CLOSE, BUILD, CONSOLIDATE  How Westhaven Elementary School — that combined three schools in a new building — is a new model for closing schools in Memphis. Chalkbeat

SCHOOL BUS CRASH  Nashville-based Gray Line Tennessee plans to install seat belts in school buses serving local charter schools in response to last month’s fatal school bus crash in Chattanooga. The Tennessean

OOLTEWAH CASE   Nearly a year after the pool-cue rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman by several basketball teammates, charges are dismissed against the school’s former coach. Chattanooga Times Free Press

A second federal lawsuit is filed in connection with the case, claiming Hamilton County’s school board and district employees failed to protect a student from sexual assault.  Chattanooga Times Free Press

REPORT CARD  The 25th education report card issued by Nashville’s chamber of commerce calls again for improving literacy rates among the city’s students.  The TennesseanSidebar

DISTRICT SPLITS  Based on the 2014 withdrawal of six Memphis suburbs from Shelby County Schools, a historian weighs in on two Chattanooga-area communities that are exploring breaking off from Hamilton County Schools. WTVC-TV

PRIORITY SCHOOLS  Tennessee is looking at changing how it handles failing schools.  WMC-TV, Chalkbeat

PAYROLL GLITCH  Maury County’s school board will host a special called budget meeting today to discuss problems with the school system’s payroll. Columbia Daily News

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH  Robertson County’s school board will contract with the Tennessee School Boards Association in its search for a new director.  The Tennessean

FACILITIES STUDY  An Ohio-based educational planning firm is chosen to conduct a facilities study for Green County Schools.  The Greeneville Sun

DUAL ENROLLMENT  Morristown-based Walters State Community College will offer general election courses at a Hawkins County high school. Kingsport Times-News

WILDFIRE RECOVERY  Students at a Wilson County high school raise more than $15,000, much of it in loose change, to help Gatlinburg-area families impacted by recent wildfires. The Tennessean

Meanwhile, students at a Maryville school collect 650 new stuffed animals for children affected by the fires. The Daily Times

EARLY CHRISTMAS  Children at a Memphis elementary school receive coats thanks to FedEx Cares. WMC-TV

DRIVING SAFETY  After losing six students to car accidents in the last year, Williamson County Schools starts a task force to help keep teen drivers safe.  The Tennessean

DRIVER’S EDUCATION  A Washington County high school keeps its driver’s education students parked due to a lack of teachers. Johnson City Press

STUDENT DIVERSITY  Matching the state’s growth for Hispanic and Latino student populations, Johnson City Schools now has 14 full-time ELL teachers. Johnson City Press