Earlier this year the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education conducted a national search for a visionary leader who could lead the district. At the end of the process they hired Dr. Heath Morrison.
Morrison began the job this spring with one promise – to listen. He asked the community to give him 100 days to evaluate the district’s performance on all levels. This listening and evaluating process, he said, would give him the information needed to develop a plan for how to move the district forward.
For the past 3 months Morrison has done just that. He commissioned internal audits and held community forms to gather the necessary information. On Monday night he presented how the things he learned from these activities would be used to move the district forward.
The Way Forward
During his 100-day evaluation period Morrison said he learned several things, including:
– CMS has a strong focus on student achievement, but there is room for improvement in many areas. Morrison believes there is a need for more thought in how CMS educates to provide a high-quality diploma, decreases the technology lag and increases cultural proficiency.
– There is work to be accomplished regarding internal culture. In many ways CMS has become very compliant, says Morrison. There needs to be a culture to support innovation and creativity.
– CMS needs to work on building public trust. While the district has a great national reputation, their local reputation isn’t as perfect, said Morrison.
To address these, and the other challenges, Morrison presented an eight-point plan – The Way Forward. According to Morrison, this plan will help CMS complete the journey from good to great. It is the beginning of a district-wide conversation about how to strengthen CMS and its schools. Many of the goals focus on developing innovative ways to educate and moving in partnership with the parents and community to create a school system that meets the needs of families and students.
The eight goals presented in the plan are:
Goal 1: Accelerate academic achievement for every child and close achievement gaps so all students graduate from CMS college- or career-ready.
Goal 2: Ensure an effective teacher in every class is led by an effective principal in every school served by quality support staff, by supporting the professional development of all employees.
Goal 3: Cultivate innovative partnerships with parents/caregivers and the community to provide a sustainable system of wraparound support for all children.
Goal 4: Continuously nurture a self-renewing culture of high engagement, customer service and cultural competency.
Goal 5: Establish a comprehensive performance-management approach that ensures data-informed and evidence-based decision-making for students, schools and the district as a whole.
Goal 6: Strengthen and expand our portfolio of educational choices for students to foster creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Goal 7: Increase technology integration to support inspired learning and teaching.
Goal 8: Communicate proactively and purposefully to strengthen public trust and establish CMS as the preferred K-12 choice.
To help us find the best ways to achieve these goals, CMS will convene 22 task forces to include CMS employees and members of the public. Each task force will look at one component of a goal and the best way to achieve it.
The 22 task forces will have a CMS lead and a community lead. The task forces are:
Extended Learning Opportunities
College and Career Readiness/Reverse Engineering Pathways for Success
Closing the Achievement Gap
Professional Growth System
Parent Engagement and Involvement
Proactive Community and Faith Partnerships
Culture, Engagement and Shared Values
Cultural Competence Framework
Process and System Improvement
Choice, Alternatives and Magnets
Higher Ed Partnerships
Technology and Blended Learning
Public Trust, Marketing and Branding
Time, Capital and Resource Management