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Memphis has a growing and changing education system to serve our next generation, building students’ futures through public, private, and charter school options for all ages.

The Memphis metro area has 18 public school districts, over 100 private schools, and more than 250,000 students. Additionally, there are plenty of online sites ADVISING INFORMATION & RESOURCES to help students reaching college age to make further education decisions. Memphis area schools annually attract national recognition and honors for the innovative programs and academic excellence provided to students of all ages. With so many choices, parents in Memphis have the opportunity to choose what will truly be best for their child.

Through state legislation and dedicated local efforts, Pre-K options in Memphis have seen increased success every year. Effective in the 2016-17 school year, the Tennessee Pre-K Quality Act makes Pre-K accessible to all four-year-olds in the state with an emphasis on at-risk students and high priority communities. It also makes programs more rigorous and better prepares students to enter elementary school. As Memphians continue to gain access to high-quality early childhood education for all children, our chances of success through college and the workforce increase.

Shelby County Schools

Shelby County’s Unified School District encompasses the Memphis city limits. It is the largest school district in the State of Tennessee and 22nd largest in the United States, with more than 200 schools within the district. Shelby County Schools (SCS) offers a wide variety of curricula that includes music, arts, foreign language, university dual-enrollment programs, skills training and advanced placement courses for college credit. For more information on SCS, click here.

Other Local Public School Administrations

Arlington Community Schools
2 Elementary Schools | 1 Middle School | 1 High School
5,015 Students | 30 miles from Downtown Memphis

Bartlett City Schools
6 Elementary Schools | 3 Middle Schools | Ninth Grade Academy | 1 High School
8,636 Students | 13 miles from Downtown Memphis

Collierville Schools
5 Elementary Schools | 2 Middle Schools | 1 High School
8,113 Students | 30 miles from Downtown Memphis

Germantown Municipal School District
3 Elementary Schools | 1 Middle School | 1 High School
5,791 Students | 21 miles from Downtown Memphis

Lakeland School System
1 Elementary School | 1 Middle School (Opening Fall 2017)
889 Students | 23 miles from Downtown Memphis
Students living in Lakeland are also zoned to Arlington Community Schools.

Millington Municipal Schools
2 Elementary Schools | 1 Middle School | 1 High School
2,687 Students | 16 miles from Downtown Memphis

SCS Optional Programs

Shelby County Schools’ optional program gives parents choices in selecting a public education that can best fit their children’s talents and abilities. Elementary programs enrich, supplement, and broaden the standard school curriculum. Middle school and high school level programs are designed to prepare students for college and careers. Optional schools are tuition-free and accessible to residents from all parts of the county. There are also many career center for excellence options in the region, similar to those seen in other counties and states.

There are two types of schools in the county’s optional program. Most programs exist as a school-within-a-school for all grade levels, which means that the optional program is offered in addition to traditional classes or programs. However, 14 schools exist exclusively as optional schools – all students who attend these schools participate in the optional program. Call the Division of Optional Schools and Advanced Academics at 901-416-5830 for more information on the program, or click here.

Charter Schools

Charter schools are independent public schools of choice. They control their own budget, curriculum, and staffing. Memphis’ charter schools maximize students’ potential by focusing on specific areas of academic interests and employing creative learning techniques. Charter programs prepare children for college by learning how to function productively in a global and technologically advanced society.

For more information about Memphis charter schools, click here to learn from Chamber member Tennessee Charter School Center.

Memphis’ Achievement School District

The Achievement School District (ASD) is a statewide program aimed at catapulting the least-performing schools in Tennessee to the top 25% in the state over a five year period. The ASD is an independent school district that works hand-in-hand with Shelby County Schools and local charter schools to manage existing schools. Currently, ASD manages 23 schools in the Memphis area. For more information on the Achievement School District, click here.

There are more than 55 private and parochial schools in the Memphis area with a combined enrollment of nearly 11,000 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Covering pre-school through high school education, they offer a range of programs for all kinds of learning styles. Memphis private schools are known for their high academic standards.

Click here to view a list of private schools who are Chamber members.

Memphis Association of Independent Schools
The Memphis Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) represents more than 35 private schools in the area, providing a forum for the study and discussion of matters pertaining to the administration and functioning of independent schools and an exchange for ideas of common concern. For more information about MAIS and its member schools, click here.

The Tennessee Home School Law (Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3050) gives parents the option to educate their children at home using three methods: independent, church-related or accredited online programs. Programs must be accredited and approved by the local school district. Accrediting, testing and other information is available from the Tennessee Department of Education here.

Want to know more about area colleges, universities and technical schools? Click here to learn more about our post-secondary education opportunities.

Photo provided by Hutchison School.


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