When Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath E. Morrison was hired in July, he committed to visiting each school in the district within 100 days. He accomplished the task on Nov. 20, his 99th work day, and learned ways the district could better support schools. During the visits, he spent time in classrooms to ‘listen and learn’ – a task he said would help him lead the district.
Dr. Morrison completed his first round of school visits at Hawk Ridge Elementary School in South Charlotte. He met with cafeteria staff, toured fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms, and enjoyed a music performance and reception hosted by the school and its students. He also answered questions from one of the school’s student journalists, Holly Wade.
She asked, “What’s your favorite thing about being a school superintendent?”
“To talk to young people like you,” said Morrison.
He talked to many teachers and students about using the Bring Your Own Technology initiative in the classroom and how it helps improve learning. He could also be overheard joking with a few of the students.
“How long did the seven year war last?” he asked a couple of fifth-graders.
They shrugged their shoulders.
“Well, do some research and look it up,” he instructed the students as they worked on their iPads.
Since July, Morrison has been doing research on what works, what does not and solutions to make CMS a better school system. He created an entry plan and held 13 town hall meetings across the county (six employee, seven community) to listen to concerns and some praises from parents and employees.
Since joining the district, he has led a door-to-door campaign to help return high school drop-outs back to school, audits to examine the human resources and communications departments, and an employee-engagement survey. In addition, Morrison held more than 100 meetings with parents, community and business leaders, executive staff, students and media to establish open-dialogue about CMS.
“We have a lot of work to do in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools,” said Morrison. “We have to be about every child who is ahead, every child who is behind and every child who is where he should be.”
“I want people to be proud of their district, just as they are proud of their school.”
On Monday, Nov. 26, Morrison will present his findings from his first 100 days as CMS superintendent, and will reveal how the district will progress in a new direction.