The Commercial Appeal

Cbu-fairview pact would be a great fit

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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.

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