Strategic Plan
The 2024 Strategic Plan

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Click images to view Strategic Plan documents. 

What matters most

We believe that students matter most in our community and that they each deserve the best education possible to fulfill their highest potentials. We believe that to break the link between poverty, race and academic performance, equality of high expectations must be met by equitable allocation of talented educators, leaders, resources and supports. We believe that our schools alone cannot give students what they deserve and need to succeed. As partners, mentors, stakeholders and community members, we are all empowered to work together for our students.

5 plan components

​equity and culture commitments drive our work
​clear outcomes for our students by 2024 from the Board of Education
​two core strategies to guide school and department work plans
​specific actions we will take
measurable indicators of progress


Our commitments

Equity - the urgent need to focus on equity and to close achievement gaps linked to race and poverty is described in Breaking the Link, "...equity is not the same as equality. In some instances, equity means giving those with less more: more time for learning, more highly effective teachers to reduce learning gaps, more access to challenging classes. At the same time, CMS aims to provide access to excellent educational opportunities for every child. Each student's needs may be different, but those needs should be met at every school in CMS."

Culture – all school districts are made up of people working together for academic achievement – students, teachers, parents, families, staff, leaders and partners. Regardless of background, people of any age who feel and see their identities reflected in the work they are doing and who feel connected to each other can transform lives through education. The diversity of the K-12 educational experience must reflect the diversity of the community at all levels.

Our mission and vision

The mission of CMS is to create an innovative, inclusive, student-centered environment that supports the development of independent learners. The vision of CMS is to lead the community in educational excellence, inspiring intellectual curiosity, creativity, and achievement so that all students reach their full potential. (C-M Board of Education, 2018)


Our goals

  1. Every student graduates with meaningful employment or higher education opportunities.

  2. Every student has access to a rich, diverse and rigorous curriculum.

  3. Every student has access to more social and emotional supports.


Our strategies, tactics & targets

Two strategies provide direction for detailed work plans in schools and departments: 1) focus on what matters most – the content, teachers and students of our instructional core; 2) manage our performance.

Strategy 1: focus on what matters most – content, teachers, students

We will focus on what matters most to academic achievement – the instructional core.

  • Student – how students participate in their own education

  • Teacher - knowledge and skill of the teacher

  • Content - level and complexity of the content students are asked to learn

Strategy 1 tactics

1.   Guarantee a viable curriculum for every student in all schools across the district.

Why? A consistent K-12 curriculum supports clear expectations and outcomes.

2.   Challenge students to reach their full potential with rigorous tasks and work.

Why? High expectations boost student achievement regardless of student background.

3.   Teach students in ways that reflect their cultures, identities and experiences.

Why? Students learn best when we meet them where they are in life through the work they do.

4.   Increase social and emotional and mental health learning resources and access.

Why? Students face enormous pressures today that can distract them from learning.

5.   Personalize learning for students to meet their unique needs.

Why? Students learn in different ways and succeed when we build on their strengths.

6.   Clear the way for students' focus on learning with interventions proven to work.

Why? Opportunities for growth are lost when time is taken away from learning. 

7.   Put grade-level texts at the center of teaching in every classroom.

Why? Studies show use of grade-level texts boosts overall student achievement.

8.   Support teachers with development and learning equal to performance expectations.

Why? Teachers must be equipped to meet students' varied needs to succeed.

9.   Connect our non-instructional staff to our common cause around education.

Why? The work of every CMS team member affects teaching and learning.


Strategy 1 targets

1.  Graduate 100% of students

  • 89% → 95% of students graduate with their 4-year cohort

  • 27% → 75% of students graduate with at least one DPI endorsement

2.  Cut achievement gaps on indicators of college and career readiness in key transition years on end of grade assessments by at least half (50%) overall and for each sub-group 3rd grade

  1. 47% → 80% on English/Language Arts

5th grade

  • 44% → 72% on English/Language Arts

  • 60% → 80% on Math


  • 42% → 71% on English/Language Arts

  • 24% → 62% on Math

3.   Increase access to rigorous coursework overall and for each sub-group

  • 31% →  60% students completing Math 1 by the end of 8th grade

  • 47% →  75% graduates completing at least one college-level course 


Strategy 2: manage our performance

We will build on strengths, adapt new ways of working and measure our progress.

Strategy 2 tactics

1.   Develop a district performance management system. 

Why? When we are clear about what success looks like, how we work and measure progress, we will improve overall performance.

2.   Implement a continuous improvement program. 

Why? If we can adapt to improve based on shared plans, measurable outcomes and clear communications, we can improve each year.

3.   Create detailed work plans in every school and department aligned to strategic plan. 

Why? Clear expectations, accountability and connection to common goals drive collaboration.

4.   Clarify roles in the delivery of education across the district. 

Why? When we all focus on strengthening the instructional core, we can make greater impact.

  • District leaders will collaboratively create a shared vision of strong instructional practice and provide the resources educators need to strengthen content, teachers and students.

  • Principals and their instructional leadership teams (ILTs) will create strong school-based cultures of instructional practice, and provide teachers with the climate, coaching, feedback, direction, tools, training and support they need to succeed.

  • Teachers will understand CMS's expectations of student learning, know what to teach and how to teach it to meet our goals and targets.

  • Students from diverse backgrounds will show higher levels of learning, intellectual prowess and achievement.

Strategy 2 targets

Studies of high-performing organizations show that when team members understand how their work is important to overall goals and why their work matters to overall outcomes, measurements of satisfaction and referrals for employment rise.

  1. 60% → 75% of employees report highest job satisfaction

  2. 50% → 75% of employees refer others to work at CMS

  3. 71% → 75% of school-age children in Mecklenburg attend a CMS school


Who created this plan?

The community spoke. A series of community workshops and small group meetings including parents, students, partners and community residents were held during 2017-2018 to gather input on the 2024 strategic plan focused on gathering ideas to help "break the link" between poverty, race and academic achievement in our community.

CMS staff collaborated. Educators and staff members worked together in a series of workshops internally to create key steps for action to be included in the 2024 strategic plan. These ideas have been sorted by department and school level to be included in work plans.


What is next?

We will create work plans. Detailed work plans with measures for performance management to meet our targets and goals will be created for each CMS department and school, drawing on the 2024 Strategic Plan for guidance and including the work of the community and internal work teams.


Thank you

Thank you to our students, their families, our community, our partners, and our staff for sharing feedback, pushing us to do better, and holding us accountable to results. Our students are what matters most – this plan is for them.

P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
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