Opinions on Memphis Private Schools vs Memphis Public Schools

Updated on August 20, 2008
L.W. asks from Cordova, TN
5 answers

My husband and I are starting to talk about preschool for our 18 month old (I know - we have a ways to go, but still!). We're zoned for Memphis City Schools and our son would go to Cordova Elementary, which is an optional school. We're also considering Downtown Elementary, which is a charter school and close to my work.

But we're discussing sending him to private school instead. Most of the private schools are Christian-based schools, and we're wary that some of these schools sacrifice academic excellence for religious education. We've been looking at Briarcrest Christian, Woodland Presb, Christ Methodist Day School, St. Francis and St. Dominics.

Does anyone have any thoughts to these schools, either public or private? I'm trying to gauge how well the academics are in the schools and whether the student/teacher ratio is decent.

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answers from Memphis on

A lot can change in school systems in 3 or 4 years. Talk to people, but don't make long term decisions in a hurry. We did public until into middle school. Our children are now at Briarcrest and they are are truly working on their education. The workload is heavier than in the county system which they went to previously. Check out Schooldigger.com or great schools website to compare them all.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Memphis on

My oldest son just started kindergarten at Briarcrest and he loves it. He's only been there a week, but has already learned so much. He's already learned to spell out words, count higher than he could before, and they have all kinds of specialty classes that they take once a week (i.e. art, music, enrichment, spanish...which he learned to count to ten the first day). They do have chapel once a week and have to learn a bible verse for Fridays, but so far that's all that they teach for religion. Every day they send home a folder so you can see the work they have done and it's all been academic related. We are extrememly happy with our choice to send him there and will be enrolling our youngest son in the 3 year old preschool for next year.

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answers from Memphis on

I was not aware that Memphis City Schools were Christian based, where did you get that information--just curious. Are you talking mostly about preschools?

I attend Central Church on Winchester in Collierville. Although I have not personally used our preschool, I hear wonderful things about it. You can read about it here: http://www.centralchurch.com/ If that doesn't take you straight there, just click on it, then Schools>Learning Center. I know for a fact that we have a very diverse group of kids that attend the preschool there & the parents seem very pleased with the program.

I can not offer any information on the other schools but think you are wise to check into it early, and no you can never be too early to do that.

Best of luck



answers from Memphis on

As a lifelong Memphian and a product of MCS, I can tell you that you can't judge one school by the entire district. There are some very good schools in the system (White Station is still tops along with Snowden, Grahamwood and others). You have to remember that the best schools (public or private) are the ones with involved parents who are working with their kids at home (in fact, kids whose parents aren't involved do better in economically integrated schools, we just don't have too many of those anymore because of flight away from the city). Obviously the private schools are going to have more parental involvement because it tends to fall along socioeconomic lines, and people with the most means left the city for the burbs a long time ago. Those that stayed put their kids in private schools for the most part. But there are a few gems, like the ones I mentioned above. So I would say go to the schools, meet the principals, meet the teachers. Talk with parents who send their kids to these schools. I think you will be able to figure out really quickly what to do.



answers from Memphis on

I agree that your involvement is more important than teacher ratios. I went to private school 1-9 and 11 & 12. I spent 1 year at White Station high due to financial strain of having 3 kids in private school at one time. I can tell you these comparisons:
Private School
Small Classes
Attention to Students based on skill level both advanced and remedial
125 people in my class
lifelong friends
Christian based values

Public School
Students grouped in reg or gifted program
450 people in my class
lifelong friends
"Don't get in trouble"

So all in all, the only factor that would keep me from using Private school is cost. We go to Christ Methodist and do not use their daycare b/c our son is 12 mo old and i don't feel that he needs to go there yet - but at 2yr old we'll be putting him there, regardless of the fact that it is 2x the cost of the sitter we use now.

MCS are desperatly in the need of citizens reinvesting their time and attention to them - but as far as preschool goes, I'll be using a church based program. That's my 2 cents. If you want more details, message me and I'll be happy to dish...

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