Frequently Asked Questions

Interested in learning more about charter schools and Memphis College Prep? Click through the sections below for answers to some of our frequently asked questions!
What is a charter school?

A charter school is an independently run public school granted greater flexibility in its operations, in return for greater accountability for performance. The “charter” establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school’s mission, program, students served, performance goals, and methods of assessment. In Memphis, charter schools are authorized by Memphis City Schools. Memphis College Prep was unanimously approved in December 2009.

Are all charter schools the same?
No. Charter schools can vary a great deal in their design and in their results. Memphis College Prep is based on the principles and practices that have proven successful in producing significant academic gains at high performing urban charter public schools across the country.
Does Memphis College Prep charge tuition?
No. As a public charter school, Memphis College Prep is tuition-free! There are also no fees to apply. We believe that high-quality education is a right that every child deserves.
How does Memphis College Prep receive funding?
Memphis College Prep receives a portion of its funding from federal, state, and local sources on a per-student basis. However, public funding covers only 70% of the revenue required to provide an education of uncompromising quality to our students. The gap is closed through a combination of philanthropic grants and the support of individuals, businesses, and organizations committed to preventing the achievement. If you are interested in making a donation to Memphis College Prep, please click here.
I've heard that most charter schools have a "focus". What is the focus of Memphis College Prep?
The focus at Memphis College Prep is college graduation. We believe that an incredibly strong foundation in the fundamental skills, particularly literacy and math, are necessary for future success. We want our scholars to leave with more options than when they entered, and that requires a back-to-basics approach. With a laser-like focus on college, we expect excellence from all our Scholars!
What curriculum does the school use?
As a charter school, Memphis College Prep has the flexibility to implement our own curricular choices. The school’s curriculum is designed in a two-part process. First, we create an internal set of academic standards that are aligned to state expectations, but more rigorous. We view state expectations as a minimum bar for our students. For example, MCP kindergarten standards include state expectations of both kindergarten and first grade. One we have created rigorous school standards, we choose or develop a curriculum aligned to those standards. We use some of the best, proven curricular choices implemented by the highest performing schools in the country.
Where is Memphis College Prep located?
Memphis College Prep is located in the Castalia Heights neighborhood of Memphis, at 1500 Dunn Ave. We share a building with Veritas College Prep, an excellent charter option for middle school students in Memphis! While several of our students come to us from around the neighborhood, many travel from all corners of the city. We view this as a testament to our families who demand nothing but the best for their children.
What is the history of the school?
The Memphis College Prep story began in August 2008 when lead founder and director Michael Whaley participated in the Building Excellent Schools Fellowship. The Fellowship provided over 300 hours of intense training on how to build and run a high-performing charter school, as well as visits to nearly 20 of the country’s best schools. Throughout the process, a founding Board of Directors was recruited to advocate for the mission of the school in the community and provide the technical advice needed to ensure a strong opening in August 2010. In just its first year, Memphis College Prep proved what is possible for all students. This has been made possible over the years because of the collective strength, determination, and passion of the school’s teachers and staff, supporters, families, and most of all, its amazing students!
How can I get involved?

There are many ways in which you can join the movement to provide a rigorous college preparatory education beginning in kindergarten! We are always looking for great teachers, operations leaders, and interns to join our team. We are also in need of passionate volunteers to do everything from tutor to canvass neighborhoods to help raise support for our school and scholars. For more information, please visit our get involved page.