Monday, August 6, 2012

CMS success factories

After seeing last week's report on graduation rates,  reader John Maye wanted more information about the racial breakdown of schools, so "the public could examine who graduates by percentages and who does not in our school system."

It's a good question,  but one that requires a more subtle analysis.  Yes, we all know that low-poverty, majority white schools such as Hough,  Ardrey Kell and Providence have very high graduation rates  (all were well above 90 percent for 2012).  And we know about high-poverty,  mostly black schools like West Charlotte,  Garinger and West Meck,  which have such persistently low graduation rates that some national pundits label such schools dropout factories.

But what about the CMS schools where more than 90 percent of African American and low-income students graduated on time?  Cato Middle College High and Northwest School of the Arts,  specialty schools that students must apply for,  land at the top of that list.  More intriguing,  though,  is that Rocky River and Mallard Creek are close behind.  Both are neighborhood schools with a strong nonwhite majority  (87 percent at Rocky River and 76 percent at Mallard Creek last year)  and significant poverty  (62 percent at Rocky River and 43 percent at Mallard Creek).

Earlier this summer,  Mallard Creek parent Michael DeVaul talked about the way "the new African Americans"  --  educated, middle-class suburbanites  --  work with lower-income families to build strong schools in communities such as Mallard Creek,  on Mecklenburg's northeast edge.  While  "historic black Charlotte"  is understandably focused on urban struggles,  he said,  he and his neighbors want to work with CMS to protect the delicate balance that lets their schools thrive.

There's never enough time in the work week,  but I hope to spend time in the coming school year exploring these success stories,  as well as keeping up with efforts to turn around schools with big challenges.

Geek note: I got the racial and economic breakdowns for graduation rates from a great Excel spreadsheet the state sent, that lists details for several years' graduation rates for all N.C. schools. Data divers who would like a copy, email me at ahelms@charlotteobserver.com.

48 comments:

Truth Seeker said...

How about spotlighting schools that don't engage in "creative" scheduling and maintain high ethical standards around grading and attendance?

Anonymous said...

With Nixon gone, Rocky River's success will short lived. When it came to keeping "distractions" away from the kids that wanted to learn, he was a magician.

Anonymous said...

whereas Mr. Nixon was wonderful the teachers worked really hard to teach all the students and help make them successful. The administration helps make our jobs easier but the teachers are who makes the difference.

Anonymous said...

You put up a great fog of percentages, but you failed to answer the question.
How many (numbers, not percents) of CMS students graduated on time? How many white students graduated on time? How many African American students graduated on time? How many of each group did not graduate on time? I can do my own percentages. Leave out the obfuscation of high poverty and non-high poverty.

Anonymous said...

Look - the fact is, kids that have parent involvement graduate. Kids that don't, well, don't. Schools like Ardrey Kell and Providece have the lowest per capita spending, yet the highest graduation rates - it isn't all about the money....

Anonymous said...

How many kids left CMS and graduated from private schools? How many parents moved to another county due to CMS? How many kids make excuses about poverty as the reaosn they dont graduate? Since CMS lost their "numbers folks for lying" do we even consider any results data driven by CMS?

Ann Doss Helms said...

10:03, go to this site http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/reporting/cohortgradrate

Select CMS as the LEA (that's edspeak for school district) and you can then get raw numbers for each subgroup of each school, as well as "LEA results."

BolynMcClung said...

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT JOHN MAYE’S QUESTION…..

…..are the implications for one-size-fits-all budgeting by CMS that drives dollars to ( or away from) groups of students based on race and income. It just needs to stop.

It is not right to spend less on students because their family incomes are high and it is stupid to correlate FRL of a neighborhood to every child within it.

I find it difficult to believe that after the 3rd grade that FRL numbers are more relevant than tests and report cards.

Identify the students in all income groups that need help…and help them a little more. Same for the super motivated……...

Bolyn McClung
Pineville.

Anonymous said...

"I hope to spend time in the coming school year exploring these success stories."
I really do hope you will commit to reporting on success, both for high and low poverty kids. There are an awful lot of misconceptions about CMS out there, partly because media emphasis almost always has been on the failures within CMS or on one crisis or another (crises that at times are created or orchestrated by various advocacy groups, with the press then being a willing accomplice). Many in this community, especially those without kids in the system, have heard "bad, bad, bad" and "selfish suburbs, selfish suburbs, selfish suburbs" for so long that they don't even bother to look for the good anymore.
Yes, system is way too big--I don't think smaller systems and their constituents would have stood for this kind of "publicity" for years. And under our huge system "bad news" plays well with those who have an ax to grind. But until something can be done to divide up the system, a more balanced look at success and failure could make a big difference in public attitudes.

Anonymous said...

AK and Providence receive around $4000 per student with 40 in the classroom. Westside schools receive around $12000 per student with 20 in the classroom. On top of this will come the LIFT money of over $50 million.

The private funding is fine with me. The other is a simple case of TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.

It is wrong and immoral to the students and teachers of AK, Providence and Hough.

Anonymous said...

I believe that "culture" is likely the "cause" of poverty and the "predictor" of success in school. what I would like to see are the graduation rates of students born to single mothers with siblings from multiple fathers and no "father figure" contibuting any financial support. Until the birth rate in this segment of the population is decreased, poverty will continue to grow, social services costs will continue to escalate and the number of high school dropouts will continue to increase. But, hey, the churches can haul more to the polls when they are hold enough to vote to elect the likes of Ericka.

BolynMcClung said...

TO: ANON 11:09

WRONG! It is.....TAXATION WITHOUT EDUCATION.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

I know it sounds harsh to hear about why the money is spread around in a disproportionate way, but lets face it. Many of the urban schools are dealing with higher ELL or ESL students who have come to this country and need English services, teachers. Many of the students need EC services, teachers, and the federal mandates require these schools be given the resources. It is hard in the urban schools and they also have to cultivate the academic talent of the students who are on track, teachers.

Many of the specialty teachers split their weeks as well as the counselors and psychologists, who are also considered teacher positions during allotments. Of course parents want a best case scenario, but lets not pretend like there are different needs in different communities.

When behaviors are dealt with there are more opportunities for learning for all students , and the urban schools are not the only schools with behavior issues. I know teachers who are bullied in so called elite schools within the district over grades and special privileges for students as well.

Being an educator at any level and at most schools is challenging. Let's stop complaining and being a part of the solution. Get in there and share you resources so the students can benefit from what you have to offer.

Anonymous said...

12:02--I think most recognize that higher poverty schools have extra needs. And for many years in the early 2000s you really didn't hear too much complaining about the disparity in spending from suburban parents--all the complaining was done by urban activists and the media who were certain that suburban schools must be "getting it all" because how else could you explain how well the schools were doing (no one was willing to address the culture issue). In fact suburban parents were hesitant to say anything because of the incessant drumbeat that suburbanites were selfish and "afraid of diversity" (check Observer archives for editorials during that time period).

I think now that the true nature of funding has been revealed people (many of whom have done a lot of volunteering) are just plain sick and tired of being told they are the bad guys because they want their kids to go to school close to home or because their school does not match the diversity quotient activists demand or because they have questioned the effectiveness of never ending "solutions".

Anonymous said...

August 6, 2012 12:17 PM

Touche!!!

Wiley Coyote said...

...It is not right to spend less on students because their family incomes are high and it is stupid to correlate FRL of a neighborhood to every child within it.

Bolyn, you're starting to sound like me....

It's impossible to correleate anything to FRL when it's bogus to begin with...

Anonymous said...

Bolyn, Everyone knows you actually beleive what CMS spouts off about. You sing the praises and even endorse some of their executives until they put their foot in their mouths. (EES,RL,TM,MM) So its not suprising that you beleive their numbers released since they have no data department nobody , but you really beleives their garbage cooked numbers.

Anonymous said...

Bring back Dr. Marvin Bradley to CMS. He is the one who instituted the discipline parameters at E. E. Waddell High School that really benefited the whole child and the school at large. During Saturday detentions, he would lead discussion groups where the students were able to examine their behaviors and their consequences.

He made the male students pull their pants up and act more responsibly. He supported teachers in their efforts to control disruptive students. Most importantly, he helped students envision a future beyond their current conditions and let them know what was possible through hard work.

Students knew he cared about them as human beings and responded. He is the role model young males needed. He was not afraid to visit their homes and neighborhoods and establish partnerships with their parents/guardians to help them get on the right track.Dr. Bradley is the prototype we need to run our challenging schools and he is already vested in this community, living here while commuting to his principal-ship in another county.

We must bring in strong black male role models to help turn these kids around.

Anonymous said...

Harding's success came only recently (approximately 3 years ago?) after entrance requirements were instituted for the magnet programs. It looks like the math and science magnet might have been hiding problems in the IB magnet.

Harding won't be a success factory ever again until that administration is changed. Students either don't know who the principal or hate the entire administration because of its practice. Hispanics considered them racist and practically stopped coming to school because they did not feel the playing field was level.

Anonymous said...

Wiley Coyote said:

"It's impossible to correleate anything to FRL when it's bogus to begin with..."

Then maybe FRL correlates highly with dishonesty and entitlement attitude of the parents.

That would explain a lot.

Anonymous said...

What about the minority mother of 4 children working in the neighborhoods of AK,Providence and Hough at a say MacDonalds. She is just barely getting by with her family budget. Her children have thousands less spent on them per pupil and are sitting in classrooms of 40+.How are we doing this family justice. This is immoral to this family.The scenario plays itself out by many all over these "rich" Charlotte suburbs.

Anonymous said...

Well, school funding, like property reveals, are sply "reparations" in disguise. And, they do nothing to stop expanding the numbers to whom some form of "reparation" must be given because those are potential voters for the likes of Anthony, Dunlap, Ericka, etcc.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the post regarding Dr. Marvin Bradley. He was a "no nonsense" administrator that demanded that students first and foremost showed respect! Not just to administrators but to everyone! I know because I was on staff at Waddell And I witnessed first hand the difference he made in our school environment. CMS will never improve until it starts looking at its leaders based on their experiences, knowledge and credentials! The is NO reason why Dr. Bradley should not have a principalship in CMS right now but due to favoritism, friendships etc. this man could not even get an interview for a principalship. Ask anyone and they will tell you that he should have been the principal of West Charlotte High School because he knows the population. The word in the district is that even though there was supposed to be a so-called national search for the principal of WCHS, Dr. Bradley was not allowed to apply? Once again we are running our best people in the "arms" of another district because someone in HR who has never been in a leadership position in education is deciding who will get the opportunity to advance, this is wrong! But guess what.....it is CMS loss! I have been following him since he left the district and he's doing quite well in Henderson. He took a high school with a 40% composite and moved it to 65%!!!!!!!! CMS needs his leadership! When will we start making better decisions!

Wiley Coyote said...

Looking at West Charlotte 4 Year Cohort Graduation Report for 2011/12, there were 395 students and 220 graduated; 55.7%.

Of the 395 students, 309 are ED and of the 309, 181 graduated for a 58.6% rate. 200 students that gradutaed are Black (only 5 Whites and 16 Hispanics in the 395 number).

175 students did not graduate.

Wouldn't it seem prudent to try and find out why 181 ED students DID graduate and almost the same number did not?

Does it take $55 million dollars to try and figure that out from kindergarten to the 12th grade with bonuses and lobbyists in-between?

What the West Charlotte numbers tell me is that economically disadvantaged Black students do learn and graduate, no matter what the concentrations of poverty are and where they live.

Anonymous said...

Blacks want a Handout
Hispanics want a Job
Whites just want half the taxmoney they have spent to go to their children. Not 1/3

Anonymous said...

What this tells me Wiley is that the black community (kojo ilk and EES,MM,JW.RM) are about to waste $55 mill. Graduation rates are not going to go up with LIFT progrm and that minority based welfare education joint venure is not worth it. The rift it will cause into the future not even the Charlotte Chamber will be able to put a positive spin on !

Anonymous said...

Students at NWSA and Cato Middle College have internal motivation to attend and succeed in school based on personal interests and talents. Both schools also prohibit students from attending (Cato) or participating in performances (NWSA) if they are academically failing (external motivation). Cato also reviews student disciplinary records and rejects students with chronic behavioral problems. My son seriously considered attending Cato next year but decided to stay at his current "traditional" school. I think the program at Cato is one of the best kept secrets in Charlotte. There are no sports programs at Cato or NWSA. Neither school is for everyone - which is exactly the point.

Alicia Durand

Wiley Coyote said...

8:45....

The point is, how did 181 economically disadvantaged students graduate, whose numbers are overwhelmingly African-American BEFORE the implementation of LIFT?

Why did the other 128 ED students NOT graduate?

What can be learned by looking at the 181 who graduated?

Anonymous said...

With Ann Clark as the Academic Leader, CMS has fallen from 89% to 86% in 3 years. She doesn't belong in this job. She has only a Master's degree and not a Doctorate. She is part of the problem in CMS and no one wants to address it. She is the one who chooses the principals, etc. CMS would be a much better place without her. She has her own little click of "pets" and to "he_ _" with the rest of the capable people. Dr. Morrison will soon see that she will "stab" him in the back. She needs to GO GO without looking back. Bye, Miss Clark don't let the door hit you in the back.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that CMS DID NOT have a qualified person to fill the job at West Charlotte High School. You have principals in CMS that don't need to be in their positions. Why? Look at the results of 2011-2012 school year. That should tell Dr. Morrison and others that they need to be replaced. Some of the principals are just given their jobs because they cause no uproar in the system and ANN CLARK likes them. If some of them applied in other counties, they would NOT be hired.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that CMS did not have a qualified person to fill the job at West Charlotte High School. You have principals in CMS that don't need to be in their positions. Look at the DPI results. That should tell Dr. Morrison and others that they need to be replaced. Some of the principals are just given their jobs because they cause no uproar in the system and ANN CLARK likes them. If some of them applied in other counties, they would NOT be hired.

Bill Stevens said...

Wiley and Christine, it seems this type of keen analysis and probing needs to be presented to the NC legislature to back up the movement to split CMS into 3 districts. While I understand Wiley's point he has made before about the illiterate NAACP here, city fathers do not want this flashpoint for fear of harming this city's (fake) image. We all know businesses moving here give allowances for private school and most employees do not move to Mecklenburg County. Anyway, the publicity centered on the facts and just the facts will drive education academia crazy. One of you probably could get your PhD with this and apply for the next superintendent job.

Anyway, doesn't this just look like another Grier Heights feel good story for a bunch of our fake city leaders and power brokers so they get slaps on their backs for their "nobleness"?

This is clearly the case where money should start moving form chronically failing schools to schools that are demonstrating they have succeeded with so little. Sure with the federal Tilte 1 money and the lottery targeted funding to the urban schools, they will still get more per pupil expenditure but maybe at some point the teachers will learn that the kids can not pass tests if they are not being taught whether it is because the teacher is performing some family duty or the student does not attend school. Time to stop the excuses and get teachers back to teaching.

Anonymous said...

NO DATA
NO PEACE

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that the elementary and middle school components(with parents) are the cornerstone to building a successful graduate. It's easy and early to predict who's heading where/when based on these two
indicators.

Anonymous said...

Ann, please have Dr. Morrison's staff explain to you how principals were given 1,000.00 to 12,000.00 in raises and the schools they lead are not making progress? An example is as follows: AliciaJohnson got a 9,000.00 raise for being one of the lowest schools in the district. If a leader can obtain almost a10,000.00 raise to under achieve what incentive does she have or anyone for that matter have to achieve? This is a disgrace! Yes, HARDING had an additional population added but it was still up to the leaders of that school to create a "vision" and work with staff collaboratively to support student achievement! Instead, the principal and her sorority sisters brow beat, intimidated staff and used the new teacher evaluation instrument to "develop" tenured teachers out!. Dr.Morrison please continue to ask questions... Check the turnover and resignation rate in this school and ask yourself the question should this principal remain.

Wiley Coyote said...

Bill,

Two things:

1 - I do not favor splitting up CMS.

2 - I have no idea what point you are referring to about the "illeterate NAACP". I have never said the NAACP was "illeterate".

BolynMcClung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BolynMcClung said...

MY DEER OL’ PAPPY MIGHTN SAY ET THIS WAY….

…I ahgree width wYlie,

Splittin-up dah skhools ain’t a susportable ideah.

And it tain’t wize to think of indifiduawls or grooops as illeterrates. Mostlie that gits yew bit n the beheyend…..sooneerr or later, witch ever comes furst.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

ANN

These were just the market adjustment raises. How about the unknown BONUS money that has been paid for several YEARS to principals. Find out about this bonus. This will definately be another slap in the face to frontline teachers. Teachers have LOST money these last 4 years!

T

BolynMcClung said...

FOLLOW-UP ON MY PAPPY.

Along time-ago when I was a kid and times had gotten noticeably tighter, my Pappy couldn’t make money in the roofing business. He got a job selling new Ford automobiles. He really liked that…for a while.

He met nice people. He got to drive home a new demonstrator every night.

When he was running his roofing business he’d come home covered in tar. But at the car dealership he dressed-up good. Came home nice and clean.

So one day, as he told it to me, this farmer looking guy came in the showroom. He didn’t smell like a hog but had the mud on his shoes and up to his knees to show that he had been where they lived. He had pulled into the lot in what we now call a beater.

He wasn’t much of a prospect. The other salesman on duty walked away. My dad went out and greeted the fellow. Of course, my Pappy would have greeted Santa even if it was December 26th and the sack was hanging empty by his side.

I do remember Pappy saying the man, who later became a good friend, never went beyond second grade. His wife was about the same. So I suppose the farmer looked illiterate.

But the reason the man walked into the car showroom that evening was to buy his twin daughters new T-Birds for high school graduation. Pappy got the sale.

Now this is a true story, told with a little southern embellishment. Pappy didn’t come home that night and tell the story. He told it to me some years later when he saw me making assumptions about people.

It was a good lesson.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

cont..

Re: Cato and NWSA

Both schools are small compared to other mammoth CMS high schools. I don't know about Cato but NWSA has a higher percentage of girls than boys. If I had to wager a bet, I'd bet Cato has more girls than boys also. The average college has a 60% to 40% ratio of girls to boys. Again, I think internal motivation is a major factor at both schools which rarely gets any attention or press with the "common sense reform" so-called experts.

- AD

Ann Doss Helms said...

11:58 p.m., HR Chief Dan Habrat says the market adjustments are not intended to be based on individual performance or school results -- they just a result of using the formula to see who's behind the market rates (as of 2007).

7:42 a.m., I have a query in about principal bonuses.

Bill Stevens said...

We have this demographic that we all have assumed would require extra help to break the cycle of pverty through education. We were all willing to grap hold of their hands and help them up the hill. However, after years of such "assistance", little progress has been made. For one, they will not give up the "culture" that keeps them locked in poeverty. Second, instead of helping them up the hill, they insist on being carried up the hill. Further aggravating the situation as demonstrated in the school closings, they will fight being carried.

Time to cut it loose, save the 3% to 5% that are obviously demonstrating they can be lead to the water and are willing to drink it and try to save American society with those that understand the requirements of the modern society. Welfare will continue so let's not waste any more money toward this demographic. Resources are too scarce as it is now. Let community groups do as they with for this group.

Anonymous said...

Thats just crap from Habrat they gave the market adjustments to principals who have a chance at keeping teachers in classrooms from leaving. They are becoming sale people for CMS and are starting to get paid to keep teachers from leaving. Its come to that as nobody in a school sees positive results or change from downtowners.

CMS parent & teacher said...

Dr. Bradley is great!!! He would be a great principal at any school.

CMS parent and teacher said...

Dr. Bradley is great!!! He would be a great principal at any school.

CMS parent and teacher said...

Dr. Bradley is great!!! He would be a great principal at any school.

Amazing_Craft said...

Unfortunately, time isn’t on the side of teachers as they struggle to teach differentiated, personalized lessons to classrooms of over students.

professional learning