CMS wins national Making Strides Together Curriculum Award

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has captured the second annual Making Strides Together Curriculum Award for excellence in developing and using district-wide initiatives to improve academic progress. The award, given by the Council of the Great City Schools in partnership with Curriculum Associates, was presented July 12 at the council's Annual Academic, Information Technology & Research conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. It carries a $4,000 prize.

The award recognizes district teams which have been able to "break their organizational silos to support a common goal to recognize student achievement," according to the council. The CMS entry focused on the district-wide effort to improve student reading scores. A three-year initiative focused on increasing literacy was developed by a team of district educators from a wide range of departments: learning and teaching, special education, English-language learners, technology, strategy management, budget and school performance. The team also included principals, facilitators and teachers. Together they worked on a strategy to engage all teachers in helping students understand complex text so that they could answer questions and write about what they read.

"We are very pleased to win this prestigious award," said Dr. Clayton Wilcox, superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. "The CMS literacy initiative is an innovative, far-reaching way to help our kids become better readers and writers, which is the foundation of successful learning."

Districts across the country were invited to compete for the award. The winner was chosen by a board of judges selected by the Council of the Great City Schools.

"It is very gratifying to have our work recognized this way," said Brian Schultz, CMS chief academic officer. "We know the initiative is moving the needle because for the past three years, our students have demonstrated higher-than-average growth on state assessments in every content area and grade level."

Schultz said the money from the award would be used to support literacy in the district.