SCS implementing new push to boost graduation rates

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - Changes are on the way to Shelby County Schools to boost the district's graduation rates.

So, what do students and parents need to know?

"Destination 2025" is the plan put in place to get 100 percent of high school students ready for life after graduation. Now there are steps in place to make that a reality.

"We want to have nothing more than our child's playing field be leveled," SCS Chief of Schools Sharon Griffin said. "So, all they have to do is learn."

Griffin said not all of the district's 100,000 students have that even playing field, citing Superintendent Dorsey Hopson who she said puts much of the blame on what he calls "suffocating poverty."

Griffin said the district can overcome this inequity if it follows a five-point plan, which she unveiled at the Shelby County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday.

"This is a marathon," Griffin said. "We got to slow down to speed up."

The first step is strengthening early literacy

"We know if our students are not reading by the third grade that research supports it's downhill from there," Griffin said.

Griffin cited statistics that show that if students can't read by the third grade they are more likely to end up in jail.

The next three steps in that five-point plan include improving post-secondary readiness, developing teachers, leaders and the district's central office, and expanding high-quality school options.

The final part involves mobilizing family and community partners.

"I need everyone to know that it's going to take all of us with all of the issues and ills at our school," Griffin said. "We all play a role to make sure our students and this city are successful."

Thursday, Shelby County Schools plans to unveil the specific steps to improve career and technical education in the district.

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