Student Assignment Plan
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has identified a critical set of beliefs in the district's strategic plan, Strategic Plan 2024. This plan serves as the basis for how CMS will educate the students in Mecklenburg County. Though this document aims to present a plan for where students will go to school, we need to be reminded of these beliefs, as they are the foundation for all of the district's work.
- Every student is entitled to a free, appropriate, and high-quality education.
- Every student should have access to academic rigor.
- Every student deserves a competent and caring teacher.
- Teachers are leaders whose prime responsibility is to lead their students' work.
- Teaching focuses on accelerating learning for all students.
- Teachers encourage learners' creativity.
- Teachers regularly analyze and redesign their instructional strategies to prevent student failure.
- Students at every school should have equal access to appropriate instructional resources.
- Learning should take place in facilities that offer each student an equal opportunity.
The foundation established through these core beliefs must be paired with the three essential partners: students, teachers, and families. In the background is the community providing support. All curriculum definitions, instructional materials, and quality facilities are useless without quality faculties. Each school's teaching and learning environment is created and shaped by its principal and faculty. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and this community, are very fortunate to have such high-quality professionals in our schools. Our principals and teachers do care, and they are constantly seeking strategies that will enable students to be more successful. Our strong professional staff will provide positive learning environments, regardless of what the student assignment plan yields.
Families are the students' first teachers, and we later join in this shared experience with the school faculty. Though formal education takes place in the classroom, continued support and encouragement are provided in the home. The family also shapes the values that a student develops for themselves. The student also has a role. A teacher can teach, a family can provide support, and the student must be an active participant. The individual initiative allows a student to create and explore the possibility of their dreams. Then with the help of teachers and family, the student can achieve those dreams.
The strength of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is not a student assignment plan or the bricks and mortar that create facilities. Student achievement is what matters --- student achievement for all students in every school in every area of Mecklenburg County. This is accomplished through a rigorous and appropriate instructional program.
The platform for delivery of the instructional program is in schools. With the number of schools in Mecklenburg County, it is necessary to determine how students and their families can enroll in the schools of the district. School selection should be the role of the family and the students. The district should provide the platform for access. Therefore, the new student assignment strategy is one of the family options. Families will have the opportunity to select and receive transportation among magnet programs, a "home" school, and other elementary, middle, or high schools within a zone. In addition, families can provide their transportation if the school that meets their needs is outside of their zone. This strategy is a significant shift in how Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools proposes to serve the children of this community. Families will now be the decision-makers for where their children will attend school.
Over the last few years, we have heard from our community that stability is one of the most critical factors for a new student assignment plan. We recognize that in a child's life, there are lots of changes that occur. While this transition from K-12 happens for a student, we believe that the school should be stable. In the plan, families will know what schools their children will have the option of attending over their school career from elementary through high school. As mentioned above, families will continue to have opportunities throughout the continuum of grade levels if another arrangement best meets the family's needs. Through this type of plan, we hope that students who begin school together will have the opportunity to progress through the grade levels together. Therefore, the proposed plan includes stability and predictability for families.
In developing each student assignment plan since 2002-03, we have used the June 1, 2000 plan and the Resolution adopted by the Board of Education on March 27, 2001, as starting points. The underlying concepts can be summarized as follows:
- Options: all families will be expected to select from various schools. Transportation will be provided when a family chooses a magnet program, a school within their zone, or their "home" school.
- Magnet programs: specialized curriculum areas for which a student may have a particular interest or talent;
- "Home" school: The school a student is assigned based on their residential address and school boundaries;
- Zone schools: elementary, middle, and high schools included in pairings of high school feeder areas; and
- Other schools: selection of a school outside of the zone in which seats are available; district transportation not provided;
- Stability: families will know the progression of schools available for their address; that means the elementary, middle, and high school that will be their "home" school and the progression through the magnet and non-magnet schools;
- Contiguous boundaries: all satellite zones have been eliminated; efforts have been made to allow families and students who live close together to have the option of going to school together;
- Utilization: options have been developed that allow for the facilities to be utilized as thoroughly as possible;
- Diversity: diversity will no longer be mandated by an assignment of students to schools. Instead, it will be based on the family's decisions.