Normally I'm not keen on admitting that another journalist has gotten ahead of me, but I'll make an exception when the reporter is a high-school student.
For several months, I've been chipping away at making sense of CMS' moves toward teacher performance pay. A blog reader suggested I find out how much the district is spending to create new tests that will be used to gauge teacher effectiveness. I put in that query, along with a lot of others, and awaited an answer.
In the meantime, Myers Park High journalism teacher James Scott called to raise some questions about the cost of performance pay, including the new tests. Feeling smug, I told him I was expecting that information any day.
"One of my students has already gotten it," he said.
I love that a young reporter is running hard at such significant news. She's definitely onto something: CMS folks told me they're spending just over $1.9 million to design tests for every course that doesn't have a state End of Grade or End of Course exam (see the story in today's paper).
I am impressed that Cobitz gave Susanna prompt and detailed answers. She e-mailed nine questions on a Thursday; he answered her on Sunday night and urged her to contact him with any follow-ups.
And I positively beamed to see that Susanna responded just the way I would have: "Thank you so much! And yes, I actually do have a couple more questions ..."
She sent him 10 more.
I'm honored to count Susanna as a colleague. Her reporting helped me get better answers faster.
Here at the Observer, we've talked about how to make better connections with student journalists. If you have any thoughts, pass them along. I suspect the best of our high-school reporters could keep us all better informed.