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CMS will start tracking data on post-diploma preparation

CMS held an event at the Panthers stadium in April to celebrate seniors who had enrolled, enlisted or gotten employment.
Ann Doss Helms
/
WFAE
CMS held an event at the Panthers stadium in April to celebrate seniors who had enrolled, enlisted or gotten employment.

This article originally appeared in WFAE reporter Ann Doss Helms' weekly education newsletter. To get the latest school news in your inbox first, sign up for our email newsletters here.

How do you measure students' progress toward a productive life after high school graduation? That has been a major challenge for state and local officials, who have decided that just tracking graduation rates isn't good enough.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board voted in October to track data on preparation for "the three E's" — enrollment in higher education, enlistment in the military or employment. But the board left it to Superintendent Crystal Hill and her staff to figure out how to do that.

Last week CMS posted the plan for data tracking. In order to be considered well-prepared, seniors must pass state math, English and biology exams, and do at least one of the following:

  • Make high marks on the SAT or ACT college readiness exams or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.
  • Complete a JROTC pathway.
  • Earn an industry certification.
  • Complete a career-tech pathway.
  • Earn at least one college credit through dual enrollment, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes.

"We'll be gathering that baseline data for the upcoming school year," Chief Strategy Officer Beth Thompson said. "And then we'll be prepared for the 2025-26 school year to be able to set a districtwide baseline and target for the next four years."
Meanwhile, North Carolina keeps working toward a more sophisticated way to make sure teens are prepared for life after high school — not just with classes and credentials, but with "durable skills" such as communication, empathy and critical thinking. EdNC offered a good update on that work last week.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.