Don’t Close. Consolidate.

 WestHaven Elementary School: Home of the Warriors
WestHaven Elementary School: Home of the Warriors

Caroline Bauman of Chalkbeat shares an exciting story about a school that has become home to three distinct Shelby County communities. With the knowledge of the disruption, anger, and even grief that school closures can cause, merging multiple under-enrolled schools into one just may be become a model for other cities faced with excess capacity in old buildings.

It’s a model that Memphis is watching closely as leaders look to shutter more under-enrolled schools in old buildings that are expensive to maintain. In the process, they want to place their students in improved learning environments where they can be more successful.

Not surprisingly, this new school has a tireless leader with a strong track record and fierce work ethic. Principal Rowan doesn’t sugarcoat how all consuming the work is in the first year.  

You’ve got to know you’re going to have no life the first year if the school’s going to run the way you want it,” Rowan said of his 800-student school. “And the people you hire must understand you work until work is done. Lots of our teachers come in on Saturdays and holidays, because they want to get the work done.

Just a minute or two scrolling through the photo gallery on the school’s website is enough to make anyone want to see the place in action, firsthand. 

To read the full story at Chalkbeat, click here.