Elementary School Information

  • All CMS elementary schools offer services to students in grades kindergarten through five. In addition, Pre-Kindergarten is available to a limited number of students with identified educational needs. All schools implement the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. In CMS, the instructional program is organized to provide a minimum of three hours of literacy instruction for grades K-2, two hours of literacy instruction for 60-90 minutes of mathematics instruction, 30 minutes of science and social studies instruction, and 20 minutes of social emotional learning per day. To meet the needs of all students, the CMS elementary program requires daily remediation and enrichment instruction.

    Bright Beginnings Pre-Kindergarten Program

    Bright Beginnings is a Pre-Kindergarten program designed to provide early intervention for some eligible children, before they begin Kindergarten. Eligibility is based on a screening that determines each child’s educational need. The children identified as most at risk of failing to meet North Carolina’s academic achievement standards are placed in the program. Pre-K classrooms are located in 57 schools, providing access to children in all parts of Mecklenburg County. For more information, contact the Bright Beginnings Office at (980) 343-5950. To apply, please create an account using the following link and add your child’s information: https://cmsncc.scriborder.com/

    Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and First-Grade Entry Requirements

    Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and new first-grade students entering Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools shall be required to present a certified birth certificate or other satisfactory evidence of age. In addition, parents must present an immunization record, health assessment (current physical exam), proof of address (two types). Please visit https://bit.ly/2ZJElSr for details.

    A child applying for Pre-Kindergarten in 2023-2024 must be 4 years old on or before August 31, and must indicate a need for Pre-K as determined by a screening assessment. Call (980) 343-5950 to obtain more information about Pre-Kindergarten or the application and screening process. To apply, please create an account using the following link and add your child’s information: https://cmsncc.scriborder.com/

    Students must be 5 years old on or before Aug. 31, to enter kindergarten. Parents interested in early admittance to the kindergarten program should contact the Talent Development/Advanced Studies office at (980) 343-6955 or visit https://www.cmsk12.org/Page/782 for additional information.

    All children must bring valid records of required immunizations and health assessments or physical exams.

    Health Assessments

    CMS Board Policy (S-HEAL) and NC law require that all students entering public schools for the first time have a health assessment (physical assessment). State law requires that the health assessment shall be administered no more than 12 months before the date of school entry.

    The law also provides that:

    • A completed health assessment transmittal form must be presented to the principal on or before the child’s first day of attendance. This required form can be found at goo.gl/ZGLjGX
    • Principals have both the authority and the responsibility to exclude children who have not had an assessment by the deadline Health assessments must include a medical history and physical examination with screening for vision and hearing. The health assessment must be conducted by a physician licensed to practice medicine, a physician’s assistant as defined in General Statute 90-18, a certified nurse practitioner or a public health nurse meeting the North Carolina Division of Health Services’ Standards for Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment. Results must be submitted to the school principal on forms provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which can be found at goo.gl/ZGLjGX.

    Read to Achieve

    During the April 2021 legislative session, North Carolina legislators passed an act to modify the implementation of the Read to Achieve legislation in order to attain statewide reading proficiency by the third grade. SESSION LAW 2021-8 SENATE BILL 387 identifies educators as pivotal in the role of reading instruction and requires every PreK-5 teacher to be highly equipped with the knowledge and skills to apply the science of reading. This legislation prioritizes the need for systematic and explicit reading instruction in the early grades and reinforcement of these practices in the higher grades. It also reiterates the need to provide additional support and offer intervention techniques for struggling students.

    The North Carolina Read to Achieve (RtA) comprehensive plan for reading achievement states that all:

    • students entering kindergarten are required to receive a developmental screening in early language, literacy, and math skills,
    • and students in grades K-3 must be assessed with valid, reliable, formative and diagnostic reading assessments.

    These assessments are to be used to identify and assist students demonstrating difficulty with reading development, including offering reading camps as an option to students in grades first through third.
    A student must be retained in the third grade if not demonstrating reading proficiency on the third-grade standardized test of reading comprehension, but may be promoted if the student qualifies under certain exemptions or if the student demonstrates reading comprehension on a state alternative assessment.

    Good Cause Exemptions

    • Limited English Proficient students with less than two school years of instruction in an English as a Second Language program.
    • Students with disabilities, as defined in G.S. 115C-106.3(1), and whose individualized education program indicates (i) the use of the NCEXTEND1 alternate assessment, (ii) at least a two school year delay in educational performance, or (iii) receipt of intensive reading literacy interventions for at least two school years.
    • Students who demonstrate reading proficiency appropriate for thirdgrade students on an alternative assessment approved by the State Board of Education.
    • Students who demonstrate, through a student reading portfolio, reading proficiency appropriate for third-grade students. Student reading portfolio and review processes used by local school administrative units shall be approved by the State Board of Education. 
    • Students who have (i) received literacy interventions and (ii) previously been retained more than once in kindergarten, first, second, or third grades.

    RtA requires specific interventions for students retained in third grade, including the option of summer reading camp, accelerated reading classes or transitional third-fourth grade classes, and the possibility of midyear promotion upon demonstration of reading comprehension.

    Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s school for more information on Read to Achieve and other elementary promotion standards.