Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I consider a charter school for my child?

Charter schools are tuition-free public schools operated under a contract (i.e., a charter) issued to a private, nonprofit entity by a local school board. Most charter schools offer a college-preparatory curriculum and often have longer school days, longer school years, and intensive intervention programs to support students who struggle in traditional classroom settings.

Since charter schools are operated by independent entities, they have great autonomy and flexibility to organize their academic programs and operations. In exchange for this autonomy, the school board holds them strictly accountable to high student performance standards, and charters that are not performing well will cease to exist. Most of the 35 charter schools in Memphis outperform district schools on student achievement assessments.

Charter schools are an option for residents of Memphis and Shelby County who are interested in finding an academic environment that they believe will help their children achieve academically. Parents are free to enroll their child in any local charter school regardless of income or location. 

Is Grizzlies Prep a Shelby County School?

Grizzlies Prep is a public school authorized by the Shelby County School District.

How competitive is enrollment?

Grizzlies prep is an all boys middle school that does not select scholars based on prior academic or behavioral achievements and/or challenges. We meet the individual needs of each scholar at all levels and abilities.

Enrollment to Grizzlies Prep will be limited to the grades, gender, and ages of the pupils served by the school. As permitted by the Tennessee Public Charter Schools Act of 2017, the Governing Board will give enrollment preference to children of Grizzlies Prep administrators, teachers, board members, siblings of students already attending or accepted to Grizzlies Prep, students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, and students zoned for priority schools, as identified by the state's accountability system. Grizzlies Prep enrollment policy prohibits discriminations on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, national origin, religion, ancestry or need for special education services.

How does the “lottery” system work?

The Grizzlies Prep lottery and enrollment process follows all applicable Tennessee laws. 

If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the capacity of the school, a lottery will be used to determine enrollment in priority order. Any required lottery will be conducted within seven days after the end of the initial student application period. If seats remain after the initial student application period, Grizzlies prep may enroll any student seeking enrollment. When the school is at capacity, the remaining applicants will be placed on a waiting list in the order they applied to the school. The waitlist will not carry over to the following school year.

For more information regarding our lottery procedures, please click here.

How large are the classes?

Grizzlies Prep's currently serves approximately 330 young men in grades 5-8. Each Core classes (ELA, math, science, and social studies)  have on average 25 students, while other classes (reading and math enrichment, electives, and intervention classes) typically have less than 20 students.

Research had consistently shown that students, particularly those from low-income neighborhoods and minority ethnic groups, thrive in small schools. For example, a study by Bank Street College of Education, released in 2000, found that small schools in Chicago Public Schools have higher attendance, fewer drop-outs, fewer course failures, fewer incidents of discipline and violence and higher teacher, student, parent and community member satisfaction than large schools.

The benefits of small schools in relation to student success are multi-faceted. Faculty and the entire school community know each child, with individual talents celebrated and individual challenges quickly addressed. Support is scheduled into the day and provided to students who are struggling. With enrollment capped per grade, Grizzlies Prep will truly offer a small school alternative.

What is the uniform?

To send the clear message that the Grizzlies Prep school community is a place of scholarship, hard work, professionalism, and respect, every scholar is required to report to school each day in full uniform. Uniforms also build a strong sense of community, maintaining a culture driven by academic achievement that limits distractions. Scholars will be expected to wear brown or black dress shoes; brown, or black socks; khaki or navy pants with a brown or black belt; a plain oxford shirt; and the Grizzlies Prep cardigan sweater or sweater vest at all times while in the school building. The oxford shirt and sweater or sweater vest must be purchased through the approved Grizzlies Prep uniform vendor. For more information about our uniform standards, please click here.

How does Grizzlies Prep focus on character development in addition to education?

Grizzlies Prep's mission is to ensure our young men excel academically and demonstrate integrity. Teachers and staff model the school’s core values of responsibility, integrity, courage and commitment so that all members of the school community work within a safe, collaborative, and competitive environment dedicated to academic results.  

The young men at Grizzlies Prep set personal goals, reflect on their progress, take part in community service, debate moral dilemmas and participate in team building activities to ensure they are developing into young men of integrity.  

What if my child struggles in English?

Strong reading and writing skills are the foundation of success in school, college, and career. For this reason, Grizzlies Prep scholars take double blocks of Literacy daily, and all teachers are trained in effective reading strategies. 

For students who struggle with reading, Grizzlies Prep uses the Wilson Reading System, a small group reading class led by a Wilson-trained instructor that meets every day. Literacy skills are also woven throughout the curriculum because we believe that every teacher, regardless of subject, is a reading teacher. Additionally, daily tutoring is required for students in need of remedial reading instruction.

Grizzlies Prep tracks the number of words our scholars have read through the Accelerated Reader program. Our goal is for each scholar to read 1,000,000 words each year. Reading awards and incentives are provided for students with the most words read. We all know the best way to improve our reading ability is to Read, Read, Read!

Additionally, students have opportunities for one-on-one and small group tutoring with teachers after school. 

What if my child struggles in Math?

Grizzlies Prep offers double blocks of Math daily. Teachers use curriculum from Big IdeasSingapore MathFacing the Future, and iReady. By integrating financial literacy, teaching real-world concepts, and incorporating differentiated instructional techniques, teachers give students every opportunity to excel. Daily tutoring is required for students in need of remedial math instruction.

Can my child repeat his 5th or 6th grade year at Grizzlies Prep?

Yes. We recognize that many of our scholars will be coming to Grizzlies Prep without the grade-level skills necessary to advance to higher grades. Grizzlies Prep will likely be an enormous change for boys that have not had experience with regular homework or a challenging course load. To that end, we understand that some of our young men will need to repeat 5th grade or 6th grade in order to make their way toward a college-bound track. A student’s need to repeat a grade level will not play a role in that student’s acceptance to Grizzlies Prep, nor will it affect his place in the enrollment lottery.

Does Grizzlies Prep serve scholars with special needs?

Yes. We offer a full-inclusion model of instruction so support is “pushed in” rather than having students “pulled out.” We work to meet the individual needs of every scholar and operate in accordance with all local, state, and federal laws.

Does my son need to reapply each year?

Once a student has been accepted, parents will not need to complete an enrollment application again unless they transfer schools and then wish to return to Grizzlies Prep. In this case, the student would reapply and be entered back into the general lottery.

I have two sons who will be in middle school at the same time. Will they both be able to enroll in Grizzlies Prep?

Yes. In fact, siblings are given preference in the lottery so parents can send their children to the same school.