Updates & Events

May 10, 2023
Band of Brothers visits the Equal Justice Museum

As we explore our truth-telling past, our Band of Brothers explored the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Ala., to learn the comprehensive history of the U.S. with a focus on the legacy of slavery. Situated on a site where enslaved Black people were forced to labor in bondage, the museum offers an immersive experience with cutting-edge technology, world-class art and critically important scholarship about American history.

December 12, 2022
Band of Brothers Program Visits Withers Collection Museum & Gallery

On Dec. 2, students from the Band of Brothers mentoring and tutoring program visited The Withers Collection Museum & Gallery to learn more about local and civil rights history.

September 8, 2022
MSCS African American Male Academy Helps Young Men Achieve New Heights

The goal of the Memphis-Shelby County Schools African American Male Academy is to help young Black men reach high school and beyond. The program helps 8th-grade men understand what is to be expected in college through activities, increased academic exposure, career preparation, and mentorship.

May 20, 2022
Band of Brothers Mentoring Program Visits The Legacy Museum

More than 40 young men from our Band of Brothers Critical Mentoring program recently traveled to Montgomery, Alabama to visit the Legacy Museum. Through this experience, students had the chance to experience compelling visuals and data-rich exhibits that provided a one-of-a-kind opportunity to investigate the history of injustice and its legacy.

March 11, 2022
Creative Student Art Celebrated In 2022 Black History Month Fine Arts Contest

MSCS is proud of the various student engagements for the 2022 Black History Month Fine Arts Contest, hosted by the Office of Equity and Access. Scholars in grades 3-12 from multiple cultural backgrounds translated the theme, “I Belong and I Will Change the World By…” into creative art.

December 1, 2021
2021 I AM a GENIUS Workshop at Cummings K-8

As part of the District’s social-emotional and trauma-response support, the SCS Office of Equity and Access hosted an I am a Genius Workshop at Cummings School featuring a fun “musical learning pep rally” that promotes academic achievement, literacy, school safety, the arts, as well as good health and fitness.

November 10, 2021
SCS calls on men to step up as mentors for students

The Band of Brothers mentoring program is dedicated to supporting male students in grades 5-8. Following the program mention in Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray's open letter about violence in the community, Equity Officer Dr. Michael Lowe spoke to the role and impact of male mentors.

June 22, 2021
SCS Equity Officer Addresses Anti-Racist Literacy for

SCS Equity Officer Dr. Michael Lowe has been featured on achievethecore.org as part of a series of articles addressing culturally relevant pedagogy and how education can move towards culturally relevant practices using standards-aligned instructional materials as a starting point.

May 13, 2021
SCS Equity Officer, Dr. Michael Lowe, Joins National Panel to Discuss "Developing Systems to Support Black Male Students"

Schools and districts across the country are facing the racism that exists in American education systems and listening to and elevating the voices of students and educators of color as they dive into equity work. Dr. Lowe joined a national panel of experts to discuss the experiences and achievements of SCS.

January 18, 2021
Secure the Chalk: Educator Forum Focuses on Cultivating Black Male Educators
The SCS Equity Office held its latest Educator Forum on January 21, titled "Mending the Broken Pipeline: Investing Time, Energy & Cultivating Black Male Educators." The conversation included TN EDUCATORS OF COLOR ALLIANCE founder Dr. Diarese George and Man-Up founder Patrick Washington, along with SCS Director of Student Support Dr. Roderick Richmond.

January 18, 2021
SCS Equity Office Offers Perspective on Race in Sports & Education during Grizzlies MLK Day Discussion
The SCS Office of Equity had the unique opportunity to join the Memphis Grizzlies for its annual MLK Day forum. Equity Officer Dr. Michael Lowe joined the discussion, titled "Intersection of Race & Sports: Inequities in Education." He shared important perspective on how SCS is addressing inequities in education, from supporting efforts to ensure home care to providing reliable WiFi and digital devices to support virtual learning.

September 8, 2020
Secure the Chalk: SCS Educators Learn to Create "Healing Spaces"
SCS is committed to unity, inclusion and revamping educational and mentoring opportunities for male students of color. In preparation for the new school year, the District's "Secure the Chalk" forum this summer focused on equipping SCS educators to create academic and social "healing spaces."

March 2, 2020
African American Male Empowerment Progress Update
Last summer, Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray, along with our School Board, launched the African-American Male Empowerment Initiative. This effort will strategically propel our African-American boys to become our next generation of scholars and leaders through EQUITY, EDUCATION, and EMPOWERMENT. This video highlights the progress made and how we are aiming to change the odds for students in need.

February 28, 2020
Lift Every Voice and Listen Event
Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray, along with our School Board, hosted a community event to celebrate Black History Month and to share the progress of our African American Male Empowerment efforts. This video summarizes this fantastic event while highlighting our students, schools, and teachers..

February 13, 2020
National Spotlight: USA Today Highlights SCS Efforts to Increase Male Teachers of Color
USA Today recently published an article, titled "‘Not happenstance’: Male teachers of color make a difference at Memphis schools." The article focuses on how Shelby County Schools is making it a priority to recruit, retain and support male teachers of color

February 6, 2020
SCS partners with U of M to launch the African American Male Academy

Thursday, February 5, 2020
SCS Hosts Third Secure the Chalk Session

December 17, 2019
MIFA Community Service Project
Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray, along with our School Board, teamed with African-American male students and MIFA to deliver meals to those in need around our community.

Monday, December 9, 2019
SCS Secure The Chalk Educator Fellowship Aims To Diversify And Support Teaching Force

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Superintendent Ray delegates "Equity Champions" Across the District

Monday, July 22, 2019
Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray Launches Groundbreaking African-American Male Initiative

Our Boys Need Us


Memphis-Shelby County Schools will build a Band of Brothers to support mentoring and tutoring programs. Our boys need to experience a beloved community by ZIP Code where they are surrounded by positive role models. Every day these boys must see law-abiding men, making a good life for themselves through hard, honest work. We seek 100 male tutors and mentors through literacy to scale our success.

Black History Month Essay Contest

Celebrating Black History Month in the 901 – Essay Contest


In 300 words or less, please describe how African Americans have helped to define Memphis’ heritage and identity through their achievements and contributions to the broader society.

In 500 words or less, think of an African American historical figure whose life and works you wish you knew more. After doing some research on this person, write an essay describing his or her life, work, and historical importance. Try to show not only what makes the person unique in general but also how racial identity influenced his or her life.

This is some sample content.
Our Boys Needs Us Icon

How will you commit to our boys?



Ensure access & exposure to rigorous instruction

view details

Intensify restorative practices

view details

Recruit African-American male teachers in grades K-5

view details

Build “Band of Brothers” to support mentoring & tutoring programs

view details

Create an Equity Institute for professional learning

view details

Leverage an Equity Task Force

view details

Establish an Equity Office

view details


In most cases, African-American male students are performing at a lower level than their peers, accessing advanced programs at a lower rate or experiencing critical issues that impact achievement.

66% are economically disadvantaged

41% of total student absences

50% more likely to be suspended or expelled than peers

50% more likely to be enrolled in an alternative school

50% less likely to be enrolled in CLUE

4 points lower than average graduation rate

17% meeting state standards for Math

14% meeting state standards for English/Language Arts

5% participate in AP courses

50% more likely to require special education