Superintendent Ann Clark said this week she’d like to double Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ magnet program, from about 20,000 students to 40,000, over the next four years.
For starters, she and her staff outlined a plan to add new programs for almost 13,000 students in about two dozen locations. It’s a “fluid” list that’s expected to expand and change as enrollment patterns and construction options become clearer.
For instance, Clark told the school board Tuesday that she plans to add Rama Road Elementary to the list of schools getting new options in 2018-19, based on a conversation with the school leadership team the night before.
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The revised plan for magnets and other school options aims to give all families better academic choices and reduce the chance that the most disadvantaged students remain concentrated in high-poverty schools. In addition to adding magnet seats, the plan uses new transportation zones, a complex new system of lottery priorities, revised admission requirements for magnet programs and a new option for students to get out of persistently low-performing schools.
Everything is preliminary now. The board will hold public hearings Oct. 25 and Nov. 9 before voting on Nov. 9. Clark and other CMS staff plan a series of meetings around Mecklenburg County before that vote to answer questions and field suggestions.
Here’s the plan as of Tuesday.
▪ A K-5 computer science magnet school with 550 seats opens in the old Newell Elementary building.
▪ Billingsville Elementary adds a health science magnet program with 300 seats.
▪ Paw Creek Elementary adds a computer science magnet program with 60 seats the first year, eventually growing to 120.
▪ The UNC Charlotte Early College High School, currently focused on engineering, will add an early educators program, starting with 110 seats and expanding to 500.
▪ A middle college high school will open at Central Piedmont Community College’s Merancas campus, starting with 110 students and expanding to 300.
▪ The Montessori middle/high magnet program, now located at Sedgefield Middle School, moves to an unspecified location and grows to 375 students, eventually reaching 750.
▪ Marie G. Davis military/leadership school, a K-12 magnet, goes to K-8 and becomes an International Baccalaureate magnet. It will have 1,474 seats.
▪ The JROTC/public service high school magnet from Marie G. Davis moves to Hawthorne Academy, which is currently a health science magnet. It will offer 400 seats.
▪ The STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) magnet program at Palisades Park Elementary, which is crowded, moves to nearby Winget Park Elementary, which has space. It will offer 225 seats.
▪ A new K-8 school in east Charlotte, designed to relieve crowding at Albemarle Road elementary and middle schools, will offer a dual language magnet with 500 seats.
▪ Northeast Middle School will add a magnet program for 225 students, with the theme to be determined.
▪ Quail Hollow Middle School will add a magnet program for 250 students, with the theme to be determined.
▪ Sedgefield elementary and middle schools will add magnet programs for 375 students, with the theme to be determined.
▪ A magnet middle school for 700 students, with the theme to be determined, will open at the old Wilson Middle School.
▪ Two new K-8 language immersion magnet schools will open in the northern and southern parts of the county, offering 1,950 seats.
▪ A magnet high school offering IB and STEM themes will open at Waddell, starting with 888 students and growing to 1,776. Waddell, originally built as a high school, currently houses a K-8 language magnet.
▪ A K-8 dual language magnet school to replace Collinswood Language Academy will open with 940 students.
▪ A K-8 STEAM magnet (STEM plus arts) will be part of a new school opening in the Rea Farm area, offering 500 seats.
▪ A partial magnet program for 300 students, theme to be determined, will be added to Montclaire Elementary.
▪ A new preK-6 Montessori magnet school will open with 575 students, growing to 800.
In addition to these meetings, CMS plans to schedule four town hall meetings on the magnet plan and hold sessions at the schools that will be affected by proposed changes.
Oct. 25: The board will hold a discussion and public hearing on the magnet plan, 6 p.m. in the meeting chamber at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. Fourth St.
Oct. 26: Superintendent Ann Clark will hold a “coffee and conversation” session from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Elon Park Elementary School, 11425 Ardrey Kell Road.
Nov. 9: The board will hold a second public hearing and vote on changes that will take effect with the January lottery for 2017-18 assignments.
For information about the student assignment review: http://bit.ly/1o3eWhp. From there, choose “Board Meetings” to find the information presented at the Oct. 11 meeting, including the list of proposed school changes, how the lottery will work and how admission requirements will change.