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The East High Alumni Page presents:

Today's East High School
East High School, Memphis, Tennessee

Some information about East High School in the present time.
Another good source of current information about East High is our
East In the News section, our At the school listing, our History Section, and the school's web site.

East High School's Attendance Zone Map

Consolidated Page of Reports on East High STEM Optional School Plan
Academics Building and Campus
3206 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38111
See our Consolidated Page of Reports on the East High STEM Optional School Program

East Color Guard Looks Sharp

The East High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Color Guard presented the flags at the Board of Education Meeting September 24, 2019. Prior to knowing the cadets were from East, this writer noted they looked sharp and presented very well. The reason their school was not known was that they were not wearing the East traditional red and gray sholder cords and if they were wearing a sholder patch denoting East it was not noticed. It was a pleasure to learn they were from East High. First Sergeant Eugene Broadus (Retired), an JROTC instructor at East accompanied the cadets to the event as did Principal Newman Robertson, both pictured with the Color Guard after they presented at the meeting.

East High gets top score for achievement
in meeting "Annual Measurable Objectives"

August 17, 2019 - On August 15, the Tennessee Department of Education released its "TNReady assessment results" for the 2018-2019 school year.

East High rated a top level four for academic achievement on a scale of 0-4 but a one on academic growth. It should be noted that the scores are not necessarily based on an absolute evaluation of students' mastery of subject matter but rather on the school's Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO). AMO is a goal set based on the students' previous year level of academics and is set with the expectation that the school will "decrease by half the percent of students whose performance does not meet the standard over the course of eight years."1 The standard referred to means students are  on track to master or have mastered the curriculum's subject matter.

East also rated a one on the same scale for chronic absenteeism. As The East High Alumni Page understands the protocol, that reflects 20.1 to 30% of the students at East in 2019 were designated as chronic absentees, although it must be admitted the definitions are not fully understood. The calculation is apparently shows the "lower bound of confidence interval of percent of chronically absent students < prior year percent of chronically absent students."1

East scored a two on the 0-4 scale for the graduation rate in 2019.1

It got a score of one for the "Ready Graduate" evaluation. "The Ready Graduate indicator measures the percent of students who earn regular high school diploma and meet success milestones that are aligned to increase the probability for post secondary success."1 The rating matches the number of 2019 East High graduates designated as having achieved the ACT College Ready benchmarks: a single student.2

In 2019, East High completed its second year of a four year planned transition to become an all optional (magnet) school. Students in grades 9 and 10 were admitted only by application and meeting certain requirements. (For more details, see our East High T-STEM Optional School page.) Grades 11 and 12 were traditional curriculum students who largely were enrolled at East before the T-STEM program began.

The state Department of Education seems to change its reporting methodology year to year. If anyone with definitive knowledge has a correction to the above analysis, it is welcome. Send it to editor@EastHigh.org

You may read the Tennessee Department of Education's Accountability Protocol at https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/education/accountability/Accountability_Protocol_2019.pdf

1. Tennessee Department of Education
2. East High 2019 Commencement Exercise

One 2019 East High graduate met the ACT "college ready" criteria

July 23, 2019 - On May 22, 2019, the East High School Class of 2019 was graduated. During the commencement ceremonies, the names of students with special honors were called, which consisted of those in the National Honor Society, the top 19 graded students, and those who achieved the ACT "college ready" score of 21 or higher. Notably, of the 89 students graduating, only one met the college ready criteria. Also of interest, that graduate was not among the other honorees and was not the valedictorian or the saludatorian.

A few weeks later, the superintendent of Shelby County Schools was asked at a County Commission budget committee hearing was asked how many of the system's valedictorians achieved the ACT college ready mark. Joris Ray estimated it would be about 54%.

Since the ACT changed its scoring in 1989, and therefore there are East alumni who were scored under the previous matrix, The East High Alumni Page references the ACT concordance which gives the approximate equivalent score between the two groupings. An ACT score of 21 today equates to about a 20 in the pre-1989 ACT score.

The East High Alumni Page favors the ACT as the most reliable measure of academic achievement. It is mandated that every public school student in Tennessee take the ACT in their junior year of high school (and they may take it after that if they wish). That permits comparison among the local schools. Furthermore, the ACT is taken by thousands of students across the nation, permitting further analyzation. Also providing a significant measure of academic progress is the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) but it is only given to a limited number of students, schools, and grades across the nation each year.

The Class of 2019 is, if the current plans continues, the next to last of traditional curriculum students at East High. The school is half way through a four year process of converting to an all optional (magnet) school focusing on T-STEM (Transportation related Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). T-STEM students have to apply and meet certain criteria to be admitted to East High. This conversion began with the ninth grade in 2017 and progresses for a grade each year, meaning that with the beginning of the school year in August, 2020, will be all optional students.

East High Has New Principal

May 20, 2019, updated May 22, 2019 - Dr. Newman Robertson has assumed the position of principal of East High School. He was elevated to the principal position in April from an assistant principal job at East. A recent visitor to East reports that students call him Dr. Rob. Robinson got his Ph.D. in educational leadership and administration from the University of Mississippi. He has been with the school system for 14 years. East is his first duty as a principal.

Lischa Barrett (‘91), now Lischa Brooks, remains Executive Principal of East High as well as the Maxine Smith STEAM Academy, a middle school. She focuses on the T-STEM program at East while Dr. Robertson primarily gives his attention to the traditional classes.

According to the optional school plan for East, the 2019-2020 school year will have the 12th grade with traditional classes while grades 9-11 will be populated by the T-STEM (Transportation oriented Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum.

   Dr. Marilyn Hilliard, principal at East since the summer of 2015, has taken the role of principal of the Virtual School operated by Shelby County Schools.

Indications of Improvements at East High

May 8, 2019 - Shelby County Schools will tomorrow report improvements in attendance, reductions in chronic absences, and fewer expulsions since the beginning of the T-STEM conversion last year.

2016-17 2017-18
Attendance Rate
86.0% 92.5% 92.3%
Chronic Absenteeism
43.4% 51.6%
23.8% 24.9%
Exclusionary Suspension Rate

In 2017-2018, the ninth grade at East became an all optional program focusing on Transportation related Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (T-STEM) requiring students to apply and meet certain criteria to be accepted (see reports below). For 2018-2019, that program expanded to include both the ninth and tenth grades. It will continue to expand by a grade the next two years at which time the entire school will be a T-STEM optional school. The figures being presented to the Board of Education Academic Performance committee tomorrow may indicate the T-STEM students are taking their schooling more seriously.  It should be noted that the school system has attempted to reduce out of school suspensions, so the reduction in the exclusionary suspension rate may be a combination of better behavior and discipline methods other than out of school suspensions.

State Report Card Uses 2017 ACT Scores

December 10, 2018 - The East High Alumni Page considers ACT scores as the best evaluation of academic performance at high schools (see why) and was waiting anxiously for the 2018 scores. The Tennessee Department of Education released various evaluation statistics piecemeal in 2018 but the school level ACT scores were held until the full school report card was released in early December, 2018. Very unfortunately for anyone attempting to evaluate academic achievement and  despite it having been more than six months since the ACT tests were taken, the department chose to release the 2017 scores with the 2018 school report card. This site had already had reported the 2017 ACT scores in October, 2017.

2018 Graduation Rate Slips

October 19, 2018 - East High achieved a 77.2% graduation rate for the 2017-2018 school year, according to the Tennessee Department of Education. The state's figures base the rate on a ninth grade cohort of 114 pupils of which 88 were graduated.

The percentage is a decrease from the 2017 rate which was 79.7%. In 2016 it was 76.1%.

The figures also give demographic information for the graduates. It indicates that 51 were female and 37 male, all 88 classified as Black or African American, one of which apparently also identifies as Hispanic. Seventy-one were considered economically disadvantaged.

The ACT scores, which The East High Alumni Page considers among the most important evaluations, should be released soon. This year the Department of Education is releasing school data piecemeal. A report on the End of Course test results for 2018 is below

T-STEM Classes End of Course
Test Results

September 8, 2018 - Evaluating the attempt to return East High to academic excellence (as well as reasonable enrollment figures) during the transition of one grade at a time to the optional T-STEM program largely depends on the results of the End of Course (EOC) testing. For the 2017-2018 school year, only the ninth grade was optional-only T-STEM. End of Course figures for the entire high school (grades 9-12) were available here earlier, now we have EOC scores for the 9th grade only. This chart compares the East High full high school scores to the 9th grade EOC scores. Of course, the classes the students take in different grades often are different, so perhaps while valuable these comparisons are not direct. For a comparison of the full high school figures to those of some other high schools in the county, see our previous report.

East High Grades 9-12 & 9th Grade Only
End of Course Test Scores

Course:  ENGLISH
2018 mastered or on-track
Grades 9-12        
Grade 9 (only)
English 1     45.5 % 

Course: MATH
2018 mastered or on-track
Grades 9-12  6.8%                   
Grade 9 (only)
Algebra 1   14.8%
Algebra 2   50 % 
          Geometry     25%               

Course:  SCIENCE
2018 mastered or on-track
Grades 9-12  24.7%                   
Grade 9 (only)
Biology    79.1%               

"How one Memphis school is grappling to attract high-achieving students while also educating those left behind

"When parent and longtime Binghampton resident Lee Evans heard about the plan last year to require students to take a test to enroll at the iconic East High School, he didn't understand why that meant some students in the neighborhood could not attend.
   "Evans, an alumnus, worried they would drop out if they couldn't attend East. He also worried the neighborhood would lose its longstanding connection with the school."
Read the article: Chalkbeat, Aug. 31, 2018

2018 End of Course Results
for East High

August 21, 2018 - The Tennessee Department of Education has released a limited amount of information about the 2018 End of Course test aggregated scores for individual schools.  While these scores may prove somewhat useful in evaluating the academic performance at the school, The East High Alumni Page believes the metric that provides the best evaluation of a school's performance is the ACT score. ACT information has not yet been made available to the public in the 2018 reports. It should also be noted that there were problems with on-line testing in 2018 which caused delays in taking the test and reversion to paper tests in some cases. The disruption was such that the state decided not to use the scores in teacher evaluation if it would negatively affect that evaluation. Educators have suggested the problems with the testing could have also affected the students' performance negatively.

For East High, about the only category reported is that of students that are considered to have mastered the course material or are on track. Mastered means "Performance at this level demonstrates that the student has an extensive understanding and expert ability to apply the ...  [course] knowledge and skills as defined by the Tennessee Academic Standards. On-track means "Performance at this level demonstrates that the student has a comprehensive understanding and thorough ability to apply the ...  [course] knowledge and skills as defined by the Tennessee Academic Standards.

You will see that several of the numbers are lower for 2018 than 2017. Educators often say standards are higher and the course material is more rigorous, which leadd to lower scores as compared to previous years.

That said, here are the some of East High 2018 End of Course information provided by the state and a comparison with other high performing public high schools in the county. You may ask why the comparison is for the higher performing schools in the county. It is because East High at one time was one of the very highest academic performing schools and the district is making efforts to restore it to a high performing school. The figures below are for "all students" for whom the tests were considered valid.

2018 mastered or
2017 mastered or
on -track
White Station
Collierville High
Houston High

2018 mastered or
2017 mastered or
on -track
not reported
White Station
Collierville High
Houston High

2018 mastered or
2017 mastered or
on -track
White Station
Collierville High
Houston High

2018 mastered or
2017 mastered or
on -track
White Station
Collierville High
Houston High

All of the August, 2018, publicly released East High School End of Course information broken out from the full state list, including subgroup evaluations, can be see here (in a spreadsheet format).
The entire state End of Course results as released by the state can be accessed at the Tennessee Department of Education web site (this is in the csv format).
Academic "Growth"
The state also attempts to measure a student's growth in addition to their achievement. with the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). It measures student growth year over year, regardless of whether the student is proficient on the state assessment. In calculating a TVAAS score, a student's performance is compared relative to the performance of his or her peers who have performed similarly on past assessments.

There are five levels of TVASS. Levels 4 and 5 mean that students aggregated growth is above that expected for the school year, level 3 means that the growth was at the expected level, and levels 1 and 2 mean it was below the expected level. Level 5 reflects the most (best) growth and level 1 the least (worst).

It is important to remember that growth is different than achievement (or proficiency).  Growth can be excellent yet the achievement of the students can be well below proficient. Eventually, if growth remains above level 3 and a student has enough time in school, one would expect the achievement to improve to proficient levels.

Overall, East was rated as having the expected one year academic growth in the measured subjects. But that is an average, some classes did not do that well while others did much better.

Here are the 2018 TVAAS scores for East High:
Algebra I      Level 5
Algebra II     Level 1
Biology I       Level 3
Chemistry     Level 1
English I        Level 5
English II       Level 2
English III      Level 3
Geometry      Level 1
US History    Level 5

In the various categories, as well as overall, here is how the 2018 TVAAS calculations for East High came out:
Overall Composite Literacy Composite Numeracy Composite Literacy &  Numeracy Composite Science Composite Social Studies Composite
3 4 1 2 3 5

East High again mentioned in article about the new $92-million Collierville High School

   "[Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey] Hopson has been calling for larger and probably fewer high schools than legacy Memphis City Schools historically had to give students the same opportunities Aitken spoke of for Collierville.
   "Hopson's most recent discussions have been around making a renewed East High School the leading edge of that change...
   "SCS board member Miska Clay-Bibbs says Collierville High and the still general plans for East High School are a critical point in the shift. And the cost is part of the discussion.
   "'You think about maybe the possible sportsplex at East High School and you think about an investment in every high school so that it attracts students in that way and makes them feel good. That's costs money,' she said. " Memphis Daily News, Aug. 9/10, 2018

Day One
New school year sees historic changes shift to putting down roots

"The 1948 school year opened in September instead of August. A new campus near the outskirts of must have drawn similar attention.
   East High School opened with a capacity of 2,000 students, up from the original plans for an enrollment of 1,500. It was not quite complete on the first day, according to a history of East on the East High Alumni Page, www.easthigh.org, and added grades over the years until it was a full high school in 1950. The next year it was over capacity at 2,100 students, leading to construction of a nine-room annex.
   The school year that began Monday marks the second academic year for the four-year conversion of East from a conventional school with an attendance zone to a citywide T-STEM school – a science, technology, engineering and math curriculum with applications toward transportation uses of all kinds." Memphis Daily News, Aug. 6, 2018

Class of 2018 Graduates 89 New Alumni

May 19, 2018-The East High Class of 2018 was graduated this morning in cermonies First Baptist Curch—Broad, on Broad Avenue. Principal Marilyn Hilliard announced that 89 seniors met the qaulifications for the diploma. A total of $3.5 million in scholarships was offered to the class collectively. Nine graduates were offered "institutional" scholarships while 19 were offered state Hope scholarships and 39 can take advantage of the Tennessee Promise scholarship program.

Cummins, FedEx, U of M launching global tech program at East's T-STEM Academy

January 2, 2018
By Elle Perry  –  Digital Producer, Memphis Business Journal

Cummins Inc. is bringing a global program to a Memphis high school, marking a first for the company.

Cummins currently has 22 Technical Education for Communities [TEC] sites around the globe, though none are currently located within the U.S. But, on Thursday, that will change as the company and its more than 10 local partners sign a Memorandum of Understanding to mark the official launch of the initiative at T-STEM Academy East High School.

Read more at the Memphis Business Jouranl web site.
There is also a Commercial Appeal article about the same subject.

A Closer Look at the 2017 ACT
Scores at East High

October 12, 2017 - As this publication reported yesterday (see below), the Tennessee Department of Education released ACT scores for the 2016-2017 school year this week. All juniors in public high schools in Tennessee are required to take postsecondary readiness assessment such as the ACT or SAT. It appears the ACT is the test provided by the state. Students may take it additional times prior to graduation if they think they can score higher but at their own cost unless other programs will bear that burden. If a student misses taking the ACT as a junior, the state provides the opportunity for the pupil to take it without cost to him/her their senior year. With a 95% participation rate, East's 2017 composite ACT score improved by nine tenths of a point. Each year, The East High Alumni Page compares East's scores with other leading high schools in the county. Those 2017 composite ACT scores are shown below.

White Station

Houston High


A "college and career ready" composite score would be about 21.3. As demonstrated by the table above, East is substantially below that mark and even further behind the leading academic public high schools in the county.

Why ACT? Why does The East High Alumni Page compare East's scores with the leading area high schools? It is done because East High once was once among the leading academic high schools in the region. Furthermore, the Shelby County School district is making major efforts to increase East's academic performance as well as its enrollment by transitioning it over a four year period to an all class T-STEM optional (magnet) school (see our STEM page for details). As noted below, The East High Alumni Page believes the ACT is the most reliable evaluation of academic performance and permits the most valid annual comparison among schools, among states, and between/among various years. (Note: the 16.6 average composite ACT score for East in 2017 corresponds roughly to an ACT score of 13 in tests administered before 1989).

The state reports that at East High the 2017 composite scores had 10.8%  scoring 21 or higher and 77.5% below 19. The scores are based on 120 "valid tests" taken by East students.

The ACT reports scores in four core subject areas. Here are the average scores for 2017 by East students and the corresponding marks designated as "college and career ready" by the ACT.
East Score
ACT Collete & Career Ready

The college and career ready scores are selected to estimate "the minimum ACT college readiness assessment scores required for students to have a high
probability of success in credit-bearing college courses." It should be noted that some Shelby County School administrators have said they believe the college readiness scores can give a false impression that a student that does not achieve these scores will necessarily not do well in college.

Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson has repeatedly said one of the reasons many SCS schools have poor academic performance is because some 40,000 of its students come from homes with annual incomes of $20,000 or less and the associated dynamics of poverty. For the ACT test takers at East High included in the 2017, 77 (64%) were categorized as economically disadvantaged.

East ACT Composite Score Rises
Nearly a Point
October 11, 2017 - First Glance: Average composite ACT score at East rises almost a full point.

The 2016-2017 average composite ACT score at East was 16.6. Last year it was 15.7.

While this is a fairly significant improvement, it still is far below the "college ready" level. For those who took the ACT test before 1989, this corresponds to about a 13 on the old test.

The East High Alumni Page believes the ACT scores are the best measure of academic achievement. While there are conditions and exceptions, this measurement allows comparison among years and schools, both locally and nationwide.

As has been reported here, the Tennessee Department of Education is releasing selective academic testing results piecemeal this year prior to the full "state report card" on schools.

The East High Alumni Page will report further on the ACT results shortly.

East High's 2017 Graduation Rate Edges Up
September 22, 2017 - The Tennessee Department of Education is providing data from the 2016-2017 school year  piecemeal. Eventually it will be consolidated in to the traditional "report card."

One of the statistics released in mid-September is the 2017 graduation rate for East High School. For all students, the state calculates the graduation rate for East High at 79.7% in 2017. The previous year the number was 76.1%.

For all public schools in Tennessee, the graduation rate in 2017 was 89.1%.

The local schools The East High Alumni Page uses for comparisons and their rates:

Central                89.7%
White Station      85.1%
Houston              92.8%
Collierville           94.5%

For graduation rate purposes, the state begins tracking students when they enter the ninth grade (the cohort).  They have the four years plus the summer term after their senior year to earn a diploma to be counted as graduated in these statistics.

The Tennessee Department of Education provided breakdown among various groups at East:

subgroup cohort grad_count grad_rate
All Students
158 126 79.7
Black or African American 153 124 81
Black/Hispanic/Native American 156 125 80.1
Economically Disadvantaged 96 78
Hispanic 3

Non-Economically Disadvantaged 62
48 77.4
Non-English Learners
158 126 79.7
Non-Students with Disabilities 131 107 81.7
Students with Disabilities 27 19 70.4
Super Subgroup 157 125 79.6
White 2

Although it is not immediately explained with the chart, presumably the categories that are blank in the above statistics represent the number zero.
For all high schools in the Shelby County School district, the graduation rate for all students was 79.6%.                 

It Begins: East High's transition to an all optional school started with classes today!
August 7, 2017 - Ninth graders at East are now all in the T-STEM program. Classes began at 8:15 this morning. About a dozen students were seen entering the west entrance of the T-STEM building in the 20 minutes prior to the start of school. As of Friday, the school system said 90 children had registered for the ninth grade at East out of the 100 expected to participate in the T-STEM program. Additional registrations could be expected over the weekend and possibly in the next few days. Read more about the transition on our Consolidated Page of Reports on the East High STEM Optional Program.

East High announces an Alumni Breakfast
East High administrators will host an alumni breakfast April 22 to impart information about the changes at the school as it transitions to an optional only T-STEM (transportation oriented science, technology, engineering, and math) school. RSVP is needed by April 18. See the announcement's flyer for details.

East High's Executive Principal
To Divide Time Between East
and Smith STEAM Academy

Exclusive by The East High Alumni Page
March 19, 2017 - Lischa Barrett ('91), now Lischa Brooks, was appointed Executive Principal of East High School February 20...What was not clear was that Barrett would be executive principal of both East and the Maxine Smith STEAM Academy... Read more...

Getting to Know East High's New
Executive Principal
Who is Lischa Barrett Brooks and
what was her path to her new job at East?
Exclusive by The East High Alumni Page
March 12, 2017 - Lischa Barrett ('91 and Faculty), now Lischa Brooks, thought she was going to be a medical doctor. One of her majors in college was pre-med but she eventually pursued another career. Now she is being called upon to heal an ailing East High School.
Read more ...

New East High Executive Principal
Did Not Apply For Job

School will have a "fresh start,"
with all teachers having to apply
for positions at East

February 28, 2017 - Lischa Barrett Brooks ('91) was in her third year as founding principal of the Maxine Smith STEM Academy. Under her leadership, test scores became among the best in the district for a middle school. Apparently she had a good thing going at the Maxine Smith STEAM Academy and presumably she saw no reason to leave that school.
Read our exclusive report on her selection and plans for a "fresh start" for faculty appointments for East High.

Executive Principal Named for East High
to Lead School into T-STEM Program

February 24, 2017- Lischa T. Barrett Brooks ('91) is the new "executive principal" of East High School, having been appointed to lead the 68 year old school into a new era as a T-STEM (Transportation oriented Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) optional only (magnet) school. The appointment was made February 20 and was effective immediately.
Read more ....

Watch a School District Video about East High's Forthcoming T-STEM Program

Shelby County Schools has produced a video about East High's Transportation-Science, Technology, Engineering, and Match (T-STEM) optional school to which East is converting starting with the ninth grade in August, 2017. This video is primarily about and from the T-STEM open house held at East High January 18, 2017.  Watch via YouTube
You can also read the associated news release produced by the school district here.

Again: Administration Skips Updating Board on East STEM Progress
Once again, on January 31, the Shelby County Schools administration decided not to discuss the East High STEM project at the Board of Education meeting. For about two months top administration officials have said East STEM would be brought up before the board but then has decided not to do so. The East High Alumni Page has tried to keep alumni informed based on the information provided by those top administrators but obviously it has been misleading. That result is regretted.

A page consolidating all of the significant stories about East High being transformed into a STEM Optional School is now available for your convenience in keeping up with the major development for East High. See East STEM

Additional Considerations Regarding East High STEM
January 24, 2017 - While no board member opposition is expected to the plan to transform East High School into a fully optional T-STEM (Transportation oriented Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math focused) school over the next four years, there may well be some concerns about where children who live in the current East High attendance zone will be assigned next year.
   For those living in the East attendance zone, only ninth graders next year will be assigned to another school. Tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students will continue at East for the 2017-2018 school year. The next year, ninth and tenth graders not in the East optional programs will be assigned elsewhere, in 2019-2020 all but the senior class will be assigned elsewhere. The plan calls for East to be completely an optional school in 2020-2021.
   Tentative thoughts on the assignment of ninth graders for the 2017-2018 school year are that they will be zoned into either Douglass High or Melrose High.
   There could also be some discussion of renaming East High to something else but with the name "East" incorporated into it. Top administration officials have said they like the name as it is, "East High School," but at least one board member has suggested a name change might help market the new school curriculum. Source: The East High Alumni Page

First Substantive Look at East High T-STEM Program Afforded At Open House
While indicating plans are still flexible, Shelby County Schools (SCS) has revealed the most about the forthcoming T-STEM (Transportation oriented Science, Technical, Engineering, Math) optional school to which East High is to be transitioned beginning with the fall semester this year. An open house for parents and others interested in the East High T-STEM optional school was held January 18. Read much more...

East High STEM Plan Next Steps

January 12, 2017 - The East High Alumni Page has spoken with the administration of Shelby County Schools about the status of the East High STEM proposal.
    The SCS administration expects to implement the plan effective with the start of the 2017-2018 school year barring unexpected opposition. It is believed that the members of the Board of Education support the plan. While there may be some opposition by those who currently live in the East High attendance zone, since they or their children might have to attend another school, the administration does not expect any such opposition to derail the proposal.   
    The plan is expected to be discussed at the January 24, 2017, Board of Education Work Session which begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Coe building Auditorium, 160 South Hollywood Street, Memphis. No votes are taken and members of the public are not permitted to speak to the board at the Work Session.
    The administration does not plan to bring up the East STEM proposal at the Board of Education "business meeting" which begins at 5:30 p.m.  January 31. The administration believes, as most observers do, that the proposal to transition East High into a STEM optional school does not require a vote of the board. Votes of the board are taken at the business meeting sessions and the public is also allowed a limited opportunity to speak to the board members during the business meeting. Members of the public wishing to speak at the business meeting must sign up before the meeting begins. A sign up sheet is available from about 5 to 5:30 p.m.
    The administration does not propose to change the name of East High, at least initially. There has been some discussion among board members previously about altering the name if the STEM proposal is implemented.
    As reported elsewhere on these pages, the East High STEM proposal calls for the transition to occur year by year, grade by grade, beginning with the ninth grade in 2017. The administration foresees the probability of East having two principals during the transition phase, one for the STEM students and one for the traditional students. In an earlier post here, it was disclosed a job opportunity posting has been issued by the school district for a principal of East High to oversee the school as "a local, regional, and national model focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in Transportation Based Careers (T-STEM)." Also previously reported here, the district has published an estimate that there will be 100 seats available for students in the ninth grade STEM program at East beginning with the fall semester, 2017.
    For more background, follow the links in the above story and those below to additional links to some of the previously published stories.

"Transforming East High School into one of the most high performing high schools"

Handful Hear a Few New Details About East STEM proposal

Decision on "Hyper Underperforming" East High School Needed Soon - Transition would mean many changes

Done deal? - Plan east transition to all optional stem school called official

Update on STEM Reports
East STEM Principal
Job Opening Posted

January 10, 2017-Neither the Commercial Appeal nor the Memphis Daily News has picked up on the Chalkbeat story that the decision to convert East High to a STEM optional only school is "official." There could be several reasons having nothing to do with the facts of the story but it is notable. That said, the school district has posted an a job opening notice for a principal for East High School with the focus of  "a local, regional, and national model focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in Transportation Based Careers (T-STEM)," which is what the conversion proposal entails. It also says, "our District is opening the STEM Academy at East High School."

    January 9, 2017 - Shelby County Schools has listed its estimate of 100 open seats for ninth grade students in the STEM optional program. This conforms to the plan to convert East High to a fully STEM optional school grade by grade over the next four school years. As we have reported, brochures for the optional school program were to be sent to the printer in December, necessitating a decision at some level and some degree of confidence about what was to be East High's future. The decision has been referred to here as to whether a vote by the school board was "needed/requested," because it would not appear such a vote would be required. The superintendent, however, has on numerous occasions asked the school board for its sense on matters for which a board vote has not been require. Whether that still will occur in the East High STEM case or not is not yet known. In reference to the conversion plan, a top Shelby County School District administrator, however, told The East High Alumni Page some time ago that "we're going to do it."


January 7, 2017 - Chalkbeat Tennessee reports, "It's official. Big changes coming to historic Memphis East High School."  The report by the on-line education news source appears to be based on the school district's including the East High STEM conversion in its list of optional schools to have been promoted at a school district optional schools information event January 8. Click on the link below to read more.
Chalkbeat, Jan 7.
Update from The East High Alumni Page: January 9, 2017 - Shelby County Schools has listed its estimate of 100 open seats for ninth grade students in the STEM optional program. This conforms to the plan to convert East High to a fully STEM optional school grade by grade over the next four school years. As we have reported, brochures for the optional school program were to be sent to the printer in December, necessitating a decision at some level and some degree of confidence about what was to be East High's future. The decision has been referred to here as to whether a vote by the school board was "needed/requested," because it would not appear such a vote would be required. The superintendent, however, has on numerous occasions asked the school board for its sense on matters for which a board vote has not been require. Whether that still will occur in the East High STEM case or not is not yet known. In reference to the conversion plan, a top Shelby County School District administrator, however, told The East High Alumni Page some time ago that "we're going to do it."

2016 East High Academic Report Card

December 14, 2016 - The Tennessee Department of Education in mid December 2016 has released its "report card" on state schools.

The East High Alumni Page in the past and continues to believe the most relevant measure is the ACT score. It is believed the ACT permits reasonable comparisons among various years as well as among various schools. In Tennessee, every high school junior is required to take the ACT test, as are juniors in 15 other states.

East High's 2016 ACT average composite ACT score is 15.7, which is up a half a point from 2015. It correlates to an ACT score of about 12 on the pre-1989 ACT test.

As The East High Alumni Page has pointed out previously, East was among the top academically achieving schools in the region in its first 25 years of operation. After that, academic achievement began to slip. It has not been as high achieving since, although there certainly have been some successes at the school during periods of the past four decades. In recent years, the three top public high schools locally with the highest marks have been White Station, Houston, and Collierville. Collierville is now part of its own school district, Houston High is now part of the Germantown school district, and White Station is part of the large Shelby County School system, as is East High, and about 50% of the White Station student population is enrolled in its college preparatory optional program. Here are the composite ACT scores for the class scheduled to have graduated in 2016:
White Station



The average ACT composite score for all high schools in the Shelby County school system was 17.5.

The ACT establishes "college ready" benchmark. It does not appear the web published 2016 statistics for individual schools includes this indicator. Instead, the state report card gives a percentage of students in the 2016 graduating class getting a 21 or higher ACT composite score, which is one of the requirements for a student to qualify for a HOPE scholarship. The HOPE scholarship provides scholarship and grant assistance to Tennesseans attending eligible Tennessee postsecondary institutions. The percentages of 2016 graduating class ACT composite scores meeting the 21 or higher mark for the comparison schools are:
White Station



Graduation rates for 2016 at the schools being used for comparison here are:

White Station



The 2016 graduation rate for all high schools in the Shelby County school system was 78.7%.

Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson has repeatedly said one of the issues affecting academic performance is the level of poverty within Shelby County and the students attending his school district. The percentage of students with disabilities may also help one understand the scores in context. For the schools we are using for comparison those figures are below.

total students
% disadvantaged
% with disabilities
White Station

You can find the state's full report from the Dept. of Education web site.

East High STEM Decision
Delayed Until January
A Shelby County School District senior official has told The East High Alumni Page that the discussion by the Board of Education and the decision to move forward with converting East High to a STEM optional school has been delayed until the Board's January meetings. The administration's proposal to close two elementary schools and build 3 new schools apparently is the cause of the delay. Board meetings may be heard live on radio station WQOX, 88.5 FM and viewed on Memphis Comcast Cable Channel  19.  Coverage from those sources may also be streamed on the Internet from http://voiceofscs.com/

Very Small Gathering Hear a Few New Details at Second General Public Information  Session on Proposal to convert East High to a STEM Optional School
November 22, 2016 - There was a decidedly different atmosphere at the "info session" about the proposal to make East High an optional only STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) high school at a very poorly attended public meeting at First Baptist Church Broad November 22. There was nary a negative opinion of the plan to convert East into a high achievement STEM school, very much unlike a similar session held at East October 17...
Handful Hear a Few New Details About East STEM proposal
All commenting spoke in supportHandful Hear a Few New Details About East STEM proposal
All commenting spoke in support
Handful Hear a Few New Details About East STEM proposal
All commenting spoke in supportHandful Hear a Few New Details About East STEM proposal
All commenting spoke in support Handful Hear a Few New Details About East STEM proposal

"Info Session for East High School Alumni And Community" for November 22 announced by Shelby County Schools
SCS will hold the meeting at First Baptist Church Broad, 2835 Broad Avenue, Tuesday, November 22 at 6 p.m. As you will read below, the administration of Shelby County Schools is proposing to make East High an optional only STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) school beginning with the 9th grade next school year. They say East is on a trend in poor academics and low enrollment to be closed or taken over by the state and instead they want to make East a high acheivement school. A public discussion about the proposal was held at East in October with mostly teachers, alumni, and some parents attending. At that meeting and subsequently, Board of Education member Teresa Jones promised more public meetings before a decision is made. This appears to be one of those meetings. The Board is schedule to discuss among itself the issue at its November 29 "work session," and if a vote is needed/requested, to vote at its December 6 meeting. No public comment is allowed at the work session but there is a public comment period at the December 6 meeting. Those Board of Education meetings will be at the SCS administration building (see map) at 160 S. Hollywood at 5:30 p.m.

Initial OK on Making East a
STEM Optional School
Discussion November 29
If Board Vote is Asked, Expected December 6
Confirmed by Top Administrator

November 13, 2016 - A top Shelby County School administrator confirms that the Shelby County Board of Education will be asked to consider on November 29 giving the school district the initial OK to proceed with planning to make East High a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) optional only school with a four year transition beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. If a resolution or other vote by the Board of Education is needed, it would come at its December 6, 2016, meeting. No votes are taken at the November "work session" of the board and public comments are not taken at that meeting.
The December 6 "business meeting" is where items discussed during the work session, and added items, are voted upon. It is also where 30 minutes are set aside for members to speak to the public, with a maximum of 3 minutes for each speaker. If more than 10 speakers sign up, the amount of time for each is reduced accordingly. Speakers must sign up to speak during the half hour period prior to the 5:30 meeting.
Board member Teresa Jones has said there will be additional public meetings for parents, community, and alumni to have further input on the proposal before a final decision is made. Such additional meetings have not yet been scheduled, according to the Shelby County Schools calendar posted on its web site. It is entirely possible such a meeting or meetings could occur after the preliminary decision is made.
Link to address & map of location of the Board of Education meetings
See additional stories below.

Decision on "Hyper Underperforming"
East High School Needed Soon

Transition would mean many changes
Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson says a decision from the school board on whether to proceed with his proposal to transition East High into a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) focused optional school needs to be made within the next month... The superintendent said the easiest way to transition East would be to close it as a traditional school and then reopen it as a fully STEM school but because of tradition and allowing current students to finish at their school, the grade by grade transition would be preferable. He said there was plenty of space to, in essence, be running two schools within the building.
Read much more...

East High STEM to be Discussed
Tuesday, Oct. 25

Oct. 24, 2016 - The Academic Performance Committee of the Shelby County Board of Education will discuss the East High STEM proposal and community reaction to it at an Oct. 25 meeting at 4pm at the SCS Administration Building (160 S. Hollywood).
The Academic Performance Committee will report on its meeting to the full board during the board's business session beginning at 5:30 at SCS Administration building, Coe auditorium. Further discussion may occur at the full board meeting.
There is the opportunity for public comment before the board begins considering items on its agenda and there may be comments about East High. If you would like to speak, you need to sign up between 5 and 5:30. There could be a number of speakers on various subjects, so the time allocated to each speaker may be very limited. The maximum would be 3 minutes.

Initial Public Meeting on
Future of East High School As a
STEM Optional School
Parents and Public Offer Resistance to Plan

October 17, 2016 - The top academic officers of the Shelby County School system along with the Board of Education member in whose district East High sits tonight met with about 60 people comprising a few current East High students, a contingent of perhaps 25 alumni of the school, about a dozen East teachers, the remainder were parents and guardians of current students, and a few concerned members of the larger Memphis community. It appeared the largest group were alumni. Read more...

Top Administrators of School District
to Listen to Public & Parents
on East High's Future October 17

October 13, 2016 - It is believed the top academic administrators of the Shelby County School district will be at the Monday, October 17, 5:30 p.m. meeting at East High to hear what the public and parents have to say about the proposal to convert East High into a STEM magnet school. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. East High's academic performance has been well below the "college and career ready" benchmarks for many years and in the past couple enrollment has dwindled to about 550 pupils. The school was orginally designed for about 1500 students and a second building was added in the 1970s as a Vo-Tech center adding another 500 to the overall capacity. With the low enrollment and poor academic performance, East High has been described by SCS as on a trend that would lead to it being a target to be closed.
But East High is also descirbed as an "iconic" school, it has a very rich history of a top academic school not only in the city but in the entire region during its first 20-25 years after opening in 1948. That, along with its central location, $12-million renovation a decade ago, and already housing the school district's high school STEM lab for students in the virtual STEM program, administrators are working to not only save the school but restore its luster. The proposal is to make it a STEM optional (magnet) school serving students from all over the district who have the interest, grades, and conduct to be accepted. Superintendent Dorsey Hopson last year said that the planned date for the revised curriculum would be the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
 The top echelon of academic administrators for the school district are likely to be at Monday's meeting, probably including Hopson, Chief Academic Officer Hedi Ramirez, Director of Optional Schools Linda Sklar, Innovation Zone Regional Superintendent Sharon Griffin, Curriculum & Instruction STEM Manager Dedric McGhee, and Instructional Leadership Director Brett Lawson. Board of Education member Teresa Jones, in whose voting district East is located, is also expected to attend.

Meeting for the Public on Future
of East High School Oct. 17

October 12, 2016 - It is reported that a meeting will be held at East High School on October 17, 2016, 5:30pm to discuss the future of the school. The meeting is to get opinions of the public. School Board member Teresa Jones, in whose voting district East sits, is expected to attend.
(See the reports below for more information on East's future.)

Plans for East's Future Murkie?
Newspaper: "The plan to turn one of Memphis' most iconic high schools into an optional STEM school has gotten murkier after not making the cut for a federal grant.
"Shelby County Schools did not receive a U.S. Department of Education grant sought to redesign East High School as a magnet school focused on science, technology, engineering and math, a district spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday." (The Commercial Appeal, Oct. 12/13, 2016)
Superintendent Dorsey Hopson has told The East High Alumni Page within the past few weeks that the administration planed to pursue the STEM plans for East regardless of the status of the grant.

"Transforming East High School
into one of the most
high performing high schools"

September 28, 2016 - Fifty and sixty years ago East High School was one of the premier academic public schools in the mid-south region. In more recent decades, East's academic performance has fallen. In the past couple of years, so has attendance. East now has about 550 pupils attending its 9-12 grades. It has been pointed out that the trend in attendance and academic performance, if continued, would put East on the list for possible closure. Instead, the Shelby County School district proposes to address the academics with hopes it will build attendance. At the September 27, 2016, Board of Education meeting, superintendent Dorsey Hopson said he is ready to reveal those plans: "Also want to note for the board two things. We are going to be asking the board to put together or convene, probably in the Academic Performance Committee, a couple of meetings. One, hopefully, late next week so we can update the board on East High School... As you all know we applied for a [federal] magnet [school] grant. We'll know by the thirtieth whether we received the grant but even if we don't receive the grant we still want to begin the process of transforming East High School into one of the most high performing high schools in this state. So we're going to update you on where we are there, the process that we've come up with, and what needs to happen between now and next year to make that happen."
Update: As of Oct. 5, the office of the board members reports no Academic Performance Committee meeting has been scheduled.
(See also related stories below and in the right column.)

Board Endorses Grant Request to Make East a T-STEM optional school
The Shelby County Board of Education voted May 31, 2016, without debate to endorse a grant request to the United States Department of Education "to enhance the programs offered, improve college and career readiness, increase the racial and socio-economic diversity and to eliminate or reduce minority group isolation of students throughout the system by creating a school-wide T-STEM Optional program at East High School." T-STEM stands for Transportation, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).  See the proposal.
While the curriculum for the proposed T-STEM school has not been identified, it would focus on transportation related technologies, although classes that have broader application and/or do not focus on transportation would also be offered.
The DOE grants are said to be highly competitive but at least two rounds of grants under the particular program being offered are expected to occur this summer.
Tentative plans remain to open East High in the late summer of 2017 as a STEM, or T-STEM optional (magnet) school.
As reported previously by The East High Alumni Page, enrollment at East High, both in the traditional classes and the engineering optional classes has decreased dramatically in the past few years. In April, 2016, the pupil count was reported at 554 in the building which was originally designed for at least 1,500 students and since then there has been a second building added to the campus. Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson in May, 2016, said that while East was not at the enrollment level yet to be considered for closing, if the decreased attendance trend continues it could be a candidate for closure in a few years. It is the first time in East's 68 year history the concept of closing East High has been voiced.
Source: The East High Alumni Page

66th Commencement of East High School
One hundred forty-eight students were graduated Sunday, May 22, 2016, when the 66th class of East High received its diplomas in ceremonies at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Memphis. It was the first East graduation for interim principal Dr. Marilyn Hilliard. According to school officials, the senior class received $6.6-million in scholarship and other grant award offers.
For the first time, at least in recent years, there was no guest speaker at the commencement exercise. For the second year in a row, no singing or instrumental rendention of the alma mater was included.

2016-2017 East High Operating Budget & Statistics (as proposed)
Shelby County Schools will present its Proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Budget (school year 2016-2017) to the County Commission May 25. This year, the district released individual school spending and statistics. East High is proposed to receive $2,447,321 from the general fund, have 16 classroom teachers for a pupil population of 552, and a teacher-student ratio of 1:33. The budget is subject to revision for numerous reasons, including how much the County Commission votes to fund. See the chart.
The East High Alumni Page cannot help but notice how close the FY17 operating budget figure is to the amount it cost to build the school originally ($2,485,397.07).

State Report: East Academics
Remain Low in 2014-2015

There were only a few relatively bright spots in the state report card, released October 22, 2015, on East High School for the 2014-2015 school year. Overall, academic growth of the students was below expectations, ACT scores remained low, the graduation level was below target. In two academic subjects, students did meet or exceed their academic growth expectations.

ACT - The Tennessee Department of Education reports the 2014-2015 overall ACT composite score for East High School students was 15.2. That corresponds to about an 11.2 on the pre-1989 ACT scoring matrix. All juniors in Tennessee public high schools are required to take the ACT.

The East High Alumni Page considers the ACT the primary comparison measure of academic achievement. It is the one score that can be compared to other schools locally and nationally and also over time. There are, however, limitations affecting such comparisons. For example, in other years and in other states not every student may take the ACT. Low performing students may not have taken it, which would skew the results for a school or district higher than it otherwise would be. It is also possible, especially in decades past, that academically accelerated students might opt not to take the ACT and instead took the SAT. Their not having taken the ACT would skew the overall results for a school or district lower. It should also be noted that average ACT scores of all students includes those with disabilities and those who are English language learners. Decades ago, the ACT was a voluntary test, perhaps taken only by those expecting to go to college, which would likely skew the results somewhat higher than if every student took it.  Nevertheless, The East High Alumni Page highlights the average ACT composite score as the benchmark for time and place comparisons.

The 2014-2015 average ACT composite score at East High of 15.2 appears to be lower than it had been in at least 15 years (see chart below).
ACT  Composite

Approximate Pre-1989 ACT Corresponding Score


2013 15.92













The 2014-2015 composite ACT score for all Shelby County School District schools was 16.9.

Unlike the first 25 years or so of East High's operation, East High has not been among the top academically achieving schools in the region in decades. The three top schools locally with the highest marks in recent years have been White Station, Houston, and Collierville. Here are their composite ACT scores for 2015:
White Station



The ACT establishes "college ready" benchmark scores that it says indicate a student has a 50% chance of obtaining a grade of B or higher or a 75% chance of obtaining a grade of C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing first year college courses. During this school year, the results of East's ACT showed the following percentages being "college ready."
All 4 subject areas 1%



It should also be remembered that East is an optional school for engineering and health sciences. It would not be an unreasonable expectation that math and science scores would be higher for such an optional school. As we have reported, however, enrollment in the optional programs at East has been very low in recent years.

Perhaps it should also be noted here that for more than ten years, the Peer Power Foundation (formerly known as The Greater East High Foundation) has offered free (to the students being  tutored) tutoring at East. The foundation has reported sucessful academic achievement among its participants. Pupils taking advantage of the free tutoring have generally been in the range of one hundred or fewer each year.

HOPE Scholarships - The state report appears to show that only nine students, or 6.4% of East High students tested, met Hope Scholarship eligibility. The HOPE Scholarship was created by Tennessee to provide financial assistance to state residents who are entering college freshmen with a GPA of 3.0 or higher or a 21 or higher composite score on the ACT. It is funded through the state lottery. Despite the state report card numbers, the 2015 East High commencement program lists 30 students with HOPE scholarship offers and 21 students with additional scholarship offers.

TVAAS - Tennessee public schools administer exams in certain subjects which are analyzed to create the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). TVAAS statistically takes a student's past performance into account and projects an expected performance. The state report card aggregates those scores for each school and reports how well the school's students did in comparison to expectations. The ratings are from 1 to 5, with 3 meaning expectations were met and that, essentially, the students learned a years worth of academic material during the school year. Scores higher than 3 indicate results above the predicted level, lower scores mean pupils did not grow academically as much as would be expected during the school year. Subject areas included were Algebra I, Reading, Algebra II, English I, Biology I, Chemistry, English II, Math, and Science. 
Here are East High's results for 2014-2015:
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Literacy and Numeracy
Level 2

TVAAS reported that the results were below expectations in Algebra II, Biology I, Chemistry, English III, and Reading, as well as generally in Math and English. Observed results were above expectations in Algebra I and English II. It must be emphasized that TVAAS does not measure the overall academic performance but rather the growth students have compared to their expected growth during a school year. For example, if a D student was expected to again get a grade of D, he/she would have met the TVAAS expectation (a Level 3), yet academically the student would still be doing poorly.

School Profile - The state report gives the October, 2014, enrollment figures for East at 582 pupils in all grades (9-12). The building itself has housed more than 1500 students in decades past. Daily attendance was indicated to be 90.2%. In the 2014-2015 school year, 78.2% of the pupils were considered economically disadvantaged, 13.6% of the enrollees had disabilities. The average per pupil expenditure, based on the Shelby County Schools budget was $11,221.60. Racial statistics indicate 97.8% of those attending East were classified as black or African American.

Graduation Rate - The 2015 graduation rate was 69.1%. During the 2014-2015 year, 7.4% of the pupils dropped out of East High School. The four year cohort dropout rate was 17.7%.

Additional Academic Indicators - Some other academic indicators were
reported earlier (see below), including comparisons with the top academically performing high schools in the area.

East's Future - An interim principal was assigned to East High for the 2014-2015 school year and the superintendent of Shelby County Schools has floated the idea of possibly making East a STEAM high school. STEAM stands for an optional school that emphasizes Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. The administration also indicated the search for a new principal might entail a national search. Both of those ideas are, at last report, being explored but not yet decided upon. You can read about these proposals in greater detail in other articles on The East High Alumni Page.

As is stated every year, the editor of The East High Alumni Page is no expert in statistics or educational analysis. Anyone, especially East alumni, with such expertise who might wish to contribute a greater understanding to these reports is welcome and encouraged to contact editor@EastHigh.org.

You are encouraged to review the state report card yourself at

Will East High become a STEAM School?
The Shelby County School Board tonight, Sept. 15, 2015, discussed a possible change in focus for East High School. Superintendent Dorsey Hopson asked the board if it would endorse the staff exploring making East a STEAM academy drawing students from across the city. STEAM schools emphasize advanced classes in science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Read our full report on our "In the news ..." section.

East High's New Interim Principal: Dr. Marilyn Hilliard

Dr. Marilyn Hilliard is East High's new interim principal for the 2015-16 school year. Although we are unaware of an official announcement by the superintendent of her name, it is posted on the East High web site and therefore is now public. Hilliard is a ten year employee of the local public school system and has been an assistant principal for the past two years. Read more on our

Hilliard replaces Eric Harris ('91 and principal 2010-2015) as principal at East.

Read more about Dr. Hilliard on our "In the news..." page.

2015 Academic Performance Measurements Released by State
East shows growth in one subject, declines in six others
Overall school academic growth ranked in lowest category

July 29, 2015 (with updates through Aug. 8, 2015) - The Tennessee Department of Education today released district and school level academic performance measurements for 2015 which are shown below. The measurement of growth shows advancement in only one of the seven tested subjects, that being Algebra II. It should be noted, however, despite that bit of growth in proficiency in the one subject over last year's scores, the percentage of Algebra II students rated proficient or above was only 21.8%.

Below the East High figures are those for White Station, Houston, and Collierville High Schools for comparison. In recent years, White Station has been the the legacy Memphis City School district's highest performing school. It is important to note that White Station is 50% college preparatory optional school and 50% regular zone school and the numbers you see here combine both of those groups. Most of the high performing students probably are in the optional program at White Station. In recent years, Houston High has been the highest performing school in Shelby County, but this year it appears Collierville just edged slightly higher in overall proficiency. East and White Station are in the Shelby County School District. Houston High is in the suburban Germantown District and Collierville High is in its own Collierville District.

As you can see East High which was a leader regionally in academic performance in the 1950s, 1960s, and part of the 1970s, falls far below these other schools in academic performance. If one sums the percent rated proficient and advanced for each school in all the tested subjects, East is 413.3 percentage points below that of the highest performing Collierville High.

The East High Alumni Page presumes the state will release its annual Report Card on Schools with additional statistical information, including the important ACT scores, in the autumn (typically October or November).

In the tables below are the percentages of students who scored in each proficiency level in 2014-15. "Growth" represents the difference between 2013-14 and 2014-15 in terms of the percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced. The other categories are more or less self explanatory.

East High

Subject %Below Basic %Basic %Proficient %Advanced %Proficient and Advanced Growth
Algebra I 31.3 25.4 29.1 14.2 43.3 -10.8
Algebra II *** *** *** *** 21.8 3.7
Biology I *** *** *** *** 17.4 -14.2
Chemistry *** *** *** *** 9.3 -1.5
English I *** *** *** *** 34.1 -5.1
English II *** *** *** *** 37.1 -6.5
English III *** *** *** *** 10.2 -0.9
White Station High

Algebra I 18.3 24.5 25.5 31.7 57.2 -12.4
Algebra II 8.0 18.1 33.0 40.9 73.9 11.8
Biology I 9.4 15.8 47.0 27.8 74.8 5.3
Chemistry 17.6 21.2 24.5 36.7 61.2 3.7
English I 6.2 16.1 48.9 28.8 77.7 -3.5
English II *** *** *** *** 76.7 -0.6
English III 14.1 30.2 30.2 25.5 55.7 2.8
Houston High

Algebra I *** *** *** *** 84.8 8.2
Algebra II *** *** *** *** 84.5 9.0
Biology I *** *** *** *** 88.9 4.7
Chemistry 5.4 15.9 36.8 41.9 78.7 14.0
English I *** *** *** *** 90.8 1.7
English II *** *** *** *** 87.7 2.1
English III *** *** *** *** 70.9 -1.2
Collierville High

Algebra I *** *** *** *** 87.3 0.4
Algebra II *** *** *** *** 85.9 5.1
Biology I *** *** *** *** 87.5 2.9
Chemistry *** *** *** *** 80.8 11.6
English I *** *** *** *** 92.4 4.8
English II *** *** *** *** 86.3 1.1
English III 7.3 26.3 42.7 23.7 66.4 5.6
***    One achievement level is either < 5% or > 95%
(In district-wide tables, three asterisks mean there was no data for 2014-2015. The meaning in this school level data and the "one achievement level is either..." note that accompanies it is confusing or unintelligible to this writer at this time.)

East High also ranked as a Level One school in terms of overall student growth in 2015, the lowest category. The levels range from one to five with Level Three representing an expected one years academic growth in one school year. Level five means substantially more than one year's expected growth. Level One means much less than one year's growth. Each student's academic history is considered and matched with others in the state of Tennessee to determine expected growth, so it varies by each student. Taking the results of these measurements for all students in the school and comparing them to students with similar academic histories throughout the state gives the overall school level of growth. The tested high school subjects which create these Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) are Algebra I, Algebra II, Biology I, Chemistry, English I, English II, English III.

The editor of The East High Alumni Page does not pretend to know much about statistical analysis and invites those with greater ability to analyze the numbers and draw conclusions are invited to assist. Contact editor@EastHigh.org
[The above article was update August 1, 2015]

East Graduates 124 in Class of 2015,
lowest number in memory

Sixty-fifth Commencement of East High School graduated 124 students the morning of May 16, 2015 at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Memphis. The Cannon Center rests on the land where Ellis Auditorium once stood in which a number of East High classes in the 1960s and 1970s were graduated. The 2015 class was the smallest graduating class size in recent memory. The school reported that the seniors received $4,808,697 in scholarship offers.
2014 State Report Card on Schools:
East High ACT Score Remains Low

Oct. 31, 2014 - [Please also see the story below for additional information]
East High's 2014 ACT average composite ACT score was 15.67, according to the Tennessee State Report Card on Schools released Thursday, Oct. 30.  In 1989 the ACT revised its scoring. A score of 16 today roughly corresponds to a 12 in pre-1989 ACT scoring.  It should be noted that now in Tennessee all high school juniors are required to take the ACT. Decades ago, it was voluntary and therefore those who might have scored very low may not have taken the test, giving results that skewed higher than they would have been if everyone took the exam. At least in the first two decades of its existence, East High was considered a school with an expectation that most students were candidates for college and, therefore, it may be that the vast majority of students took either the ACT or SAT tests. If almost all took the ACT, that would more accurately reflect the overall school academic achievement and provide a better comparison with modern ACT scores, once the 1989 scoring adjustment is applied. The East High Alumni Page believes the ACT score is the best measure of academic achievement both among schools in the present era and comparison between eras.
In 2013, the average composite ACT score at East High was 15.92 and in 2012 it was 16.0.
This editor admits a lack of understanding the state's evaluation in which it categorizes the composite ACT score at East to be meeting "the Standard for Academic Growth"  because it was above the predicted score, although it is obviously less than the either of the past two years. How lower scores can be meeting growth standards raises serious questions.
The 2014 Report Card on Schools is presented in format more difficult to navigate and to evaluate than in most past years, although last year's report was somewhat more complex to analyze. Whether the method of presentation is an intentional effort to obscure the data for most individuals could be a legitimate question, although the answer could probably be accurately predicted.
See our story below for a comparison of top local schools with East High.
The East High Alumni Page may, in coming days, attempt to analyze additional information from the State Report Card as it relates to East High and post the results here. The state's Department of Education web site's State Report Card on Schools is linked here.

2014 Academic Performance Measurements Released
[Editor's note - Oct. 31, 2014: There appears to be significant differences in the percent proficient/advanced in the following areas for East High School in the report released Oct. 30 and the one released in August. The East High Alumni Page has not yet attempted an evaluation of those differences.]

August 19, 2014 - The Tennessee Department of Education has released performance results for East High and other public schools statewide.
Here are the numbers for East High School.
Subject  percent proficient/advanced

East High
White Station Houston High
East growth
US History I
84.9 95.8
English III 11.1 52.9
English II 43.6 77.3
English I 39.2 81.3
Algebra I
54.1 69.6
Biology I 31.6 69.5
Algebra II 18.1 62.2
Chemistry 10.8 57.5

For comparison purposes a test results from a couple of other schools are provided.

Often White Station High School is cited as the most academically successful of those schools which were in the Memphis City School district (now merged with Shelby County Schools). About fifty percent of the White Station student body is in the "optional school" program with a focus on college preparatory studies.

Houston High School, which until the 2014-2015 school year was a county school (but now is a Germantown Municipal School District school),  often has had the highest academic scores of public schools in Shelby County.

For more information see the state's Department of Education web site.

The East High Alumni Page considers the ACT scores to be the definitive measurement of academic achievement. The ACT results can give some indication of educational performance among the states and provides what is believed to be a relatively valid comparison over the years. So using the ACT, an alumnus can get a sense of how pupils are doing and evaluate that not only over the years but also with their personal knowledge of ACT scores from their days in school. The ACT scores for the school apparently will become available when Tennessee releases its state report card on school in October.

Sixty-forth Commencement of
East High School

The 64th class of East High School was graduated tonight, May 20, 2014. Forth year principal Eric Harris said 148 students qualified for graduation and diplomas were handed out at ceremonies tonight at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Memphis. The class members were offered $6.5-million in scholarships and awards. Keynote graduation speaker and civil rights icon James Netters told the class that dreams, faith, confidence, and judgment should guide them through their lives and to never forget they are graduates of East High School. Principal Harris charged the young men and women,for whom this was the first class that he oversaw as principal throughout their entire high school career if they only attended East for four years, to remember the night before their first day at East. He said they may have tried to arrange to meet with a friend at the big  school the next day. Now, however, they knew the school inside and out, and some of the people they met there would be friends for life. He encouraged the graduates to walk away from negative relationships and embrace positive ones.

With the 2014 graduation, for the first time, the East High School diploma was issued by Shelby County Schools. The Memphis Board of Education had in 2010 voted to surrender its charter and that decision was ratified both by the city council and by referendum of city voters. After years of transition, the 2013-2014 school year was the first with the former city school being fully merged into the county school district. That changed the diplomas to read they were awarded by Shelby County Schools.

Class of 2013 Graduates
The 63rd Commencement of East High School was conducted Saturday, May 25, 2013, at the Cannon Performing Arts Center in downtown Memphis. One hundred seventy-four seniors were reportedly graduated. The guest speaker for the event was Pastor Keith Norman of First Baptist Church-Broad. The emphasis of his message to the graduates was to keep good company because they will act like the company they keep.
This is the final class of East High School to receive a diploma from Memphis City Schools as the city school system dissolves into the Shelby County School system in the summer of 2013.
Snapshots from the commencement exercise are available from the Class of 2013 directory page.

2012 State Report Card on Schools shows ACT score remains low
and the same as last year

The 2012 Tennessee State Report Card on Schools is out as of November 1 and it shows a composite ACT score for East students as 15.9, the same as last year. According to the ACT Concordance, this would be the equivalent of a pre-1989 ACT composite score of about 12.
The East High Alumni Page is not immediately able to provide an analysis of the 2012 report on East but encourages you to review the results at the Department of Education web site.

Graduation, 2012

Class of 2012 Graduated
Two hundred twenty students comprise the 62nd graduating class of East High School. Commencement Exercises were held May 20, 2012, at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Memphis. According to the program, 47 of those students received an "honors diploma."

East Fails to Meet Adequate Yearly Progress Requirements, Falls a Step on 2011 State Report Card on Schools
Dec. 2, 2011 - The day after a national organization recognized one of East High's teachers as one of the outstanding teachers in the nation, the state has classified East High School as a "School Improvement I" school based  on its performance. That is a step below where it has been the past three years. The school has failed to meet the federal Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks. ACT scores dropped a fraction of a point in all areas from the previous year's scores, the 2011 composite score being 15.9, the approximate equivalent of a pre-1989 ACT composite score of 12.
The East High Alumni Page has prepared a report on the 2011 State Report Card on Schools which you may access by clicking here.

You are encouraged to review the Tennessee Department of Education's 2011 Report Card on Schools yourself as it relates to East High School. It may be accessed here. Use the tabs at the top of the report section to see various results.

2010 Report Card on Schools Released
January 7, 2011 - The long delayed Tennessee state report card on schools for 2010 has been released. East High remains a "target" school, not meeting the benchmark for the graduation rate. However, for the state's report, the 2009 graduation rate is used and is 62.4%. The 2010 graduation rate is reported to have been 76.4%, considerably better but still far below the state's goal of 90%.

The East High Alumni Page has prepared a report based on the State's figures.

2009 Report Card on Schools

November 3, 2009 - The Tennessee Department of Education released its annual "report card" on schools showing the latest standardized test averages. Methods and baseline years have been changed, making comparison to previous years' reports difficult or impossible. However, the score The East High Alumni Page finds important is one that does not change methods often, the ACT. For those East High students taking the ACT in 2008-2009, the average composite ACT score was 17.07. While that score is up from last year's 16.72, it is significantly below the state average. It also is approximately equivalent to a pre-1989 ACT score of  13.07. White Station High School, often cited as the best academic high school in the Memphis City School system in the present era, achieved a 2009 composite ACT score of 23.71. You may view the 2009 Report Card figures about our school by searching for "East High"  in the form at the Tennessee Department of Education web site.

Below is information previously posted about academics at East High.

East High remains on "target" list of schools not meeting benchmarks.
July 23,  2009 - East High remains on the Tennessee Department of Education's "target" list for the 2009-2010 school year, indicating the school's pupils did not meet one or more benchmarks in testing during the 2008-2009 year. After being on the more serious "high priority" list for several years, East was upgraded in 2008 to the target list. The high priority list is for schools that have failed to meet the same benchmarks in 2 or more years. The 2008 Department of Education "Report Card on Schools" cited East as being deficient in Reading/Language Arts/Writing and graduation rate. Since the criteria for the high priority list is having failed to meet the same benchmark(s) for 2 years in a row, and East has not been placed back on that list, it would seem to imply that East may have performed satisfactorily in those categories of English and graduation rate but failed to meet the guidelines in another category. Such a scenario would be surprising since the other major category is math and The Greater East High Foundation has concentrated on tutoring in math at the school for several years and math scores have been improving. Details about where the school's pupils failed to meet the benchmarks likely won't be revealed until the 2009 Report Card on Schools is released later this year.

In the initial report posted here yesterday, it was indicated that it was unknown if East was on the target list since that list was unavailable. It was further speculated that since East did not move back to the high priority listing, it might also free itself from the targeted school list since if it had failed in the same categories as it previously did it would have qualified as high priority. The Tennessee Department of Education does not publish the list of targeted schools because it does not wish those schools to be labeled as failing. However, the list was made available through a public records request and therefore we were today able to somewhat clarify the situation regarding East High.

East Fails to maintain progress in 2008
according to standardized test results

Read our report
See the state Report Card data

Also see these documents:
2009 Computer Statistics (Compstat) Report on East High School Problems & Courses of Action

Meet Eric Harris, East's new principal
Get to know our new principal, Eric Harris ('91). Read the new edition of the Mustang Roundup - Alumni Edition!

Eric Harris, a 1991 graduate of East, was appointed prnicipal of the school in June, 2010.A new principal was appointed to East High School to take over in the summer of 2010. Mr. Eric Harris is a 1991 graduate of East. His previous assignment was a "11th grade principal" at White Station High School, Memphis City Schools most academically successful school. A grade specific principal is an assistant principal assigned to oversee the pupils in that one grade. Mr. Harris was charged, along with the principal of White Station, with a violation of state law in allegedly failing to report a physical attack on a White Station student in September, 2009. Both have waived a November, 2010 juvenile court hearing and asked that the case be heard in criminal court. Subsequently, both have been indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury in mid August, 2010. The charge is a misdemeanor and school system officials clearly did not lose confidence in  Mr. Harris and he not only continued in his position at White Station but was then promoted to the top job at East High.

As of August, 2007, the school known as East High became, for the first time in its history, only a high school. There is no middle school, or junior high, on campus. East High has only classes for grades 9 through 12. Grade 8 was eliminated after the 2006-2007 school year, grade 7 was moved the previous year. Elementary classes were discontinued after the 1984-1985 school year.

East High is the location for the school system's optional school program for college preparatory classes in health sciences, engineering, and allied health.

In January, 1999,  East High School was chosen as one of
25 schools in the nation to be a "New American High School."

New American High Schools are selected to participate in a program with the goal of fully preparing students to meet the challenges of a changing technological and global economy. These schools expose students to information about careers while adhering to challenging academic standards. They help students acquire the communications, problem-solving, computer and technical skills
necessary to pursue college or other opportunities. The schools develop partnerships with the community, parents and post secondary institutions and are expected to demonstrate sustained student academic performance. Schools participating in this initiative have committed to monitor their academic activities in order to better gage their improvement in a number of areas. These include raising student achievement by focusing on specifics such as curriculum, teaching methods, after-school help, accountability, and effective relationships with middle schools and post secondary institutions.

Information about East's selection as a New American High School and the program itself is from  The United States Department of Education. More information about the selection of East is available from the East In the News section of The East High Alumni Page.

For more information on the New American High School program itself, visit the U.S. Department of Education's NAHS web page

November 10, 2008 - The 2008 "report card" on schools was released and despite some slippage, East is removed from the state's "high priority" list.
Read our report
See the state Report Card data

November 3, 2007 - The 2007 "report card" on schools was released November 2, 2007. See the data about East High at the Tennessee Department of Education web site. Use the tabs near the top of that page to see the various sections of data.

August 6, 2007 - State Recognizes improvement at East High. See our In the News ... section.

July 31, 2007 - Tennessee Department of Education intervenes in the running of 17 Memphis City Schools, including East High School. See our report and the State's directives.

2005 Annual Yearly Progress evaluation indicates failure to meet standards. Read more...

Dept.of Education Year 2004 Report Card on East High - click here

First Floor of East High leased to the University of
Memphis for one year for a middle school

August 11, 2019 - The first floor of East High School will be used by the University of Memphis for its Middle School for the 2019-2020 school year

The Shelby County Board of Education July 30 approved a lease contract with the University for use of the first floor for $42,420 for the 12 months.

The University has long operated the Campus School, located on the main campus of the university, for elementary classes. It provides early grade instruction mostly for children of employees of the University of Memphis and also serves as an instructional laboratory for the university's professors exploring new teaching techniques and for students majoring in education.

The University's Middle School is new, opening for the 2019-2020 school year. The University had planned to operate it in the former St. Anne Catholic School on Highland Street but the church and university could not reach agreement. The church required that no teachings in the school would conflict with the church's religious beliefs. Without that venue, the university was left without a place for the estimated 60 students it planned to enroll this year. Eventually, the university turned to Shelby County Schools to ask if it could lease space in the East High School building.

East High's original building was built to accommodate 1,500 students. Over the years at times it housed more than 2,000 in grades K-12. In the school year ending in 2019, East High, now only grades 9-12, had less than 500 students spread across the original building and two other buildings which were built on the East campus in the 1970s and 1980s.

The University Middle school will reserve one third of its enrollment for students who live within two miles providing opportunities for pupils who are not children of university employees.

Football stadium on East High Campus
makes first cut in school system priorities
for this year's budget expendatures

[Update August 11, 2019 - A senior official at Shelby County Schools says given budget constraints it is "unlikely" a stadium
will be built on the East High campus in the near future.]
July 22, 2019 - Shelby County Schools administration today presented a capital needs priority list to the Board of Education's Capital Needs and Faclities Committee. The total list, which represents what the Board asked the Shelby County Commission to fund this fiscal year, totals $66,310,956. The Commission, however, approved only $40 million. Shelby County Schools has consistently said that it has $500 million in deferred maintenance which needs to be addressed.

The priority list was created by Shelby County Schools admistration and was split into two groups. Group one included 16 projects for a total of $37,500,438. Initial work on these projects was approved during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, and designs were already completed.

The second group consisted of 20 projects, construction of which would cost $28,810,518.
 At the top of this second group is a football stadium at East High School at a cost of $1.2 million.

The Board's committee asked the administration to go back and take another look at the list while expressing few preferences. In fact, the six members of the Board at the meeting appeared to agree with the sentiment expressed by some of them that they did not want to get involved in setting those priorities, that having all nine mebers of the Board pushing for their favored projects would make for a difficult situation.

The administration is expected to present a possibly revised list to the Board when it meets in its next business session July 30.

"My job is to protect East High."

June 19, 2019 - Shelby County Schools Superintendent Joris Ray last night told The East High Alumni Page, "My job is to protect East High." His emphasis in this conversation was increasing enrollment at the school.  Ray says that "probably next spring" he will share his vision for East High's T-STEM going forward. The comments came after a Board of Education work session (non-voting meeting) in which the request from the University of Memphis to use East High for its new University Middle School classes for one year was discussed.

In recent years, East High has had an enrollment less than 500 students in buildings that were designed to hold 1,500 and have held more. As part of an effort at academic and enrollment improvement, East is half way in transitioning to an all optional (magnet) school focusing on transportation related science, technology, engineering, and math (T-STEM). In August, grades 9-11 will exclusively be T-STEM students, who have to apply and be accepted into the program.

Several Board of Education members have concerns about co-locating student populations within one school campus and say they are seeking more information about the proposal to allow the university to use part of the school for one year to house 60 middle school students. An item directing the school administration to enter into negotiations with the university for the possible lease of some space at East High for the middle school is expected to be voted upon at the board's business meeting June 25. The university has a need for the space because the deal for the planned location, the old St. Anne's School on Highland Street, did not succeed and the university has been unable to find another location for the school.

Campus Look & Function
Survey Results

September 24, 2018- For two weeks in September, visitors to The East High Alumni Page were invited to participate in a survery to express their opinions on some ideas about possible changes to the East High Campus. The results are in - take a look.

$436,40 in  painting & flooring
renovation proposed for East

Aug. 21, 2018 - The Shelby County Schools Board will consider proposals for new flooring and paint in the "original" building of East High School. See our entry on the subject on our News Briefs page.

East High Sportsplex Has Broader Goal

"[Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey] Hopson told SCS board members last week he is meeting with philanthropic foundations and possible private donors about a change to the look of the campus to possibly include a football stadium and using the parkland that surrounds the school for students as well as the surrounding neighborhoods." Read the article: Memphis Daily News, Aug. 6, 2018

"Patio" laid down on east lawn of East High.

May 19, 2018-Workers have been putting down a gray brick patio on the east lawn of East High this week. It is said to be replacing a gravel area. Students arriving on time for the traditional classes at East (grades 10, 11, 12 this year) enter through the east doors of the school building. It may be that the brick patio is being provided for a larger place for students to wait if the doors have not been unlocked when they arrive. Photo below.

What's in a name? Newspaper
article raises question as to
East High School's name

by The East High Alumni Page
January 5, 2018 - East alumni reading the article in the Jan. 5 Commercial Appeal about the long anticipated announcement from Cummins, Inc. and Shelby County Schools about its promised partnership with East High may have found one phrase of the article of particular interest.

 "The program, to be operated inside East T-STEM Academy, formerly known as East High..." is how the third paragraph of the story reads. For many that may raise the question: formerly?

  It is true that the school system has applied the moniker T-STEM Academy at East High to the school's new technical program which serves the ninth grade this year but the school has not officially been renamed.

The Tennessee Department of Education maintains a directory of schools and it does not list any T-STEM Academy.

An official spokesperson for Shelby County Schools late this afternoon confirms there has been no name change from East High School.

The idea of changing the school's name has been voiced within the district headquarters. In October, 2016, Board of Education member Miska Clay-Bibbs, chair of the board's Academic Performance Committee, suggested the name might need to be changed because of the reputation of the school in recent years and to differentiate its new curriculum. That was ten months before the T-STEM program began at East.  A month later the then Chief Academic Officer Dr. Hedi Ramirez responded somewhat ambiguously to a question about the future of the school's name by saying the district wanted to preserve the historic significance of the school and its name and then suggested about three names that included the word "east" in them but were not precisely "East High School."  In January, 2017, superintendent Dorsey Hopson told this writer that administrators "like the name as it is, 'East High School.'"

It might be noted that several years ago the ninth grade at East, while still using the traditional curriculum, was called the 9th Grade Academy and many of the classes for that level were held in the eastern wing of the school, separated from the other classes. It was purely an internal identification, unlike the public promotion of the name T-STEM Academy.

While the board, which is the authority that could rename the school, made no changes in the official school name, the title T-STEM Academy has become pervasive within that program at East, and school and district publications have often referred to it as the "T-STEM Academy at East High."

Whether all this signals an eventual attempt to change the school's name or is just an endeavor to promote the new curriculum and evolving status of the school into a exclusively optional (magnet) school is not clear. Certainly the name of the school is something probably all alumni as well as The East High Alumni Page will have great interest. For now, however, the school at Poplar Avenue and Holmes Street remains East High School.

$2.59 million renovation proposed
for East High
January 18, 2017 - The administration of Shelby County Schools proposes a $2,596,500.00 renovation of East High School as part of  its "Fresh Start" plan preparing the school to transition to a fully optional STEM school beginning with the ninth grade late this summer. The money will be allocated for mechanical, electrical and lighting upgrades as well as exterior and interior renovations.The school district's officials say they will be asking the Shelby Commission for the funds.
The East High Alumni Page will continue its extensive coverage of the proposed conversion of East High into a STEM optional school with new developments occurring almost daily.

January 18, 2017-On the left is an image from the Shelby County Schools web site promoting the new STEM curriculum at East High. It is from a flyer that is being made available, probably tonight at the East High STEM open house at the school. It is promoted as a "one-of-a-kind" high school that is coming to East High. Additional promotional material about the "NEW Transportation-STEM Academy at Historic East High School" can be seen at the SCS web site.

Federal Grant and STEM Magnet School Could Be East High's Protection
From Closing
[Update: October 12, 2016 - The grant was not awarded to Shelby County Schools, however, the SCS  administration plans to continue to pursue the East High STEM proposal. Read more in the "Academics" column on the left hand side of this page.]

May 25, 2016 - "If we don't do something, I expect in three to five years you start getting to the discussion of closure-level low," said Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson after a school board work session May 24 as he addressed East High's enrollment trend. What the superintendent hopes to do is get a federal grant to turn East High into a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math optional (magnet) school.  As reported on these pages months ago, the target for the change would be the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. This is the first time, however, the prospect of East's being closed has been publicly voiced by the administration. East High could hold 1,500 students, but in April had a pupil count of 554. The school was originally designed for grades 1-12 and even held a kindergarten in addition to those grades in the 1950s. Three decades ago the elementary grades were removed from East and in 2008 it became a grade 9-12 high school. East is calculated to be 59% under utilized and the district is actively reviewing low attendance schools for closure. Although originally Hopson was thinking the transition to a STEM school might occur as early as the 2016-2017 school year, concerns about other schools delayed that for at least a year. He says the discussions among staff about the plan are just resuming and engagement with the East community will follow.
For three decades East had been both a traditional high school and also an optional (magnet) school for engineering and health sciences. The health component was moved in recent years but the college preparatory engineering program continues at East. Despite those special programs, enrollment in them at East has been quite low for a number of years and the traditional curriculum enrollment has begun to decrease.
Sources: The East High Alumni Page, The Commercial Appeal

Urban Art Placed in Front of School

October, 2014 - On Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, new urban art in front of East High School was unveiled. On either side of the steps that lead to the center patio area of the school are mustang busts made of metal and flanked by attached metal benches. The objects were created by San Antonio artist George Schroeder of Texas who won an Urban Art Commission grant for up to $80,500 for the design, fabrication, and shipment of the works. The requested design ideas were evaluated by East art students. The front of the work contains the East High crest and metallic banners along the neck of the mustang contain the words academics, arts, athletics. East High Principal Eric Harris ('91 and Faculty) says he hopes to provide lighting for the art both to make it visible at night and also as a protective measure. Additional photos are here.

August, 2013 - Even prior to the the city schoolOne-room school house system merging into the Shelby County School system this year, the proposal to move the one-room school house to the East High campus was on hold and no activity towards this endeavor seemed underway. In the summer of 2010, after an East High advanced placement history class participated in a project that led to it proposing a move of a one-room school house to the East High campus, the city school board passed a resolution to study the feasibility of such a move. Then The Greater East High Foundation got involved and is planning to support the proposed move and include various ancillary activities and objects. As of mid-August, no final decision has been made. The one-room school house was last used in the mid 1960s on Mud Island for African American pupils. For more on this news, see the Daily Update page and the In the News page.

Fence along southern edge of East High Campus between the athletic fields and Poplar Avenue.Fenced in? A new fence was observed in the spring of 2008. Since part of the campus is also used by the Parks Division of the City of Memphis, it was not immediately known if the fence was erected by the Parks Department or by the school system. The green hurricane fence extends along the southern edge of the campus between the athletic fields and Poplar Avenue. There is no corresponding fence on the Walnut Grove Road side of the campus. There is an entry at the west end of the campus and one can walk around the end of the gate on the east side to access the athletic fields and the Sportplex park.

A renovated science classroom, 2007.August 1, 2007 - Today's East High looks quite a bit different inside than the old East High after a $12.8 million renovation, at least at first glance. Would you know if you're in your old school if you suddenly found yourself in the classroom pictured here? Take a photo tour with the Mustang Roundup - Alumni Edition.

East Career and Technology Center There are two schools on the East High Campus today: East High School and the East Career and Technology Center. The career and technology center had its beginnings with the construction of a vo-tech building in 1976. An additional building was added for the optional school programs (health sciences and engineering) in 1984. In 2006, these two buildings became part of a separate school from East High and the optional school programs were moved to the main building. The new buildings were placed on the highest point on the campus where some elementary classes had recess and several trees were removed to make way for the buildings.

East High SportplexIn 1999, the Memphis Park Commission and City Schools completed a joint project to make the athletic fields area of campus the East High Sportplex. It features a 3/4 mile fitness trail, the school's 4 Lane 400m track,  2 soccer fields, 1 football/soccer field,  2 baseball/softball fields, and a playground. See our "In the news ..." section for more details.

About 1960, a senior high Physical Education dressing room was added to the school. It was used almost exclusively for senior high boys athletic programs.

In 1954, the auditorium was completed and opened. It had been removed from the original construction plans to save money. The auditorium was extensively remodeled in 2007.

"The annex,"  a 1951 addition to the school to provide additional classrooms to alleviate overcrowding was used for classes until the mid 1980s and then was used for offices and storage. In 2003, in association with a mold scare, it was demolished.

East High School underwent a $12.8 million renovation in 2005-2007. Read about it and see photographs here.

About 1988 a music video was shot inside East High School, driected by Bill Carrier ('68) of API Cine firm. You may see the video on youtube.

For more information about the building(s) and campus, please see our history page and our In the news ... sections.

Selected Athletic News

East Girls Soccer Team Watches Rhodes College Women Win

September 27, 2019 - The East High Girls Soccer Team (pictured at left) visited the campus of Rhodes College today to watch the Rhodes Women (7 wins, 2 losses) defeat Millsaps 3-0. East has two more matches (see schedule below) before the season ends.
In addition to girls soccer, at least three other fall sports are underway for East High students: football, girls volleyball and coed bowling. Schedules for those are below also.

2019 East Football Schedule

Aug. 23, 2019    Fri    at Humboldt High School    Humboldt HIgh School    7:00 PM
Aug. 30, 2019    Fri    at Melrose High School    Melrose Stadium    7:00 PM
Sep. 6, 2019    Fri    at B. T. Washington High School *    B.T.W Stadium    7:00 PM
Sep. 19, 2019    Thu    at Memphis Business Academy *    Fairgrounds    7:00 PM
Sep. 27, 2019    Fri    at Bluff City High School *    Kirby Stadium    7:00 PM
Oct. 4, 2019    Fri    at Oakhaven High School *    Oakhaven    7:00 PM
Oct. 10, 2019    Thu    Westwood High School *    Crump    7:00 PM
Oct. 16, 2019    Wed    Memphis Middle College High School *    Fairgrounds    7:00 PM
Oct. 25, 2019    Fri    at Freedom Preparatory Academy *    Oakhaven    7:00 PM
Nov. 1, 2019    Fri    at Memphis Academy of Science & Engineering *    Melrose Stadium    7:00 PM

2019 Girls Soccer Schedule

Thu Aug 15 6PM    VS. Memphis Central High School   Fairgrounds Stadium
Tue Aug 20 5:30PM    @Southwind High School    Southwind Soccer Field
Thu Aug 22 6PM    @Cordova High School    Cordova Soccer Field
Mon Aug 26 5:30PM    @Douglass High School    Fairgrounds Stadium
Thu Aug 29 5:30PM    @KIPP Collegiate High School    KIPP Collegiate High
Thu Sep 05 5:30PM    @PCA Hickory Hill        May Field
Mon Sep 09 5PM    VS. Memphis Rise Academy    Fairgrounds Stadium
Tue Sep 10 7PM    VS. Lausanne High School    Crump Stadium
Mon Sep 16 5:30PM @Kirby High School        Kirby Stadium
Thu Sep 19 5:30PM @Memphis Business Academy    Rodney Baber Park
Thu Sep 26 5:30PM @Crosstown High School      TBD
Mon Sep 30 5PM     VS. Craigmont High School    Fairgrounds Stadium
Tue Oct 01 7PM    @Memphis Central High School  Crump Stadium

2019 Girls Volleyball Schedule

Tue Aug 20 5PM    @Douglass High School    Douglass High School
Thu Aug 22 5PM    @PCA Hickory Hill        East HS
Thu Aug 22 6PM    VS. PCA Hickory Hill    East HS
Thu Aug 29 5PM    VS. Douglass High School    East High School
Thu Sep 05 5PM    VS. Memphis Academy of Health Sciences      East High School
Tue Sep 10 5PM    VS. Melrose High School    East High School
Thu Sep 12 5PM    @Memphis Business Academy    MBA Gym
Tue Sep 17 5PM    @Melrose High School    Melrose High School
Thu Sep 19 5PM    VS. Memphis Business Academy East High School
Tue Sep 24 5PM    @Memphis Academy of Health Sciences MAHS
Thu Sep 26 5PM    VS. City University School of Liberal Arts    East High School
Mon Sep 30 5PM    @City University School of Liberal Arts City University School

2019 Coed Bowling Schedule

Oct 01, 2019 4:00PM    Douglass High School @Cordova Bowling Center
Oct 09, 2019 4:30PM    Trezevant High School @Strike Zone
Oct 21, 2019 4:00PM    Memphis Business Academy @All Star Lanes
Oct 28, 2019 4:00PM    Raleigh-Egypt High School @Andy Bs Bartlett
Nov 05, 2019 4:00PM    Memphis Central High School @Cordova Bowling Center
Nov 18, 2019 4:00PM    Middle College High School @All Star Lanes
Dec 02, 2019 4:00PM    Craigmont High School @Andy Bs Bartlett
Dec 09, 2019 4:00PM    White Station High School @All Star Lanes

Trial delayed in dispute over eligibility of two
East High boys basketball players

March 4, 2019 - The case involving to East High boys basketball players Ryan Boyce and James Wiseman eligibility for the 2017-2018 season  which was scheduled for trial March 4, 2019, was delayed. The next entry on the docket for the case is a hearing on a motion for summary judgment scheduled for June 24, 2019. The TSSAA had ruled them ineligible but the Shelby County Board of Education, on behalf of East High, appealed that ruling to Chancery Court. You can read more about the case in stories below.

Trial set for dispute over eligibility of two East High boys basketball players

February 4, 2019 - A trial is set in Shelby County Chancery Court to take up the issue of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) ruling two East High boys basketball players, Ryan Boyce and James Wiseman, ineligible for the 2017-2018 season. The students  continued to play with the team while the court fight went on. The Board of Education, on behalf of East High, appealed the TSSAA ruling. Chancellor Kyle first ruled against the TSSAA issing a restraining order against it, which allowed the continued play by Boyce and Wiseman. At this point, a trial is set in Kyle's court one month from today:  10 a.m.  March 4, 2019. See additional stories below.

Long after basketball season is over and East won another state championship, lawsuit over eligibility of two players continues

July 14, 2018 - The lawsuit in which the Shelby County Board of Education for East High School challenged the Tennessee Secondary Athletic Association's declaration that two of its boys basketball team members were ineligible for the 2017-18 season continues in the courts.
   As noted below, the Shelby County Chancery Court issued an order restraining the TSSAA from excluding the boys, Ryan Boyce and James Wiseman, and they continued to play for East High throughout the season. East won its third straight state championship at the end of the season. The coach, Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway (Coaching Staff 2015-2018) was then hired away from East to become the head basketball coach of the University of Memphis mens basketball team.
   The TSSAA appealed the chancery court ruling. The Tennessee Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal saying that despite the chancery court's ruling saying it was final, it did not meet the rules actually making it a final ruling and that only final rulings can be appealed. The case went back to the Chancellor Jim Kyle of the Shelby County Chancery Court.
   As of late June, 2018, the parties to the lawsuit were still filing exhibits with the court.
   See additional stories below.

As expected, East High head boys basketball coach and former National Basketball Association player Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway (Coaching Staff 2015-2018) was named coach of the University of Memphis mens basketball team Tuesday, Mar. 20. The Commrecial Appeal, Mar. 20/21

East wins 3rd straight state boys basketball championship, expected to lose coach

  "... it's hard to imagine that the wins will have more meaning or that he will have more fun," the article in the newspaper says. It's talking about East High basketball coach  Penny Hardaway who lead the East boys team on Saturday Mar. 17 to its third straight state class AAA championship. East won the game but probably the coach." He is expected to be named head coach of the University of Memphis Tigers. "He'll be introduced at a press conference early this week." The Commercial Appeal, March 17/18.

Basketball Eligibility Court Case Likely to Extend Beyond Season

January 25, 2018-The Tennessee Secondary Athletic Association, the voluntary membership governance organization of high school sports in the state, has appealed the December 13, 2017, order of a Shelby County Chancery Court which issued a temporary restraining order against the TSSAA from making two East High students ineligible to play on the basketball team this year. Ryan Boyce and James Wiseman continue to play with the East High boys basketball team. Given timelines of the appeal process, it is very likely the regular season will have ended by the time the Court of Appeal rules. East's last regular season game is February 6. It is also quite possible the state tournament will be over by the court's final ruling. Since the appeal is on the temporary restraining order, either way the appeals court rules will simply return the case to the Shelby County Chancery Court.  It is highly likely that a final decision in the case could come before the end of the current basketball season. That probably means both players may finish the season on the team. Although the TSSAA has not fared well in this court case thus far, should it win it would seem the result could be the declaration of forfeiture of all the games in which the then ruled ineligible players participated. That would be most of the games East played this season.
[see additional stories about this issue below]
Source: The East High Alumni Page.

Marcus Wimberly ['92 and Faculty], head football coach at East will leave his alma mater to coach at Cordova High. "I think it was just time for me to take on a new challenge," the two time state championship East coach told The Commecial Appeal. "Cordova has 2,100 students at the school, 100 players at the football team. They have facilities that they just don't have at East. The opportunity presented itself and I had to take it...I've got a lot of love for East ... but this was a no-brainer." The Commercial Appeal, Jan 12/13.

December 13, 2017-Two East High basketball players the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association ruled ineligible will be allowed to continue to play after a Chancery Court ruling today extending the temporary restraining order against the TSSAA. After hearing from attorney's from both sides, Chancelor Jim Kyle ruled (1) he has jurisdiction and (2)  the TSSAA rule is arbitrary which bars players who play on a non-school (indpendent) team for a coach, or maybe even a director or sponsor of the team, cannot then be eligible for a year if they transfer to the school where that person is coaching. The judge instructed the lawyers to arrange a schedule for a full  hearing on the merits of the case. In he meantime, Ryan Boyce and James Wiseman may continue to play with the East High boys basketball team.
Dec. 14, 2017-Update: the actual legal instrument ordered by the court Dec. 13 is a temporary injunction. The effect is the same as stated above.
Source: The East High Alumni Page

Nov. 30, 2017-East boys basketball was ranked first in nation by Maxpreps this week. Maxpreps is a division of CBS Sports and focuses on high school sports coverage.

Court restores eligibility of East boys
basketball players pending hearing

Nov. 23, 2017-Chancellor Jim Kyle Wednesday issued a temporary restraining order which allows Ryan Boyce and James Wiseman to play on the East High boys basketball team until a further ruling by the court. A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7. The court decision required the chancellor to conclude the Shelby County School district lawsuit against the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association would likely succeed. The TSSAA is the organization that ruled the players were ineligible earlier this week. The Commercial Appeal, Nov. 22/23 (See additional stories and links below.)

Nov. 22, 2017-The administration of Shelby County Schools, in the name of the Board of Education, Tuesday filed a lawsuit in Shelby County Chancery Court in an effort to overturn a ruling by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association that declared two East High boys basketball players ineligible this season. The Commercial Appeal, Nov. 21/22

Two Boys Basketball Players Ineligible for 2017-2018 Season
November 20, 2017-Two members of the East High boys basketball team have been ruled ineligible for the current season by the body overseeing public high school sports in the state. The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association has denied East High's appeal of a ruling made last Wednesday that made Ryan Boyce and James Wiseman ineligible. The TSSAA ruled that the students who transferred to East this year had a  "prior link" to Coach Penny Hardaway because they participated in Team Penny, an off season AAU basketball team.
Read interesting details, including the principal's and the superintendent's reaction, in a newspaper story: The Commercial Appeal, Nov. 20

East High won the 2016 Class 4A Tennessee state football championship Saturday, Dec. 3, defeating Knoxville's Central High School 27-3 in a game played in Cookeville.  It's the fist football state championship for East since 1999 when it also beat Knoxville Central. It also matches the AAA basketball championship the school won in March, as the Mustangs joined White Station and St. George's as the only Shelby County schools to win state titles in both sports in a calendar year. The Commercial Appeal, Dec. 3

East High won the 2016 state championship in boys basketball (Division I, Class AAA) Saturday, March 19, defeating Cordova 64-60. It is reported that East is the only school in the state to have won the state championship seven times, the first in 1979. Source: The East High Alumni Page.

Sports Championships: State

Know when East was Champ?
The athletic director at East High is attempting to identify championships won by East High athletic teams and individuals during its history. If you were a member, or coached, a championship team, let us know and we will compile a list and forward it to the athletic director. District, City, Regional, State* and other championships are welcome and information as to the sport (i.e. women's track), level (senior/junior high), and year of championship is needed. You may e-mail the information to editor@EastHigh.org.
* We are aware of the TSSAA state championship listings.


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