Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CMS year-round school plans advance

The school board will hear the latest on CMS efforts to create a complex year-round school calendar for the merged First Ward/University Park elementary arts magnet tonight.

The change is slated for 2013-14,  a year later than originally planned,  because Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has found it so challenging to create a four-track schedule, with staggered schedules of 45 days on and 15 days off.  There's no summer vacation,  but all students would be off for  "traditional holidays"  and winter break.

The board isn't scheduled to vote on the year-round school, which would be the only one in CMS.  The report will be part of the regular meeting at 6 p.m. in Room 267 of the Government Center, 600 E. Fourth St.  The board will also talk about the 2013-14 budget in a special session at 3 p.m. today in the same location.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Project LIFT ... you can't fix stupid!

Anonymous said...

Can't fix it, but you sure can skew the data to make it look good!

Anonymous said...

Uhhhh, this article has nothing to do with Project LIFT. What was that about being stupid?

Anonymous said...

Let's not let CMS let this BAD decision go through. Check out our website to stop this and sign our petition: www.friendsoffirstward.com

HELP US!

Anonymous said...

Check out this site and get the history and find out how ridiculous converting ONE school in a system of 150 to a totally different academic calendar is. All they want to do is shut down another school without any concern for the children or the arts magnet they will be affecting!! www.friendsoffirstward.com

Anonymous said...

Sign our petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/charlotte-mecklenburg-schools-no-to-multi-track-yr

Anonymous said...

YES for year round school, better for students, better for families and better for their brains!

Anonymous said...

Yes to Year Round IF THERE WAS MORE THAN ONE!

Anonymous said...

Yes to Year Round if it was single-track and not this complicated mess. AND with ONE school there is no way to handle the 15 day interssion time. CMS is talking to some organization about POSSIBLE solutions - my question is how is that going to be paid for, if I need child care who can I go to - I'm pretty certain no daycares will be changing their opertation for such a small group. If "we" believe that year round is the way to go - then let's do year round in more than ONE school - make all elementary schools, half the elementaries, the elementary magnets... there are other ways to do this. The other complication is the multi-track schedule. It's complicated and not necessarily cheaper. Bottom line it looks like CMS just wanted to close another school without saying it and their commitment to the arts magnet is just not there. The arts may be a small group; but, we are significant none-the-less.

Anonymous said...

Year around schooling works great for those female teachers who rely on their husbands to financially support them. For the rest of us who need to work during the summer this won't really work unless they are going to start paying us for 12 months instead of 9.

Anonymous said...

Exactly!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous teacher.... sign our petition www.friendsoffirstward.com

Anonymous said...

Yes. Loved year round school in previous city! Kids retained more instead of forgetting it all during the summer, the teachers didn't have to spend the entire first qtr re-teaching it, and we vacationed in October during their break (good weather and cheaper prices) While you're at it, make em wear uniforms, too.

Anonymous said...

We need to understand why CMS thinks they need to do this with just this one school. Wake county does it in order to better utilize buildings. Some school ssytems (whole systems) do it as an academic enhancement strategy. However, no studies have supported that premise yet.

However, in the case of CMS and as you read between the lines, CMS appears to be taking on the responsibility of providing the off session care for these kids. Again, more of what Kojo and his ilk want is for the government to take care of their children so the parents will not be bothered with them.

Anonymous said...

5:52 does have a point. Competent teachers should be assured a job assignment if they can't work a year- round schedule. Nobody likes to be displaced but if you're working for CMS this comes with the territory. Fact of life.

I'm generally delighted to comment on the plethora of blockheaded things CMS does. However, I am going to have to give CMS officials some credit (ta, da!) for taking their time thinking this plan through instead of hastily slapping something together with all sorts of pie-in-the-sky promises and wishful "projected" data. CMS is brilliant at both.

First Ward Center for the Arts (FWCA - I like it!) is an ideal location if one of the goals is to attract a rainbow of families to the school. I hate the word "diverse" because in Charlotte this word comes with lots of heavy baggage. I'm also am not a fan of the word "academy". Every "academy" I've ever known associated with urban education has baggage. CMS ain't Andover or Choate. While I'm at, it the word "creative" in a title is too loosy-goosy for many parents. Parents prefer "ballet" over "creative movement" when they're opening their wallets for private lessons even if their kid is 3-years-old and you're teaching "ballet" as part of a creative movement class (note to Dance Education specialists who want to keep their plentiful jobs). Let's be honest here.

If CMS doesn't do something stupid (don't count on it) FWCA has the potential to attract a wide range of families who will support it. An arts magnet also makes sense since people who value the arts generally like to think and color outside of the standardized bubble. In general, a GOOD arts magnet school (meaning a school that has solid test scores in math and reading in addition to a solid arts-based curriculum) will attract the interest of high-income and educated families. Good IB programs, foreign language programs and Montessori programs attract higher-income families as well. And here's the thing, we all know it costs a lot more money to operate schools loaded with low- income kids so VOLUNTARILY attracting a mixture of low-income and high-income families to a school makes economic sense. Right? I don't have a MBA but having a school located in central downtown Charlotte that isn't burdened with an "Achievement Zone" label can't be a bad thing. Yes, transportation is an issue but if the school is able to attract a mixed -income population of families than it shouldn't cost $12,000 a year to educate each kid once they get there. Isn't $12,000 around the per-pupil cost at Shamrock Gardens vs. $4,000 a year at Polo Ridge?

Unfortunately, my kids are in college and high school but I still think a year-round arts magnet plan at First Ward is worth exploring. The devil is in the details.

Anonymous said...

CMS should NOT go ahead and open more than one year-round school until the system can prove they won't screw-up the first one they open. Been there, seen that.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for year round schools! Please CMS, look into this for the entire system.

Anonymous said...

They should go to school from September 1 through May 31 from 8AM to 3PM. Much time should be spent on the 3 r's,True US History, English, and Civics with no socially engineered subjects.

Anonymous said...

2:14, as you point out, this has been CMS's strategy in the 1990's and early 2000's. They attempted to overcrowd suburban schools thinking families woul dbe willing to move ot inner city schools newer and with less crowd. Suburban parents however were smarter than that. As you have noticed, Stumptown ES is finally being built. Suburban parents were willing to put up with overcrowded, etc. instead of having their kids exposed to th elack of discipline, etc. you get in CMS's inner city schools.

Lastly, as we found out whenwe did this in the 1970's, 80's, and 90's, mixing the low income kids in did not yield any academic improvement for them. Their parents were just more willing to let the suburban parents carry the whole load of fundraising, helping teachers, etc. I know, I was there.

You only need to look at the long running tension at NWSA with local kids being mixed in with the "program" kids. I have known teachers there and kids there.

As as you describe this "opportunity". We have been there before, got that t shirt and can tell you the horror stories.

Anonymous said...

Life beyond the "Holy Trinity" - Myers Park, Providence and Ardrey Kell.

2:25
Excuse me? Yes, there are SOME students at NWSA who I don't believe should be at the school because they can't behave themselves and are not committed to the program. I believe attending a magnet school like this one is a privilege, not a right. In my opinion, these kids shouldn't be allowed to attend. However, your assumption that "local" kids are the only ones who cause problems is absurd not to mention offensive. I beg to differ with you. You are wrong. Period.

I would also like to add that only TWO CMS high schools had national merit scholar winners last year. Myers Park and you guessed.

The list of kids who do take advantage of the unique opportunities offered at NWSA is quite impressive. My children don't attend this school so I have nothing to gain stating my opinion. NWSA is not a school for everyone. Thank God.

Anonymous said...

2:45
Comments like yours are where suburbanites shoot themselves in the foot.

Anonymous said...

6:48, CMS does allow certain magnet programs to unload those students who are not with the program. They also have academic requirements to get in. Guess which schools they are and where they are whereas how CMS treats magnt programs at other schools. When I was involved with entrance requirements at NWSA, we put in these academic requirements and downtown pulled them out.

Yes, NWSA had an even more outstanding academic program some years ago. However, the attempt to dilute the magnet population at this school by downtown has had its toll. But still, many of these superb creative kids can deliver outstanding academic results.

Anonymous said...

It's a tragedy the two kids from Columbine and that kid at VT Tech. didn't attend suburban schools.

Anonymous said...

It does bother me that magnet schools like Myers Park IB have higher standards to stay in the program. I don't think every kid who attends NWSA has to be a rocket scientist or the next Broadway star but there should be standards of behavior and a level of commitment that is strictly enforced. Most kids at NWSA are great kids. I believe that if kids feel like they are somewhere special they'll act accordingly. Take the privilege and opportunity of attending a school like NWSA away and see what happens. The world does not owe every thug a right to study ballet.

Anonymous said...

Cms does not care what you think... They know better..... Just ask them..