Shelby County Schools votes to start 2021-22 school year on August 9

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools board members voted Tuesday night to start the next school year on August 9.

That decision means school starts 10 days sooner.

SCS Superintendent Joris Ray says he feels getting back to school sooner will help get students to retain what they learned this year.

The shorter summer means students in summer learning will also have a tight turnaround. When school ends on June 16, students will have 2 and a half weeks before the program starts on July 5.

Students aren’t the only ones affected. About 3,000 teachers are being asked to participate in the summer learning program but that decision is made by each individual teacher.

During earlier school board meetings, some board members were concerned about teacher burnout. Dr. Ray says that’s one of his top priorities.

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“I’m always concerned about our teachers,” said Ray. “I’m a forever teacher. I’m a teacher first and our teachers are given so much in the virtual world and now return back to in-person instruction, our teachers mean everything to us, and anything we can do to lighten the burden on our teachers, we will do so.”

To help reduce burnout SCS is offering adult self-care sessions, weekly mental health chat sessions with teachers, and its usual EAP program.

FOX13 talked to school board members who say they decided to choose the August 9 start date over August 19 because parents and teachers supported that option.

More than 10,000 SCS parents, educators and staff responded to a survey about which day to return to classes in August.

School board members told FOX13 it’s impossible to please everyone while also following state mandates.

The district’s summer session is a state requirement and is designed to alleviate learning loss due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those classes will all be in-person, according to SCS.