UofM Renews Commitment to Develop Strong Partnerships with Shelby County Schools

August 324, 2017 - In the last academic year, the University of Memphis College of Education has been increasing its efforts to build and strengthen sustainable partnerships with Shelby County Schools (SCS).

In April, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission awarded the UofM a 2017-2019 Diversity in Teaching Grant for its Memphis Shaping and Transforming Educators Program (M-STEP). In August, the COE's Department of Leadership and SCS received a Principal Pipeline Partnership grant from the Tennessee Department of Education that will allow them to collaborate on a program to produce exceptional transformational principals for urban schools.

"We are excited to engage in these collaborative grant opportunities with Shelby County Schools to address specific goals and needs of the district," said Dr. Kandi Hill-Clarke, dean of the COE.

The M-STEP program provides funding to SCS employee teacher candidates from underrepresented groups who are seeking to become K-12 special education professionals. M-STEP offers a fully online Master of Arts in Teaching initial teacher licensure program in special education. It is designed for full-time SCS employees pursuing teacher licensure, including para-professionals, teachers' aides, substitutes and volunteers. The collaborative effort is charting a path for the College of Education to re-envision teacher preparation for urban schools.

The Principal Pipeline Partnership is a four-year grant that will allow the Department of Leadership and SCS to partner in preparing outstanding principals to lead Shelby County Schools. The program will include intensive leadership activities, mentoring, coaching and resident field experiences. The aim is to help aspiring school principals develop the skills and qualities required to lead adequately performing schools to excellence or transform an underperforming school into a high-performing school that addresses the needs of all students.

"I have been impressed with the warm, open and encouraging welcome I have received from our school partners and look forward to working with them to address challenges facing our schools and community," Hill-Clarke said. "It is by working together as one profession that we will recruit, prepare and retain educators who are culturally competent, possess strong content and pedagogical knowledge, and who will have a positive impact on the lives of children and their families."


Gabrielle Maxey