Eyewitness News saw a literacy lesson in action Wednesday at Dilworth Elementary. Groups of first-grade students were working with technology, the teacher or the teacher assistant.
"We can give personalized instruction," said Kerry Vreeland, a first grade teacher at Dilworth Elementary.
Vreeland says young students read on different levels and that small, personalized lessons help everyone grow. The Charlotte Mecklenburg School District says it is making that even more of a priority.
"We will be developing a personalized plan for every student as they enter kindergarten," said Ann Clark, CMS deputy superintendent.
CMS says that next year, North Carolina state law will require all third graders read at grade level or they won't move on to fourth grade. The superintendent is asking for $1.2 million in his proposed budget so teachers and schools can help struggling students now. CMS said schools will create programs that will work for their students. The money will be used to support those programs.
"It can be extending the day, the week, a summer literacy camp," said Clark.
But the district is concerned that those efforts could be diluted if a cut to teachers assistants in the governor's proposed budget goes through. Superintendent Dr. Health Morrison said that could impact up to 400 positions.
"Our teacher assistants aren't nice to have positions, they are critical," said Morrison.
He said that CMS needs all staff possible to execute student specific plans.
When Gov. Pat McCrory presented his budget in March he said the budget "emphasizes more full-time certified teachers in the classroom instead of assistants to teachers."
The Governor’s office says there is still full funding for teaching assistants in Kindergarten and First Grade.