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Christian Brothers University

Parents of students at the University Corridor elementary schools were seeking middle schools that offer a variety of educational programs focused on student interests, college and career readiness, rigorous standards, and high expectations.

The Department of Education at Christian Brothers University embarked on an agreement with Shelby County Schools to form a lab school at the current Fairview Middle School. With the push for more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) across the nation as well as the implementation of the Common Core Standards, it was a natural fit for CBU’s Department of Education to form a connection in this area that focused on college and career readiness, STEAM program design, STEAM program development and continuous improvement, instructional resource attainment and design, and STEAM professional development for faculty and staff.

From this initial proposal submitted in conjunction with community members and CBU faculty, the Maxine Smith STEAM Academy has emerged and is poised to serve as an exemplar for middle school STEAM programming and community engagement.

The Academy has already begun building firm relationships with established community partners. Our current partners include Christian Brothers University, the Salvation Army Kroc Center, the Greater Memphis IT Council, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, St. Jude Cure4Kids, and the Law Firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, and Berkowitz. Our community partners will provide students with unique learning opportunities beyond the classroom and resources that will help them excel and compete with students from all over the country. In addition to community support, parent support is essential to student success, and parents will be required to sign a Parent Support Agreement.

The staff at the Academy is dedicated to working with the parents of the students in the University corridor and look forward to a very successful year for the students of the Academy and the community.