School Closures Emotional For Long Time Teachers

(Memphis) It is the end of an era for Memphis City Schools.

For some teachers, it’s the end of a close-knit family they’ve worked with for years.

A shift in population forced the school district to change attendance boundaries and close some schools for good.

Orleans Elementary has been around since the 1960’s.

A lot of the employees have been here a long time.

In fact, we caught up with one employee who’s been here half her career.

“I woke up this morning happy but sad, too. This is truly a bitter-sweet time for all of us,” said Linda Mann, special education teacher.

For Mann and her co-worker’s, this is the final day at Orleans Elementary.

Mann has been a special education teacher.

She’s been there so long she recognizes former students who now have kids of their own at the school, “It’s really cute when they walk in the door. You see family resemblances and you say, oh you must be so and so’s sister,” laughed Mann.

However, families are moving away from that part of South Memphis.

Enrollment at the school dwindled to 155 students this year.

“It’s sad to us. We can’t help but to be sad,” said Mann.

Saying good-bye was even harder, especially to students, yesterday.

Teacher assistant, Gladys Shipp, said, “They know we truly loved them like they’re our own children. We take very good care of them.”

The relationship between Shipp and Mann goes back years but now this teacher and her assistant’s future is uncertain.

The Unified School District is forcing them to apply for their jobs all over again.

“I’ve been on our interview team here at Orleans and we know what we ask but it’s a different ball game being on the other side of the seat but that will be fine,” smiled Mann.

Shipp is also optimistic about the change, “Every good thing has to come to an end okay. So, you have to learn how to adapt to change. When you learn to adapt to change, it’s going to be alright little sister.”

Shipp and Mann hope to land in the same school next year.

They say it would be even better if they ended up in the same classroom again.

Other elementary schools closing because of low enrollment are Whites Chapel, Norris Road and Coral Lake.

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