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Morrison draws praise for CMS plan

Superintendent Heath Morrison drew praise Monday for his plan to help reform Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools – and his call for the community to rally behind the district.

Morrison spoke to a crowd of about 1,200 CMS employees, students and parents, as well as community leaders and other members of the public who packed into Belk Theater in uptown.

Some said that while they needed more time to digest all of what Morrison presented, they were impressed overall by the plan. Many also stopped at tables set up in the theater’s lobby to sign up for any of the 22 task forces that will tackle some of the ideas in Morrison’s plan.

Sarah Stevenson, a former school board member who now runs the weekly Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum, said she was particularly interested in Morrison’s comments that the district must be proactive in talking about race and diversity – and his push to make sure all students are supported from the time they enter CMS until they graduate.

“I am just so excited about what he said tonight,” Stevenson said.

Morrison’s plans for improving the way the district uses technology in the classroom, and his push to encourage more creativity and innovation among students, also drew praise from some in the crowd. So did his call for the district to provide accurate data on how CMS is performing.

Mecklenburg County commissioner Vilma Leake said she felt Morrison did a good job at addressing the issues facing CMS, including making sure the district is working to educate all children regardless of where they attend school. She said the district can’t have low-performing schools all in one area of town, and high-performing ones in another.

Leake, a former school board member, called on the current board to “pick up the torch” and help Morrison implement his vision. She also challenged county commissioners to do what they can to support CMS.

Many, like incoming commissioner Kim Ratliff and former school board member Louise Woods, also spoke of the need for the public to get involved with the district.

The talk, Woods said, “was a very clear call for the community to step up to do their part ... our part.”

Bethea: 704-358-6013 Twitter: @AprilBethea
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