SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The Plough Foundation made a major donation Tuesday to Shelby County Schools in the amount of $1 million.
The donation will help SCS continue the work of the Continuous Improvement Zone, which is made up of 12 schools formerly part of the I-Zone, the lowest performing schools in the district.
"You know, they're already moving in the right direction, moving out of the bottom 5%," SCS Superintendent Joris Ray said. "We want to see continuous growth, but professional development for teachers, some technology for students and also to ensure equity in all of our classrooms."
At Treadwell Middle School, one of the schools in the Continuous Improvement Zone, dignitaries were saluted with a brass band Tuesday, and classrooms full of students were eager to show the payoff that comes with hitting the books.
Ray said Plough's $1 million donation will help level the playing field for students, go toward programs to reduce absenteeism and suspension and stop the school-to-prison pipeline mentality.
The chair of the Plough Foundation said the Memphis-based philanthropy has supported public education for 30 years, and she believes the system is headed in the right direction.
"Their heart is in it; they're all very committed," Plough Foundation Chair Diane Rudner said. "Everybody that works in this school system is so committed and works so hard. They have a great chance of succeeding."
SCS also partners with the Memphis-based School Seed foundation, nonprofit aimed at improving the quality of K-12 education.