For the Children 

Nonprofit attempts to bridge gap between opponents and proponents of the school merger.

Like it or not, as of July 1st, Memphis City Schools is a thing of the past.

The politics of Memphis education have been intense over the past year as those on both sides of the merger of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools have made their voices heard. Now a nonprofit is working to bridge the divide before the school year begins.

SchoolSeed, formerly known as the Memphis City Schools Foundation, launched their “Our Children. Our Success” campaign in late June with the hopes of encouraging parents and citizens of Memphis to put the children first.

Vince McCaskill, executive director of SchoolSeed, describes the campaign as a nonpolitical way of approaching the new education system and calls for parents and citizens to put aside their personal views on the merger and come together to ensure the success of the children through quality education.

“We just want to ensure great outcomes for our kids by telling them we support them and want them to be successful,” McCaskill said.

SchoolSeed will be partnering with other area nonprofits on a series of public forums beginning in July. The forums are intended to provide a neutral environment where parents can get information and ask questions concerning their children’s education.

The group has purchased billboard space and is running public service announcements to promote positive messages about Memphis education.

SchoolSeed has reached out to other Memphis nonprofits, including the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis, Latino Memphis, the Church Health Center, Urban Youth Initiative, the RISE Foundation, New Direction Christian Church, and Literacy Mid-South.

McCaskill said the number of nonprofit partnerships are growing as the campaign continues.

Megan Klein, vice president of resource development and marketing for the Boys & Girls Club, said all of the nonprofits involved with SchoolSeed share the same goal.

“We want to get the resources out in the community so everyone is on the same page. We are a group of nonprofits from faith-based to youth-serving with the same goal, and want to help spread this information in order to ensure the success of the children,” Klein said.

The “Our Children. Our Success” campaign will come to a close with a back-to-school weekend on August 3rd and 4th. The event will feature the campaign’s faith-based partners, which will offer prayers, tutoring, and mentoring to the students.

“All we want to do is put a positive message out there, so however someone reads it, they will be inspired to act,” McCaskill said.

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