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Resource Title Successful Staffing for Successful Schools: Breaking the Cycle of Failure in Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Summary

This 2010 report tells the leadership story of how the new superintendent in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in North Carolina embarked on a new effort, called Strategic Staffing, to implement a district-wide effort to turn around student achievement and close the achievement gap in their schools. This case study documents the district’s efforts and successes at managing its resources to turn around failing schools while maintaining the quality of existing district improvement activities. The work the district has done exemplifies systems level thinking. The district established an “Achievement Zone” for support for schools with low student achievement. These schools were first in line for resources such as proven principals and teachers. The Achievement Zone (AZ) was part of a district decentralization that placed a smaller number of struggling schools in the Zone, along with the district’s highest performing central staff. In the next year, the district implemented the Strategic Staffing Initiative which was designed to work in concert with the Achievement Zone strategy and in the context of an overall accountability and reform strategy. Under Strategic Staffing, the district uses various incentives to place proven principals at a struggling school for at least three years and allow the principal to select several teachers and suggest reassignment of other teachers already on an improvement plan. The goal was to place a critical mass of personnel at a school who could work as a team at improvement efforts, who would be compensated for additional work at that school, and whose principal would be given flexibility, time and authority to make changes. Data from the first year showed that in reading and math, average progress in Strategic Staffing schools exceeded the district average. Several schools had extraordinary gains in the percentage of students at or above proficient in certain subjects.

Resource Area(s)
Governance
Parent and Community Involvement
Human Resources
Type of Resource
Best Practices
How to Do It
Format PDF document
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