Planning Services
Student Assignment Plan
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has identified a critical set of beliefs in the district's strategic plan, Strategic Plan 2024. This plan serves as the basis for how CMS will educate the students in Mecklenburg County. Though the purpose of this document is to present a plan for where students will go to school, we need to be reminded of these beliefs, as they are the foundation for all of the work of the district.
  • Every student is entitled to a free, appropriate and high-quality education.
  • Every student should have access to academic rigor.
  • Every student deserves a competent and caring teacher.
  • Teachers are leaders whose prime responsibility is to lead the work of their students.
  • Teaching focuses on accelerating learning for all students.
  • Teachers encourage learners' creativity.
  • Teachers regularly analyze and redesign their instructional strategies to prevent student failure.
  • Students at every school should have equal access to appropriate instructional resources.
  • Learning should take place in facilities that offer each student an equal opportunity.

The foundation established through these core beliefs must be paired with the three important partners: students, teachers and families. In the background is the community providing support. All of the curriculum definition, instructional materials, and quality facilities are useless without quality faculties. The teaching and learning environment in each school is created and shaped by its principal and faculty. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and this community, are very fortunate to have such high quality professionals in our schools. Our principals and teachers do care, and they are constantly seeking strategies that will enable students to be more successful. Because of our strong professional staff, we will provide positive learning environments, regardless of what the student assignment plan yields.

Families are the students' first teachers, and we later join in this shared experience with the school faculties. Though the formal education takes place in the classroom, the continued support and encouragement is provided in the home. The family also shapes the values that a student develops for himself or herself. The student also has a role. A teacher can teach, a family can provide the support, and the student must be an active participant. The individual initiative allows a student to create and explore the possibility of his or dreams. Then with the help of teachers and family, the student can achieve those dreams.

The strength of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is not a student assignment plan or the bricks and mortar that create facilities. Student achievement is what matters --- student achievement for all students in every school in every area of Mecklenburg County. This is accomplished through a rigorous and appropriate instructional program.

The platform for delivery of the instructional program is in schools. With the number of schools in Mecklenburg County, it is necessary to determine how students and their families can enroll in the schools of the district. School selection should be the role of the family and the students. The district should just provide the platform for access. Therefore, the new student assignment strategy is one of family options. Families will have the opportunity to select and receive transportation among magnet programs, a "home" school and other elementary, middle or high schools within a zone. In addition, families can provide their own transportation if the school that meets their needs is outside of their zone. This strategy is a major shift in how Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools proposes to serve the children of this community. Families will now be the decision-makers for where their children will attend school.

Over the last few years, we have heard from our community that stability is one of the most critical factors for a new student assignment plan. We recognize that in a child's life there are lots of changes that occur. While this transition from K-12 happens for a student, our belief is that the school should be stable. In the plan that follows, families will know what schools their children will have the option of attending over their schools career from elementary through high school. As mentioned above, families will continue to have options throughout the continuum of grade levels if another arrangement best meets the needs of the family. Through this type of plan, it is our hope that students who begin school together will have the opportunity to progress through the grade levels together. Therefore, the proposed plan includes stability and predictability for families.

In the development of each student assignment plan since 2002-03, we have used the June 1, 2000 plan and the Resolution adopted by the Board of Education on March 27, 2001 as starting points. The underlying concepts can be summarized as follows:

Options – all families will be expected to select from a variety of schools. Transportation will be provided when a family selects a magnet program, a school within their zone, or their "home" school.
Magnet programs – specialized curriculum areas for which a student may have a particular interest or talent;

"Home" school – The school a student is assigned based on their residential address and school boundaries;

Zone schools – elementary, middle and high schools included in pairings of high school feeder areas; and

Other schools – selection of a school outside of the zone in which seats are available; district transportation not provided.
Stability - families will know the progression of schools available for their address; that means the elementary, middle and high school that will be their "home" school as well as the progression through the magnet and non-magnet schools. 1

Contiguous boundaries – all satellite zones have been eliminated; efforts have been made to allow families and students who live close together to have the option of going to school together.

Utilization – options have been developed that allow for the facilities to be utilized as completely as possible.

Diversity – diversity will no longer be mandated by an assignment of students to schools, but rather will be based on the decisions of the family.

Sections of the Student Assignment Plan
Student Assignment Methodology/Community Overview
Guiding Principles/Regulation & Policy

Section 1: Boundary Descriptions

Section 2: Non-Magnet Programs
School Feeder Chart - This section outlines the elementary school areas that make up the middle school and the high school boundaries. Elementary schools were used as the building blocks to develop middle and high school boundaries.

Section 3: Magnet Programs
This section outlines the magnet programs with the alignment from elementary through high school and changes in the magnet programs for the current school year.

Section 4: Transportation Zones
This section outlines the feeder high school areas that have been combined to form four transportation zones. The zones can be used to determine which elementary, middle or high school a student can choose to attend. In order to receive transportation, admission into a non-magnet school requires that a student lives in the defined zone and that space is available at the requested school. Families can request to have their child or children attend a school outside their zone. Requests will be granted based upon seat availability. Students who attend a school outside their zone will not be provided district transportation. The schools available for selection have been listed for each transportation zone.

Section 5: Exceptional Children Self-Contained (EC) Programs
This section outlines the methodology used to determine the placement of EC Programs for the current school year. A summary chart listing the EC Programs and the location (map) of each program has been provided.

Section 6: Pre-Kindergarten Program
This section outlines the four-year-old pre-kindergarten program. We have provided a map showing the proposed sites for the current school year.

Student Assignment Methodology
The guidelines described earlier served as the foundation for building the "new" student assignment plan. As such, the development of the elementary boundaries served as the building blocks for developing middle and high school boundaries. The development of these boundaries resulted in each elementary school boundary feeding into middle schools and into a high school. School boundaries were developed using natural boundaries, such as, major streets and roadways, railroad tracks, creeks, where possible. Generally, we used major and minor arteries as dividing lines for boundaries.

The current geographic student data was used to represent the population that is currently being served by the district (as of the 20th day of school). The student data file was geocoded to determine where students live within the district. Based upon where students live, magnet recommendations, exceptional children requirements, and pre-kindergarten programs, we were able to develop boundaries that would accommodate the school population. This plan assumes that magnet students will remain in the magnet program currently serving their educational interests.

The Building Services Department analyzes each school facility to determine the actual number of classrooms and mobile units at each school. Based upon this data and estimated completion dates of new classrooms to be in place for the current school year, we were able to identify the capacity of each school building.

Based upon this methodology, we are able to provide the parents and children we serve a:

  • K-12 feeder system;
  • non-magnet opportunities;
  • stability;
  • guaranteed school assignment; and
  • diversity through choice.

Student Assignment Plan Regulations and Policies

Student Assignment Plan Documents

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