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Helping Kids Take Flight

CIS of Charlotte-Meckenburg

The All In for Students Awards honors the exemplary dedication of CIS staff, educators, community partners and our alumni, who go all in for students, empowering them to stay in school, graduate and go on to brighter futures.

Charlotte, North Carolina is the 18th largest school district in the country, with nearly 147,000 students representing 183 countries and 197 languages. With 54 percent of the student body classified as economically disadvantaged, Superintendent Ann Blakeney Clark recognizes the importance of providing one-on-one support to students, as CIS does.

“I see CIS as being the wind beneath the wings of a kid,” she says. “Many of the kids are beating their wings pretty hard every day to stay in the air, and CIS comes along and takes care of the non-academic barriers to a kid’s successful flight.”

Under Clark’s leadership, Charlotte is often in the top tier of urban education rankings, and the school district is nationally recognized as a leader in academic achievement and instructional programs. “Every year I get to go to over 20 high school graduations and hand out diplomas,” says Clark.  “We’ve gone from a 66 percent graduation rate to 89.6 percent – that’s thousands of kids on a very different trajectory. I watch kids walk off the stage and I know that without CIS, they wouldn’t have a diploma or a plan for next steps. It’s thrilling to see what this organization has done for our community.”

In North Carolina