State of Our Schools: CMS Superintendent says District + Communi - | WBTV Charlotte

State of Our Schools: CMS Superintendent says District + Community = Success

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) District Superintendent Ann Clark laid out her State of the Schools Address at West Charlotte High School on Thursday. The auditorium was filled with teachers, administrators, and the community.

Clark tells WBTV she picked West Charlotte HS to highlight the school's academic progress when it comes to test scores and graduation rates. The theme of the State of Our Schools address was CMS plus Community.

"Tried to show when we have that community commitment," CMS Superintendent Ann Clark said. "Our students are successful."

Clark started her presentation talking about the issues CMS faces.

"We are at an incredible moment," Clark said. "Where we must wrestle with words, like equity and diversity and where kids go to school."

Clark then spent most of the more than hour long presentation talking about the progress of CMS.  The superintendent showed slides of how test scores increased and the district's graduation rate is about 88%, People in the audience wanted to hear more about the issues and how they were going to be solved.

"We need to see in this community the schools that are really performing high," CMS Parent Tammy Hill said. "And the schools that are not performing, so we can come together as a community - as a whole to really get to the root cause of these issues."

Hill tells WBTV she believes involving the community is a good idea but the school district can't only rely on the community to get the job done.

"It's a start for conversation," Hill said. "I don't think that's a plan that's going to do it."

Hill believes Clark's presentation was solid, but just wanted to hear more about.

"We really have to do what we say we are going to do," Hill said. "For all children. We need equity. We need diversity for all schools."

Currently CMS is talking about a controversial student assignment plan.  It will be a plan that will decide schools students will attend.  Clark tells WBTV she knows more work needs to done especially when it comes to reading.

"Literacy is our North Star," Clark said. "But there is a good reason it is, because we are certainly not making the progress in that area we need to as a district."

Clark encouraged the community to mentor a student to help boost reading scores.  The superintendent also wants the community to help the district retain effective teachers.  She told the crowd that is an issue that keeps her up at night.  She suggests the community to help identify affordable housing for teachers and possibly teachers can get help from churches to provide daycare for their children.  Daycare can be expensive.

Erlene Lyde from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators (CMAE) wanted Clark to really drive that point home.

"If we don't retain those important people in the lives of children,"  CMAE President Erlene Lyde said. "If we don't as a community do that, then we are hurting children more and more and more."

Lyde appreciates Clark's idea with affordable housing and affordable daycare, but still has concerns about that.

"I don't know if that is going to be enough," Lyde said. "To attract people to retain them, because they are going to come looking for a wage that is going to support their families."

The community left pleased with Clark's presentation.

"CMS can't stand on its own," Community supporter Allen Anderson said. "It's going to take the community and its partners, faith based community, other organizations in order to pull these students together."

Anderson tells WBTV he has heard community partnering with CMS before, but claims this year it's different.

"I did come away today more hopeful," Anderson said. "Based on the conversation, but at the same the community really has to hear that plea and get out and get involved."

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