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VOL. 128 | NO. 144 | Thursday, July 25, 2013

Plans Call for Fairview to Become Optional School

By Bill Dries

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Fairview Middle School would close after the upcoming school year and be repurposed as an optional school that nearby Peabody Elementary School feeds into under a proposal the countywide school board will consider next week.

Interim superintendent Dorsey Hopson proposed Tuesday, July 23, that the school have an optional program for science, technology, engineering and math.

The middle school currently includes a Middle College High School that works with Christian Brothers University, which is across Central Avenue from the middle school.


The initiative was part of a plan by former superintendent Kriner Cash to create college “corridors” that would link schools in the system to higher education institutions.

Hopson has proposed and the school system is conducting public hearings on a plan to close 11 other schools in the system effective with the 2014-2015 school year.

Meanwhile, Hopson told school board members Tuesday that the school system ran its first payroll July 19 since the county’s two public school systems became one.

“It went by for the most part without any problems,” he said. “We look forward to a good opening, a good first day of school.”

As the school system moves toward a first day of classes on Aug. 5, Hopson said 1,600 teachers have been placed in schools leaving 115 teachers who are level 3, 4 and 5 teachers eligible for 95 vacant positions in the school system.

Level 3, 4 and 5 teachers are those evaluated by specific student performance criteria as being teachers who are the highest achieving in delivering at least a year’s worth of growth for students in a school year.

Of the 115 teachers that were excessed by the system but remain without an assignment, Hopson said about half attended a school hiring fair last week.

“Most of the teachers who have not received a position just haven’t gone through any process,” he added. “Some of them are retired. Some of them have taken positions in neighboring school systems.”

The school system is still filling some assistant principal positions by opening day after hiring 40 new principals, many of them first-time principals and some from the ranks of assistant principals.

By that first day of classes next month, the W.E.B. DuBois Consortium charter school could have a contract to set up shop and co-locate in Hillcrest High School in Whitehaven. Next week, board members are to vote on the contract between the school system and the charter school company run by former Memphis mayor and former Memphis City Schools superintendent Willie Herenton.

The one-year lease begins next month and will co-locate with the conventional high school at Hillcrest remaining in place.

Hopson also announced Tuesday another addition to his cabinet.

Brad Leon, a former senior vice president of regional operations for Teach for America, is the school system’s new director of innovation.

Leon fills the vacancy created when Tim Setterlund became superintendent of schools in Wilson County, Tenn., earlier this month.

As innovation director, Leon will oversee “innovation schools” within the system. Those are schools identified as failing and eligible for inclusion in the Achievement School District. The district works at improving them through strategies that involve different rules for the day and the structure of the school.

Teach for America is one of several teacher residency programs working with the school system to recruit college students to come to Memphis to teach in the countywide system.

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