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2022 State of the District

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Michelle Robinson McKissack Chair | District 1Althea Greene | Vice-ChairDistrict 2Stephanie P. Love District 3Kevin D. WoodsDistrict 4Sheleah HarrisDistrict 5VacantDistrict 6Miska Clay BibbsDistrict 7William “Billy” OrgelDistrict 8Joyce Dorse-ColemanDistrict 91

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SuperintendentOn behalf of the entire Memphis-Shelby County Schools family, I welcome you to our 3rd Annual State of the District Address. As we continue our work reimagining education, schools, and communities in the 901, we have gathered together for this year’s address to share the District’s progress, accomplishments, areas of opportunity, and our path forward. I am especially proud of the advocacy of our Board members and the perseverance, resilience, and strength of our principals, teachers, support staff, students, parents, and community stakeholders as we have stayed the course for education, equity, health, and safety. Our achievements over the last year epitomize the efforts of our great school district and the strides we continue to make to provide every student with a high-quality education. Despite the challenges, we are condent in our Reimagining 901 strategic plan that includes reduced adult to student ratios, increased academic offerings and social-emotional supports, 21st-century classroom additions, and enhanced teacher professional development with accountability measures. We declare victory for our children. The time is now for accelerated change and the sense of urgency has never been greater. I call upon our entire community to stay the course as we evolve the education landscape through innovation, transformation, equity, and access for all. Today’s youth will become tomorrow’s leaders, and I thank you for helping them Dream, Stand, Believe, and Achieve with Courage.Together, we MUST BELIEVE.Together, we WILL ACHIEVE.Together, we are REIMAGINING 901.Dr. Joris M. RaySuperintendent, Memphis-Shelby County Schools2

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Thank you for joining us for the 2022 State of the District Address. Within the last year alone, Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) has made monumental, and even historical changes to prepare students for success in learning, leadership, and life.We’ve wholeheartedly supported the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray as we witness the successes of the District’s Reimagining 901 plan ourish before our eyes. I am proud of the unity and strength exhibited by our School Board to make tough decisions for the betterment of all children. MSCS has a lot to be proud of and we will continue to motivate our students to become outstanding, productive citizens.As we reect on successes and challenges from years past, we remain committed to reimagining the way we deliver education to make sure students are ready and able to compete in this ever-changing global society when they graduate. With the help of the entire community, we will see our vision for the future of education become a reality. It has been an honor to remain on this educational journey with my fellow members of the Shelby County Board of Education, Superintendent Ray, and each of you. Let this address serve as a reminder that our work in creating a restorative and enriching environment is essential to progress. We have fought fear with facts, stayed the course for safety, and have shown how much more we can achieve – together. Michelle Robinson McKissack,Chair, Shelby County Board of Education3

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February 23, 2022Hilton MemphisMusical PerformancePledge & National AnthemWelcome & Intro of HostWelcome & GreetingsIntroduction of School Board ChairSpecial RemarksMusical PerformanceIntroduction of SuperintendentState of the District AddressSpecial Logo Presentation

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We are Tennessee’s largest school district.We are also one of the top 25 largest public education systems in America.We have more than 200 schools,including traditional K-12 schools, theme-based Optional schools, alternative, career & technical, virtual, and charter schools.We serve more than 106,000 students in all grades, including nearly 3,300 pre-kindergarten students.We serve students of all backgrounds and abilities. Approximately 4,000 students are enrolled in our gifted and talented program; 10,000 are in the Optional program, and 29,000 take advanced academic classes. More than half of MSCS students are considered economically disadvantaged, and we provide tailored support for more than 15,000 students with disabilities and 8,800 English language learners.We are Shelby County’s second-largest employer,with nearly 14,000 employees, including more than 6,000 teachers.5

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In August 2021, MSCS opened Medical District High School, an innovative new high school in partnership with Southwest Tennessee Community College to offer both a traditional high school diploma and an associate degree with a focus on Informational Technology, Allied Health, or General Studies. Access to the Naviance college, career, and life readiness (CCLR) platform was expanded to include grades 6-7. Now, more than 42,000 students in grades 6-12 use the platform to discover personal strengths and real-world careers that match, apply for colleges and scholarship opportunities, and build resumes and portfolios. Spearheaded by the Chief of Staff’s Ofce, the District launched the Home Engagement Incentive Program for students in pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade; 3,036 students accessed the program during its rst 9-week period. Participating students are eligible to win prizes for engaging with fun content that boosts early literacy. Students can earn college credits and career certications while still in high school through our Ready Grad CCTE programs, including 125+ course offerings, 40+ Programs of Study, 8 Early College programs, 5 Memphis Academy sites, 4 school-wide centers, and 2 specialty schools.6

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In spring 2021, the Ofce of Equity & Access captured more than 23,000 student voices in a survey that addressed sense of belonging, diversity and inclusion, and cultural awareness. This feedback is helping schools design playbooks for inclusion: “Nothing About Us Without Us.”To date, ambassadors from 80 MSCS schools have completed Implicit Bias Training to become “Equity Champions” and support schools to address the centrality of race and shift educator mindsets and practices in schooling for our marginalized populations.In order to recruit and retain quality educators, MSCS increased the daily rate for substitute teachers and implemented a 2 percent pay increase and step-and-lane salary schedule to offer stability for teachers in an ever-changing economy.MSCS remains committed to the historic 1:1 Digital Device initiative launched in the fall of 2020. Ensuring access for all and bridging the digital divide, the District provided digital devices to students in all grades to expand the school day and strengthen blended learning/enrichment opportunities. The District has adopted and implemented a social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum in all schools with a focus on conict resolution, managing emotions, and self-regulation. Twenty-ve MSCS schools participated in a trauma-informed school pilot program and will serve as models to expand the program into all District schools.$

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Our 45 unique and rigorous Optional programs offer a specialized learning focus, including Enriched Academics, College Prep, International Studies, STEM, Interna-tional Baccalaureate (IB), Creative & Performing Arts, Information Technology and more. The new world-class AgriSTEM program at Bolton High School is taking an integrat-ed approach with hands-on learning to equip students with the skills to think critical-ly and practice logic in an interconnected world of agriculture and food production. Recognizing that students needed additional support after spending more than a year studying virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSCS recruited and added Specialized Education Assistants (SEAs) to the classrooms of our youngest learners, reducing the student-adult ratio in grades K-2 from 1:25 to 1:13.100% of MSCS-managed high schools now offer honors courses; Advanced Placement courses are offered in 26 MSCS-managed high schools. Additionally, honors courses were implemented in 100% of SCS-managed middle schools for the 2021-22 school year.Newly launched before-, after-, and in-school tutoring programs have been de-signed to provide enrichment in reading and math and mitigate learning loss as a result of COVID-19 school closures. Tutors create high-impact learning experiences, focusing on re-teaching content, and connecting prerequisite skills to grade-level content. 8

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The District’s rst campus to open as a 21st Century learning facility was named the ‘Project of the Year’ by the Memphis Business Journal’s (MBJ) Building Memphis Awards. Parkway Village Elementary is the rst-of-its-kind in MSCS with the design elements and construction to create an enhanced educational experience that fosters the 4C’s: Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking. MSCS students have earned more than 10,151 career certications through our Ready Grad College, Career & Technical Education (CCTE) programs since 2018.The Board approved a partnership with school transportation provider First Student to supply and staff a eet of brand-new, state-of-the-art buses equipped with air conditioning, GPS tracking systems, six cameras, and ashing LED stop arms with 8-way warning lights, exceeding Tennessee state specications for yellow school buses.Our nationally recognized Innovation Zone (IZone 2.0) model uses unique instructional strategies and intensive programming and interventions to make dramatic improvements in low-performing schools. Each year, several schools cycle out of the IZone after meeting their goals, and new schools are welcomed in.Memphis Virtual School (MVS) has expanded to now serve students in grades 4-12. Committed to preparing students for college and careers through innovative and exible options, MVS offers a variety of electives, Honors, AP, and CCTE courses in addition to the core subjects.

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As part of our commitment to transparency and our community, MSCS established a data dashboard to report COVID-19 cases identied across the District with data updated and posted on the District website weekly.To help ensure the health and safety of faculty and students in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSCS began offering bi-weekly COVID-19 testing free of charge to students and staff at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. The Test to Protect Our Schools program was made possible through a partnership with Poplar Healthcare.In the spring of 2021, the Board hosted community meetings to discuss the proposed 2021-22 Budget, ESSER Funding (COVID-19 Relief), and the Third Grade Commitment plan—a policy-driven collaborative effort between schools, families and the greater community to ensure students master essential foundational literacy skills by grade 3.Quarterly Virtual Family Forums give MSCS families opportunities to hear from and interact with District and industry experts on a wide range of student support topics, from early literacy, English language assistance and special education services to social emotional wellness, parenting, community-based assistance and many others. 10

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In partnership with local community leaders, organizations, businesses, and faith-based partners, tens of thousands of SCS students and families continue to be supported with reduced barriers to learning including homework and tutorial services, school supplies, personal necessities, school uniforms and clothing, and ongoing advocacy for resources in our communities. MSCS has forged high-impact community partnerships in economic and workforce development to positively impact our children’s futures and contribute to the overall quality of our community. Some of our partners include: • Memphis Grizzlies (Literacy, Technology, Beautication, Resources) • Methodist Le Bonheur (Health & Wellness) • Peer Power (ACT Support & Student Mentoring) • YMCA (Childcare) • Academy Sports ($10K in school equipment and resources to support student engagement and achievement at local schools) • Sylvamo Corporation ($65K donation and Adopt-a-School Partnership with three schools) • For the Kingdom (Adopt-a-School Partnership for 7 schools in 38128) • International Paper ($200K donation and Adopt-a-School Partnership) • Kohl’s Corporation (Mask donation for students in collaboration with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation valued a $198K) • Bank of America (PPE donation valued at over 4K ) • Amazon (PPE donation valued at over $1.2M) Nearly 6,000 volunteers and over 600 local businesses, community partners and faith-based organizations support our students, teachers and schools, from providing classroom resources to sponsoring key initiatives and strategic goals.11

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TRANSFORMATIONAL CATEGORIES1DISTRICT PROGRESS IN STRATEGIC PLANNING AND VISIONINGPrepared for Shelby County School DistrictIn 2015, Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) announced a 10-year strategic plan, Destination 2025, designed to improve the quality of public education and create a more knowledgeable, productive workforce. According to Destination 2025, by 2025, 80 percent of seniors will be college- and career-ready; 90 percent of students will earn their high school diploma on time; and 100% of college- and career-ready graduates will enroll in a postsecondary opportunity. MSCS remains committed to these goals, but also recognizes the need to act decisively due to the educational gaps revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving forward, the district will preserve the spirit of Destination 2025, while reimagining the key commitments that drive the work in an updated vision called “Reimagining 901.”THE THREE CORNERSTONES OF “REIMAGINING 901”Reimagining Education• Lower Adult-Student Ratios• Transformative ProfessionalDevelopment• Wraparound Supports• High-Quality OpportunitiesReimagining Schools• New 21st-Century Structures• Renovated Athletic Facilities• Investments in Efficiency and Safety• Upgraded InfrastructureReimagining Communities• Enhanced Strategic Partnerships• Adult Literacy and Family Support• Community Growth andDevelopment • Maximizing Surplus PropertiesAcademicsProvide all MSCS students with access to consistent, high-quality instruction and personalized supports delivered byteachers with knowledge of content and the standards.School LeadershipIncrease recruitment, coaching, and professional developmentof new and experienced school leaders to develop their skills asturnaround leaders.TeachersAttract, develop, support, and retain high quality teachersacross the district, particularly in high-need schools.Students Engaged and Ready to LearnDeliver targeted support to address non-academic needs, suchas social-emotional, mental, and physical health and wellbeingto help children be more ready to learn.Urgency of the SituationCollaborate with the school communities to make necessarychanges and improvement in high-need and turnaroundschools.Families and Alumni as PartnersEmpower and equip families and alumni to become informedadvocates for the students.TRANSFORMATIONAL CATEGORIESThe following categories of focus will support MSCS in atransformation aligned with Reimagining 901 to support districtimprovement:GUIDING PRINCIPLESReimagining 901 is built upon the followingguiding principles that are central to this work:Community Input / Buy-InGrounding in Student Achievement Embracing Values and Beliefs Continuous Improvement System-Wide EquityCommitment & RespectEffective Communication and TransparencyCollective Action with Stakeholder Input12TRANSFORMATIONAL CATEGORIES

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KEY INITIATIVE 1: STRENGTHEN EARLY LITERACY AND CONTINUING LITERACYKEY INITIATIVE 2: RECRUIT, RETAIN, IMMERSE, ENTRENCHAs part of the Reimagining 901 plan, the board and the administrative team selected three Key Initiatives that will guide progress. The rst Key Initiative centers around literacy and strengthening literacy both for early learning (Grades PK-2) and beyond (Grades 3-12).The second Key Initiative centers around recruiting and retaining high-quality faculty, staff, and administrators, and foster a diverse, engaged, and passionate workforce through professional and community development.STRATEGIESMSCS’s vision for improved literacy instruction relies on teacher preparation to support students in increasing their literacy development. MSCS has outlined the following strategies to ensure success in this Key Initiative:STRATEGIESFaculty, staff, and administrator recruitment initiatives should ensure students have access to high-quality, diverse, and motivated educators. The following strategies will support MSCS in this initiative:• Reduce adult-to-student ratio in K-12 English Language Arts• Engage deeply in the work of foundational reading skills instruction• Support literacy through virtual education and awless logistics• Maximize existing partnerships with teacher residency programs like Teach for America• “Grow-Our-Own” teacher and principal pipelines• Provide mentoring and support for employees to nish post-secondary degrees• Build teacher capacity to understand how children learn to read• Expose students and parents to the foundational tools of literacy• Ensure literacy-rich environments and learning opportunities for students• Identify professionals in other elds who wish to change careers to become teachers• Create teaching pipelines that start with existing MSCS students• Reduce adult-to-student ratios in K-2 classrooms• Provide consistent, intensive, and personalized tutoring• Plan a new and improved Summer Learning Academy for 2022• Expand partnerships with education training programs at local colleges and universities• Create central ofce pathways for current MSCS employees seeking a principalship or other administrative opportunity13

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KEY INITIATIVE 3: RELEVANT, RIGOROUS, AND EQUITABLE ACADEMICSThe third Key Initiative centers around preparing students with 21st-Century skills and ensuring they are college- or career-ready in our current global environment. Importantly, this Key Initiative requires MSCS to evolve and innovate alongside modern industry and post-secondary institutions.STRATEGIESTeaching and instructional initiatives should create learning spaces that provide equitable, relevant, and rigorous education. The following strategies will support MSCS in this initiative:• Expanded emphasis on social-emotional learning and attendance supports• Enhance community engagement supports• Expand opportunities for creativity, arts curriculum, theater, and performance• Increase the effectiveness of and access to English language instruction• Create innovative high school programming and expand access to advanced courses• Enhance ACT preparation opportunities for students pursuing post-secondary education• Develop transition programs for Elementary-to-Middle and Middle-to-High School• Expand access to digital devices to create equity in technology

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