CHARLOTTE--New CMS Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison hasn't stopped meeting Charlotte-Mecklenburg teachers and staff, parents and students, and on Saturday, he continued to reach out to the public in the Ballantyne community. More than 100 people turned out to the regular "Ballantyne Breakfast Club" meeting Saturday, where Morrison was the featured guest.
Patricia Lee attended the event, and is a mother of one CMS graduate, one rising CMS senior, and is an active parent.
"I've gone on field trips with them, last week I was hemming uniforms, I've baked brownies for them, I try to go to the meetings that they have because I want to be involved and I want my children to know what I care about their education,” said Lee.
Parental and community involvement in schools is something she's passionate about, and it's one of Morrison's main goals in his entry plan.
"My heart started racing, I was so excited because I think that that is what makes a school district a winning district is the involvement of the parents at every level,” said Lee.
And it's not just about getting parents involved, but also engaged in the schools.
"When kids see their parents are hugely invested into the school, it really makes the kids feel good about what they do and where they go. And that's a way, and research has proven, that that will definitely increase achievement,” said Ernest Sexton, principal of McAlpine Elementary School.
Morrison says he's had people with a variety of backgrounds offer to help, and they want to make sure to plug them in, where they can do the most good.
"We're going to put a bold vision out of what we don't to do in this school district, how we want to make it better, how we want to go from good to great. We can't get there unless people want to help, they volunteer, they want to put in their time to help in each school across the district,” said Morrison.
And while issues such as the amount of money spent on students in different parts of town came up during Saturday's meeting, parents such as Lee realize getting involved, is something they have control over.
"We need to be a village. We need to raise our children in a village like we did when I was a kid. And in order to do that, everyone has to do that sacrifice and be involved,” said Lee.
One thing that didn't come up during the meeting's question and answer period, was the idea of the Ballantyne area's schools seceding from CMS. Morrison, however, did bring it up on his own. He says he realizes it's just a small group of people, but he'd still like to meet with them, better understand where they're coming from, and figure out how to address their legitimate concerns.