Rise & Shine: Memphis teachers to receive 3% raise, plus merit pay

Good morning!

For years, former superintendent Dorsey Hopson tried unsuccessfully to institute merit-based pay raises in Tennessee's largest school district. Now his successor, Joris Ray, has announced that — in addition to an across-the-board 3% salary hike in Shelby County Schools, top-rated teachers will be rewarded with extra pay.

The Memphis district also has laid the groundwork to develop new strategies for its academic programs and school buildings. Details here.

We've got lots more news, so read on.

—Marta W. Aldrich, statehouse correspondent

PAY HIKE  Teachers in Shelby County Schools will get a 3% raise this school year, while those with high evaluation scores will receive merit increases. Chalkbeat, The Commercial Appeal

‘REIMAGINING 901’  Memphis residents are invited to reimagine what school buildings and academic programs should look like to inform a major proposal that Shelby County commissioners will be asked to fund next year. Chalkbeat

EARLY EDUCATION  Here are 13 people who will shape Shelby County’s unprecedented collaboration on early childhood education needs. Chalkbeat

FALL BREAK  For the first time, Shelby County Schools will offer students a free learning academy during fall and spring breaks. WATN

STUDENT OFFENDERS  A new youth center opens inside of a Memphis alternative school to help students who are caught on the wrong side of the law. WATN

TRAFFIC SAFETY  After a crossing guard is hit and injured by a vehicle in front of students, parents at a Memphis elementary school demand traffic safety improvements. The Commercial Appeal

CHARTER SCHOOL  Nashville’s school board denies charter network Rocketship a new school, despite receiving its first recommendation in years to approve a charter application. The Tennessean

MOVERS & SHAKERS  A longtime administrator and graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis joins Tennessee education nonprofit and research group SCORE to lead its expanded work into postsecondary education. The Commercial Appeal

The chief financial officer for Shelby County Schools resigns. Daily Memphian

Murfreesboro City Schools Director Linda Gilbert gets a contract extension through 2023. Daily News Journal

RESEARCH  The number of Tennessee children living in impoverished communities with few job opportunities and stagnant wages has declined, according to the latest KIDS COUNT report. Times Free Press, WZTV

High concentrations of poverty, not racial segregation, entirely account for the racial achievement gap in U.S. schools, a massive new study finds. The Washington Post, The Hechinger Report, EdSource

MENTAL HEALTH  The superintendents of all three school districts in Blount County agree that more mental health professionals in schools is their top need. The Daily Times

GRIDIRON PRAYER  After a complaint is filed against a Rutherford County high school’s football coach for leading the team in a post-game prayer, students announce their plans to host a prayer before Friday’s game. Daily News Journal

COLLEGE ACCESS  Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and county commissioners announce $180,000 in grant funding for a college scholarship for Memphis students at financial risk of not graduating. Daily Memphian

University of Tennessee interim President Randy Boyd visits Tennessee high schools this week to spread the word about the UT Promise scholarship. WBIR, The Tennessean

One of Nashville’s newest corporations invests $125,000 to support a nonprofit helping low-income Nashville students pursue college opportunities. The Tennessean

CAREER PREP  Here’s what Knox County Schools is doing to prepare students for careers, whether they attend college or not. Knoxville News Sentinel

OPINION: ONE TEACHER’S PLEA  Tennessee teachers need high-quality, aligned instructional materials and ongoing professional development to help them effectively teach to the state’s academic standards, writes a Sevier County teacher starting her 26th year in the classroom. Knoxville News Sentinel

DEVOS WATCH  In her first visit to a Detroit school as U.S. Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos argues that school choice has helped students in the city. Later, she calls into question the role of the federal government in supporting schools. Chalkbeat

FLIP FLOP  Democratic presidential hopeful Cory Booker says he no longer supports school vouchers — a notable turnaround for the New Jersey senator who has been a longtime advocate for school choice. Chalkbeat

TEACHERS STRIKE?  Here are three things to know about this week’s teacher strike vote in Chicago. Chalkbeat