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VOL. 132 | NO. 38 | Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Daily Digest

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Ramirez Leaving Shelby County Schools

Heidi Ramirez is leaving as chief academic officer of Shelby County Schools at the end of March.

Ramirez said in a letter Tuesday, Feb. 21, that she is leaving to make “some personal and professional changes to be closer to loved ones and take on new challenges.”

“We’ve built a strong foundation and I trust, with continued focus, hard work and community support, you’ll see continued and accelerated growth for all SCS schools and students,” she wrote.

Ramirez came to Memphis in November 2014 from being an education consultant and before that chief academic officer of Milwaukee Public Schools. She also served as associate dean of Temple University’s College of Education in Philadelphia and was the founding director of Temple’s Urban Education Collaborative.

Ramirez’s duties as chief academic officer changed in January, one of a set of frequent changes in superintendent Dorsey Hopson’s leadership structure as his plan for the school system has evolved.

Sharon Griffin, head of SCS’ Innovation Zone schools, was named to the new position of chief of schools, a job that involves working specifically on curriculum changes.

Ramirez’s job description changed to focus more on tools and other systems SCS wanted to see teachers use in classrooms.

– Bill Dries

Violent Crime Drops, Property Crimes Increase in January

Both Memphis and Shelby County saw their major violent crime rates drop in January compared to January 2016, while major property crimes rose, according to the latest numbers from the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission.

The monthly report, which is based on preliminary data from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Incident Based Reporting System, shows the major violent crime rate dropped 5.5 percent in Memphis and 5.6 percent countywide in January. Major violent crimes include murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults.

Major property crimes, meanwhile, rose 10.9 percent in Memphis and 7.9 percent countywide in January compared to a year ago. Those figures include burglaries, vehicle thefts and other felony thefts.

The overall crime rate, which is measured by 54 categories of “Group A crimes” tracked by TBI, saw a year-over-year increase in January of 4.7 percent in Memphis and 1.3 percent countywide.

However, the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission points out the overall crime rate has trended downward for the last decade.

In January, Memphis’ overall crime rate was roughly 1,237 incidents per 100,000 population, 20.3 percent lower than in January 2006. Countywide, the overall rate was about 989 per 100,000 population, 25.4 percent lower than the 2006 figures.

– Daily News staff

Wolf River Conservancy Tree Planting is Feb. 25

The Wolf River Conservancy will be holding its 12th annual tree planting on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 9 a.m. to noon at Shelby Farms Park. The planting is the largest volunteer event for the conservancy with an anticipated 400-plus volunteers participating.

The goal of the tree planting is to continue to create and enhance a butterfly trail along the Walnut Grove Road section of Shelby Farms Park. Volunteers will plant more than 500 flowering dogwood seedlings and several other species, creating a beautiful butterfly corridor.

“The conservancy’s primary mission is to protect and preserve the Wolf River and its watershed,” said Keith Cole, executive director of the Wolf River Conservancy, in a statement. “Shelby Farms Park is such a wonderful outdoors experience for our community and also being located in the Wolf River watershed makes the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy one of our important partners. Our annual tree planting event supports our overall mission.”

Volunteers of all ages are welcome at Saturday’s event. Visit wolfriver.org for more information and a link for registration.

– Daily News staff

2016 Collierville Car Show Raises $30K for Education

The Collierville Education Foundation received a donation of $30,243 as a result of the 2016 Classic Car Show. Landers Ford, the event’s main sponsor, presented the check to CEF board president Chuck Lesnick at a recent meeting of the Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Collierville police chief Larry Goodwin started the car show in 2000. The Collierville Education Foundation became the beneficiary in 2009, the same year Landers Ford became a sponsor. Since then, the show has raised more than $200,000 for the foundation.

Last year’s car show was organized by Assistant Collierville Police Chief David Tillner and CPD Special Event Coordinator Charles Shaw. Terri O’Conner, member of the board of directors for CEF, has chaired the event since 2009.

Funds donated to CEF are awarded to teachers in Collierville Municipal Schools through a grant program. On average, CEF awards between $70,000 and $80,000 annually to public school teachers with more than $1 million in grants given out to date. The grant application for 2017 will be posted online by July 1 for teachers to submit their proposals.

– Don Wade

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