CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For the first time in 24 years, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is updating their Multiculturalism Policy.
Thursday, CMS and school board officials met to discuss changes to the policy that was last amended in 1993.
“When this was written in 1993, this was about the board supporting educational excellence, and it was a minor, a smaller definition of multiculturalism. The definition has expanded,” said Chuck Nusinov, executive director of learning and teaching with CMS schools, who helped draft the new policy.
The current policy includes verbiage in which Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools supports educational excellence regardless of race, gender, national origin and religion.
But a portion of the new policy, if approved, will include new verbiage, which will read, “The Board supports educational excellence regardless of race, color, ancestry, gender/gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, national, linguistic or language difference, physical abilities/appearances, religion, age, socioeconomic status or academic skills.”
“We’ll be able to know that kids are going to be treated well and that something about their own background and their own place in life will be a part of the education they’re getting,” said Tom Tate, the board of education chair.
So what does this mean when it comes to the classroom? Officials say it will further encourage more diverse curriculum and lesson plans. For example, every CMS school each recently received five copies of the book, “I Like My Brown Skin Because ” with specific lessons to go along with it.
Nicolette Grant, who also works within the learning and teaching department, says every CMS pre-k program also received Spanish-language books, with coordinating music and lesson plans.
Grant says for early learners it bridges the language gap, allowing young Spanish-speaking students a chance to hear lessons familiar to them, while also exposing English-speaking learners to a new language.
CMS is also still in the process of training all 9000 teachers in cultural proficiency.
“We’ve trained our principals, our executive staff, but it's most important that we complete that training with our teachers,” said CMS Superintendent Ann Clark.
Clark says 1,500 teachers have already been trained with another 1,400 expected to complete the training by the end of the summer.
CMS and school board officials will meet again Tuesday, March 14 to further discuss student reassignments and transfers and the criteria for school boundaries.