CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – It’s four town hall meetings down and one to go for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Crystal Hill.

Over the past several weeks, she’s been taking questions from district parents and employees at various schools around the district. On Wednesday, the meeting was held at East Mecklenburg High School.

One of the more pressing issues for parents and employees at Wednesday’s meeting was how to improve academic achievement across the district. CMS data from September shows students vastly underperforming on some academic milestones.

“I think students are still struggling. COVID students. What resources, what support are we giving these students,” said parent Angela Concha De Hernandez.

The new data shows only about half of third through eighth-grade students demonstrated proficiency in reading and math. Dr. Hill noted those numbers are still an improvement from the previous year.

“We have a lot of things to celebrate. We had green arrows going up across reading and math. However, it’s certainly not good enough,” she told Queen City News.

Prior to Dr. Hill’s tenure as superintendent, school board members set short-term goals they hoped students across the district would achieve by the end of the current school year. Those goals were:

  1. Raise the percentage of Black and Hispanic third-grade students who score a level four or five in English Language Arts (ELA) from 15.9 percent to 50 percent.
  2. Raise the percentage of high school students who score level four or five in Math 1 from 4.5 percent to 25 percent.
    1. Also, raise the percentage of eighth graders who score level four or five on the Grade 8 Math EOG from 12 percent to 28 percent.
  3. Raise the percentage of graduates earning a state high school endorsement to 75 percent.
  4. Raise the percentage of schools that met or exceeded the Educator Value Added Assessment System (EVAAS) from 71.1 percent to 95 percent.

Levels four and five denote students who are testing above their grade level and, therefore, meet the “College and Career Ready” designation. A level three would indicate the student is on grade level for that particular subject.

Dr. Hill said she doesn’t believe the district will meet those objectives.

“There’s not been another school district in the history of this country that has made that level of jump in the entire district in such a short amount of time. And certainly not after a global pandemic,” said Dr. Hill.

She’s more optimistic about the district’s new five-year goals, which will expire in June 2029:

  1. Raise the percentage of K-2 students scoring at or above the benchmark in early literacy as measured by DIBELS from 67 percent to 97 percent.
  2. Raise the percentage of 3-8 graders scoring level four or five on their reading EOG assessments from 30.5 percent to 65 percent.
  3. Raise the percentage of students scoring level four or five in Math 1 from 27.4 percent to 47.4 percent.
  4. Raise the percentage of rising 12th graders on track to graduate enrolled, enlisted, or employed. (The school district does not currently track this metric but will soon begin doing so.)

“They’re our future. The students are our future. So yes, I’m very hopeful,” said Concha De Hernandez.

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District leaders also presented information on the upcoming 2.5-billion-dollar bond referendum on the Nov. 7 ballot. It would fund the district’s 30 highest priority, student-facing projects if approved. For a list of those projects, click here.