• CMS superintendent lays out clear plan for district's future

    By: Torie Wells


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools laid out its strategic plan for the district for the next four years on Friday.

    Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison said the district worked with 22 task forces made up of teachers, parents and community leaders to help put the plan together. He presented it Friday at the Booth Playhouse in Uptown.

    "If we're going to truly be focused on not just graduating more students, but to truly get them ready for the future for the careers of tomorrow, then we have to change," said Morrison as he spoke to a group of community and school leaders Friday.

    He said that careers are changing, so CMS has to as well.

    The strategic plan is broken up into six goals.

    The goals include:

    1. Maximize academic achievement in a personalized 21st-century learning environment for every child to graduate college and career ready
    2. Recruit, develop, retain and reward a premier workforce.
    3. Cultivate partnerships with families, businesses, faith-based groups and community organizations to provide a sustainable system of support and care for each child.
    4. Promote a system-wide culture of safety, high engagement, cultural competency and customer service.
    5. Optimize district performance and accountability by strengthening data use, processes and systems.
    6. Inspire and nurture learning, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship through technology and strategic school redesign.

    "When we all play our roles, everybody wins," said Bishop Claude Richard Alexander Jr., the senior pastor at The Park Church. He and Charles Bowman, Market President for Bank of America, spoke to the group Friday in support of the strategic plan.

    Morrison said many of the goals build on work that is already underway in the district. He said Goal 6, a greater focus on technology and school redesign, is the biggest change.

    Devin Dixon is a senior at the Renaissance School at Olympic High School. He says for him, that's a school of choice because he can learn and dance, which he loves.

    "It gives me more freedom," he said.

    He said he's glad to see the strategic plan aim to give more students options.  Morrison says the goal is to redesign schools so they are each unique and more of a school of choice. He wants each student to have the option to go to his or her home school or a CMS magnet program.

    The superintendent said he is also working with state lawmakers and hopes they tackle teacher pay in the short session. Then he plans to work with county leaders to make sure pay at CMS is always competitive in the state.

    "To ask them to make sure that we always have the highest-paid teachers within North Carolina," he said.

    There was no price tag attached to this plan. Morrison did say some of these things will cost more than the budget and he says that is where community partnerships and the CMS foundation will have to come in. He says CMS is mapping out community assets so it can match them with school needs.

    The superintendent said the district will present some new learning opportunities at its Tuesday board meeting, including an early college partnership with UNCC and a medical academy at one of its schools.

    Two community meetings will be held to present the strategic plan to employees and the public. One will be held Oct. 21 at Mallard Creek High. The other will be held Oct. 28 at E.E. Waddell Language Academy. Both meetings will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

    You can read more on the strategic plan, here.

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