Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date April 7, 2008

For More Information: Brenda Rayner 901-333-4247


Middle College High School at Southwest Celebrates 20 years of Excellence

While the public is bombarded with information about how poorly the educational system is doing with today’s children, it is refreshing to know that despite the odds, Middle College High School (MCHS) has some good news to report. An urban public high school, it is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. MCHS is a part of Memphis City Schools (MCS) with the unique distinction of being a small learning community located on the campus of Southwest Tennessee Community College. It has made tremendous strides over the past years. Ridden with the stigma of serving a student population facing many learning deterrents, it has risen to the top of the ranks, tied with Cordova High, to rate as MCS’s highest schools for graduates in 2006-2007, according to its Department of Research, Evaluation and Assessment.

According to Michelle Brantley, principal for MCHS, the school has consistently done well with the “Adequate Yearly Progress” which is a federal standard for schools establishing academic achievement goals by setting academic standards in core subjects and measuring progress using tests aligned to state standards. The most recent test scores indicate that 100 percent of the students in English language arts and science are proficient or advanced and 84 percent are proficient or advanced in mathematics, a noteworthy national standard.

With the help of grant funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, W. W. Kellogg Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, an accelerated high school-college program allowing students the opportunity to take college courses from Southwest while in high school has been established. Approximately 40-50 percent of MCHS students annually enroll in classes through the dual enrollment program to get a “head start” earning college credits.

Individually, a number of students achieved outstanding accomplishments: Brandon Asemah, vice president of MCHS’s National Honor Society, holding a 4.3 weighted grade point average, was the only Memphis City Schools student to have been chosen to win the National Civil Rights Museum’s Student Freedom Award in 2008. He traveled to Turkey as part of Memphis in May’s Student Exchange Program, and was chosen as the Tennessee male representative for the Al Neuhart USA Today Free Spirit Award.

Shavayla Richardson and Nadra Williams, 2007 graduates, were the first women in the state of Tennessee to receive engineering technology certificates from Southwest along with their high school diplomas.

Reuben Johnson will receive an engineering certificate from Southwest during its May 2008 commencement ceremony. He is the only high school student chosen to attend the National Day of Science Conference hosted by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and the Engineering Technologies Department at Southwest.

Victoria Hopson, Brittney Williams, Terrence Williams, Sheliah Saunders, Jabriel Ivery, and Nicholas Finlayson will travel to New Orleans in May as part of a national student leadership conference where students from across the country are making proposals to New Orleans city officials regarding the students' researched area of infrastructural improvement for the city.

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Cutline: Middle College High School Principal Michelle Brantley

Cutline: Pictured (L to R) Dedric Starks- Middle College History Instructor, Victoria Hopson, Brittney Williams, Terrence Williams, Sheliah Saunders, Jabriel Ivery, and After School Memphis Program Director Michael Smith. All juniors; these students will travel to New Orleans as part of the Middle College National Student Leadership Conference this year.