Parents, teachers disagree on PreK-8 schools at CMS

- Parents and teachers squared off with the CMS school board Thursday night as proposals are being made to potentially bring back traditional middle and elementary schools to the west side.

There are eight schools within CMS that house students pre-k through 8th grade. Some board members have expressed concerns with those schools.

It wasn’t your typical CMS school board meeting. The crowd was filled with signs demanding the board to save Pre-K through 8th grade schools. Other parents at the meeting questioned the motive behind the decision.

“We really need to look at that Pre-K – 8th grade, because if you’re not looking at it what is your real purpose? Are you reading everything you need to read in order to understand exactly is going on in the schools,” said one community member.

CMS board members have expressed concerns over the merged middle and elementary schools, saying test scores aren’t reaching state standards and there are too many kids in some buildings.

To handle the additional students, when you drive by a CMS school, you may see these modular classrooms outside. Parents Thursday night said those have got to go.

“Inside these trailers, these hallways are only separated by thin black sheets instead of doors,” said one parent.

The move to  Pre-k through 8 schools started in 2010. Struggling middle schools in West Charlotte were the first to close.

“I stood right here and some of the same board members were there and I asked you not to close those schools and you did anyway,” said another community member.

Berryhill was one school that became a merged middle and elementary school. Teachers flooded the school board meeting Thursday and said they are exceeding test scores, which is why they support the merged schools model. They said it also keeps students in the same building for longer.

“I was concerned where I  was sending my students, to a struggling middle school,” said one teacher, referring to the old model.

Whatever decision is made by CMS will still be a tough pill for parents to swallow

“We at Thomasboro Academy do not want to separate our children, yet we recognize, but maybe some of us do not recognize, huge advantages to having a comprehensive middle school,” said one parent.

Superintendent Ann Clark is expected to give her proposal for PreK-8 schools at the end of the month.

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