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Memphis Recognized for
Curbing Urban School Violence


The city of Memphis, TN is being recognized for its efforts in reducing juvenile violence in urban schools.

Memphis City Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash and Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, Jr., will attend the Summit on Preventing Youth Violence in Washington, D.C. to present an innovative plan for keeping young people safe in their schools and their communities.

Dr. Cash said that student safety is one variable that is non-negotiable.

“There is nothing more important than the healthy growth and development of our youth, the future of our city,” Dr. Cash said. “That is why we are proud in Memphis to serve as a national model for both urban education reform and youth violence prevention.”

In Memphis, creating a positive atmosphere for adolescents to learn and achieve is a top priority of Superintendent Cash’s “Cradle to Career” education reform plan, the school district’s blueprint for ensuring every student begins school and graduates with a solid foundation for success.

Memphis’ invitation to participate in the national summit was extended by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, as a result of the district’s strategic programs on school safety. Memphis City Schools has experienced a steep decline in youth violence during the past two years. Three years ago, the serious incidents ratio was nearly 140 per 1,000 students; last year, due to the Memphis City Schools’ school safety reforms, the ratio was dramatically reduced to 23 incidents per 1,000 students.

Memphis City Schools has made recent progress in many other areas as well. The district has increased the graduation rate to 70.8%, decreased the event (single year) dropout rate to 1%, expanded Pre-K classrooms in district schools, grown the number of Advanced Placement courses and dual enrollment opportunities for students, and strengthened skills in core areas such as math and writing.

Working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the district has also launched the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative, a $90 million multi-year program that involves placing an empowered and effective teacher in every classroom, in every subject, every day.

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