Proposed changes at Winchester Elementary gives parents hope

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Changes are coming to an under-performing Shelby County elementary school, a school among the bottom five percent of elementary school’s in the entire state.

It’s been a roller coaster of a year for the parents, staff and students at Winchester Elementary. A long time principal retired in 2018 and her replacement left after a few months on the job.

But the school district says a positive change is coming.

“Hold on. Help is on the way. Help in the form of something that’s been proven and help where we’re definitely committed to moving this school out the bottom five percent in a fast rapid manner,” Chief Academic Officer Antonio Burt said.

District leaders now propose adding the school to it’s innovation zone, a district program that’s been successful in the past, by getting new leadership, staff and resources in place to turn things around.

“I feel wonderful, because something has been put in place that will work for the children of Winchester. The iZone is awesome. I knew a lot about it. I feel so much better,” grandparent Sherrie Partee said.

The iZone would add an extra instructional hour to each school day and give teachers performance based bonuses. The current staff would also have to reapply for their jobs.

Only half of the staff could return. The remaining staff members would be new hires.

It’s a fresh start with the students as the top priority.

“So in the long, I think students are going to be able to get what they need in order to excel. I think ultimately, being on the board, that’s my whole purpose,” Miska Clay-Bibbs, with the Shelby County School Board , said.

The proposal just needs the superintendent’s approval.

The district wants to post the principal’s job as soon as possible to get new leadership in place for recruiting.

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