Shelby County Schools

About Our School

Downtown Elementary is an Enriched Academics Optional School with a strong academic program for both optional and non-optional students. With its distinctive architecture and bright, spacious interior, Downtown Elementary is a lesson in how design can enhance the learning environment. Our facility features computers in every classroom, as well as a computer lab with state-of-the-art equipment. We have a comprehensive science lab that is partially funded by the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. In addition, our school has art and music facilities utilized for both during and after-school programs. Overall, Downtown Elementary is a colorful and stimulating learning environment.

Downtown Elementary is in a convenient location for those who live and work in downtown Memphis.

Downtown Elementary takes pride in its highly-qualified and experienced staff. All teachers are certified in the state of Tennessee. More than 60 percent of the faculty hold master's degrees, eight percent have doctoral degrees, and eight percent are degreed Educational Specialists. Members of our faculty have also won the Rotary Award for Teacher Excellence, and seven teachers have earned National Board Certification. The hardworking faculty at Downtown Elementary is committed to ensuring students are challenged to achieve, and teachers are dedicated to caring about every child.

Parents are valued partners in Downtown Elementary's goal of making the learning experience a joy for its students. The school invites parents to visit their child's classroom to observe, participate in tutoring, chaperone field trips, and otherwise become involved.

Our School Mission

Downtown Elementary will provide an educational foundation that is transferable to real-life, enabling students to be productive learners who excel academically and socially.

Our School Vision

Our vision is to provide a multi-faceted educational foundation that inspires children to pursue and achieve their fullest potential in efforts to complete globally in the 21st century.


Optional Program

Although all students at Downtown Elementary are challenged with high expectations for learning, optional students attend enriched classes in language arts (reading, spelling, language, and writing), social studies, math, and science. In these classes, the Shelby County Schools curriculum is broadened and enhanced through challenging and creative activities that require students to utilize higher-level thinking skills. Research and resulting projects are an integral part of optional classes.

Downtown Elementary's optional program is open to all qualified students in grades one through five if space is available. An applicant must provide a copy of current nationally-normed or TCAP Achievement Test scores, most recent comprehensive report card, and a completed Application for Optional Schools. Students must meet the following requirements:

  • Students applying for the first and second grades are required to take admittance tests at the school. No other tests will be accepted for admittance into grades one and two.
  • Parents of applicants will be contacted about testing dates. Students tested for first grade and second grade must have a minimum score of 75 percent accuracy. Students tested for second grade must score at or above the 70th percentile in total reading and total math on the admittance test.
  • On the most recent report to families all applicants for grades one, two, and three must have satisfactory process skills, meet or exceed standards in academic and support subjects, and meet or exceed expectations in conduct.
  • Students applying for grades three through five must provide scores on a nationally normed or TCAP achievement test indicating that the students are functioning at or above the 70th percentile on the Reading/Language Arts AND Mathematics subtests or its equivalent.
  • All students must have satisfactory conduct, work habits, and attendance (including promptness to school) as shown on the latest report to families. A total of more than 15 absences, tardies, and/or early dismissals will be considered unsatisfactory.
  • To remain in the Optional Program, students must maintain the requirements listed above for report to families grades, conduct, process skills, work habits, and attendance.
  • Transportation is the responsibility of the parents/legal guardians.
  • Final approval is contingent upon review of the student's final comprehensive report to families/report card.

Optional FAQs

Optional Schools Handbook


Contact Us

Downtown Elementary
(901) 416-8400

Department of Optional Schools and
Advanced Academics
(901) 416-5338

Visit the Department of Optional Schools by clicking below.


Shelby County Schools does not discriminate in its programs or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, handicap/disability, sex, or age.  For more information, please contact the Office of Equity Compliance at (901) 416-6670.
Shelby County Schools homepage