In a first public glimpse at details of a new transfer-out option, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on Monday listed 11 neighborhood schools that will serve as alternatives for students who want to leave six chronically low-scoring ones.
Five middle schools – Alexander Graham, Carmel, Crestdale, Mint Hill and South Charlotte – and six elementary schools – Barnette, Endhaven, Long Creek, McAlpine, Mountain Island Lake and Pineville – will offer seats to students who ask to leave six schools that have been on the state’s low-performing list for the last three years.
The opt-out schools – Cochrane, Eastway, McClintock and Sedgefield middle schools and Sterling and Tuckaseegee elementaries – serve almost 5,000 students, most from low-income homes.
The school board approved the plan unanimously in November as part of a bigger package of changes, most of which applied only to magnet programs. CMS is trying to revamp its student assignment plan to provide more options, increase academic success and break up concentrations of disadvantaged students.
All students had a chance to list three preferences for magnet programs in 2017-18. Students in the six persistently low-performing schools got an additional three neighborhood school options.
Schools labeled low performing have earned D’s or F’s on the state grading system, which is based on student performance on state exams. The schools being offered as alternatives all rated A, B or C, have space for additional students and are located reasonably close to the students’ current zone.
Students admitted to neighborhood schools through the new process will get transportation and will be allowed to advance to middle and high school with classmates from the new school if they wish.
Details of the opt-out system were discussed at a special Monday night meeting of the school board’s policy committee, as the district prepares to announce results of the 2017-18 assignment lottery in early March. The board is also preparing to consider changes in neighborhood school boundaries, which would start as early as 2018-19. Those discussions will happen in the coming weeks, with a vote scheduled for June.
Board members noted that many schools with low showings on exams aren’t on the opt-out list because they haven’t met the state’s definition of persistently low-performing. Those at the meeting agreed they’d like to consider offering transfers on a case-by-case basis for any student assigned to a D or F school.
At Monday’s meeting, board members also reviewed a list of 24 schools that will be closed to reassignment for 2017-18, based on crowding and high demand.
Alexander Graham Middle is on that list, even though it’s also set to receive additional students from the low-performing schools. Scott McCully, the CMS administrator in charge of student placement, said the school’s location in the Myers Park neighborhood made it important to offer that option, even though seats will be limited.
New school-switch option
Here are schools affected by the new CMS plan that allows students in persistently low-scoring schools to move to higher-performing ones.
Sterling and Tuckaseegee elementary schools.
Eastway, McClintock, Cochrane and Sedgefield middle schools.
Endhaven, McAlpine and Pineville elementary schools will take Sterling students.
Barnette, Long Creek and Mountain Island Lake elementary schools will take Tuckaseegee students.
Alexander Graham Middle will take Eastway, Cochrane and Sedgefield students.
Carmel Middle will take Eastway and Sedgefield students.
Crestdale Middle will take Eastway and Cochrane students.
Mint Hill Middle will take Eastway, McClintock and Cochrane students.
South Charlotte Middle will take Eastway, McClintock and Sedgefield students.
Closed to reassignment
These schools are considered so crowded that students will not be able to seek reassignment there in 2017-18.
Albemarle Road, Bain, Ballantyne, Davidson, Dilworth, Eastover, Elizabeth Lane, Elon Park, Matthews, Polo Ridge, Providence Spring, Selwyn and Steele Creek elementary schools.
Alexander Graham, Bailey Road and Community House middle schools.
Ardrey Kell, Butler, Hough, Independence, Mallard Creek, Myers Park, Olympic and South Mecklenburg high schools.