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Five Years In, Project LIFT Assesses Progress, Challenges Still Ahead

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David T. Foster, III
/
The Charlotte Observer

Thursday, March 2, 2017

After five years of work toward an ambitious goal to turn around nine west Charlotte schools, Project LIFT's superintendent joins Mike Collins to look at the results so far, and the challenges still ahead.

"A mixed report card” has been a common headline for Project L.I.F.T. – the public/private partnership that was launched with high hopes five years ago for turning around nine schools in west Charlotte.

At the outset, Project L.I.F.T. had goal of a 90-percent graduation rate and 90 percent student proficiency in math and English. The target date for hitting those goals? 2017.

So where do things stand now? Well, once again, it’s a mixed bag. As of last year the graduation rate was now within reach of its 90-percent target, but proficiency is still far below its goal, and Project L.I.F.T.’s philanthropic backers last year gave the initiative an additional year.

But the people behind Project L.I.F.T say there’s more to what they’re doing than the numbers and they’re hardly ready to throw in the towel.

GUESTS

Denise Watts, superintendent, Project L.I.F.T. (@denisewatts75)

Richard "Stick" Williams, board co-chair, Project L.I.F.T.

Michael Marsicano, CEO, Foundation for the Carolinas