CMS Student Assignment Plan – Phase II Meeting

Below are the notes taken at the February 7th meeting with CMS Superintendant Ann Clark.  The meeting was held at Grand Oak Elementary and was attended by parents and teachers from Grand Oak, Torrence Creek and Huntersville Elementary.

Similar meetings have been held across the district.  For additional information please vist CMS Student Assignment website or contact Torrence Creek Elementary.  There are also 2 photos from the Student Assignment Website that you may find useful.

February 7th, 2017              

SLT Meeting, Grand Oak Elementary     

Guest: Ann Clark, CMS superintendent

  • Introduction and welcome to SLT members from Grand Oak and Torrence Creek.
  • Discussion was to focus on the 2nd phase of CMS boundaries and the process. Ann made it clear that at this time there was no preconceived plan and she has not received any guidance for how to move forward from the Board of Education at this time. Once she has that info she will begin to craft a plan.
  • Board is collecting feedback from principals, SLT’s, and through parent community meetings all over the district to help set priorities.
  • The focus will be on preserving/expanding programs that work, keeping proximity to home for students and reducing the concentration of poverty in some schools. They will be looking at ways to honoring these principles without creating chaos.
  • She made it clear there will not be “controlled choice”. Parents will continue to have home schools and it won’t be a lottery situation.
  • In addition to the community meetings and feedback from staff, Ann has done over 60 coffees (including one previously at Grand Oak) to help spread the word and make sure that parent concerns are addressed. This is her 2nd visit to Grand Oak this year.
  • The goal will be to begin the process in late February/March and once the plan is created CMS will go back in to the impacted communities to share info and get additional feedback.
  • Every student will continue to have a home school option with close proximity to their school.

Questions asked by SLT members:

  1. What are benefits of re-drawing the boundaries?
  2. Did all of the community engagement sessions have the same 6 core questions?
  3. With regards to the land owned in this area, what is the time line for a possible new high school?
  4. Is CMS still planning to announce changes by June so parents can decide what they want to do for their children?
  5. I know the goal is to help schools not performing well, how can this process work to do that?
  6. Will these boundary changes potentially improve the bus issues that we have faced this year?
  7. Many parents are concerned about the eye cancer scare at Hopewell, what can you tell us about it?

Some of the responses:

  • We are looking at making sure that neighborhoods stay together as they move from school to school when possible.
  • The boundary changes also can impact the overcrowding situations in some schools.
  • During the community meetings they are getting the same questions and all information is being collected electronically so they can capture parent feedback accurately.
  • Overall all of the community sessions have been well attended and SLT’s have gone through a similar process for feedback (teacher and parent).
  • CMS does have several pieces of land in the northern part of the county and they are always having discussions on how the plots of land would work for a new high school- they know they will need one eventually but not on this bond.
  • The new bond has 28 projects on it and parents can review them on the CMS website- there are not many in the north for this bond but there was over 200 million spent in the north in the 2 previous bonds.
  • The north is getting a new middle school this year for JM Alexander Middle School and the old site across the street will become a K-8 language immersion magnet school in the near future.
  • CMS will typical put up a bond to vote every 3 years and it will be key for this to be passed so that it is funded and other projects (some in the north) can be funded in the next cycle. This is our largest bond request in sometime.
  • She believes that a new high school will be in the north in less than 10 years but it will still be a while.
  • Hough is a big high school but not beyond capacity yet- soon though.
  • The project list on the CMS website (of proposed improvements) are re-evaluated yearly and modifications are made.
  • She expects the board to give her guidance soon and she hopes to begin sharing recommendations in May 2017. There will be no changes to boundaries in the 2017-2018 school year. Any changes would start in 2018-2019 at the soonest.
  • CMS is adding more and more magnet choices in the north to allow for parental choice. Examples are the IB programs, Cambridge, Language Immersion, CPCC Merancas High School, and the technical options at North Meck.
  • Ann shared that 40% of our schools in CMS have 70% or more poverty.
  • In regards to the eye cancer scare at Hopewell she shared that they have done every test that they can think of and have worked closely with the Meck. County Health Dept. She has also met with the mayor of Huntersville to make sure they were on the same page about tests completed and steps taken. CMS has done tests over and above what was recommended and there were no results that showed a connection. The medical community also seems perplexed- more info was shared by parents and CMS will look further in to that and she also asked for parents to notify the mayor as well.
  • If parents ever hear something in the community it is key to ask questions to the principal so they can investigate and get more information. That will help reduce false information and hopefully eliminate fear. She wants things to be transparent.

Meeting ended at 8:10 PM