2017-2018 Student Assignment Review
Phase II Executive Summary

Phase II Student Assignment ​​​Superintendent Proposals 

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education is committed to providing the best education possible to every student in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Student assignment – where students receive their education – is one of the most important parts of this work. As a district, we want every student to achieve at the highest levels so that all students graduate ready for the next step. How well we educate students is directly linked to their subsequent opportunities and economic mobility, which affects the overall prosperity of our community.

However, it must be acknowledged that this process of student assignment is only one part of a community-wide responsibility to our children. Concentrations of poverty created by segregated housing patterns in our community complicate this work. These housing patterns are beyond our control. Student assignment can address them but not resolve them because ending concentrations of poverty is a community responsibility.

To ensure that student assignment continues to meet district needs and reflect changes in our community, the Board of Education completes a comprehensive student assignment review every six years. In January 2016, the Board launched its review with a community wide survey. More than 27,000 responses were received, providing insight into what community members value most and least about their school assignments. 

The feedback helped to inform the Board’s Goals and Guiding Principles for Student Assignment. The goals represent the Board’s priorities for assigning students to school. The guiding principles provide the superintendent and staff a blueprint for developing the student assignment plan.

The Board has said that a student assignment plan that promotes its Mission and Vision will, to the extent possible:​

  1. Provide choice and promote equitable access to varied and viable programmatic options for a​​ll children;

  2. Maximize efficiency in the use of school facilities, transportation and other capital and operational resources to reduce overcrowding;

  3. Reduce the number of schools with high concentrations of poor and high-needs children;

  4. Provide school assignment options to students assigned to schools that are not meeting performance standards established by the state, and

  5. Preserve and expand schools and programs in which students are successfully achieving the mission and vision of the Board.

The student assignment plan that follows is built on a foundation of equitable access to high-quality schools including home schools, magnet schools and additional types of school options, with the intention that all schools, regardless of type, consistently demonstrate high student achievement. The plan intentionally expands and replicates successful programs and schools throughout the county in ways that increase equitable access to high-demand themes and instructional models.

The student assignment plan has been developed in two phases.  Phase I focused on leveraging choice to achieve the Board’s goals and Phase II is focused on leveraging home school boundaries and high school feeder patterns.

During Phase I, the Board approved an approach to using socioeconomic status (SES) in the School Choice Lottery to increase diversity in magnet and school options.  It redefined transportation zones in an effort to further ensure an equitable distribution of socioeconomic diversity as well as an equitable distribution of choice options.  The Board also created additional options for students assigned to schools designated by the state as low-performing for three consecutive years.

As a result of Phase I decisions, 3,405 new magnet seats were created for the 2017-2018 school year and 4,270 for the 2018-2019 school year, with a four-year rolling plan to create an additional 5,090 seats by the 2021-2022 school year.

In Phase II, we are leveraging home-school attendance boundaries and high school feeder patterns. Staff members have identified four metrics meant to quantify the Board’s goals for student assignment.  Using these metrics allowed staff to assess each of the district’s 138 home-school boundaries and how they aligned with the Board’s goals.

The four metrics are:

  • Proximity – the average home-to-school distance in miles for all the students enrolled in a school.

  • Intact feeder pattern – the number of schools to which a school continues.  If a feeder pattern is completely intact, all the students in a given elementary school continue to a single middle school.  Similarly, all the students in that middle school would continue to a single high school.

  • Socioeconomic diversity – the size of the largest socioeconomic group assigned to a school as a percentage of the school’s overall assignment.

  • Utilization – the ratio of teachers to core classrooms, not including classrooms in mobile units.

CMS staff also reviewed a number of other factors relevant to assessing home school boundaries and feeder patterns.  Often, these factors lent themselves more to observation than measurement, and they were not always applicable to each boundary or feeder pattern.  They included keeping entire neighborhoods assigned to the same school, projections for population growth and demographic shifts, whether the school has been identified for capital improvements through a bond or other capital funding, site limitations or legal restrictions that affect expansion capabilities and the feasibility of achieving the Board’s goals through other means, such as establishing partial magnet schools. 

This was the basis for both phases of the proposed student assignment plan. We have worked to create a plan that improves the educational experience of all students by building stronger schools. Proposed changes are intended to better align a given attendance boundary with the Board’s goals.  Each proposal follows the Board’s guiding principles for home schools.

The Phase II proposal affects 75 schools, improving socioeconomic diversity in 21 of them.  Thirty two schools experience an improvement in building utilization and the intact feeder pattern improves at 13 schools.  Finally, the proposed changes improve proximity for students at 14 schools. For many schools, the proposals affect more than one metric.

We believe that this plan will significantly improve how well CMS educates the more than 147,000 students we serve by creating more diverse schools that are close to the students they serve and are well utilized with an increased number of intact feeder patterns.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools plays a key role in building the future of Mecklenburg County and its municipalities. Strong public schools enrich the entire community by providing a robust workforce and producing good citizens. These proposed changes to student assignment will help us strengthen not only our schools, but our entire community.​

Phase II Student Assignment Superintendent Proposals Executive Summary​ .pdf

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