CMS says it's ready for the first day of school for 2017

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (CMS) says it is ready for students to return for the first day of school starting August 28. CMS' Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox says staff have been working hard to make sure all 176 schools are in tip-top shape especially the schools who many say don't get the same treatment as other schools.

"What I have seen is a great group of folks focused on curb appeal," Wilcox said. "Right now, they are looking at trimming the trees and shrubbery. They are looking at improving the curb appeal - making sure the sidewalks are clean and pressure washed."

Currently, CMS has reported that there are over 75 full time teacher vacancies, which is compared to 114 vacancies that were open during the same time in 2016. Finding teachers are still a tough assignment and high school teachers are what is needed the most.

"Oftentimes profession of teaching isn't portrayed as we would have like to see it," Wilcox said.

CMS is confident it will find teachers for those openings soon. The district also says there are 33 vacancies for bus drivers, but have made sure that all of buses will have a driver for the first day of school.

Academic achievement will be the focus of the new superintendent when it comes to closing the achievement gap.

"There really are no silver bullets in closing and eliminating the achievement gap," the superintendent said. "Rather it's silver BB's. There are hundreds of things we have to do incredibly well in order to lead to advance achievement for our young people."

The superintendent believes it isn't an achievement gap but rather an inspiration gap.  Wilcox wants to address curriculum as a way to inspire students to do better in school.

"We began talking about creating cultures where our young people are celebrated," Wilcox said. "Culture where teachers are valued and we begin to talk about our style of instruction."

The superintendent is expected to spell out his plan concerning academic achievement at the school board's retreat on August 25.

CMS says this year all of the 1,078 buses will have four cameras to catch students' actions. The district is also trying to prevent little kids from getting d ropped off at the wrong bus stop.

"We've asked that they put identification on a student," Janet Thomas said, who is the CMS transportation executive director. "We've also asked our drivers to take that extra time to stop and ask who are you and where are you on my roster."

CMS says if you have questions about student placement or transportation, then you are asked to call 980-343-6715.

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