Frequently Asked Questions

The Innovation Zone (IZone 3.0) is a group of district-led turnaround schools instituted to improve student achievement in Memphis-Shelby County Schools’ lowest performing schools and move students from the bottom five percent of student achievement in Tennessee to the top twenty-five percent in five years.

Each year, our portfolio of schools grows as Memphis-Shelby County Schools strives to improve student achievement across the district. Please see Our Schools for a complete list of Innovation Zone schools.

IZone 3.0 schools are located throughout the city of Memphis. All IZone 3.0 schools are a part of Memphis-Shelby County Schools, a public school district in Memphis, Tennessee. Please see Our Schools for an interactive map that details the location of our schools.

No, the Innovation Zone is not an independent charter management organization nor are IZone schools charter schools. IZone schools are district-run, public schools directly lead and managed by Memphis-Shelby County Schools. IZone schools are provided additional support around human capital, curriculum and instruction, school budget and time to improve student achievement in historically failing schools. Please see our About Us page for more information about the iZone.

IZone schools consist of priority schools (schools falling in the State’s bottom 5%) that are managed directly under Memphis-Shelby County Schools district leadership. Achievement School District schools consist of priority schools managed by the state of Tennessee’s Achievement School District or charter management organizations.


To meet the needs of students in historically, low performing schools, the IZone provides schools differentiated support and resources based on the needs of the students and the school community.

For students and families

  • IZone schools have an extended school day with an extra hour of instruction each day that gives students the opportunity for additional support.
  • In year one of the IZone transition, students and families may notice a change in school and student expectations geared towards a focus on student achievement.

For teachers and school leaders

  • IZone schools receive additional instructional support, resources and professional development from a centralized instructional support team experienced in school turnaround work. Teachers and leaders in IZone schools are continually developed to build their capacity to support students in maximizing their potential academically.
  • IZone teachers and school leaders receive a signing and retention bonus for joining the IZone team and continuing with us on our journey to improve student achievement.
  • In the IZone, here is an additional hour on the school day. Teachers and other school-level staff are required to stay at school for the extended hour.
  • To provide continuous learning opportunities for teachers, IZone teachers are to attend some Saturday professional development sessions.

Yes, teachers are compensated for the addition hour for the IZone school’s extended day.


In addition to the school’s instructional support team, the IZone’s district instructional support team includes a team of content coaches and advisors in the areas of literacy, mathematics and science who provide one-on-one coaching, resources, professional development for teachers and extensive support on transitioning instructional practice to the new TNCore Standards.


To be eligible to teach in the IZone, current teachers must have documented performance data indicating their effectiveness in the classroom. Teachers are required to have an evaluation rating of 3 or above (on a 5 point scale) and a student growth (TVAAS) score of 3 or greater. For first year teachers who do no not have documented performance, teachers will undergo a rigorous selection process to determine fit for teaching in the iZone.

Yes, IZone teachers and school leaders who work in the iZone will receive a signing bonus and retention bonus.

We’re excited that you’re considering joining our team. Check out our Join Our Team page for detailed information on the application process or visit