In West Charlotte, Project LIFT is now in its second year. The public-private partnership is working to improve achievement and graduation rates in that area of the city.
This year, attendance will be one area of focus because the program said it didn't meet its goal for teacher absences.
"We want to make sure the quality and quantity of time is aligned. The teacher has to be there in order for that to happen," said Denise Watts, Project LIFT superintendent.
Watts had set a goal for the average absence per teacher to be six days a year. She says last year the average per teacher was 9.9 days a year. For students it was 9.1 days.
Parents Eyewitness News spoke with were surprised by that number because their child's teacher missed less time.
"I want my kid's teacher to be there," said Shawanda Harris, a parent.
"For consistency, really, and for comfort," said Arian Alexander.
Watts points out this number is an average. She says teachers earn one day per month and that time carries over year to year. It's often used when they have personal or family needs like anyone else. Beyond those needs, she says, it's important for teachers to be in the classroom because teacher attendance is important for student success.
"There are plenty of studies that show once teachers miss a certain amount of days, it's almost impossible for them to even make up that time," said Watts.
A new goal of fewer than eight days has been set for this year. Watts says that every quarter, Project LIFT goes over those absence numbers with principals and teachers. She thinks attention to those numbers will increase awareness and presence at school.
Eyewitness News asked CMS for the similar data for other schools in the district. They say they are still working to get us that.
Project LIFT already had released its graduation numbers from this past year. The rate increased to 71 percent. The goal for this year is 78 percent. It also says 301 credits were recovered last year by students. That surpassed the goal of 100.