CMS holds press conference reviewing the first week back at school

Nearly 141,000 CMS students went back to school this week.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools welcomed back nearly 141,000 students and 18,000 employees this week.
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 6:00 PM EDT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The first week of school for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students and staff is in the books.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools welcomed back nearly 141,000 students and 18,000 employees this week.

Two new schools, Palisades High School and Mint Hill Elementary School opened their doors on Monday.

Related: CMS opens two new schools, three replacement schools for thousands of students

Additionally, Shamrock Gardens Elementary, Landsdowne Elementary and West Charlotte High School reopened their doors Monday morning as the district’s three replacement schools.

The principal at Mint Hill Elementary said he’s ready for this fresh start and to build a legacy with his students and staff.

“We’ve talked to our kids about how great it is to be the first to do anything. The first people to sit in the cafeteria chairs and the first people to go into these classrooms,” Principal Rick Mohrien said.

David Roberts’ daughters are just two of the more than 560 students who go to Mint Hill Elementary, they previously attended Bain Elementary School.

“It was clear that a lot of care and attention and gone in on the part of the faculty, staff, and teachers,” Roberts said.

As of Sept. 2, CMS is reporting 36 bus driver vacancies, compared to nearly 80 during the first week of school last year.

Later this month, 13 new drivers will be assigned buses to start driving routes, and more than 40 people are lined up for the next training which starts on Sept. 12.

“This is the first time in over twelve months that our pipeline actually, that we’re seeing in the next two months, actually exceeds our vacancy,” CMS Chief Operating Officer Brian Schultz said.

Roberts’ daughters only ride the bus in the afternoons and he said the delays are much shorter than they were last year.

“It definitely seems pretty consistent so far, we’ve been happy with it,” he said.

CMS is still working to fill hundreds of teacher vacancies. As of Sept. 2, CMS is reporting 379 teacher vacancies and 154 teacher assistant vacancies.

CMS is constantly recruiting guest teachers which are essentially full-time substitutes who are assigned to one school. Guest teachers can be certified or uncertified.

In order to apply for a non-certified substitute or guest teacher role, you must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma. If you want to apply for a certified role you must have the previous requirements and a valid teaching license (current or expired) from N.C. or another state.

Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh said guest teachers have played a major part in helping fill teacher vacancies.

“This year we also allowed the guest teachers to come back and provide them three days during the planning so they could get on board and we really had to lean on them this year because of some of the vacancies,” Hattabaugh said. “They’ve done a great job.”

More body scanners are on the way for 48 middle and K-8 schools. Evolv body scanners were installed in 21 high schools back in April. Throughout September students and staff at 23 schools will also be trained on how to use the scanners. The remaining schools will receive scanners in October.

“We have an additional 25 schools that will install, implement, and get up and going and that will last ongoing throughout October with the implementation phase,” Schultz said.

Related: NCDPI releases academic report following third year of pandemic impact, CMS showing signs of recovery