MEF’s Terence Patterson on the Memphis School Guide Update

Memphis School Guide is a tool that might be more useful than ever before for parents seeking to be educated on their child’s education and also for educators looking for a great job fit. This guide has been under the care of the Memphis Education Fund and we asked their CEO, Terence Patterson, about the recent update!

1. How long has the Memphis School Guide been in existence?

The Memphis School Guide was started by parents for parents in 2014, but was last updated in 2017. We know that choosing the right school is crucial for a child’s future, and so the Memphis Education Fund refreshed the site in 2020 with all new data, school choice information, and decision-making tools for all Memphis families. 

2. What's the primary goal for the Memphis School Guide?

The Memphis School Guide helps families understand the school choices available to them so they can find the best fit for their children. Our website makes it easy for parents to compare schools in their area based on what matters most to them, whether that’s reading and math scores, academic growth, extracurriculars, or special programs offered. 

3. How might prospective educators find the guide helpful?

Teachers are the backbone of our schools, and I think the Memphis School Guide is a great tool to help teachers find a school that matches their strengths and interests. Teachers looking for their first school, or considering a transfer, should ask themselves what they need to be successful. Are they looking for an established program to fit into or a startup where they can help shape the direction of the school? Are they excited by the challenge of helping underserved students exceed expectations? The Memphis School Guide can help teachers answer these questions and make quick comparisons between schools as they explore the Teach901 job board. 

4. Retention of teachers is a strong sign of a school. My elementary school teachers had taught my older brothers, there was very little transition. Is there a datapoint to consider for average length of tenure or retention?

Every child in Memphis deserves an excellent teacher, whether that teacher is a 30 year veteran or a bright new graduate. Currently teacher retention rates for schools are not public record, but I would love to be able to share that information with families in the future. 

5. How would you describe your ideal school?

There are three must-haves for my ideal school: joyful classrooms, challenging instruction, and strong leadership to ensure the school continues improving year after year. I am fortunate that Idlewild Elementary provides all three for my son Trey, but there’s no magic formula that works for every child. What makes Memphis special is that our schools have an incredible variety of cultures and learning environments that match the diversity of our students.

Check out the bountiful information that is provided on the Memphis School Guide to help you in your search for the right fit for your children or for your next teaching job: