Education

For 35,000 CMS students, the MLK holiday weekend will end a day early. Here’s why.

About 35,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students will return from their long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend on Tuesday, while about 112,000 will have another day off.

Tuesday’s split makeup day is the second part of a new strategy that debuted last month, when three dozen schools were closed because of snow, ice and power outages while about 140 came back on a two-hour delay.

Before that, CMS had always kept all schools closed if any part of the county had significant problems with treacherous roads and/or downed power lines. But the district was running out of scheduled makeup days after being hit by two tropical storms in the fall, so Superintendent Clayton Wilcox made a quick decision to reopen all the schools that could safely do so on Dec. 11.

That means all schools will have Monday off for the King holiday, and the ones that held classes on Dec. 11 will have their scheduled teacher work day on Tuesday. Students at the 36 closed schools (see list below) will go to class for a makeup day.

While closings were concentrated in the northern part of the county, power outages forced a few others to stay closed Dec. 11. And magnet schools that draw from a broader area but had significant enrollment from the icy area also closed.

That means that on Tuesday, many neighborhoods — and probably families — will have some kids going to school and some staying home. CMS expects to run 371 of its 1,100 buses.

Once everyone returns Wednesday, they’ll have an uninterrupted stretch of classes until spring break begins in mid-April. Teacher work days scheduled for February and March are being used as makeup days for all schools (except four small high schools located on Central Piedmont Community College campuses and four schools that are on year-round calendars, which were on break when the storm hit).

Wilcox had initially announced that Butler High would also go to class on Tuesday to make up time lost when a students was fatally shot as the school day began Oct. 29. That plan was revised. Butler students will now stay home Tuesday and hold a “shared campus teach-in and other special events that will lift up the strength of the Butler community” on a date to be determined, Chief Communications Officer Tracy Russ said.

Here are the schools holding a makeup day Tuesday:

Bailey Middle

▪ Barnette Elementary

▪ Blythe Elementary

▪ Bradley Middle

▪ Cornelius Elementary

▪ Croft Elementary

▪ David Cox Elementary

▪ Davidson Elementary

▪ Early College high schools at UNC Charlotte

▪ Grand Oak Elementary

▪ Hawthorne Academy

▪ Highland Creek Elementary

▪ Hopewell High

▪ Hornets Nest Elementary

▪ Hough High

▪ Huntersville Elementary

▪ Independence High

▪ J.M. Alexander Middle

▪ J.V. Washam Elementary

▪ Lebanon Road Elementary

▪ Long Creek Elementary

▪ Mallard Creek Elementary

▪ Mallard Creek High

▪ Metro School

▪ Northeast Middle

▪ North Mecklenburg High

▪ Northwest School of the Arts

▪ Parkside Elementary

▪ Performance Learning Center

▪ Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology

▪ Piedmont Middle

▪ Ridge Road Middle

▪ Stoney Creek Elementary

▪ Torrence Creek Elementary

▪ Trillium Springs Montessori

▪ Waddell Language Academy

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education for the Observer since 2002, long enough to watch a generation of kids go from preK to college. She is a repeat winner of the North Carolina Press Association’s education reporting award.
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