOPSON & WOODS ON SCS LIVE
Superintendent Dorsey Hopson and Board Chairman Kevin Woods will appear on their monthly SCS Live program on Tuesday, July 1, at 7:15 a.m. The show airs live on 88.5FM and C19TV.

For more information about Superintendent Hopson, go to http://www.scsk12.org/uf/superintendent/.

June 16, 2014
Overton HS Students Selected for 2014 Young Tennessee Artists Exhibition

Nine Overton High School AP Art students have been selected as participating artists in the Frist Center’s 2014 Young Tennessee Artists exhibition. The students each submitted original artworks, which were selected by a panel of university educators, artists and curators from over 600 artwork submissions. The pieces selected for the exhibition represent some of the best artwork created by Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate students in the state.

“To be selected as part of the Frist Center’s exhibition is one of the top honors for any AP department in the state,” said William Mosby, Art Instructor at Overton High School. “Each selected work will be seen by many Frist Center visitors from around the world. For our school to have 10 of the 11 works chosen out of all AP programs in West Tennessee says a lot about the quality of work our students are producing here at Overton.”
 
Overton students used a diverse a range of mediums to create the pieces that will be displayed in the exhibition, including photography, watercolors, digital illustrations, drawings and paintings.  
 
“Each of the ten artworks representing Overton was done in a different style,” stated Mosby. “As an art instructor that is what I take the most pride in – that each student ultimately discovers their voice as an artist and works in the style that best reflects their individual expressions.”
 
The Frist Center for the Visual Art’s Young Tennessee Artistsexhibition will take place from November 7, 2014, through March 8, 2015. The Frist Center is a nonprofit art exhibition center located in Nashville that presents visual art from local, state, regional and international artists.
 
The following Overton students, under the instruction of Michael Mosby and Amy Shamblin, have been selected to participate in the 2014 Young Tennessee Artists exhibition:
 
Julius Berry
Summer Harp
Rachel Freeman
Morgan Winfrey
Channya Simmons
Ashley Joyce
Madison Petri
Kenneth Shields
Naim Hakeem

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