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Making the Grade: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent says it’s ‘All Hands On Deck’

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 8:57 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston talking about the district’s plan to close the achievement gap.

WBTV is dedicating a year to examine the achievement gap and what needs to happen to close it.

Winston says the plan still needs improvement but he said what will happen this school year to address the gap between Black and White students.

“One of the things that we are going to be rolling out this school year is our continuous improvement system and data monitoring calendar,” CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston said. “So we will have more frequent assessments and walkthroughs as we assess what is taking place in our classrooms. And we will be providing more timely feedback to our educators so that we can make adjustments midcourse - not wait until the end of the school year to make adjustments - so that’s one thing that we will continue to work on.”

Winston shares more of the plan.

“One of the things that are going to be very important is extending learning beyond the school day,” Winston said. “We need to extend learning beyond the school day - that could look like after school programs, extra tutorial support for our students but that is going to be one key lever that we will need to use to improve outcomes for students.”

CMS has identified about 50,000 students who are academically at-risk.

Money will be needed to pay for the learning after the school day.

Winston says money from the federal government will help fund his plan.

CMS expects to get about $500 million.

“We have a unique opportunity over the next several years,” he said. “With the level of COVID funding, we are receiving to make sure we capitalize on all of the necessary supports in partnership with our community that our students need and deserve. Shame on us if we squander this opportunity.”

Winston says it’s “All Hands On Deck” this school year.

He says he believes he has all the people in place to get the job done and is prepared to remove and replace people if success is not happening.

He knows closing the achievement gap is a challenge but he says he is up for it. He expects students will need extra support when they come back to school.

“We know that all students have been impacted by the pandemic,” Winston said. “And that’s why it is important for us not only to start school in person on Aug 25th but to keep schools open because we know while some of our students faired very well during remote learning - that most of our students we know that they learn best in person.”

WBTV Making the Grade will air each Thursday on WBTV News at 5 and OYST with Jamie Boll.

Reporters Dedrick Russell, Chandler Morgan, and Courtney Cole will be contributing stories.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.