Friday, August 3, 2012

Heath and I find successors

The next CMS superintendent and the reporter who will cover her may have been in the audience at Thursday night's town hall meeting at Rocky River High.

Heath Morrison,  who took the helm of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on July 1,  convened the meeting to field questions and comments from the public.  Before the meeting he chatted with members of the Rocky River student government,  and during the Q&A period he asked President Julia Constantinidis to stand.

"I want you to see the next superintendent,"  Morrison said with a smile,  noting that Julia is taking five Advanced Placement classes and plans to become a teacher,  then move into administration.  It's always good to have a succession plan,  he quipped,  so now he has a replacement in the wings.

Imagine my delight when I collared a young man who had asked Morrison a pointed question,  only to discover he was a reporter for the Providence Prowl,  spending a summer evening gathering information for an article.

During the Q&A,  rising senior Arjun Gupta told Morrison he'd followed last year's flap over testing and teacher performance pay,  then done a lot of research of his own.  The media didn't give the full picture,  Arjun said,  and "the teachers seemed the most misinformed."  Arjun wanted Morrison to explain how his administration would do a better job of providing full,  accurate information about the next steps toward changing the way teachers are evaluated and paid.

In fine journalistic style,  Arjun told me afterward he wanted more specifics than Morrison provided.

Arjun and his friend Jeff Pacholski,  also a Providence student,  were astute in noting that Morrison has a way with crowd-pleasing generalities.  At an event with Morrison earlier that day, blogger Tonya Jameson summed his style up in a tweet:  "Morrison has used every inspirational quote/saying in his talk.  He's like Chicken Soup for CMS."

Still,  I'd say Arjun's question got one of the best answers of the evening.  Morrison said he thinks performance-based pay is the right thing to do.  He noted that regardless of his views,  state and federal officials are mandating changes in the way teachers are rated and rewarded,  so "I would rather we be deliberate and do it well."  Morrison said he's been asking his staff where things stand and hasn't been satisfied with the answers.  At a staff retreat next week,  Morrison said,  about half the time will be focused on how to move forward with the Talent Effectiveness Project and how to keep people informed about it.

Arjun was correct in noting that Morrison didn't lay out a specific plan,  though it may be too early to expect that.  At any rate,  it's good to know we have smart young people engaging with the big issues in CMS.

Julia and Jordan Hughes, student government secretary at Rocky River,  said they hope Morrison finds ways to keep hearing students' voices as he moves forward.  I suspect he will.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

The VOICE

ANN

Could you find out how many years CMS principal have received bonus money for graduation rates at their assigned school.I have heard rumors and would like to know the truth for a change. This bonus money would be on top of the now 3% and market adjustment raise.It is my understanding principals have received this bonus for several years even though the teachers scale has been frozen and the ABC bonus was cut off by the state. This issue certainly needs to be addressed especially with the LARGE market adjustment that many administrators are receiving.

Patso4Teaching said...

Out of the mouths of babes. EVEN High school students can see THROUGH him. Well Done Students AND CMS English and Journalism teachers.

Anonymous said...

Boy it did not take a high schooler long to peg Heath Morrison. The qoute that "he is a politician" really scares me as its a Pete Clone. Lets really start grooming a 2nd in commnad in case Ann Clark retires !

Anonymous said...

Just think.......If we had Woodward and Berstein the entire administrative staff, HR and the PR/Communications department would have to resign.

Anonymous said...

Teachers seemed the most misinformed...exactly how Pete wanted it...gave him time to get the lesgislature and his bff ruth to change state law...oh wait that didn't work, partly because some dedicated teachers took the fight to Raleigh and prevailed.

Can't wait for RePete to tell us his plans...

Anonymous said...

Teachers have no voice in CMeS. Dig into the depths of the administration and you will find people employed who search the social networking sites to see what the chatter is about CMS. If there are negative statements found, then you will be dismissed. Find out if Morrison will continue to fund these nazi tactics.

BolynMcClung said...

NOW THE BIG QUESTION....


Under the new Internet use policy, is a journalist student's email communications protected by the Bill of Rights?

Got to be something here.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Ann Doss Helms said...

11:22, I have sent that question and hope to get an answer next week.

1:04, I'd settle for getting Frazier and Smolowitz back on the education beat!

Pamela Grundy said...

Ann, please don't scare us with headlines like that. There are a lot of superintendents out there. There aren't nearly as many top-notch education reporters.

Arjun Gupta, if you're reading this we at MecklenburgACTS would love to talk to you about your research and what you found. E-mail us at shamrockparent@earthlink.net.

Anonymous said...

Why should a students emails be protected under the Bill of Rights?

The teachers sure aren't!

Anonymous said...

Frankly its unfortunate that we had to wait 18 months as a community without a Super. Now that we paid dearly for a UNDER QUALIFIED ONE we must wait while he does on the job training. Boy were is Ann when we need her? Heath we need action thats why we pay you the big bucks. Lets get some frank decision making started.

BolynMcClung said...

TO ANON 3:56P

Subject: Qualifications

Since this is early in the first year of the new superintendent's term, maybe you can save the community from suffering an under qualified leader. Where are his deficiencies?

I only bring this up because the man is in the midst of asking the residents of the district about perceptions and remedies. You seem to have a view point that the problems are still at the very top.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

Bolyn, Yes the problems are still within CMS. We even have a few new ones. One of which is a Super who has dont nothing , but hire a few minority folks to "soothe" Kojo and clan for a while. He is listening alright , but I am looking for more than a listener. I think CMS needs less meetings and less downtown. More "action takers" like when they closed schools or created over testing. Make a decision and go forward. Live by your decision and be a professional. Sorry , but Heath Morrison hanging out with Ballantyne/Southpark Chamber luncheons with folks who either dont have kids or send the to CCD is not a good use of time. Much work to be done and I just dont see it other than listening. Ann Clark can give him the problems/research lists of things to fix within CMS. We the tax payers have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last few years to CMS for studies. Its not news and its not new. He is starting to remind me of the fellow he replaced and I dont mean Hughie ! You know the issues and you see the lack of activity surrounding them. The longer this goes on the more kids we lose to other states and other private/charter schools.

Anonymous said...

I need my health, vision, dental, ABC bonus and longevity steps returned a hell of a lot more than I need to speak with another super that is on the same "game plan".

Will it take a year for the main issues of teachers to get on his "radar". The market adjustment was a slap in the face to frontline teacher who work in the trenches each and every day to produce the "data" that they will never be compensated for. Sure they are in it for many of the intrinsic rewards. Teachers deserve much of the credit, but they need cash to live on.

Anonymous said...

THE QUESTION SHOULD BE...

What are his strengths? Improving grad. Rates? Did nothing but make a few more phone calls. Work with legislators? Stabbed gov. In the back In Nevada. broad academy? Not a strength. Listening to everyone? So did Pete, and I see re Pete doing the same - finding those who will support him, rather than truly engaging in needed change.

Same as it ever was.

BolynMcClung said...

TO: ANON 6:30P (formerly 3:56P)

Thanks for the answer.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

Bolyn , Thank you back and in regards I hope the schools do better this year. I hope CMS has enough teachers to fill the over filled class rooms created by not having a lobbyist in Raleigh. In my business talk is very cheap actions speak louder than words. I will be a HM beleiver once he takes action and I simply have not seen it yet. Yes he brought in a few minority folks from around the country , but thats Obama's job to fix unemployment numbers not CMS.

Anonymous said...

We just don't have any confidence in anything E E-S does. And she was chair of the BOE that hired Morrison.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:39 I agree with your assesment 110% ! Let Kojo take his ball (EES) and go find Rev Al Sharpton. They can "LIFT" each other up for less than $55 mill.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame ericka for repete. Blame ED, Timmy and Rhoda teaming with Louise Tate and richarduh. Trade votes for busing. Can't wait to see the new assignment plan. Just you wait, it's coming!

Bill Stevens said...

8:25, I hope you are wrong but I have sensed the smoke you are talking about. I am not sure though what a new busing plan would accomplish other than leave a lot of empty seats in CMS. If it is to appease Kojo and his ilk, then someone has not learned their lesson yet that nothing will appease this dempgraphic. They are addicted to getting local politicans bowing at their feet thinking they are preventing a part of town from being burned down. Kojo and his ilk thrill at getting the local mass media breathless everytime they raise thier voice.

Anonymous said...

It will accomplish diversity, meck acts style. Move low performers from one side of town and sit them next to hi performers on the other. Schools will "look" better but you are just involved in a shell game. but are you actually educating those kids, giving them what they need or just controlling them by taking them away from their "element."

Interesting thought, if the lift schools suddenly get an infusion of kids from the other side of town, and their scores go up accordingly, does sharmel get credit? Is lift then a success? Or will the shell game even be acknowledged in the congratulatory pr campaign?

Here's a funny, auto correct turned sharmel into shameless.

Nicole Jenkins said...

GO ARJUN! I am so proud of you!! : )

Anonymous said...

New face and hair

Same game plan

Wast at least a year to learn the issues and another four to shuffle the chairs on the deck. Vested with a million dollar pension

Move on to the next BROAD parade.

Anonymous said...

If you have seen one BROAD monkey you have seen them all.

Anonymous said...

We need a man of action. Not one that needs a year to feel the pulse of the community. Cant the dag gone BOE debrief the super on most matters.Taxpayers are unhappy,teachers are unhappy and folks that had their schools closed are unhappy. If you have to ask Eli Broad what to do, then do it. Just do something and stop blowing smoke!

Anonymous said...

Principals HAVE been receiving bonus money over the past years while the teachers have LOST money !

Anonymous said...

Eli Broad - proof positive that in this country, the haves are in control and can make their opinions our reality.