Our Lady of Sorrows Elementary
Our Lady of Sorrows School is a Jubilee Model school, providing a high-quality Catholic education and offering significant need-based scholarships to students and families who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford it. We have a long, proud history of providing an excellent and affordable education to a diverse student body. The school was founded in 1945 and initially served 48 children, half of whom were Catholic. As Frayser, its Catholic community, and Our Sorrowful Mother (later Our Lady of Sorrows) Church grew, so too did the school, which served 600 students at its largest. In recent decades, the school population declined, yet it is now on the upswing again thanks to the support of the Jubilee School network.
Families are drawn to Our Lady of Sorrows because we offer high standards for academics in a faith-based, loving environment. OLS is a comfortable, warm, safe place to bring your child. Our school is bright, clean, and cheerful, and student work is displayed everywhere you turn. Children are respectful and respected. No one yells. Everyone is welcoming.
At Our Lady of Sorrows, we expect all our students to always work for success. Success doesn’t always come easily, but we try and try again and help each other toward success.
Respect is a core value of our school—respect for God, for ourselves, for other people, and for our school. Families who send their children to OLS rest assured that every single child is treated with love and respect.
Our Lady of Sorrows offers our students a great education. The school follows the curriculum guidelines for all Diocesan elementary schools and offers a rigorous education to prepare our students for success in their continued academic careers and beyond. We offer Title I services during the day. Most teachers offer after-school tutoring as needed, and retired teachers come to our school as volunteers to work with individual students. Visit our Academics page to learn more.
As a Jubilee Model school, Our Lady of Sorrows is able to offer need-based tuition scholarships for families who qualify.
Before care makes it possible for working parents to leave their children at OLS at 7:00 a.m. so that parents know their children are safe and well taken care of all day long.
A school counselor provides counseling and referral services.
OLS participates in the USDA Free and Reduced Cost Food Program to provide every student with the option of breakfast as well as a healthful lunch every day.
Our hope for our children is that they become inquisitive, forward-thinking, kind, and empowered. We want them to look at the world and their own lives and think, “What can I do to make it better?” We want our students to know that they can attend college, go anywhere, and do anything they want to: they have choices and can shape their future.
At Our Lady of Sorrows Elementary School, our students work hard to succeed in their academics and grow as scholars. With small class sizes—usually 22 students or fewer—and lots of personal attention, our students get the encouragement and support they need to do their very best.
- Special Education Services: We support students with established IEPs as we are able given our small size and make referrals through Memphis City Schools as needed. Many students who have struggled in traditional public school classrooms do well in our smaller, supportive, and more structured environment.
- Language Arts: Students have language arts instruction every day, plus an extra LA extension period once week to provide support and enrichment tailored to their needs.
- Math: Students have math class every day, plus an extra math extension period two days per week. These extension classes are grouped according to students’ needs and often include real-world application of math concepts. We also have timed drills when students need to polish up on their facts.
- Other Subject Areas: Students study science, social studies, and religion. In addition all students participate in special subjects: art, computer, music, library, physical education, and guidance.
- Fine and Performing Arts: All of our middle schoolers play a musical instrument. Each spring, all our students participate in a school musical, like the Wizard of Oz. A downtown Memphis art gallery recently hosted a show and auction of our students’ artwork.
- Title I: For those who qualify, we offer free Title I services during the day.
- Tutoring: Many teachers offer after-school tutoring as needed. In addition, a cadre of retired teachers come to OLS during the school day to provide individual tutoring, and our older students serve as peer tutors.
- Technology: Our school is equipped with the latest technology, including a computer lab, projectors, and SMART boards.
- Departmentalized Middle School: Our 5th through 8th graders change classes and use lockers, providing them with the opportunity to learn to work with different teachers and travel from class to class—experience that sets them up for success in high school. Having each teacher teach specific subjects also means that our teachers get to focus on the content areas of their greatest expertise and passion. Every grade has a homeroom teacher who guides and oversees their progress and serves as the primary liaison with parents.
Our school community welcomes faith-filled families of all backgrounds. We are a Catholic school that shares and expresses our tradition while respecting and valuing others. All our students are asked to go to worship services with their family every week.
Mass and Religious Practice: OLS students learn the habit and value of daily prayer. Every morning, the whole school prays together, and every class prays throughout the day. Our school community comes together twice every week for Mass. Students of all faiths are taught Catholic practices of prayer and worship.
Religious Education: Middle school students have Religion class every day, and lower schoolers have Religion three times per week.
Community Service: As a natural outgrowth of our Christian faith, we actively serve others. Monthly canned food drives for the St. Vincent DePaul Food Mission, gathering supplies for Hope House, collecting Pennies for Patients to support childhood leukemia, and supporting St. Jude are just a few of the ways we live out our values.
Our Name: The name Our Lady of Sorrows honors Mary and remembers her pain as a mother at the suffering Jesus endured.
Students, attend our school! Our Lady of Sorrows welcomes applications from all students for PreK-3 through 8th grade. Call us at 358-7431 to learn about applying. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Tuition is as low as $50 per child per month for families who qualify. Our families are committed to the extra effort it takes to pay tuition for their children’s education at OLS, and our school is committed to making parents proud of their sacrifice and investment.
Teach at our school! We are always looking for great teachers and other staff members. To apply to teach, click here for the Diocesan application and also contact us directly to learn more about teaching at OLS.
Parents, get involved! Our Lady of Sorrows parents are a vital part of our school community. Parents coordinate special weekend events for our students and their families, such as trips to museums and playgrounds and dances. These are organic ways for students and their families to interact outside of school. Call our office to learn more. Also check out our weekly newsletter to find out about upcoming events and celebrations.
Alumni, keep in touch! Lots of Our Lady of Sorrows alumni keep in touch with us, and if we would love to hear from you too! Please let us know your contact information, and we’ll look forward to keeping you apprised of all the exciting new things happening here.
Community members, support our work! We are tremendously grateful for the individuals, foundations, and corporations that make possible the work of Our Lady of Sorrows and all Jubilee Model Schools to give students the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed in a faith-based environment regardless of their socioeconomic status. Call our office to explore volunteer opportunities.
Our Lady of Sorrows is wonderfully unexpected. Many people tell us they wouldn’t have expected what they find when they visit our school. We are a wonderfully diverse school—with diversity you can see, like students who come from a variety of racial and cultural backgrounds, and also diversity you can’t see, like diversity in faith backgrounds and academic abilities. Everyone is welcome at our school!
Our school community is growing rapidly. Most of our students live in the surrounding Frayser neighborhood, and about 20% of our students are parishioners at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. We are a diverse school: about half of our students are African American, about a third are Latino, and the remainder are white.
School Traditions: Every October OLS students and their families attend Eagle Fest, with games, rides, vendors, and a steak cook-off. In the spring, May Mania includes a barbecue dinner and live and silent auctions and brings together students, families, and alumni of OLS School as well as Our Lady of Sorrows Church parishioners.
Sports: We offer K-6th grade coed soccer, 5th-8th grade boys basketball, and girls intramural volleyball. We hope to offer more sports as our school community grows.
Beta Club: The Beta Club recognizes academic achievement and brings together student leaders to work together on plans for special activities for students.
Family Involvement: Our students’ families are an integral part of the school community. Teams of parents clustered by grade level coordinate weekend outings for students and their families and host special events like the middle school dance. Parents also volunteer at school. Every Monday, a weekly newsletter goes home to families to keep them up to date on news, celebrations, and upcoming events.
After Graduation from Our Lady of Sorrows: We help our 8th graders to find school placements that are right for them and their families and offer guidance on the full range of schools including Catholic schools, charter schools, optional schools, and other Memphis City and Shelby County Schools.
Spanish-language Resources: We are dedicated to communicating effectively and respectfully with our Spanish-speaking families. Many staff members speak both Spanish and English, and all written communications from the school sent home to families are written in both English and Spanish.
Before Care: Students can be dropped off as early as 7:00 for breakfast and before-school care. This schedule enables many parents to drop students off on their way to work or school and know that they are safe and well taken care of all day long.