UofM, Shelby County Schools partnership to strengthen local teachers

In this Wednesday, March 8, 2017 photo, high school teacher Natalie O'Brien, center, hands out papers during a civics class called "We the People," at North Smithfield High School in North Smithfield, R.I. More states are requiring graduating high school students to know at least as much about the U.S. founding documents as immigrants passing a citizenship test. Boosting civics literacy has been a bipartisan cause. But some advocates say a mandate to test government trivia is too simplistic. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The University of Memphis is teaming up with Shelby County Schools to put more local teachers in classrooms.

The initiative is called the River City Partnership and focuses on recruiting and keeping teaching candidates from the Mid-South. Special emphasis will be placed on recruiting from those groups that they say is underrepresented in the school system, like African-American males and Latinos.

“We want to increase the number of students who graduate from area high schools, attend the UofM and then return to Shelby County Schools to put their training to work in the classroom,” explained Dr. Kandi Hill-Clarke, dean of the College of Education.

“Our mission is to graduate more teachers who are culturally competent, confident in their content knowledge and effective teaching strategies, and who understand and know their students.”

Another goal of the partnership is to create and implement high school programs that build interest in the education field.

The River City Partnership is funded in part by the US Prep consortium.