CHARLOTTE – Project LIFT leaders are calling the results of the program’s third year “a mixed bag.”
Project LIFT Executive Director Denise Watts says it’s tough to see whether the program to improve graduation rates in some of Charlotte's Title one schools is helping.
So far, the results show some improvements in reading and science, but not a major jump.
The Project LIFT board met with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board Wednesday to go over the results of the third of five years for the public-private partnership.
One major concern the board found was keeping students in Project LIFT.
After the third year, the group found only about 37 percent of LIFT students stay in the Project LIFT zone to continue to West Charlotte High, making it difficult to see whether the program is really helping the small number of students who stay.
"We thought we'd be working with a very contained group of children and that's just not the case,” said Stick Williams, co-chair of the Project LIFT board.
The leaky feeder pattern combined with a high teacher turnover rate are just a couple issues Project LIFT will try to improve. The board also found the inconsistency of the school district’s superintendent over the last few years could have negative effects on the program.
But Project LIFT leaders are hopeful in two years, when the program ends, there will be clear results of what’s working, so those initiatives can continue past the five year investment.
"For the donors, that will determine what sort of things they'll invest in in the future,” said Williams.
CMS leaders say they’re also looking to expand similar programs to other Title one schools this year.