Does race matter when teaching in CMS? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Does race matter when teaching in CMS?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Charlotte -Mecklenburg School (CMS) district has a very diverse student population while its teacher population isn't.

About 70% of CMS teachers are white and 23% are black.

CMS thinks if all teachers can better connect with their students' backgrounds and cultures, then academic achievement could rise.

While the district is tackling this black and white assignment, principals are working on all teachers to help them relate to their students.

"We are constantly looking for ways to serve them through professional development," Bruns Academy Principal Jordy Sparks said. "Put them into areas that will push their level of comfort and challenge their beliefs."

Administrators also say relationship is also important.

"It's a way to know and understand someone else's story," Bruns Academy Principal Jordy Sparks said. "And the ability to respond to it. It takes an incredible amount of listening and an amount of patience and understanding to get to know the family you are serving."

The principal says several teachers have come to him and told him working in a majority minority school wasn't a good fit for them. While they look for another job, teachers say parents have confronted them about asking can they get the job done?

"I have had some parents in the beginning of the year say how are you going to meet the needs of my children," Bruns Academy teacher Nicole Milford said. "You don't know where we come from."

The teacher had a simple response.

"I know you have struggles," Milford said. "We all have struggles, but I feel like we are one and if we are one, then you know I am here to support you. We are going to succeed."

Teachers say they don't see color when they teach, they focus on the students' needs.

CMS has created a task force that will deal with cultural competency.

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