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Education

CMS Board Works On Goals, Data To Help Close Racial Disparities In Student Success

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After a Tuesday meeting that packed the meeting chamber, the CMS board's Wednesday workshop on data was sparsely attended.

For much of the summer, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board and county commissioners waged a high-profile budget battle, with the district's plan for academic improvement as a major point of contention. County officials said CMS lacked clear data and goals, while district leaders said they were already working on a better strategic plan.

Last week, the two bodies came to terms on money and planning. On Wednesday night, the school board spent three hours working with facilitator A.J. Crabill to chart the best data to track and set goals that reflect the community's values.

Members looked at a summary of the data CMS has been tracking so far, a short version of the 2024 plan crafted in 2019, a "school board basics" outline of the work ahead and a seven-page instruction sheet on setting metrics, goals and "guard rails."

Among the questions: How should CMS deal with the data disruption the pandemic caused? And what happens when changes in state testing cause scores to fluctuate?

After three hours, the board was nowhere near finished. Crabill said that's not surprising, given the scope of the work and the diversity and size of Mecklenburg County.

"For you all, trying to identify how do we best express the vision and values of our community was always going to be a challenge," he said. "I think you all did a great job this evening of getting the party started."

Members said they'll probably schedule another special meeting in July, as well as tacking this work onto regular meetings in August. They're shooting for having the goals done by Sept. 30.

Wednesday's special session came after a five-hour meeting Tuesday night that packed the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center's main meeting chamber and saw dozens of people make comments on how race is handled in schools and sexual assault concerns at Myers Park High. In contrast, Wednesday's work session was sparsely attended and drew only a small online audience.

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