ASD

Frayser Teacher Hiring fair exceeds expectations

PHOTO: Lesley Brown
Teachers and employers network at a 2014 hiring fair in the Frayser community of Memphis. Shelby County Schools is hosting a jobs fair in June to assist displaced teachers.

Organizers of the first Frayser Teacher Hiring Fair are calling the event a success after an estimated 100 prospective educators attended on Tuesday morning at Westside Achievement Middle.

“This is our first neighborhood-specific teacher fair where the mission is Frayser,” said Ash Solar, executive director of the Achievement Schools.

The Achievement School District operates five schools in Frayser.  This year charter operator Frayser Community Schools will open MLK Prep, a ninth through 12th grade high school.  The mission of the Achievement School District, which is operated by the Tennessee Department of Education, is to move schools in the bottom 5 percent in the state to the top 25 percent in the state within five years.

“We’re looking for teachers who are mission aligned, who are ready to do whatever it takes, problem-solvers and ready to work in a start-up and turnaround environment,” Solar said. “We tell our candidates that this the toughest job, you’ll ever love.”

School leaders were looking to fill several positions in the schools by July 1.  Once a teacher is selected, he or she will have three weeks of teacher induction before the new school year begins in early August.

Whitney Elementary assistant principal Michelle Lyons said Tuesday’s event was a great starting point as she seeks to finish hiring.  Her school has two open positions – fifth grade science and physical education.  In February, Lyons said the administration knew that they would need to hire eight to nine teachers for the next school year.

“We’re looking for teachers that have an unwavering belief that kids can learn regardless of their circumstances,” Lyons said.  “We’re up front, this is hard work and they should be aware of they’re taking on. They have to be aware that they may have to teach  a child how to behave and how to read. If they can embrace that aspect, they have the right mindset.”

This spring there have been several teacher hiring fairs including the Teach 901 event  in April. Competition for teachers among the six municipal school districts opening this month and Shelby County Schools continues as well.

Contact Tajuana Cheshier at tcheshier@chalkbeat.org and (901) 730-4013.

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What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.


For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.


Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.