Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Project L.I.F.T.

charlotte-mecklenburg-schools-sm-thumbCharlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Project L.I.F.T., an innovative zone within a large urban school district where leaders are committed to reaching every student with excellence, became the first implementation site in Public Impact’s Opportunity Culture initiative. Four schools within Project L.I.F.T. received intensive design assistance from Public Impact and its partners, Education First and Education Resource Strategies, to select, adapt, and implement Opportunity Culture school models to extend the reach of their excellent teachers and their teams in the 2013–14 school year.

In January 2014, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) announced that it would scale up this initiative across the district, with 17 additional schools implementing the new models in the first year and more schools implementing each of the two years after that, so that almost half of the district’s schools will be implementing by 2017–18.

The Belk Foundation in Charlotte will fund transition costs of the scale-up with a grant of $505,000, one of the foundation’s largest ever. The additional teacher pay is funded from regular school budgets, not the foundation’s grant.

CMS teachers in Opportunity Culture roles earn pay supplements of up to $23,000, approximately a 50 percent increase above average teacher pay in North Carolina. In spring 2013, Project L.I.F.T. was flooded with 708 applications for the 19 new reach-extension teaching positions in the pilot schools, where some teaching jobs previously went unfilled. Subsequently, 50 district schools expressed interest in joining the initiative.

See information about current Opportunity Culture job openings with CMS or Project L.I.F.T.

LEARN more about becoming a site in the Opportunity Culture initiative.

READ these related resources:

WATCH these related videos:

Watch this video of principals at Ashley Park PreK-8 and Ranson IB Middle in Charlotte discussing why they chose to create an Opportunity Culture in their schools—and how it helps them recruit and retain great teachers.

Watch this video of district leaders and principals discussing how an Opportunity Culture is attracting teachers to previously hard-to-staff schools.

Watch this video about Project L.I.F.T. and an Opportunity Culture, from the 2014 N.C. Emerging Issues Forum.