Friday, July 6, 2012

Name that cabinet

Who wants to make a prediction about what we'll see when new Superintendent Heath Morrison unveils his first top-level appointments on Monday?

He's supposed to name a deputy,  a chief operating officer, a chief of staff and a chief accountability officer, as well as "at least one" principal.  Blog readers include a lot of people with inside information and/or strong opinions about Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools,  so here's your chance to claim bragging rights if you can forecast the picks.

Clark
And, perhaps more important, what are you looking for in terms of issues and perspectives?

Here's what I've got:  Ann Clark, chief academic officer and a finalist for the job Morrison got,  seems likely to land one of the top posts.  Deputy superintendent maybe?  The combination of deputy, chief operating officer and chief of staff is one I haven't seen in recent years,  so I'm not sure how the duties will break out.  It's hard to imagine Clark won't stay involved with the big  "common core"  academic changes that are looming,  and/or with efforts to recruit, train and support strong principals.

Woodburn
I'd also keep an eye out for Jane Woodburn,  deputy superintendent of Washoe County Schools in Reno, Nev., the district Morrison just left.  She worked with him in Montgomery County,  Md.,  and he brought her to Reno as his top lieutenant.  She was just passed over for the superintendency there.  A move to Charlotte doesn't seem out of the question.

Morrison has consistently said he's looking for excellence and diversity in his cabinet.  More than two thirds of the district's students are nonwhite (mostly African American and Hispanic),  so I'd be surprised not to see at least one person of color in his first round of appointments.

If it helps with your guessing, here are links to Morrison's cabinet in Reno and to the Broad Superintendent's Academy,  which provides training for administrators who aspire to leadership posts in districts like CMS.  Morrison and Clark are both Broad alums (Morrison is currently a featured profile on the site).

On the jobs and issues:  Accountability,  which involves testing and data,  has long been a crucial and high-profile job.  The new person won't have much say in how much testing goes on,  but will be responsible for carrying out extensive changes being mandated by the state. And that person will be charged with restoring confidence in a department that bungled some important data and lost most of its leadership last year.

Technology chief has generally been a below-the-radar job,  but the emergence of digital learning and wifi in schools has changed that.  I'm not sure whether Morrison plans to put technology under one of the other administrative posts or will fill the "chief information officer" post vacated by Scott Muri.  Whoever lands the technology role will have to be nimble at grasping the ever-changing world of digital technology, wise in spending large amounts of public money and skilled at communicating with parents and partners who will be tapped to provide digital access.  Maybe when that job is filled,  I can finally find out how many iPads CMS bought in 2011-12 and what they cost.

137 comments:

BolynMcClung said...

NOT A GUESS BUT A WISH:

Technology: Patrick Larkin, Burlington, MA


Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

Ann, you'd probably get more info from Steve Jobs than CMS's depts. of Obfuscation. Good luck on that one.

Wiley Coyote said...

He's supposed to name a deputy (Barney Fife), a chief operating officer (Gomer Pyle), a chief of staff (Goober) and a chief accountability officer (Floyd the Barber)

It won't matter who he picks.

The status quo will remain.

Anonymous said...

His cabinet must also consist of a diversity of ideas and opinions. A committee of yes persons will never examine its own weaknesses as well as its owns strengths objectively. That translates into a perpetuation of what's easy and continuing with the status quo in which so many central office staff are deeply invested.

Student populations in different schools require different interventions to accelerate the high achievers and lift up the low achievers. The mistake CMS has made is to focus on the middle, mediocrity, that keeps the high achievers from soaring and the low achievers from moving up. Everyone except CMS knows that when you raise the top, all levels will rise with it. With the focus on testing results in a young teacher's preparation, there are going to be fewer teachers who have the skills to do this.

So here's what has to happen with some urgency. Form teacher groups at each school to honestly evaluate themselves, discipline, instructional practices, administrative practices, performance data and the needs of the students. Empower these teachers to reach consensus on and implement a "reform plan" for their school. Most principals have neutered their school leadership teams and faculty advisory committees by not following CMS policy for setting them up or using threat and intimidation to silence them.

CMS lost this internal analysis at each school when it opted for a system accreditation process instead of an individual school process.

African American Teacher

Anonymous said...

So his standards are excellence and diversity. So he is white and so is Ann. So that narrows the criteria. Only non white women need apply. Okay possibly a non white male.
Everyone keeps saying that administration from APs on up should mirror the community. If that were true then alot of white males would be given affirmative action status and get the jobs they are more than qualified for.
At the very least when they pay their money for administrative training they should be told they will always be the last ones chosen for the team instead of telling them decisions are made on the basis of the best and the brightest.

Anonymous said...

He will probably go outside CMS and may give Ann Clark a position out of some kind of... don't even know what to call it. But, I think Ann Clark should bow out of CMS gracefully like the professional she is. She no longer belongs.

Anonymous said...

Most school improvement plans are written by the administration. They have others sign to give the false impression that other staff were included in the process. What a joke those plans are...most teachers don't know what's in them.

Anonymous said...

I think the top opening should go to Ann Clark then he will bring in outsiders to fill the remaining positions. That could be a "cleansing" if the outsiders know what the history of CMS has been in the past. We dont want that to be recreated. Keith W. Hurley

Bill Stevens said...

I'm with WC on this one. The largest influence on runing our schools will be from Kojo/MeckACTS and the uptown leaders who do not want this town embarrassed by any more "No justice, no peace" marches.

I challenge Heath to go to Raleigh and lobby for splitting CMS up into 3 new school systems.

Anonymous said...

Ann Clark should just go. How embarrassing that she continues to hang around when she was Passed over. Get a life. Is she afraid to leave CMS? Go grace another district with your pleasant personality and knowledge. Heath, trust will not be built until you completely clean house in the ivory tower. Send Ann Clark to Reno or retirement.

Anonymous said...

Diversity?

How is that working out for taxpayers in the Communications / PR Department. When will our country start hiring government workers based on being qualified and competent. God help us all!

Christine Mast said...

@Bill Stevens 9:00 am,

I laughed out loud reading your last comment...it was so simple yet SO true. I totally agree, as that would be the most productive and bold step that could be taken to "fix" our broken system.

And why so many resist this idea is actually quite baffling to me. If the State were to divide CMS into 3 districts, let's say, and they were North, Central and South, imagine how much concentrated effort could be placed on the Central District!

So groups like the NAACP, MeckActs, MeckEd, Black Political Caucus (is that the name of it?), etc. would have SO much more influence and HOPE to impact those students. The Central area would not be losing any money, as so many Title 1 schools receive their funding from the Federal Government, and none of that would change with 3 new districts.

New ideas (like Project LIFT already being the first new independent school district) could be designed and "tried," without any negative comments from the peanut galleries in the "North" and "South." There'd be no more of this "they get more than we do" talk. Each area would elect their own Trustees, and could boot them out 2 years later if they're not producing results. Each area would have more local control over their individual schools. And each individual school, as we all know, is unique unto itself.

So anyone with ties to these groups mentioned above, would you and could you PLEASE enlighten me on why 3 new smaller independent school districts would be such a bad idea? Seriously. I'm asking for real.

Christine Mast said...

Ok, here are some predictions:

Deputy Supt. - Ann Clark

COO - Mike Raible

Chief of Staff - I have no idea on this one

Chief Accountability Officer - someone from outside CMS, and my guess is this will also be over Technology

Chief Academic Officer - 1 of the current Zone Supts.

Wiley Coyote said...

Christine,

The NAACP and Federal Government will not allow it.

Any attempt to break up CMS into thirds will most likely be in court within a matter of hours.

Splitting up CMS under the guise of making it more manageble holds no water and is a copout.

The fact is, CMS could be run efficiently as it stands, but politics and pandering going back 40 years still drives the system.

It's time to get real about it. If Blacks, Whites, Hispanics and _______ (<<-- insert your own ethnicity here) don't understand that education is the key to a better life, then too bad.

I have no problem letting those who could care less wind up in reform schools or completely out of the system.

We have more than enough programs in place to help ALL students succeed.

It's way past time to cut the cord and move on.

Christine Mast said...

WC,

The NAACP and the Federal Government don't have a say in this... the NC General Assembly does.

If the Feds get dragged into this, I'm assuming you mean on a "racial" inequality issue?

All 3 districts would still be racially and socio-economically diverse. And the General Assembly would be the ones to divide up the areas -- no one else.

With 19,000 kids already in private schools, and the AA and Hispanic population at almost 60% in CMS right now, it's next to impossible to divide up the district and not have AA and Hispanic children make up the majority, just like they do now.

Maybe that would create a "caucasian" revolution, being in the minority and not getting any "special treatment." I jest, but you get my point.

So that's why I think any kind of a "racial" issue is a bunch of bunk.

I will agree with you that CMS COULD be run efficiently and effectively in its large state, but I also agree with you that politics will never let that happen. So why not divide it up, and the politicos can "have-at-it" in which-ever (now much smaller) area they want to. And then, they'd finally also have to come to realize that until parental-units take ultimate responsibility for their children, nothing and no one else will be able to "effectively" change the long-term futures of these kids.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter to me but CMS gets to check off two diversity boxes with Ann. Female and lesbian. Our school board has 3 African-American females and an African-American male attorney so we're covered on this front. Keith needs to be on the lookout for a Hispanic female and perhaps a Native America male. A Chinese American (male or female) should round out the basis. An Indian from India wouldn't hurt.

Ann Doss Helms said...

In the last 10 years, I've seen a lot of split-the-district sentiment, but I've never seen even a rough plan. I'd be curious to see someone make a serious effort to see what kind of logistical issues and costs there would be to dismantling the existing system and creating three districts, each responsible for hiring a superintendent, a transportation department, a special ed staff, etc. Seems like most people would want to know what it would cost (or save) them to make such a move.

Anonymous said...

Round out the bases:

Keith should also consider hiring teams of teachers from Finland, South Korea, and China for the purpose of blowing US test scores off the map. Ya' know, just for fun. Kojo can be deputy superintendent over at Project Lift. Thinking Michelle Rhee would be a great visiting guest consultant.

Anonymous said...

I think if he names one person tied to LIFT/Meck Acts/Meck Ed the 3 district thing gets great legs. Another words more folks will get on board as CMS would be lost. 11:30 CMS would not pay to relocate folks from other countries you know this ! We just got one from Reno lets try that on for starters. Keith W. Hurley

Christine Mast said...

Anon @8:35am

Isn't that what the School Leadership Teams (SLT) are supposed to do? And aren't the SLT's mandated by the State?

Perhaps this is one of the first things Dr. Morrison should be reading... an SLT plan from each of our 159 schools.

And then review how many SLT's have the correct # of parents represented on each team. After all, if parents aren't included properly, all the SLT's become is another group of school admins running another group for the school. Totally ineffective and a waste of everyone's time.

Wiley Coyote said...

Ann,

I posted a story before about the Jordan school system in Utah that split their sytem up and it wound up costing more to taxpayers and the results were not what they had hoped for.

Christine Mast said...

WC,

And if I recall in that article, they didn't set up the taxing authority like we're discussing, and they didn't do near as much homework as we're doing. It was a totally different situation and I'm not surprised that they screwed it up.

But that's not what's being proposed here...

Anonymous said...

This is the organization that ran the public arts magnet school I attended. Rather than dividing CMS into 3 districts, is it possible a structural model like this could work here? Just throwing the idea out there.

ACES: The Resource for Improving Public Education
Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES) exists to improve public education through high quality, cost effective programs and services. We are the Regional Educational Service Center (RESC) for the twenty-five school districts in south central Connecticut. Over 40 states operate Educational Service Agencies because of the financial benefits that are obtained through regional collaboration.

We meet the educational needs of our member districts by acting as both a Local Education Agency (LEA) and as a regional service agency. As a Local Education Agency, we operate schools designed to meet the specific needs of the region; currently special education and Inter-district Magnet schools. As a regional service agency, we develop solutions to the most pressing needs of our member school districts. From school-based technical assistance to programs that advance the education workforce, we work hand in hand with state officials and local educators to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

Our revenue sources include tuition and fees for services from Local Education Agencies, state and federal funds, and private sources, including grants and fees for services. Local school districts appoint a representative to the ACES Governing Board and work collectively to set a strategic direction for the organization based on the educational needs of the region.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Aces (Area Cooperative Educational Services) wasn't involved with the public arts magnet school I attended while I was there (The Educational Center for the Arts). Aces was established after I graduated. Given the shear size of CMS, I don't know if this organizational model is something that could be replicated here.

Alicia Durand

Anonymous said...

Aces:

The need for a cost-effective regional educational service agency was perceived by many educators in the New Haven area in the late 1960s. In an effort led by Charles Rich, then Superintendent of Schools in North Haven, Yale-based Samuel Brownell, former U.S. Commissioner of Education, and involving many other individuals, the Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES) became an entity in 1969. ACES was initially funded with declining grants under Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, federal monies intended to foster innovative educational services and programming. The North Haven school district was the administering agent during those early years.

Earned Designation as a Regional Education Center in 1972
After a planning period, followed by a year of aggressive and imaginative educational programming for its initial 18 member towns, ACES and other similar agencies petitioned Connecticut's General Assembly for legislation to permit it to function as an educational service center. Public Law 10-66 became effective on July 1, 1972, signifying recognition within the General Assembly of the viability of the educational service center concept. Legislation passed in 1978 further supported Connecticut's educational service agencies.

By joining ACES, local towns are represented on the Governing Board and are eligible for the full range of services and programs offered by the agency. ACES Governing Board members, who come from school districts in Connecticut’s south central region, are members of local boards of education, duly responsible to their constituents and working on behalf of students in their charge. In addition to school board members appointed by local districts, the ACES Governing Board has representation from parochial and independent schools, and from colleges and universities, which are involved in and concerned about ACES programming. Ad hoc advisory committees serve as needed.

Now a Staff of Over 900 and $112M Budget
In its 1969-1970 planning year, ACES had a staff of two and a total budget of $70,000. As of the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year, its broad and extensive programs involve more than 900 skilled staff members in 17 buildings working with a budget of $112,000,000. ACES now generates income in two principal ways: from the fees participating members and clients pay for its services; and from state, federal and foundation grants

Anonymous said...

ACES would have to join the chamber and pay a fee to break up CMS. Not sure they would want to do that.

Anonymous said...

How does the chamber factor in the governing of CMS? Besides the Morgans and E-E-S's networking trips to London.

Anonymous said...

8:35 AM

What a refreshing change. Where have you been? It's fairly easy to distinguish between male and female voices here but I haven't determined your gender, yet. My gut instinct thinks you're male but I'm not sure.

Anyway, now that you've joined the fray...

1. "Student populations in different schools require different interventions to accelerate the high achievers and lift up the low achievers."

- AGREE WITH YOU HERE.


2. "The mistake CMS has made is to focus on the middle, mediocrity, that keeps the high achievers from soaring and the low achievers from moving up. Everyone except CMS knows that when you raise the top, all levels will rise with it."

- NOPE, DON'T AGREE WITH YOU HERE.

I think the mistake CMS has made is NOT focusing it's resources and attention on average students who fall within the bell curve while ignoring and neglecting mediocre schools in the middle. I think CMS does a fairly decent job teaching it's gifted population of students (through the Horizon's program, the IB program, etc) and a fairly decent job focusing on kids at it's worst performing schools who are deemed "at-risk" of dropping out and destined for a life of crime. CMS is loaded with mediocre schools that could be great. Instead, the system keeps focusing it's attention and money on schools that have a history of chronic failure and problems. And the beat goes on...

Wiley Coyote said...

Christine,

Evidently, recent events that the states have tried from immigration to healthcare have been lost on you.

Just because the NCGA passes a law "allowing" CMS to split up doesn't mean it will be upheald in court.

Wiley Coyote said...

When Jordan's east-side communities voted to break from the district and form their own, Jordan lost 44 of its 84 schools and a large part of its property tax base.

This Jordan District split caused a loss in property tax revenue; together with $16 million in state budget cuts, this created budget problems for the district. As of August 13, 2009, the district faced a $33 million shortfall.

Jordan teachers lost nine days' pay, and were paid an average of 4.5 percent less in the 2009-2010 school year than they were paid in 2008-2009, and taxpayers faced a large property tax increase.

BolynMcClung said...

TO CHRISTINE AND BILL
(I'M IN AGREEMENT WITH WC: LEAVE IT ALONE)

Subject: Milliken v. Bradley and new school districts.

The theory behind new school districts, Meck North and Meck South, is they escape the burden of either the cost of educating children unprepared for school or not having the distraction of a culture that isn’t as polite. (did I say that politely?). In other words, build a legal wall around the new districts.

Behind the logic of the first paragraph is the holy grail of Southern Suburban education: busing across district boundaries is denied by the Detroit decision in Bradley v. Milliken. I believe that would vanish in a split of CMS.

Here’s a summary.

The Detroit school system was(is) extremely segregated. Many attempts had been made to fix it. Lines were drawn, then redrawn and redrawn again. As this was happening, there was White and bright flight to the 53 surrounding school districts. As a final solution, the group represented by Bradley sued the Governor of Michigan(Milliken). They wanted to be able to bus students across district lines into those 53 districts.

The Bradley lost. A 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court said that such remedies could extend across district lines only where there was actual evidence that multiple districts had deliberately engaged in a policy of segregation. Milliken didn’t win either. Detroit never was fixed.

Milliken has been the savior of suburban school districts all across the nation. As folks fled urban areas, their new school district boundaries, which had long been in existence, were impenetrable by urban buses. Yes, there have been some “shared” regional schools.

The SMART folks might not have the luxury of Milliken protection. In a split of CMS it could be argued by those that might want to bus urban children to better schools, that the General Assembly, by splitting CMS into three parts caused the old segregated urban area to be without a remedy .

SMART might argue that CMS was already a system of neighborhoods, so splitting wouldn’t make a difference. However there is that “unitary” thing to deal with from 1972 and 2002. Also that neighborhood thing only dates to 2009-10.

In my opinion if SMART wants to successfully create a new school district, it must first make the urban schools strong and excellent. This would dampen an argument that a split would net one weak and two strong districts. The only thing left to fight over would be skin color. Well, maybe that and the darker system might be at a competitive disadvantage over teachers.

My view is unsubstantiated but not without some merit.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

8:35

Ooo...

I served on a School Leadership Team (SLT). Based on my experience, you are absolutely right. Bingo! The job of the SLT I served on was to sign on the dotted line according to our principal's wishes. I complied because the benefit of being able to influence who my children had as teachers every year far outweighed dying on a hill for some fruitless cause.

"Most principals have neutered their school leadership teams and faculty advisory committees by not following CMS policy for setting them up or using threat and intimidation to silence them".

Hit the nail on the head!

Anonymous said...

I was a special ed teacher for SEDOL (Special Education District of Lake County). SEDOL covered the entire county (the suburban county north of Chicago), while each local town in the county had its own regular school district. Special Ed classes were located in schools in various school districts throughout the county. Transportation for special ed was handled by SEDOL, I believe. The school in which I taught was in a wing that connected an elementary and middle school in Mundelein, IL. It contained SEDOL's special ed services (including PT and OT) for k-8 multiple handicapped kids. Our students could attend classes when appropriate in either the elementary of middle schools. This system seemed to work well for local districts and for the special ed kids being served by SEDOL.
So I think there are many creative ways that districts can share services yet retain control over their own systems. Certainly if CMS were broken up logically (not into wedges of a pie as some suggest--what is the point of having three very similar districts that would then require a duplication of all services?) into north south and middle, with an overlay to handle special ed, perhaps vo-tech, etc., each district could then tailor its administrative needs to its particular communities. Also with smaller districts surely the superintendents would not need such a large staff.

Anonymous said...

Breaking CMS up into 3 distinct districts is a bad idea. Anyone who's survived a school boundary controversy knows this.

Historically - Can't happen. Not in a city that within recent memory for some citizens had separate hospitals, schools, lunch counters, and water fountains for "Coloreds" and "Whites".

Economically - Too expensive.

Academically - Can't happen until CMS' "urban" schools start to succeed and remain strong.

Wiley Coyote said...

...and to follow up...

No way should ANY public school system in NC or any other state have taxing authority, with Texas having the largest number of independent school districts with that authority.

Texas implemented their system back in the early 1900's.

NC has four districts with some taxing authority.

BolynMcClung said...

TO: ANON 12:43

Subject: Which students get which advantage?

In 2011 Pete Gorman, while speaking to the Board and looking at a huge PowerPoint slide of the GAP, had the same thoughts about how do you talk to parents about the GAP. Which students get the resources?

I’m paraphrasing here. He said if he told the parents of students at the current high point of the chart that he was going to back off while he concentrated on raising the bottom, there would be a severe price he’d have to pay. He said something similar about parents on the other end of the graph.

As you can imagine because of the date, his idea was to raise the effectiveness of all teachers. That was one of the reason I was a supporter of PfP. He took the emphasis off what he couldn’t control; the students. He put it on what he could; the teachers.

Right idea! Wrong application; testing, testing, testing.

But it is worth mentioning because I believe you’re going to hear the same thing from Dr. Morrison; he can control the quality of instruction.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

What's the racial composition at Providence Spring Elementary? It sure as heck isn't 60% black and Hispanic.

Yes, the overall racial composition of CMS is 60% black and Hispanic but there is the pesky problem of whites concentrating themselves at only a handful of CMS schools.

Anonymous said...

CAO. Kelly Gwaltney

Deputy supr Ann Clark. This takes her out of running the District per se and allows her to gracefully move on to the superintendency of another district, which will happen during the 12-13 school year. For all you pinheads who spoke poorly of Ann, know that she has more grace than any of you idiots coould possibly understand.

Other positions will come from outside cms as there is no one internally that is qualified and experienced enough to fill the spots. They will be Broad people and hopefully better than the boobs Pete brought in (see ambler and Perez).

Bill Stevens said...

Bolyn, in a sense, CMS has started down this path when it created the Central Zone with just Tile 1 schools. The precedent is set.

Two, the north and south districts will stand on their own when you factor in diversity. They will successfully prove they are more diverse than most counties/LEA's in this state.

Lastly, I see only one other thing needed to get SMART seriously considered by the next legislative session. And remember this state legislature just approved a community to split off of the City of Fayetteville to be their own town. They must create the psuedo districts and show the tax base is fairly equivalent in each for financial support. Within that financial model, the central district will always come out ahead in per pupil spending when Title 1 and state lottery monies are factored in.

Soeone else did bring out an important point. CMS could be run/managed more fairly to absolve these conflicts. However there are too many political forces that will go to no ends to allow that. I remember Dr. Gorman at some point toward the end of his first year made the comment about how much the suburbs had sacrificed and had been willing to give up to have extra money flow into the urbban schools and that the time had come to end that. Needless to say, plenty of "political forces" quieted him down.

Anonymous said...

1:23

But can a superintendent REALLY control the quality of instruction? And is a "good" teacher at Providence Day School automatically a "good" teacher at Druid Hills?

Bill Stevens said...

Bingo 1:23!

I would have offerred you a cookie but I just finished mine while working. I do not get the luxury of "business lunches" as some past board members used to milk CMS for.

Bill Stevens said...

Sorry I meant bingo 1:33.

Anonymous said...

1:27, From 2010-11 school year.

Not the lily white portrait you'd imagine.

Student Demographics
• African-American...................5.6%
• White...................................82.8%
• Hispanic.................................2.8%
• Asian......................................8.4%
• Other......................................0.3%
• Economically
disadvantaged students.........3.6%

Anonymous said...

And 1:27, why would you have picked the highest white population ES for your example?

Just another elitist thinking you are society's salvation.

Anonymous said...

Where has "Mr Robotic" Andy Baxter gone to? He was pretty serious about pay for performance, but couldn't explain one single thing about how the value added formula worked!

Anonymous said...

Providence Spring Elem. is 3.2% economically disadvantaged?

What's the CMS district average? About 60%, right?

Shoot me. But Asians consistently outscore whites although I've never heard anyone complain about the Asian - White test score gap. Asians and whites make up 91.2% of the population at Providence Springs.

Thanks, this bit of information ought to support SMART's position!

Anonymous said...

91.2% White and Asian.

OK, maybe not "lily white". How about "silky whitish"?

The average private school in South Charlotte is more ethnically diverse than this.

Anonymous said...

To 1:32 Thank you so much for reminding us how graceful and great Ann Clark is. She has done a fine job building a "healthy" and trusting culture among principals. The environment she has helped create is one most great principals would never want to leave. I don't understand why so many have left or are trying to leave CMS. Queen Ann is the best. She will make a great superintendent someday somewhere far far far away hopefully.

Anonymous said...

Good thing Providence Spring Elementary made the Town of Providence cut. What a shocker.

Anonymous said...

Ok.

So, Providence Spring isn't the Lily White portrait some would think.

How about Ivory Porcelain?

Wiley Coyote said...

Anyone know what the "achievement gap" between Whites and Blacks and Whites and Hispanics was in 2000?

Anonymous said...

1:51

I picked Providence Spring Elementary so the dingbats who want to form the Township of Providence can enlighten themselves as to why the rest of Charlotte isn't likely to go along with their pinheaded plan.

Anonymous said...

I think there was a lawsuit in CA claiming discrimination against white people because the "Achievement Gap" between whites and Asians made it more difficult for white students to secure spots at CA state universities.

Maybe Boyln knows something about this.

Christine Mast said...

Wiley @ 1:10pm,

90% of all LEA's in the Country have taxing authority.

Wiley Coyote said...

Christine,

Show me your evidence.

Anonymous said...

12:43 pm I mostly agree with you if your reference point is looking at how CMS conducts itself with all 159 schools.

My reference point is what is happening within the individual schools with the mandated curriculum and instructional practices that are handed down from the C and I Department. Those mandates focus on moving the middle child so overall test scores will be better. That is why a school should analyze itself and tell the district what its needs are.

It would require a sea change in how the district office would have to view itself. Central Office Personnel would have to practice servant leadership instead of "do as I say" leadership.

African American Teacher

Christine Mast said...

Wiley @ 12:53

Project LIFT, already created and running, is the 1st Independent School District in Mecklenburg County. And there's no lawsuit trying to stop it, that I'm aware of. Even though I think there should be, as private citizens (who just happen to have a ton of money) have too much say in how publicly-funded public schools are run. But I digress.

And let's not forget about our close neighbors to the North, ISS and MGSD. Nobody's running around battling each other in court over those two districts in NC. And I believe MGSD made the NY Times recently, did they not?

Just pointing out that when you step out of Mecklenburg County, and the State of NC, for that matter, things are handled differently, and the skies do not fall down.

Wiley Coyote said...

Project LIFT is NOT an independent school district.

Wiley Coyote said...

..still waiting for your information showing 90% of LEAs in the US have taxing authority.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Wiley's right. If you consider the LIFT zone independent, then CMS has already been split into six districts. And the three non-Title I zones already have their independence from the highest-poverty schools. Of course, the reality is all six remain part of CMS. LIFT just has a unique source of funding and leadership.

Anonymous said...

2:41

How do you think NC's adoption of the National Common Core Curriculum will affect instructional practices? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of implementing the NCCC? (NCCC, did I call it the right thing?)

AD, 12:43

Bill Stevens said...

For the diversity crowd, just posted to the observer.

Diversity on display: Charlotte’s salad bowl suburbs

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/07/06/3366502/charlottes-salad-bowl-suburbs.html#storylink=cpy

Of course Kojo and his ilk believe the only diversity that matters is urban black.

Wiley Coyote said...

LIFT has a 5 year supplemental, non-taxpayer spending plan and that's it.

If you live anywhere in Mecklenburg County, your tax dollars go into the kitty that helps fund the operations of those 9 schools and we still own them.

Contrary to some beliefs, Watts nor the philanthropists own anymore of those schools than the next person.

Anonymous said...

3:00, common core?

I have looked at it. I followed the last year of its development. I have a close relative that is an elementary school teacher here. NC student performance scores are going to falter for 2 years or so. Whites will recover quickly much like last NC ABC pass scores when they were revised up.

Otherwise, many principals will resist going to it or finding some way to dumb it down so the others can pass a little. Many teachers are going to find a lot of adminstration in their classrooms trying to figure out how to present the material and create passable tests for it until the NC (state) tests come out. Then they are stuck.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight, some of you want Ann Clark gone because she didn't win the brass ring. But I didn't hear anyone say nay to Dr. M's assistant super in Nevada who followed him from Maryland to Nevada and now possibly to NC. Remember she didn't get the brass ring either. One would have to assume he tried to get her the job he was leaving but even that wasn't enough. Or should we just exchange losers. Or we could just wait, stop the name calling, and see how this plays out. Maybe even a Super needs to bring strategic staffing with him. As hostile as the comments have all been here I'd sure want someone to watch my back.

Anonymous said...

Wiley , Watts does not own them , but she does run them. Hires her pals, uses her vendors pays who she wants. If this ever happened in SouthPark or Eastover Al Sharpton would be rolling into town. This could be done and probably would have with all the kids who have left CMS over the years in this area of town. Those areas of town have been told no the money goes in the overall pot of CMS. I think it could happen , but needs to be very organized to work. Keith W. Hurley

Christine Mast said...

What I've been trying to say is that Project LIFT has set the precedent for treating some schools differently than others. This is the whole basis for independent school districts -- allowing districts to treat each school uniquely, as each school has unique needs...

I understand it's a five-year project. I understand we still "own" them. But name one other school, outside of the LIFT zone, that could hold summer school (or change its calendar), or kick some teachers out while giving others "incentive" bonuses for working there.

Ergo, INDEPENDENCE in decision-making.

Ann, what other districts are you talking about? Do you mean the Zone structure? What "independence" do any of these zones have?

And Wiley, I'm digging for my reference for 90%... I'm not ignoring you.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I find the salad bowl suburbs story about diversity interesting in that it totally ignores the true suburbs--only talks about Central Ave. and South Boulevard. There are many interesting and determined immigrants spread throughout the area, including south of 51 and I'm sure in the north as well. Where are the stories about the huge influx of Asian immigrants living in south Charlotte or about the large Russian population in the outer suburbs?--many have fascinating stories to tell. Granted many of these immigrants are not poor (and horrors, some may be white) but they bring a lot of diversity to our area as well. My neighborhood is dotted with Chinese, Korean, Danes, Germans, etc. The Observer (and Tom Hanchett) may no longer be defining diversity in black and white but they really haven't moved beyond the requirement of being poor and of color to qualify as diverse, I'm afraid.

Susan said...

He should offer Pedro Martinez a job with his new cabinet instead of allowing him to drive Washoe County School District further into the ground. After all, Heath brought this dolt out from Chicago in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Wiley,
In Ohio all districts have taxing authority--done through levies voted on by communities. Boards cannot arbitrarily raise taxes--citizens vote.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one surprised the Ann Clark hasn't put in her retirement after not receiving the superintendency? I mean she's been here long enough to 'cash out' at least a good $4,900 a month!

Wiley Coyote said...

Christine...

Virginia is one of nine states in the country with fiscally dependent school boards, according to the National School Boards Association. Thirty-four states have autonomous boards, and 26 states allow districts to have taxing ability if they choose.

That's a far cry from 90%
That's a far cry from 90%.

Anonymous said...

From "The City Paper", Nashville on-line news, May, 2009--a discussion of school board taxing authority:
According to Smith, 81 percent of school districts in the country — districts in all but 11 states — have taxing authority. In Tennessee, 14 school districts are considered “special” districts, meaning that the districts have taxing authority with approval from the Tennessee Legislature.

One such district is in Franklin. But in most states in the country, school districts create their budgets and set tax rates that meet their needs, with no approval required from any other elected body.

Wiley Coyote said...

Numbers, numbers, numbers....

There is no consistency in reporting, no matter where it comes from.

That's one reason why any data coming from any school system is always suspect.

BolynMcClung said...

HERE ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD AND PROJECT L.I.F.T. AS WRITTEN IN THE SIGNED CONTRACT.

Responsibilities of the Board. The Board will be responsible for the following:

1. Employing and empowering individuals to fill the following positions within the Feeder Area:

Zone Superintendent;
Executive Director of Evaluations and Project Management; and
Human Capital Specialist (collectively, “Personnel”).
The job descriptions for the Personnel are set forth in Exhibit A, entitled “Personnel Job Descriptions” attached hereto and incorporated into this Agreement by reference.

2. Collaborating, consulting and cooperating with Project LIFT and its representatives to
accomplish the mutual goals of the parties.

3. Establishing stable and effective channels of communication with Project LIFT.

4. Submitting quarterly invoices to Project LIFT for Personnel salary and benefit costs.

5. In accordance with a mutually agreed upon schedule and to the extent permitted by law,assess the progress of the effectiveness of the parties’ collaborative effort with Project
LIFT, including without limitation, reviewing specific initiatives and evaluating the Personnel.

Duties of Project L.I.F.T. Project LIFT will be responsible for the following:

1. Fully reimbursing the Board for Personnel salary and benefit costs.

AND HERE IS THE TERMINATION CLAUSE:

Termination. Either party may terminate this Agreement without cause so long as it provides the other party with written notice of its intent to terminate at least 30 days prior to termination. In the event that either party becomes unable to execute one or more of its material responsibilities as set forth in this Agreement, the other party may terminate this Agreement immediately upon either the Receipt of written notice from the other party evidencing its Inability to execute its responsibilities in the manner prescribed by this Agreement or a party’s actual non-performance of one or moreof its material responsibilities due to an
inability to perform such responsibilities.

Since this is the Independence Day week, the contract sounds more like what George III presented the citizens of Boston.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

There may not be consistency in reporting, Wiley, (and I would definitely agree with you there), but having lived and taught in quite a few states I do believe you are mistaken if you think only a few school districts have taxing authority. Wherever we have lived taxing authority for the board was the norm, but, again, boards usually can't arbitrarily raise taxes--levies are put up for a vote.

Anonymous said...

Bolyn, Thanks for that itme on LIFT it seems CMS could have a out WHEN the train flys off the tracks. Big question is will they? What you just put out is more than anyone from within LIFT has been willing to go public with so far. Kudos to you for that update ! Keith W. Hurley

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 3:56...

I agree with your response.

There are all levels of "authority".

My disagreement was that 90% of school districts in the US have taxing authority.

To me, taxing authority means a body can independently decide they want to increase whatever tax sources to fund any school related expenditures.
~~~~~~~~~

taxing authority

Any government entity that is authorized by law to assess, levy and collect taxes. A taxing authority can have a reach of authority (the IRS) and it can be limited to very specific group of people (local school or fire district).

In all cases, the setting of tax rates is done only with public approval through legislation or local board meetings.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Keith, that contract was approved at a public meeting that Bolyn and I both attended in January, and I posted it on Paper Trail at the time. But it is interesting that the Project LIFT web site has a link to "documents" but does not include the contract. Seems like that is a pretty crucial document.

Anonymous said...

AD, 12:43

I was thrilled when the Common Core/Essential Standards were being drafted and adopted. I believe we do need national standards as to what should be covered in different levels of K-12 education. This ensures portability of educational standards, practices, and learning from one part of the country to another. This is necessary because of the highly mobile society we live in.

Common Core's purpose is to identify in each grade level and each subject what a child should know after completion. It was also to help with the fact that our curriculum design in this country has not factored in time for deep exploration of content. In other words we try to teach too much too fast. Our students need multiple practice opportunities and analytical time to retain information presented. We do not give them that with our rush to complete the prescribed curriculum. We have a lot of breadth but no depth.

CMS is going to struggle for a while because of its past focus on improving testing skills instead of developing higher level skills in students. It will need those "older" teachers who remember how to do more than follow the "script" given them by the school system. But, maybe not, as CMS has already started putting together the packaged lessons.

Teaching is an art as well as a science and that's why people are finding it difficult to quantify what makes a good teacher so it can be reproduced on an assembly line.

AA Teacher

Anonymous said...

3:05

Wow. I'm confused.

NC is adopting the national core curriculum (NCC?) while phasing out the state Standard Course of Study (NCSCS). In your opinion, test scores will falter across NC for about 2 years with white students recovering faster than black students. How will schools that comprise Project LIFT be evaluated while these changes take place? NC recently received permission from the federal government to bypass No Child Left Behind laws. In the meantime, NC is designing it's own state tests to be administered sometime in the future, correct?

Thoughts on all this?

- AD

BolynMcClung said...

MORE COMMENTS ON THE L.I.F.T CONTRACT.

At the January workshop when L.I.F.T formally asked CMS to sign the contract, there was much discussion about the escape clause.

One board member said that he had been at the last presentation, 12 months before and hadn't heard a word about it since. I got the impression that the escape clause was very important to him and all the other board members in signing-up.

I also got the impression there wasn't any desire to discuss having to use it. That's a big positive for the school district. They sort of said, "..we don't know if it will succeed, but we don't want it to fail."

What I've read in this blog is "..we want it to fail, there's not a chance it will succeed."

One of those two statements is more correct than the other. Based on history, it's the latter. Based on effort put in, it should be the former.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

cont...

And the former nincompoop school board thought it was a good idea to standardize test marching band with all these changes taking place?

Bill Stevens said...

Incorrect Bolyn,

What I've read in this blog is "..we want it to fail, there's not a chance it will succeed."

Only the portion after the comma is what people have been saying. Of course, as has CMS, LIFT is controlling their data and they will interpret it anyway they want to for their purposes. Which, remember now I have said this, is to promote Denise to some higher level of philanthropy control or federal government department.

Anonymous said...

CMS needs to create a special school for students with mental disabilities or other issues. These schools should be staffed with mental health case workers, psycholgists and/or therapists. There are too many different types of students requiring specialized focus/attention in one classroom. It is very difficult to move students along the curriculum especially when common core standards will be in place. Morrison believes in inclusion and will probably not dismantle.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Oops, I'm wrong. The LIFT/CMS contract doesn't have a separate link, but it's at the end of the strategic plan listed under LIFT documents (www.projectliftcharlotte.org)

Anonymous said...

5:08

It's these kinds of posts that really tick me off. Pay attention.

CMS already has two schools for students with severe disabilities. The Metro School and the Morgan School. Educating these students is expensive. More expensive than educating kids without severe disabilities. Don't like it? Put a sock in it and move to China.

Students with mild to moderate learning disabilities (a learning disability - LD - is defined as having an ABOVE average IQ with test scores that are below IQ ability) are entitled - by law - to receive an education in a "least restrictive" environment sometimes referred to as "inclusion". Some of Charlotte's most expensive and exclusive private schools have LD services. Parents have to pay extra for these services but they are available. Again, if you don't like your children being around other children who might have a physical disability or learning disability, you can always pack your bags.

Anonymous said...

(cont)..

Morrison believes in the practice of Inclusion because Inclusion is the law. Love it, or leave it. I don't think it's a perfect way of doing things but I think it's better than the way public education dealt with students with disabilities when I was growing up.

As a child, Morrison spent time in Special Education classes. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

North Carolina had to adopt the Common Core Curriculum as a requirement for being awarded Race to the Top federal funds. It has to develop state tests in all subjects as well as utilizing NAEP in early grades and the ACT for 11th graders.

CMS knew this and that is why everyone was askance about the rush to develop CMS specific tests for a curriculum that was being phased out.

The current tests in elementary, middle and high school will continue to be administered and results reported until full statewide implementation of the common core curriculum occurs in either the 2013-14 school year or the year after.

I think it is the 2013-14 school year and that's why the schools received waivers to use the five additional days in the school calendar to help systems and teachers prepare for implementation.

I was not the one who said black students may take longer to "recover". I believe any lag time can be minimized by empowering teachers at each school to design or modify the implementation plan for their school, revising it when necessary. It may be time to trust teachers' instincts and creativity again. I hope those abilities have not been completely suppressed in them by CMS' quest to achieve conformity and compliance.

AA Teacher

Anonymous said...

Thank you 5:56!
I was going to c0mment on that one but you did an excellent job!

Ann Doss Helms said...

One of the biggest complaints I've heard about inclusion is that it has been executed badly -- kids with significant disabilities are put into a "mainstream" class, but CMS then fails to assign an EC teacher to support them (maybe because of layoffs/cuts). Result is a teacher struggling to serve an even wider range of students. 5:45 and others who are knowledgeable, you agree? Has that gotten any better?

Anonymous said...

Contrary to popular belief, there are buccos of kids who have rocks in their heads that attend some of Charlotte's most elite and expensive private schools. However, the "average" kid in private school still gets to sit next to the kid headed to Princeton. The beautiful thing about private schools is that they don't label kids. Because, if your parents can afford the $16,000 a year tuition it's already assumed you're gifted. Private schools simply "ability group" without all the public school labeling cr-ap.

Anonymous said...

Ann,
You are correct. It was implemented poorly because, as with all things, CMS won't implement them as originally intended.

Also CMS gets rid of the persons who were trained without transitioning others so there is no continuity with the professional development for teachers.

Now, you may find some EOC classes with inclusion at the high school level but mostly you will see an "introductory" class where children are enrolled for two semesters for the gateway courses. The classes are overcrowded and still need both teachers in order to reach all students.

Anonymous said...

I pity the EC child in CMS who doesn't have a parent able or knowledgable enough to advocate on their behalf. I'll leave it at that. I don't believe children with severe disabilities should be mainstreamed into a regular classroom. The critical shortage of EC teachers across America is tragic. I think the practice of Inclusion is like the NCLB Act - wonderful in theory but not so much if there isn't enough money to effectively implement the law.

- Alicia Durand

Anonymous said...

ON the subject of EC children I have talked to a number of parents with EC children in CMS. ALL of the parents say that besides transportation issues (small) CMS does a AWESOME job with their children. The kids look forward to going to school and teachers really " adopt" the kids needs. The positive talk about this program from parents with children in it is HUGE. Good for CMS for a quality program. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

6:08 - Ann

Based on personal experience "I agree". However, I can't comment if things have gotten any better. I don't know. What I do know is that students with disabilities are supposed to receive an education that meets their specific or "individual" needs. A shortage of EC teachers puts unrealistic expectations and burdens on regular classroom teachers that even Superwoman couldn't meet. No teacher can adequately meet the "individual" needs of 20 plus students in a classroom assuming some kids have the ability to attend Harvard and others are struggling with dyslexia.

- Alicia Durand

Anonymous said...

Keith H.,

CMS can and does do a great job with EC kids. However, as I stated, God help the EC kid who doesn't have a strong parent advocate. Having a learning or physical disability is a lifelong struggle. It's a K -12 and beyond adaptation. It makes me furious when our education system, and especially ignorant parents, lump all EC kids into one category - or box. Charles Schwab and numerous other people in American history have struggled with learning and physical disabilities. The jury is still out on Dr. Morrison, but somehow he made it to Charlotte despite academic obstacles. I don't buy the CMS does an "AWSOME" job with "ALL" EC kids! Bull Cr-p. No it does not.

- Alicia Durand

Anonymous said...

Alicia , I agree with your first post which your second one conflicts. I would not expect kids with EC program in class with "Harvard bound" students. I agree that is not help to either of the kids. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Keith H,

Parents with children who attend "low-performing" (translated "chronically failing") schools will tell you their kids attend "great" schools when asked to fill out a "parent satisfaction" survey. Do the research. Parents will rarely admit their children attend a "bad" school. You can't solve a problem unless you acknowledge there is one. "HUGE" positive TALK about CMS' EC Dept. is wonderful but you better have the research to back it up. We need to focus on researching and improving this kind of thing - instead of focusing on standardize testing the band teacher.

- Alicia Durand

Anonymous said...

Keith,

No, my first post does not conflict with my second post. It's about how the practice of "inclusion" is implemented. Ann's post is correct. CMS often implements the practice poorly which doesn't serve any student well. The definition of "inclusion" can also be vague and interpreted a variety of ways at different schools.

- Alicia Durand

Anonymous said...

CMS is more interested in getting a student labeled EC so as to receive more federal funding. From urban political pressure, CMS has been forced to expand the label special needs to include students who are behaviorally challenged only because they are not taught how to behave at home. Additionally, it increases the home's monthly government check. And lastly, federal law now kicks in and the student can not be subject to the published CMS discipline policy. Kinda what the problem was with one of the middle schools CMS ended up shutting down, or maybe all of them but I know for certain about one. Students were out of control and CMS had no discipline standard to deal with them. CMS administration refuses to use the state law they have at their disposal.

Ann and others are correct in saying it is how CMS implements the EC policy. I know an EC teacher and a teacher which received their EC certification this year. The quality of EC a student receives is 100% dependent on keeping the teacher motivated and supported. CMS does nothing in this case.

Anonymous said...

Alicia, the parents (?) and students at Waddell HS said with a high percentage that they attended a great school. Yet the scores did not support that. What a great school means to this demographic is different than what we interpret a great school should be.

I saw this also when Mr. Simmons was relieved of his West Charlotte HS assignment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ann for responding to 5:45. I am not talking about mild disabilities. There are students with extreme mental disabilities in CMS classrooms and as Ann stated without a certified EC to assist.

Anonymous said...

There has been lots of questions and comments about Project Lift. Denise Watts spoke to the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum on the 3rd. Here is the link. Some might like to check it out--http://www.tueforumclt.org/NewsPages/12Q3/120703Lift.htm.

I've only listened to a part but the part I heard (video #3) was very interesting. No nonsense regarding education from Denise. No excuses--seemed to be saying that if the community was concerned about the state of some school building they need to get in there and work to improve them; that an Afro-centric education would not serve their children well in the real world; that teachers and principals in K-8 schools think this school structure is the right thing to do (although is not yet perfect).

Anonymous said...

Ms. Watts changes her tune to the crowd she speaks too. I as well saw her 8 months ago talk about LIFT at the TMBC. Her speech was " this is for black kids in black schools with black teachers using black business for support with black business donations. I was very clear her message , BUT also very filled with hate and venom. I wish her and Kojo luck with this , but every white man is not Peter Gorman so remember that.

Anonymous said...

Ann,

Re: 6:08,

You are correct. EC students are placed "mainstreamed" in classrooms and basically ignored. The concept of mainstreaming is that only 2 or 3 special needs children are in a regular classroom. However, CMS regularly has "mainstream" classrooms where 1/3 to 1/2 of the students are EC of various levels. Sometimes an "inclusion" teacher comes into the room to help (a.k.a. co-teach) for a few minutes each day. And FYI CMS, this is not the definition of least restrictive environment. This is the definition of warehousing.

This also happens with ESL children.

This is not conducive to good learning for ANY child.

It is time for the non EC children's parents to advocate for this to stop. One or two EC child in a classroom with support is not a problem. To recap: True mainstreaming/inclusion is where there is one or two child/ren with special needs in a classroom with support for the teacher.

Anonymous said...

7:54 & 8:44

Watts might be right about things sometimes. Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

However, she is the ultimate chameleon. What she says changes to suit what she wants out of the situation. NO ONE should EVER trust a word she says -- neither staff member nor "investor".

Anonymous said...

So why would Denise Watts tell the Tuesday Breakfast Forum (the bastion of Swann Fellowship, Meck ACTS, NAACP, etc.) that K-8 schools are working, that the community needs to help keep schools clean and safe, that their kids need to be prepared for the real world, not an Afro-centric world? The above named groups are all about victimhood, charges of racism and resegregation, and blaming the system. She seemed to be stepping away from all of that. Where does that get her with this group?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I've talked to many parents of EC children who DON'T think CMS does an excellent job of educating their EC children and I'm one of them.

Our school is excellent, but over crowded and the EC department is stretched thin. My son has had private testing completed for learning disabilities, once in 2nd grade and again this year. He has made progress, but not near what he should have. Thank goodness he got into a private school for kids with LD, because he was just going to get further and further behind.

I don't know what EC parents you have been talking to, but the ones I have talked with have been bullied by the EC department, denied services for their autistic children, and elementary students with LD's are suspended for acting out when they are frustrated. How is this "an excellent job?"

Anonymous said...

8:51

NCLB allows parents with children at chronically failing schools to transfer to their children to successful schools with free transportation provided. Guess what? Parents rarely opt to transfer their children to higher performing schools and will choose keep their children at their neighborhood school - even if the test scores are abysmal. Which brings us to the issue of school closings. When a system forces a closing at a school like Waddell, the message that is sent to that community is that parents are bad parents who don't care about their kids education and that the kids who attend the school are
stupid. Not exactly the best way for a school system to promote the kind of good will that might encourage a better partnership between parents and the educational establishment. The closure model also doesn't do much in the way of establishing good rapport between students and teachers not to mention what this practice does to teacher and staff morale.

Wiley Coyote said...

8:43

Waddell was built to relieve overcrowding at two other high schools, was underutilized and built in the wrong place.

Closing schools had nothing to do with "bad parents".

It had to do with cutting budgets due to the economy and projected revenue shortfalls, naturally shifting demographics and building utilization.

Anonymous said...

Waddell was shut down because it was chronically underperforming. Ditto for every other school CMS closed. The former Waddell high school now houses a K - 8 language magnet school. The former Waddell High school never reached full capacity but this doesn't mean it was underutilized. It was shut down because it was a failing school. Parents, staff and students took this personally. Moving Waddell students to Harding and South Meck. didnt solve any problems or raise student achievement. It just spread the problems around in an effort to mask them.

Anonymous said...

8:43

Surely you jest, Wiley. Waddell was built in the wrong place but I find it hard to believe you bought into CMS' song and dance about closing the school strictly for budgetary reasons.

Anonymous said...

Listen folks for the last time this is why LIFT wont work. Its leader Watts is a "snake salesman" who quit CMS to go sell the community on how bad it is. If its so bad then stay away Denise. She found a excuse to sell to some corporate minority folks to get some cash. Its a bake sale for her to get a six figure job for 4-5 years. Get it straight this is not gonna change she is a "snake salesman" backed by KOJO ! Besides Al Sharpton Kojo makes snakes !

Anonymous said...

9:36

I agree with you up until the point you suggest non-EC parents should tackle the issue of poorly executed inclusion practices. EC parents should be driving this issue with non-EC parent support. You are correct, having more than 3 or 4 kids with learning disabilities and/or other disabilities mainstreamed into a regular classroom doesn't serve any student well. On the other end, EC (by definition) includes kids who are classified as gifted. The problem here is that CMS has three times the number of gifted students as the national average. The criteria for being identified as gifted can vary dramatically from one school system to the next. In real world, a typical classroom shouldn't have anymore gifted EC kids in it than learning disabled EC kids. By law, both groups are entitled to extra educational services. So, the problem isn't simply how CMS executes EC services it's also how CMS identifies EC students.

Wiley Coyote said...

Waddell, West Meck and West Charlotte all had/have dismal graduation rates and performance.

Their grad rates at the time were all within a point or two of one another yet Waddell closed, West Meck still plugs along and we all know what's going on with "saving" West Charlotte.

As far as me "buying into CMS' song and dance" about budgetary decisions is a FACT, whether schools were closed then or sometime down the road.

Waddell should have NEVER been built there as Whitewater was built where it is. Whitewater was vastly underutilized which is why students were moved there as part of the closings.

CMS didn't go far enough cutting the budget and dumping properties.

So, to answer your question, I do not jest.

Anonymous said...

10:37
Why then wasn't West Charlotte, West Meck, and Garinger shut down. Also, if you look into the history of Harding (around 2008-2009), you will find that its test scores were abysmal. They went up in the following years because Harding's parents fought for and received standards for acceptance into the all magnet school, especially the level III or IV on the EOGs mandate (same for Berry). This requirement, along with zone restrictions for IB choices, made the magnet (population decreased at Berry also, making them underutilized) population decrease. Scores the next year rose. The only turning around it did was changing the student population. Now it is turned in the opposite direction.

Waddell had a 30& EC population which included severe special needs (beds and wheelchairs), Autistic, Occupational, LD, etc. Their are federal laws about how many students can be in each classroom. Waddell's utilization numbers were cooked.....look at the way they are now characterized to accommodate the language school. There are only 72 classrooms at Waddell, Smith had, I think, 71 classrooms and was overcrowded. How has moving to Waddell relieved that overcrowding?

Waddell was built in 2001, Harding in 1959 with all of the maintenance issues surrounding such an old facility. Simple solution, move Harding to Waddell, change Waddell's name to incorporate both school names, and move Smith to Harding or one of the other closed schools.

Several reasons why that did not happen: Smith parents did not want their children going into that neighborhood with such an open campus; powers that be manipulated a fight within the black community between Harding and Waddell advocates that turned ugly; Waddell did not have a powerful alumni base; Smith had been promised Waddell at least a year earlier so reacted strongly when told the move would be to Harding, even saying they would rather stay where they were; and powerful political entities and strange bedfellows allied
to give Waddell to Smith. Erica Ellis-Stewart sold everyone out to save Harding then shipped her son to Raleigh.

Waddell initially, was told it would not close because it did not meet the criteria the board had set but, of course, they kept cooking the numbers until the numbers placed West Charlotte over Waddell. Go look at all of Mike Raible's charts from the beginning in 2009 when the board was setting their guidelines.

Federal grant money for magnets had run out, Waddell was sacrificed to save magnet programs.

Sorry for the long history lesson, but I am tired of the misconceptions regarding the closing of Waddell. I will bet money that the cost to modify that school overshadows any so-called savings. Didn't the new occupants have to stay out of the gym for a while because a kid got hurt?

Where are the reports on everything related to those closures, especially the financials?

Wiley Coyote said...

...still waiting on the 10 year, $1.86 BILLION dollar bond package to rear its ugly head again...

....After a long recession-driven slump in school construction, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials laid out a $1.86 billion 10-year plan for school construction and renovation Tuesday (January 25, 2012)....

Insanity....

Anonymous said...

An interesting side note to the building of Waddell. A large group of Providence parents and South Meck parents fought locating the school on Nation's Ford, as it was obvious that was not where the growth was. When we lost the school board vote, we then attempted to persuade the county commission to refuse to release the bond funds designated for a new "south" high school. At Large Member Becky Carney, who had lived in southeast Charlotte while her children attended high school and then had moved on up to Queens Road, refused to talk to any of us (as did Parks Helms). The board went on to release the funds and the inappropriately placed school was built. So when Becky made her recent "mistake" when voting on fracking I had little sympathy for her. She left a lot of students crying over future school reassignments and she didn't care at all.

Anonymous said...

West Charlotte has a long and interesting history that ties in with segregation and desegregation not to mention a long list of mover and shaker alumni. Waddell never had this going for it. I find it hard to believe that Waddell would have closed had the school performed well. Come on. Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Waddell was built as a "mid-point" school for the purpose of desegregation. The problem was, white and wealthier patents refused to send their children there according to CMS dictatorship plan.

Anonymous said...

The bond issue for Waddell was not "sold" to the public as being for a "midpoint" school. It was to be a "new south high school", which everyone (except the majority on the school board) recognized was sorely needed. Once built there was a huge issue with assigning students there. CMS intended to move many South Meck kids to Waddell and Providence kids to South Meck. Both moves created long drives (or bus rides) for re-assigned students. You didn't have to be wealthy or white to not want your kids driving on 485 and 77 early in the morning to reach Waddell (remember this was not a magnet assignment but a regular high school assignment). And funny thing, parents also objected to their kids being moved from a school within 3 miles of their home to one that was 8 miles away.

Anonymous said...

West Charlotte is an embedded part of this community - for better and for worse. Waddell never was. It performed poorly right from the get-go. West Charlotte had periods of success enabling It to muster enough community willpower to now try and LIFT itself out of the ashes to it's former glory.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected. Waddell was not built as a mid-point school. However, I believe it was built with the intention of busing white and wealthier families to it. The building was completed right before CMS' forced busing polices were lifted from court order. Correct?

Anonymous said...

4:59: You may be right in that board members such as Arthur Griffin and Louise Woods (and I'm sure Velma and George as well) selected Waddell's site with the midpoint concept in mind. But as I said, its bond issue was not for a mid-point school, but for a south school. Since South Meck and Providence were both very overcrowded at the time and far south Charlotte (where Ardry Kell is now) was starting to explode with housing everyone assumed that far south Charlotte would be the location of the new school (silly us).
Yes, this was all right before desegregation ended. I imagine some board members saw the hand writing on the wall and wanted to get in one last lick--figured with Waddell located where it was some sort of busing would have to be continued to populate it. Instead they wound up with an expensive "mistake" that has created major angst for many parents and students over the years. And of course CMS eventually had to build an actual south high school (Ardry Kell). How much do you think this exercised in political correctness cost us, the taxpayers? Thank you Louise, Arthur, Velma, George, and whoever else voted for the site on Nations Ford.

Anonymous said...

Bouncing around topics...

"This is What it Takes" EC (Gifted and LD) mother's perspective on successful inclusion practices based on good (yes, I've had some) CMS experiences:

1. A highly experienced and successful teacher who believes in inclusion practices. No rookies. Sorry, but this is what I believe and I don't care if you graduated top of your class from Brown. Teaching is an art and a science. It takes time to learn to do both well.

2. A highly experienced principal who supports, believes in, and will defend inclusion practices.

3. A highly experienced EC teacher willing and able to co-teach alongside a regular classroom teacher in a regular classroom setting (grades K-5).

3. A LIMITED number of mild-moderate LD and Gifted EC children in each regular classroom. *(Gifted children and Learning Disabled children are legally defined as Exceptional Children (EC) - just to confuse the heck out of everyone).

4. Earlier and more thorough testing and identification practices of students who are truly learning disabled and truly gifted. I'm suspicious of a school system that has 3 times the national average of gifted students (CMS). I'm suspicious of a school system that seems to house entire classrooms of LD students particularity in low-income areas of town. Define "gifted". Define "learning disabled".

5. An aggressive action plan that addresses the needs of EC children starting the first week of school. NO, "Well, let's just wait and see". No. We don't have time to wait and see.

6. A school environment that enables and encourages LD parents to voluntarily communicate with each other without violating privacy laws which is rarely an issue among the "gifted" mommy crowd. LD parents need to be able to talk to and support each other. This is really important.

7. Strong communication and D-Day like execution practices between the EC and regular classroom teacher. Strong and ongoing communication between the school and EC parents.

8. Strong community support for schools that house students with severe disabilities.

9. Better college career counseling services for LD, gifted and average students. CMS drops the ball all around on this issue.

10. Ability grouping based on individual strengths and weaknesses without all the helicopter parent drama. (Disclaimer: having miserably failed the helicopter parent test on many occasions).

11. Allowing teachers to teach to their strengths. Ability grouping teachers. "Well-rounded" is over rated.

- AD

Wiley Coyote said...

West Charlotte had periods of success enabling It to muster enough community willpower to now try and LIFT itself out of the ashes to it's former glory.

....and they did it back then without $55 million dollars.

Anonymous said...

You've got a point, Wiley.

Anonymous said...

10:37 am
Davidson IB was part of the school closure package - yet the school ranked at the top of all scores. IMHO, it was a political decision, not cost cutting.
One reason for the closing, the school was substandard. DIB parents and Davidson community were involved in 'remodeling' the school. But CMS still closed the school.
Ironic, a private school is using the same building!

Anonymous said...

cont...

Re: "Inclusion" grades 6 -12.

Got me here. I think interpreting a Picasso painting on acid would be easier than trying to clarify what "inclusion" means and should look like in these grades. It's here where a grade K-8 model might actually make sense.

-AD

Anonymous said...

8:44
Is it possible Davidson IB was too successful? I didn't get this closing unless it was intended to balance out and pacify the failing schools CMS closed.

Anonymous said...

West Charlotte High School.

Is it worth $55 million to try and resuscitate a piece of Charlotte history and civic pride?

Apparently, the answer is "yes".

Wiley Coyote said...

....Is it worth $55 million to try and resuscitate a piece of Charlotte history and civic pride?

West Charlotte established 1938... West Meck 1951.

I would argue that both schools are part of Charlotte civic pride, but West Charlotte gets all the attention and money.

Bill said...

9:39, do you not think any extra money has been thrown into this school and this part of town before?

Anonymous said...

Waddell was not failing immediately. Its first year was under the busing plan...with school choice a lot of students left but it still had its Early College and Language Magnet programs. The district did not support parents call for entrance requirements, Dr. Ellis turned off parents and CPCC because he did not provide a qualified coordinator after the first one retired.

Waddell's scores were above a lot of schools before losing the magnet schools.

Subsequent hidden continuous back door squeezing of Waddell's attendance zone to accommodate connected parents and communities who wanted to attend Myers Park and South Meck assisted in the death march with the final nail provided by the opening of Ardrey Kell.

Does any one know that Waddell's student population increased in 2010-2011 after IB zone restrictions were put in placed and no more partial IB was allowed? Those that were kicked out of IB, couldn't find transportation, etc. were sent back to home schools. Only 2009-2010 numbers were used to sway public opinion about utilization...thus the need to open previously shuttered mobiles at Harding. What was that expense?

Anonymous said...

3 districts. Sooner the better.

Anonymous said...

To get to 3 districts all we have to do is add one to CMS and LIFT. This should not be a hard thing to do and should very easily crush their results. Keith W. Hurley