The Commercial Appeal
Cbu-fairview pact would be a great fit
An education partnership between a Midtown middle school and its university neighbor would be a natural match, especially when the emphasis will be on STEM studies.
STEM is the acronym for a curriculum that stresses the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The unified Memphis and Shelby school district and Christian Brothers University are closing in on a deal that would convert Fairview Middle School into a STEM laboratory school for the university’s department of education.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Memphis and Shelby County unified school board, interim Supt. Dorsey Hopson rightly described the plan as an “awesome opportunity” to turn the remodeled school at the corner of East Parkway and Central into a “Midtown jewel.”
In recent years, there has been a heightened urgency nationally in secondary education circles to develop STEM curriculums after repeated studies showing American students, on an international scale, are lagging in science, technology, engineering and math. In the U.S., there also is a push to encourage more African-American and female students to become interested in STEM studies.
As result, schools emphasizing STEM curriculums have been popping up in cities across the country, including Memphis.
The CBU-Fairview plan would be following that trend, along with a trend nationally to pair schools with colleges and universities. That gives students a leg up in some curriculums and allows them to earn college credits while still in high school.
Hopson said there are pieces that need to be put together before the plan is finalized. One of the biggest issues is whether Fairview will remain with the unified school district or be taken over by the Achievement School District, which was created by the state General Assembly to take over and improve the state’s worst-performing schools. Fairview is in that category.
A fresh start for Fairview, however, would benefit the school and mesh nicely with the plans to redevelop the adjacent fairgrounds property.
The Children’s Museum of Memphis, the Kroc Center and Tiger Lane have added vitality to the area. The city plans to redevelop the fairgrounds property into an amateur sports/retail community that will further enhance the area.
A CBU-Fairview STEM laboratory school would be a great fit for the area.
It is a deal the unified school district and the university should make happen.