PreK-8 schools in CMS struggle

Jan 16, 2014 by

Two years after Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools hastily merged high-poverty elementary and middle schools, most of the preK-8 schools continue to struggle with academics and discipline, according to a new CMS report.

Most of the 5,100 students who attended those schools last year were less likely to pass state exams and more likely to be absent or suspended than peers in high-poverty CMS elementary and middle schools, according to a report presented Tuesday.

The report also highlighted encouraging trends, such as strong academic growth ratings and growing acceptance from faculty and parents. One of the eight, Berryhill School on Mecklenburg’s western edge, broke the pattern by outperforming the traditional high-poverty schools.

Superintendent Heath Morrison told the board he wants principals to learn from Berryhill’s success, even as CMS and the University of South Carolina delve deeper into data on the merged schools.

“I think ultimately when they’re done well K-8s hold up as a very sound instructional model across the country,” Morrison said.

The ability to make that model work matters to the entire county, as CMS prepares in coming years to launch five combined elementary/middle schools in locations from Davidson in the north to Ballantyne in the south. In addition, the district already has four merged magnet schools.

via PreK-8 schools in CMS struggle but show bright spots |

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