CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 29, 2006–Dr. Peter C. Gorman unveiled a sweeping reform plan for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools intended to raise student achievement and educate students to be globally competitive. Called Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Strategic Plan 2010: Educating Students To Compete Locally, Nationally and Internationally, the plan will revise the district curriculum and put more authority at the school level, partially decentralizing CMS.

“This has traditionally been a very good school district — but our students must reach further to meet global standards of achievement,” Dr. Gorman said. “We want our students to be locally, nationally and internationally competitive.”

Dr. Gorman’s plan will reshape CMS into a less centralized district, with greater authority granted to individual schools. It will also refine and enhance the existing curriculum. But he also called on the community–students, parents, educators, leaders, public officials–to help CMS achieve the plan’s goals.

“Being excellent, being competitive, being a leader–this is part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg civic DNA,” Dr. Gorman said. “Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are rich with possibility. Together, we can make sure our children are so well educated that they can compete successfully against anyone in the world.”

Dr. Gorman began as CMS superintendent in July and had said that he would deliver a reform plan after his first 100 days as superintendent. Nov. 29 was his 103rd work day, and the plan was announced at an early morning event at ImaginOn in downtown Charlotte.

The plan establishes seven broad goals for the district, with each including objectives and measurement standards. Taken together, they will reshape CMS into a less centralized, more data- and service-driven district. Many of the objectives and goals are directly linked to the classroom–and that is necessary to raise student achievement, Dr. Gorman said.

“Where we must get traction if we’re going to succeed with the plan is obvious: It’s the classroom,” he said. “Effective education cannot happen without effective teachers. The relationship between teachers and students, the daily transactions of instruction–this is where learning happens and this is the area where we will focus our efforts.”

The plan also calls for increased recruitment efforts for teachers and principals, more effective discipline and a variety of partnerships with the community.

“Educational achievement is linked to parental and community support,” Dr. Gorman said. “Parents are a child’s first, best teachers–and we need the help of parents and other adults in the community if we are to successfully educate this community’s children.”

The seven areas addressed by the plan are: high academic achievement, effective educators, adequate resources and facilities, safe and orderly schools, freedom and flexibility with accountability, world-class service and strong parent and community connections.

The complete plan can be accessed on the CMS website. The presentation will air on CMS-TV 3 tonight at 7 p.m. It will re-broadcast on Thursday and Friday at 7 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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