Living in Memphis
Located along the Mississippi River, Memphis is major southern center for commerce, education, art, entertainment and music. With roots grounded in monumental events such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and the Memphis sanitations workers strike, Memphis has a history of people standing up for what’s right. The motto, “All Heart. Grit. Grind,” adapted the Memphis Grizzlies, sums up the essence of the city. Memphis is famous for its jazz and blues scene, which can be fully experienced by a walk down Beale Street. Memphis is a city full of people committed to getting things done and has an increasing amount of opportunities to both welcome and keep young professionals working in Memphis.
Why We Need You
Despite its go-getter attitude, some students in Memphis face significant challenges every day. Throughout City Year Memphis partner schools, more than 50% of students are considered off track. The majority of our partner schools are located in Tennessee’s largest school district, Shelby County Schools (SCS). City Year Memphis also partners with a school in Tennessee’s Achievement School District, whose purpose is to turnaround the lowest performing schools in the state. As one of American’s 25 largest school district, SCS has a total of 111,500 students, and nearly 60% qualify for free and reduced price lunch.[i] A highly diverse student population, the majority of SCS is comprised of students of color. Over the last five years, SCS’s English Language Learner (ELL) population has increased by 500%. With a sizeable immigrant population from Mexico and Central America, Spanish is the second most common language spoken by residents.
Inter-generational poverty, food-insecurity, teacher vacancies and a lack of resources to support ELL students are among the most pressing issues that negatively impact students’ ability to learn. A recent study measuring Memphis students’ readiness for college based on their Algebra 2 grades and ACT scores revealed that only about 4% of seniors are considered ready for college.[ii]
How You Can Make a Difference
Given the significant challenges facing students in Memphis, City Year plays a critical role in supporting students both academically and social-emotionally to ensure all students are on-track to reach graduation on time. With a substantial teacher shortage in SCS schools, City Year AmeriCorps members provide a consistent presence and add to a school’s ability to provide all students with a high-quality education that will prepare them to be college and career-ready. Through their involvement in the Achievement School District, Memphis is on the cutting edge of implementing education reforms and working to make sure that education is the key to positive change and access to unlimited opportunities for students and the community.
At City Year Memphis, there are various opportunities and resources available to help City Year AmeriCorps members launch their careers across a diverse range of fields. City Year Memphis has several partnerships with teacher preparation programs including Relay Education and Christian Brothers University for those interested in pursuing a career in education. Throughout the year, our AmeriCorps members receive professional development and leadership training, and our local partners and board members are heavily involved in providing additional networking and professional development opportunities. City Year’s partnership with the New Memphis Institute gives AmeriCorps members access to their young professionals group, Embark, that helps young professionals find their passion, receive interview and resume tips and connect with mentors.
Memphis is in need of talented and passionate young people to help all students realize their full potential. As a growing city committed to providing young people with opportunities to launch their career, free concerts and events and a bustling sports scene, Memphis is a welcoming place that is the ideal place for a young person to serve.