Highs and Lows for Project LIFT - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Highs and Lows for Project LIFT

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Project Lift is going into its third year and we are getting a look at how things are going with the program. A third party gathered information about the ups and downs of the program.  The Charlotte community raised $55 million to invest into nine struggling Charlotte - Mecklenburg schools. The money will come over the next five years to help students succeed.

Project Lift's Executive Director, Denise Watts, will present the findings at Tuesday's school board meeting. She says one of the highlights of the program is the teachers Project Lift recruits.

"Our talent strategies standout," Watts said. "Our ability to staff all of our schools with quality staff."

Academics have gotten better for students especially when it comes to Science, But there is still much work to be done with Math and Reading test scores.

"We're not where we want to be," Watts said. "I don't call anything in the report I will share tonight or anything that we have done success. I tend to highlight them as milestones or momentum."

There is also work to be done to figure out why the total number out of school suspensions have increased tremendously at Bruns Academy.  During the 2011-2012 school year suspensions were 238, the next year it rose to 641.

At West Charlotte HS, there was a different story.  Suspension numbers decreased there while attendance numbers rose at the Project Lift schools.

The report also highlights the number of high school freshmen now on track to graduate on time. Last year 43% of 9th graders attending Project Lift schools were scheduled to complete high school in four years.  This year the number increased to 67%.

"It's showing that we are basically getting to a place," Watts said. "Where a lot of freshmen kids are attending school and the credits they are attempting - they are passing."

The goal of Project Lift is 90-90-90.  90% of students to graduate on time, 90% of students to be proficient, and 90% of students to experience at least one year's growth after the school year.

There are plenty of things leaders believe are working in Project Lift, but finding that magic bullet can't be done.

"It's very difficult to say this one thing is making the difference," Watts said. "Or this one thing is making the difference. So we are really trying to hone in and do some isolation and maybe contribute more money to some things and less to other things."

Funding for Project Lift ends in a few years.  Leaders are now trying to figure out where extra money can come from to continue the work that has already begun.

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