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CMS issues $50M request for groups to help students recover from the pandemic

The Steve Smith Family Foundation's virtual learning center provides socially-distanced space for K-5 students to do remote lessons.
The Steve Smith Family Foundation's virtual learning center provides socially-distanced space for K-5 students to do remote lessons.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will use up to $50 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to pay outside groups for tutoring and support. It's part of the push to help students make up ground lost during the pandemic.

The district's request for proposals seeks national, regional and local agencies to submit evidence-based plans to help students gain ground in reading, math and science. The tutoring can take place after school, on weekends or during summers.

“It is clear that we must intervene now to improve outcomes for many of our students, especially those from traditionally underserved racial and socioeconomic backgrounds,” Superintendent Earnest Winston said in a statement. “Gaps in student achievement that existed before the pandemic have grown wider, and they will not narrow without expanding learning opportunities and support beyond the time students are with our teachers and staff in classrooms during the school week.”

Students across the country saw proficiency levels plunge as remote and hybrid learning disrupted classes. CMS saw steep drops in 2020 test scores across racial and economic groups.

Proposals are due Nov. 4. The support programs will start as early as the second semester and can run through summer 2024.

Copyright 2021 WFAE

Ann Doss Helms covers education for WFAE. She was a reporter for The Charlotte Observer for 32 years, including 16 years on the education beat. She has repeatedly won first place in education reporting from the North Carolina Press Association and won the 2015 Associated Press Senator Sam Open Government Award for reporting on charter school salaries.