The mission of the Department of School Services is to provide a positive, safe and respectful environment for students, staff and families of Shelby County Schools and to ensure that each student has the opportunity to develop to his or her full potential. We strive to continually achieve District Goal #4 by ensuring schools are safe and well-prepared for learning, fostering student achievement and helping to effectuate the district’s 80/90/100% goals by the year 2025. To support our mission, we aim to use a holistic approach to contribute to students’ well-being, creating a high level of well-preparedness for learning, life and success.
The Shelby County Schools Department of School Services aims to provide a safe and respectful environment for students, staff and families of Shelby County Schools. To achieve this goal, our department has instituted a comprehensive approach in addressing school violence and other fault-line areas such as the suspension rate, arrest and transport rate, overage for grade students and internal gang involved youth. Our knowledge and understanding of these factors has led us to develop and implement a comprehensive approach to address these concerns.
Our enhanced training of over 95 school resource officers in addressing and recognizing problem areas that contribute to student violence has been extremely valuable in our comprehensive approach. Additional training in Kingian Non-Violence, Crisis Prevention Intervention (CIP), and gang reduction has also contributed to this effort.
As a partner in the Operation Safe Community Initiative and the Memphis Youth Violence Prevention, Memphis Gang Prevention and the Department of Justice Violence Prevention programs, we work closely with these agencies to reduce crime in the community and prevent it from precipitating over into the schools. We understand that safety and security is a pervasive paradigm that affects us all. When an environment is unsafe, students cannot excel, parents cannot be at ease, employees cannot be effective, and families and communities cannot enjoy life. However, we recognize that reducing crime in our city and schools takes a collective and collaborative effort that involves the community, parents, law enforcement and other key stakeholders.
Additionally, our Emergency Management Division serves an integral role in helping us to promote safety. Today, more than ever before, schools are faced with the ongoing challenges of being prepared for a wide-range of emergency situations. We work to train, collaborate, and plan with internal departments and external agencies to ensure essential preparation and the safety of our students and staff. Some of those agencies are the Center for Safe and Drug Free Schools, Emergency Management Agency (EMA), Memphis City Fire Department, and Memphis City Police, County and City Mayors, National Weather Service (NWS), State of Tennessee Education Department, and the U. S. Department Education. These agencies have helped our school district to meet these challenges by helping us to become better prepared in our all-hazard approach of emergencies. We teach standard procedures for emergency situations, which provide our school district with a foundation for planning and a frame for action should an emergency situation arise. Multi-Hazard Emergency Management Planning is presented in the four phases of emergency management: Prevention-Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.
The Emergency Management Division through consultation with other agencies has provided schools with different forms of emergency assistance. Some of the items that have been provided to schools in addition to extensive training includes: incident command boards, search/rescue kits, talking first aid kits, weather radios/fm alert radios, emergency preparedness manuals, AED’s, survival kits and CERT training.
Our School House Adjustment Program Enterprise (S.H.A.P.E.) aims to reduce the number of Shelby County Schools’ students sent to Juvenile Court for minor infractions. We understand that it is not only important to provide support to students academically so that they can engender a good report card, but it is also important to assist them in other areas to maintain a good record. Our S.H.A.P.E. program, along with other auxiliary programs, such as Gang Awareness and G.R.A.S.S.Y., a school and community based prevention and intervention program that works with gang members to reduce their involvement, and our Truancy division which aims to reduce truancy in our schools, works diligently to mitigate a child’s present from negatively affecting their future.
In addition to protecting our students from outside threats and culprits, we seek to do everything we can internally by offering holistic and well-rounded services to our students such as: effective discipline practices through our Attendance and Discipline division; health services through our Coordinated School Health division; a comprehensive level of support through our Student Support division; and a broad-based athletic program coordinated by the Shelby County Interscholastic Athletic Association (SCIAA), which is part of the Tennessee Secondary Athletic Association and as such conduct their athletic programs in conformance with the general policies of the TSSAA. We strive to make certain students are served in a way that enhances not only their personal development but also is conducive to promoting a safe and orderly school environment.