• CMS partners with organization to improve student services

    By: Paige Hansen


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte Mecklenburg School leaders said Wednesday that a first-of-its-kind school that will educate students and their families in the classroom and beyond.
    The school will open in 2017 at the Renaissance, a redevelopment of the old Boulevard Homes public housing near West Boulevard and Billy Graham Parkway.
    The school will be built using 2013 bond money, according to a CMS spokesperson who said the money was already set aside to relieve two nearby CMS elementary schools, Berryhill and Reid Park.
    The new school will be built on the Renaissance property, a $75 million project that will include everything from mixed-income housing, youth development programs and a community center.
    Shaunquilla Payne is a single mother of a 2-year-old and a 2-month-old. 
    She lives in low-income housing next to where the new public-private partnership school will open.
    "I mean there (is) a lot of stuff out here, like the police, the shooting, (there are) bad kids out here," she said. "You know, it needs to be cleaned up."
    She hopes what is now just a pile of dirt, will transform the area and so does CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison.
    "I'm interested in what we're doing different to be better," Morrison said.
    CMS said the Pre-K-through-8 school will be funded as any other CMS school would be, except for the extras that the nonprofit Renaissance West Community Initiative will handle.
    For instance, it would take care of like medical and social services for students and families.
    But the school will be jointly run by the non-profit and CMS. 
    "What this partnership is going to allow us to do is walk side by side with the school system to help address those issues," Laura Clark the executive director of Renaissance West Community Initiative said. 

    Clark said issues include things like student health, mental health and hunger issues.
    Clark said they pulled their application to open a charter school at the Renaissance Wednesday morning, opting to partner with CMS to get flexibility in educating students.
    "We're getting that without having to go out on our own and build a charter school," Clark said.
    North Carolina public school systems can't charter schools and Morrison said other partnership schools could open in the future.
    "We've had a number of current charter schools operating locally that have expressed desires to work collaboratively with CMS and potentially come back into the CMS family of schools," Morrison said.

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