CMS to spend summer developing plans for struggling schools

Administrators at more than a dozen of Charlotte’s underperforming schools will spend the summer in training to develop turnaround plans on their campuses.

The work is part of the “Beacon Initiative,” the latest Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools plan to put schools with low test scores and graduation rates back on the right path. Chief School Performance Officer Kelly Gwaltney gave the school board a brief update Tuesday.

The Beacon project was an effort hatched under former Superintendent Heath Morrison to boost performance at historically struggling schools – a long-running problem that has persisted despite numerous efforts to combat it.

CMS administrators chose 14 schools for the program and have spent this school year studying the root causes of their academic problems. The district brought in the University of Virginia to help, paying it $600,000 over three years. The total budget for the program is $849,930.

“The goal here is sustainable school turnaround,” Gwaltney said Tuesday.

Staff at the 14 schools will spend a week on location at the University of Virginia in July to begin coming up with the plans.

Principals will be tasked with coming up with overall two-year goals around student achievement and school culture, and decide what data to use to track progress.

The administrators will come up with 90-day plans to accomplish the goals.

Dunn: 704-358-5235;

Twitter: @andrew_dunn

Schools in the Beacon Initiative

Elementary: Briarwood, Albemarle Road, Nations Ford and Winterfield.

K-8: Druid Hills, Bruns, Reid Park and Westerly Hills.

Middle: James Martin, Whitewater and Martin Luther King Jr.

High: Harding, Garinger and Vance.