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Breaking down Shelby County Schools' "Reimagining 901" plan

SCS Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray says it transforms education in the district.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Parents of Shelby County Schools children have a lot of questions about possible big changes to the district. From physical changes like closing or combining or building new schools to creating new programs and services for students. It's called "Reimagining 901" and its goal is to transform education in Shelby County Schools. 

There are no plans to close or combine schools in the upcoming school year and this is an expansive plan.

"I live nearby so it will be a struggle if say something happens to my vehicle how we gonna walk we live right around the corner," said parent Shantrice Patterson.

Patterson's three children attend Dunbar Elementary School in Orange Mound. According to the "Reimagining 901" plan, Dunbar, along with two others --Cherokee and Bethel Grove Elementary-- would be shut down and the schools combined to create one larger new school called New Orange Mound with a target completion of the year 2027.

The proposal includes building five new school buildings, including new high schools in Frayser and Southeast Memphis. It also calls for expanding 13 existing schools such as Melrose High School and White Station High School. While almost a dozen schools would be closed because they are being combined into new schools, two schools, Shady Grove Elementary and Northwest Prep would be shut down and students rezoned. Many of the changes won't happen immediately, 

In video statement, Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray said this is an evolving process and some of these schools' changes won't happen for a decade.

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"If approved the earliest set of  facilities proposals would take effect in the 22-23 school year while others may not occur until as late as 2032," said Dr. Ray.

In addition to construction and rezoning, the proposal includes things like implementing foreign language immersion as early as August 2022. It would also reduce adult-to-student ratios in grades K-2. It also will offer after school tutoring and additional advanced placement classes by August of 2021. The goal is to create more programs and services and eliminate barriers to help students succeed.

"Our reimagining plan is about truly transforming the educational experience for students for every school and community in this district," said Ray.

This is a proposal. Parents may want to look at the plan to see how their child could be affected. The district will be holding meetings for community input before school board members finally vote on it.