2019: A Solid Foundation for Change
With 2019 drawing to an end, we want to take a moment to thank all of you – our staff, volunteers, and partners – for the long hours that you all put in this year to stand on behalf of our community’s young people. Your commitment, dedication, and nonstop diligence have resulted in remarkable progress toward a more equitable, student-centered education landscape throughout Memphis and Shelby County.
The list of accomplishments and benchmarks that we have achieved this year is impressively robust. Here are just a few highlights of what we have accomplished together.
Will you support our work to develop more education advocates and improve student achievement in Memphis and Shelby County? Donate today!
Laying the Groundwork for High School Success
This year, we welcomed 8 new high schools into the Memphis Freshmen Success Network for a total of 20 schools impacting almost 3,000 ninth graders. Our second annual Memphis Freshmen Success Institute provided an opportunity for teams from all schools to learn, meet each other, exchange ideas, and get fired up about programs and initiatives that they can apply in the new school year to keep ninth-graders on track (making them 3 times more likely to graduate.)
After a successful year for schools in the network that yielded an overall 16 percentage point increase in ninth-graders who are on track to graduate in the 2018-2019 school year, the Memphis FSN became the model for a new program aimed at improving graduation rates in Washington State! We look forward to growing the impact of this network, sharing ideas and strategies across our schools and national networks in 2020.
This year, we also saw the launch of the first NAF Academies in Tennessee serving new cohorts of ninth graders at Kingsbury and Hamilton High Schools. These students are beginning a four-year journey on high-quality career pathways in IT and Health Sciences, and it all began with our introduction of NAF to Shelby County Schools.
We need your support to continue this direct program advocacy for more evidence-based solutions to the challenges facing our schools in serving the needs of all students!
Collaboration for Greater Momentum
With our partners at MICAH and 90ONE, our Momentum Memphis Task Forces have made great strides in boosting community engagement and leveling the playing field for every child in the Greater Memphis community. Together, our combined network sent more than 3,500 messages to elected officials, rallied, attended and gave testimony at every Shelby County Schools and County Commission budget meeting related to education, and spoke at numerous school board meetings.
The advocacy work that we did during the budget season helped achieve $2.2 million of additional funding to SCS for the ’19-’20 school year, $2.5 million in additional pre-K funding (thereby saving 300 seats,) and $40 million in capital funds for school maintenance and facilities.
We’re ready to engage more education advocates and develop more leaders, with your support!
Persistence for High-Quality Schools and Accountability
After four years of discussions and meetings, the Shelby County Schools Board passed the first local comprehensive charter school policy to guide the district’s relationship with the charter schools it oversees, focusing on building partnership and accountability. Stand began advocating for this change in 2015 and continued advocacy through recommendations (developed by SCS officials, charter school leaders, and engaged community members), policy development, and final passage of the policy. This effort shows how important it can be to have consistent, focused advocacy to bring about policy changes.
We are proud of these successes and the many others that we don’t have space to list. We are especially proud of the committed, passionate advocates that we have had the opportunity to work with these past 365 days! 2019 has provided us with a solid foundation; we aim to build on that foundation to attain even greater gains in the new year.
Standing strong for the children of our community depends on your continued support. As you think about your year-end giving, consider making a donation to help keep us moving forward. We look forward to standing with you in 2020.