This is a longform piece I wrote about a new (and, as you’ll see, old) Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools initiative called school pairing.
SUSAN KING THOUGHT about retiring a couple of years ago. She’s in her 60s and has spent the last 40 years teaching first and second grade in the same school district, on the same side of town, in schools two miles apart and just off the same road. She’d built up more than enough time to retire with full benefits.
But she decided to stay. On a Friday in March, King stands in the doorway of her second-grade classroom at Billingsville Elementary and beams as she talks about the 18 six- and seven-year-olds behind her, typing on Chromebooks at their desks. A couple of gray curls hang just above her wire-rimmed glasses. She turns back to face the students and gently says, “You guys are doing great, OK?”
When I visit with King, Billingsville is about eight months into the 2018-19 school year, the first in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ most aggressive attempt in two decades to reverse the effective resegregation of its schools. It’s a big reason King chose not to retire: “We really wanted to make this work.”