In Partnerships, Teacher Certification

Shelby County Schools  (SCS) is the largest public school district in Tennessee (Memphis area) and the 23rd largest public school district in the U.S. Given their student enrollment and student diversity, this district faces many challenges.  Consider the distribution of their 110,000 students attending over 200 schools.


  • 71,000 economically disadvantaged students
  • 13,000 students with disabilities
  • 12,900 students in intervention programs to improve academics
  • 6,000 students in Pre-K Programs age four
  • 5,600 students in English as a Second Language Programs (ESL)
  • 2,700 students in Gifted Programs
  • 1,700 students in special programs with academic coaches and volunteer tutors

To meet the individual needs of their students, Shelby County Schools developed Destination 2025, which set specific goals and priorities for school wide improvement.  One important priority of this plan is teacher certification.

In response to the national teacher shortage, Shelby County formed a partnership agreement with our program to certify their prospective teachers. Currently, over 120 SCS teacher candidates have enrolled in TeacherReady to earn their teaching license.

During our semi-annual visits to mentor these teachers, we observed many schools and program choices throughout their district. See what Shelby County Schools has already accomplished in the first half of their ten year plan, Destination 2025!

DESTINATION 2025 – Ten Year Strategic Plan


High Priorities

  1. Strengthen Early Literacy
  2. Improve Post-Secondary Readiness
  3. Develop Teachers, Leaders and Staff
  4. Expand High Quality School Options
  5. Mobilize Family and Community Partners

School Choices and Special Programs

Optional Schools
Offer 46 schools (K-12) that are competitive and theme-based
Match student interests and learning abilities
Sample programs: STEM, College Prep, IB (International Baccalaureate), International Studies

Pre-K/Early Childhood Program age four
Prepare young children for success in Kindergarten
Impact long-term academic success
Enroll 6,000 children in 50 schools

College, Career and Technical Education (CCTE)
Offer 50 CCTE programs in 15 career clusters
Allow AP (Advanced Placement) and college credits through dual enrollment
Provide internship opportunities with local prominent businesses
Sample careers: Accounting, Banking and Finance, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Web Design

Innovation Zone (iZone)

Use strategies and intensive programming and interventions to improve student achievement
Offer an extended learning day to help students master core curriculum standards
Feature specialized family support services

Empowerment Zone (Ezone)

Improve student achievement in Memphis historic  neighborhood, ‘Whitehaven’
Provide academic coaches and volunteer tutors to help students achieve
Engage a community network of Whitehaven alumni, city leaders and community organizations

Alternative Education Programs

Provide specialized programs to students with academic, behavioral and social needs in four settings:

  1. Success/Alternative Programs
    Serve students with academic and behavioral challenges
    Provide smaller, non-punitive learning community within the school
  2. Prep Academies
    Offer an extended learning day and block schedule for high schoolers to earn more credits
    Include online courses, internships, dual enrollment, comprehensive exams and technical courses
  3. Choice Schools
    Offer small learning environment with personalized instructional plans
    Include an educational setting tailored for students’ academic and social needs
  4. Transition Programs
    Enroll high school students (9-12) who are discharged from local juvenile justice facilities
    Receive extra support from behavior specialists, counselors, psychologists and social workers


Tennessee annually issues a report card that ranks and compares schools throughout the state. Since there are so many schools and program choices in Shelby County, they issue an annual school performance scorecard for families to search, compare and make informed choices about their school selections. This scorecard rates every school on a 1-5 scale in four categories: School Quality, Academic Achievement, Academic Growth and Career-Readiness and School Climate. This local scorecard create healthy competition among the many schools in the Shelby County.


Destination 2025 has made great strides in just five years in each of their five high priorities.

  1. Early Literacy
    6,000 four-year olds in Pre-K programs
  2. Post-Secondary Readiness
    50 college, career and technical education programs, 15 career clusters
  3. Teacher Development
    120 teachers certified through partnership with the TeacherReady Program
  4. Quality School Options
    46 optional schools, four alternative settings, two individualized programs
  5. Family/Community Partners
    4,500 volunteers, 750 school adopters and community partners

Shelby County Schools is living their mission and vision to the absolute fullest. We at TeacherReady are thankful to be part of their plan’s priorities through our online teacher certification program. It has been a win-win partnership for everyone!

MISSION     Preparing all students for success in learning, leadership and life
VISION        Our District will be the premier school district attracting a diverse student population and effective teachers, leaders and staff all committed to excellence.


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