Shelby County Schools

Principal Michael Smith, Professor Brenda Smith (Office of Juvenile Justice - Washington, DC), Dr. Marco Robinson

Principal Michael Smith attended a conference at The University of Mississippi on April 16, 2016.  The conference topic was "Rethinking Mass Incarceration in the South".  Professor Brenda Smith from the Office of Juvenile Justice in Washington, DC was the main presenter. She shared some strategies of mass incarceration.


Dr. Billy Walker (AAA) & Michael Smith (Hope Academy)

Alternative School Kickoff Pep Rally-2014-2015


Art Work Donated to Hope Academy from Kenneth Alexander graduated of University of Memphis.

Hope Academy's 5th year celebration.

Principal Michael J. Smith and Judge Dan Micheal


Calvin Williams a former detainee of Juvenile Court and a student of Hope Academy.  Calvin is the first to graduate high school in his family and now pursuing a college degree at Christian Brothers University.  Calvin is truly a role model for other young men who has or is in the same situation he faced.  Despite all the odds that were stacked up against him, Calvin was determined to make Hope Academy and Juvenile Court a place of No Return!


Hope Academy West Career Day November 21, 2014

Career Day at Hope Academy was fantastic!!  The input from the students helped to make it all possible.  The students chose from a variety of speakers.  Those speakers included:

Mr. Kendrick Parson (Owner and operator of Loyalty Transportation)

Mr. Angelo Lamar (Inspector for the Fire Department)

Mr. Kantreal Jones (Mechanic for Toyota)

Mr. James Lacey (Beauty/Barber Specialist)

Mr. Alex Cooper (Recruiter for Job Corp. Memphis)


We would like to thank these wonderful men for taking time out of their busy schedules to provide a wealth of knowledge to our students.  We all truly enjoyed listening to your stories and finding out new information for our future.  

Student's working on poster for Career Day!

The speakers having breakfast.



Principal Smith with some of the speakers for career day.

Mr. James Lacy, Beauty/Barber Specialist

Mr. Angelo Lamar, Fire Department

Mr. Alex Cooper, Job Corp

Mr. Kantral Jones, Mechanic for Toyota

Mr. Kendric Parson,

Owner & Operator of Loyalty Transportation


Words of Wisdom Wednesday Speakers

Every Wednesday someone from the community comes in and speak with the detainees at Hope Academy to give an encouraging word.


Mr. Rod Deberry

Lt. Michael Pope, Fugitive Squad

Detective John Glass, Fugitive Squad

Lieutenant Raule Gonzales, Fugitive Squad



Mr. Felip Craft, BFI

Mr. Anthony Williams, Facilities Service Manager


Pastor Donald L. Johnson, The Historic Oak Grove M. B. C.


Mr. Therman Richardson Jr, Organized Crime Unit

Major Charles E. Newell, Youth Crime Prevention Coordinator


Mr. Jimmy Chambers, Gang Specialist with Attorney General's Office


Mr. Reginald Porter, Chief of Staff for Shelby County Schools

Principal Smith along with Mr. Reginald Porter, Chief of Staff

2014 Visit from Director Tony Armstrong wih MPD.

MPD Director, Tony Armstrong visited Hope Academy on September 3, 2014. His focus topic to the youth was the importance of education, staying true to yourself and how the Juvenile/Incarceration system is not for them. Director Armstrong, also made it personal by sharing his childhood and life experiences with the youth.  We salute Director Armstrong for having an open and candid conversation with our males.




       Career Day 2013


Hope East’s Career Day by Pamela Odie

Fear seems to grip many individuals who walk in an incarcerated facility, whether it’s the clinking sounds of the door closing or temporarily lost of one’s freedom.  There were seven talented professionals who answered the call of duty and put their fears to rest by agreeing to speak to Hope East’s students on December 4, 2013.  There were no judgments, condemnations, or fear; only a willingness to encourage and remind the students that they have the opportunity to change their lives around. These are the following speakers and their messages:


Mr. Powell Odie (Ms. Odie’s Twin Brother)-is a registered nurse with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. He encouraged the young men to look beyond their situation and become productive members of their community.  Odie explained to our students that family is the foundation for our society and that it is through education, actions, and love that this foundation will last forever.


Sam Garrett-is CEO of Madison Line Records which is a music and entertainment business.  Mr. Garrett asked, “Who is the greatest basketball player in the history of the NBA?” One can imagine the various answers from Johnson, Byrd, Kobe, Randolph, Gasol, and Allen just to name a few.  He answer was Michael Jordan.  The reason Michael Jordan is the greatest in Garrett’s mind is because he never gave up on his dreams. “I can accept failure. But I can’t accept not trying,” Michael Jordan.


Abdul Wahid Moustafs- is a Memphis musician.  Moustafs explained that being a man means taking responsibility for your actions.  Moustafs said that as a society we must stop making excuses about the lack of parental involvement that many of us faced growing up.  It is time to take back our society by emulating positive role models such as Nobel Peace Prize Martin Luther King, Jr.,  Officer William Matthews, President Obama, and   Officer Vincent Lottie are a few of many positive role models.

Donna Bowers is owner of Painted Planet Airspace. Music is the window to the soul and Art is the key to visual and mental expression. It is because of music and art that the people globally are able to communicate. Bowers encouraged the students to use musical and artistically methods to expression their frustration instead of violence.

Mary F. Cooper is a traveling nurse that has work in various hospitals in America. She wooed the students talking about the “money” she has made being a traveling nurse. Being a nurse was her calling in life because she wanted to help people. The reason she became a traveling because of the shortage of nurses and many states advertise for nurses to come to their city and work.  She again answered the call of leaving her family but this was a great way to financial support her only daughter.

Ann Dowdy is a railroad engineer.  She had the students speechless when she reviewed the basic qualifications. Ms. Odie considered a career change but the fear of climbing on top of a train to work is unacceptable. Dowdy explain that their felony charges will not be held against our students giving them a second chance at redemption.


Dr. Tarol Clements (Special Education Advisor) is a supervisor and advocate for children within the Exceptional Education Program.  She is a staunch supporter of following the federal guidelines when it comes to protecting our children.  “No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure,” Emma Goldman.

Happy Birthday, Hope Academy

Hope Academy opened February 8, 2010.  Hope Academy celebrates its third year of operation.


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Think Show



Tony Allen says that his life mirrors the students at Hope Academy.  Tony by nature is a brawler.  When opponents come to the “Grind House,” they know they have to deal with “Mr. Brawler” himself.  Tony is going to fight for every loose ball, rebound, and wreak havoc for every minute he plays.  Tony said that he had to learn the hard way.  In order to be in the “cliché,” he sold drugs to wear top designer brand tennis shoes and clothes.  He dropped out of school, was kicked out of school, and then reality set in.  Tony, woke up one day, realized there had to be something better in life than standing on the corner.  He was going to make it to the NBA.

Black History Program

Madeline Taylor was the guest speaker for the Black History Program.  She created a timeline based on the students’ birthday that correlated to the NAACP reforms for incarcerated individuals.









Mr. Zaylid Saleem (Legal Advisor for Police Director),

Toney Armstrong (Police Director)

and Detective Caroline Mason visit Hope Academy


HBCU (Historical Black College and University) Month

The month of September is HBCU (Historical Black College and University) month at HOPE Academy. Detainees are busy navigating the internet with the assistance of their teachers researching 13 HBCU's in this region. On Monday, September 26, 2011 the students work will be displayed on a tri-fold-board for one week. As an extension of their learning, and research probabtion counselors who graduated from those HBCU's will stop by their classes to share their experiences with the detainees when they were students at those historical colleges and universities. The detainees will also show power point presentations of the particular HBCU they researched.

Each month HOPE Academy has designated a thematic unit involving all core teachers in the areas of math, language, and science.  October (Fall Expressions), November (the detainees will write thank you letters) December (traditions around the world), January (social justice), February (African-American history), March (ThinkShow), April (Community Service), and May (Mother's of the Nile essay contest).



Happy Anniversary Hope Academy


  Program Manager Michael Smith and Judge Person       






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.
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