Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CMS proposes sweeping changes for magnets, neighborhood schools

Here's the link to the CMS report on 2011-12 school changes. These are proposals the board is currently discussing. The board may decide to take some proposals off the table, but members will not make final decisions today on any that are kept on the list. Next step is meeting with school leaders, including families and partners.

4:08 Eric Davis: "I think we're clear on the direction we've given the staff" -- pursue ALL proposals outlined today.
Board could still decide not to carry them out, but they've bitten off a mind-boggling task.

4:05 Raible: We'll start scheduling meetings with leaders at all affected schools. Hope to have schedule by end of this week.
Merchant: Is this realistic? Tell us if it isn't. It's our fault, not staff's, if this has been slow.

4:01 Merchant: I didn't hear anything but "pursue." "The clock's ticking. Is this realistic for six weeks?"
Gorman: This is it. We can't do other projects.
Merchant: All we can do is stay the course or take away (withdraw proposals from the list).
Gorman: Yes sir.

4 p.m. Tim Morgan, board member and real estate guy: At some point, tell us what would happen to buildings we close. Also says some schools disappeared from "the list" and aren't among new proposals. He cites Quail Hollow. Raible: Assume no major changes proposed; that was an oversight.

3:58 Richard McElrath: None of this tells me how we're going to get good leaders and teachers and adequate resources into schools.

3:56 Merchant on Smith/Waddell plan: "This one is the most interesting on the whole sheet. I don't know if you're building to a climax or what. ... This makes so much sense. ... It took a lot of courage for you guys to put it up in front of the board."

3:55 Several members have raised questions about whether this year's magnet "shuttle stop" approach would continue with proposed changes in magnets. Answer not clear. Probably up to board to decide whether to keep that approach going and/or expand it.

3:52: Just looked up from my laptop. Peter Gorman is in the house. It'll be interesting to hear his "I need clear direction" summary.

3:51 Last proposal: Smith K-8 language magnet moves to Waddell High, which stops being a high school. Waddell kids go to South Meck, West Meck or Harding. Harding, now a full IB/math-science magnet, becomes IB/neighborhood. Math-science magnet moves to Berry Academy of Technology.

3:50 Proposals being discussed: Spaugh closes, with kids going to K-8 schools at Ashley Park, Thomasboro and Westerly Hills (plus Sedgefield and AG). PreK kids from Amay James also to to AP, Thomasboro and WH.
J.T. Williams closes, students move to K-8 schools at Byers, Druid Hills and Lincoln Heights. LH loses gifted magnet.
Wilson closes, kids go to K-8 schools at Berryhill and Reid Park, plus Whitewater Middle.
Board moves on with brief discussion.

3:43 Joyce Waddell: Gorman has repeatedly said he wouldn't close a low-performing school and merge it with another, but students from middle-schools are being assigned to high-poverty elementaries with academic challenges.
Clark: But the elementaries are small and staffed with top principals. Eliminating transition to middle school will help kids. She notes that some Spaugh students would need to be reassigned to Alexander Graham and Sedgefield middle schools.

3:40  DIB/Alexander discussion ends without vote or clear decision. Board moves on to proposals to close three high-poverty, struggling middle schools -- Spaugh, Wilson and Williams -- and move kids to new K-8 neighborhood schools.

3:33 Merchant: Everyone agrees DIB is successful school, but it's in "the absolute worst facility that we have ... and it's way up in the corner of north Mecklenburg County," which makes transportation expensive.
Raible: Question is whether CMS can afford expensive, exclusive program for about 250 kids.
Clark and Chief Operating Officer Hugh Hattabaugh: More kids in northern middle-school IB magnet could strengthen IB magnet at North Meck High.

3:29 McGarry questions plan to close DIB and move program to Alexander: Decision is "more than just the dollars; this is an award-winning program and it hangs in the balance."
Part of proposal is that CMS doesn't have to spend money approved in 2007 bond to renovate the tiny DIB building. More kids could get into IB in bigger, newer Alexander.

3:25 Lennon on Davidson IB proposal: "I hear things so strongly on both sides of this." People who have kids at Davidson IB love it as is. But many others want to attend IB program and can't get in. "People on the (latter) side aren't being very verbal because they don't want to take the attacks. That's up to me to do."
She says pursue w/ modifications in high-school options (not in writing, don't dare summarize what she just rattled off).

3:20 Students who live in Devonshire and Hickory Grove elementary zones would move from Garinger to Cochrane for high school under proposal. Cochrane would get extra help turning around public perception.
Board moves on to Davidson IB/Alexander plan.

3:15 Eric Davis: "We have 45 minutes left and six proposals left to discuss." Board moves on to plan to expand Cochrane, an eastside middle school, to grades 6-12, taking some students from Garinger High. (Just discovered an oversight in my typing: I think I neglected to mention that the small schools at Garinger and Olympic are on the "targeted assistance" list, which means they may get academic reform and other support but no closing or major change.)

3:13 Merchant, a former actor, says year-round arts magnet is exciting, offers great opportunities. "I think this is potentially very exciting to working families."
White: I'm not excited about year-round school but families may be. Let's try it. "It's another opportunity that we haven't given people before in this community." (Actually, CMS had year-round magnets in the 1990s.)

3:08 Up now: Plan to close University Park elementary arts magnet, consolidate with First Ward, which just became an arts magnet this year, and make it a "year-round multi-track magnet." Board members have questtions about how this works with kids' creativity.
Raible says center-city location offers great access to museums and arts.
Rhonda Lennon says she's not sure year-round schedule will work for families.

3:05 Board moves on to proposal to close Pawtuckett Elementary, a westside neighborhood school, and move students to Whitewater Elementary. Whitewater is newer and larger; both are very small in enrollment.
If the board is deciding on proposals, it's by default. No one said take Montessori plan off the list, so apparently it's still alive.
Board move on from Pawtuckett.

3:02 Tom Tate: Students being moved from Oakhurst to Billingsville, one of CMS's lowest-performing schools, may perceive they're being moved to a less successful school. If we close or change a school, students need strong options.
Ann Clark: Good point. Oakhurst Paideia magnet was very close to meeting new academic goals.
Tate: It would help to know cost (money, that is) of these changes.
Raible: That's coming.

3 p.m. Plan to make Oakhurst Elementary a preK-6 Montessori magnet is being discussed. Chantilly and Highland Mill Montessori magnets would close; Park Road would remain as is. Oakhurst's Paideia magnet would disappear, and neighborhood students would move to Billingsville or Rama Road elementaries.
Sedgefield Middle would continue to host a fledgling Montessori magnet for grades 7-8.

2:53  Rhonda Lennon says she can "trepidaciously support" turning Myers Park Traditional into a year-round magnet. Board moves on to Montessori changes. If there was a clear decision on traditional/VH plan, I missed it. But it wasn't withdrawn.

2:50   There's been some debate about how many schools would close under this plan. I count 12, but it's tricky. For instance, if Smith Language Acadaemy building closes, students move into Waddell building and Waddell ceases to be a high school, what "closes"?
Still no decision/consensus on VH and traditionals. Lots of complex ideas still untouched.

2:45  Trent Merchant on proposal for traditionals and VH: "My direction would be pursue and feel free to modify." But I don't understand how this is highest priority. I'm excited about year-round option even though "I don't understand it at all." I'm going to have to be absolutely convinced that this is the best thing for students.
(This may be the challenge in getting the "clear direction" Gorman is seeking: Board members have complicated reactions to complicated proposals.)

2:40  More than halfway through this three-hour session, it's safe to say there's no way the board gets through this whole list in the remaining time.

2:37 Tom Tate: What does it mean to create "year round multi-track magnet" at Myers Park Elementary? Raible: We don't know yet. If board gives go-ahead we'll figure it out.

2:30 p.m. Kaye McGarry, one of only four board members who was here at the time, notes that the board debated ending traditional magnets and relocating Villa Heights just two years ago. "I'm not ready to close Villa Heights." She suggests abandoning this proposal. Staffer Dennis LaCaria notes that this change would give more students access to successful program now at VH.

2:27 p.m. Board member Joyce Waddell worries about disrupting Villa Heights, a tiny and highly successful magnet for girted kids. Raible says Villa Heights faculty would prefer to stay put, but if they have to move, it's better to stay intact in a new building, rather than be split. Proposal would put them in Elizabeth Traditional building, ending the popular traditional magnet program. More seats would be available in the "learning immersion/talent development" magnet: 26 classrooms in ET building vs. 12 in VH.

2:25 p.m. Proposal to close the center-city Irwin Avenue Elementary stays alive. Students would be reassigned to yet-unspecified schools nearby if the board eventually approves this plan. Irwin Avenue building would become administrative offices.
Up next: Traditional magnet program.

2:20 p.m. Plan to change Winding Springs elementary from a global leadership magnet to a neighborhood school stays on the list. The shift would relieve crowding at Hornets Nest Elementary. Elementary magnet students now going to Winding Springs could go to new K-12 magnet at Davis. Note that these decisions are not final approval of any plan.

2:15p.m. Board member asks how this year's enrollment data will play into decisions. Planner Mike Raible says staff has taken "a cursory look" but not done detailed analysis. Those numbers, based on Friday's enrollment, should be reported soon.

Eric Davis asks how plan to eliminate Winding Springs global leadership magnet benefits kids academically. Staff seems to be struggling to answer. Main point, from Chief Academic Officer Ann Clark: A new K-12 magnet at Marie G. Davis could help kids with transition from elementary to middle school. If approved, this would be CMS's first K-12 magnet, other than alternative schools.

2 p.m. Board members discuss boundary changes to Ballantyne, Highland Creek and Torrence Creek elementaries and Community House and Mint Hill middle, all suburban neighborhood schools. Some members have reservations about tinkering with some boundaries. Not clear whether they pulled any off the list.

1:50 p.m. The board has just heard a quick presentation on a sweeping array of school changes proposed for 2011-12. It's hard to imagine Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools can work out all these plans by their self-imposed deadline of Nov. 9; that's what the board has to figure out now.

The changes would affect some of the district's most popular magnets, it's struggling high-poverty neighborhood schools, and many others. These recommendations are bound to create an explosive reaction among families. The board could decide today to back away from some or all of these staff suggestions.

Superintndent Peter Gorman is in Raleigh speaking to other superintendents. Planner Mike Raible outlined the plans below, which are designed to be a starting point for the board's quest to boost academic performance, save money and deal with building issues.
Board member Joe White, a skeptic about the process, says this list "woke me up" and persuaded him CMS needs to make some serious change. "We're going into the tough part of this."

The list below is my effort to summarize a 24-page powerpoint on the fly, so it's rough. But here's what we've heard.

Updates (these are all staff proposals that have not been approved or discussed yet):
These schools would get "targeted assistance" to help with academic, enrollment or perception problems but would not see student-assignment changes: Barringer, Billingsville, Cotswold, Huntingtowne Farms, Lansdowne, Pinewood, Sedgefield and Shamrock Gardens elementaries; Albemarle Road, McClintock, Randolph and Ranson middle schools; Oaklawn (K-8); Park Road Montessori (PreK-6); Northwest School of the Arts (6-12), East Meck, Myers Park and North Meck high schoools.

Board member asks why Myers Park, one of top-performing and most popular high schools. Planner Mike Raible cites weak performance by minority/low-income students.

Irwin Avenue Elementary closes; students reassigned to unspecified nearby schools. Building houses administrative offices.
Winding Springs magnet elementary becomes a neighborhood school, relieving crowding at Hornets Nest Elementary.
Marie G. Davis Military/Leadership magnet, now 6-12, becomes first K-12 school.
Boundaries are changed (not specified yet) to reduce crowding at Ballantyne, Highland Creek and Torrence Creek elementaries and Community House and Mint Hill middle schools.

Traditional magnet program disappears. Myers Park Traditional becomes  a year-round multi-track magnet. Villa Heights magnet for gifted students moves to Elizabeth Traditional building; Villa Heights building closes.
Pawtuckett Elementary closes, students move to Whitewater Elementary.
Chantilly and Highland Mill Montessori magnet schools close, Oakhurst Elementary loses Paideia magnet and becomes a Montessori magnet.
Neighborhood students who have been at Oakhurst move to Billingsville and Rama Road elementaries.

Smith Language Academy, a K-8 magnet in high demand, closes at its south Charlotte building. Students and staff move to Waddell High in southwest Charlotte.
Current Waddell students move to South Meck, West Meck and Harding.
Harding, currently a combined IB/math-science magnet, becomes a "comprehensive" school with an IB magnet. Math-science program moves to Berry Academy of Technology.

Spaugh, a high-poverty neighborhood school that has been one of Superintendent Peter Gorman's showcases for turnaround efforts, closes. Ashley Park, Thomasboro and Westerly Hills elementaries become K-8 neighborhood schools
J.T. Williams, a high-poverty, low-performing middle school, closes. Byers, Druid Hills and Lincoln Heights elementaries become K-8 neighborhood schools.
Wilson Middle, also high-poverty and low performing, closes. Berryhill and Reid Park become K-8 neighborhood schools.

Davidson IB magnet closes, IB program becomes part of Alexander Middle.
Cochrane Middle becomes 6-12, relieving Garinger High. Extra academic help provided.
University Park Elementary, a creative arts magnet, closes and consolidates with First Ward, another arts magnet.


Anonymous said...


In the case of MPTS, what is year round multi-track magnet mean?

Anonymous said...

Where is Barringer Academic Center on the list?

Mike said...

I am very concerned about a number of these schools becoming K-8. I am not sure parents of elementary students are going to want them exposed to middle school kids on the buses and in the school building.

jon golden said...

Hey Mike: Gotta love the idea of a 5-year old at the same school as an 8th grader who should be a sophomore in high school. Yep...I see no problems with that one!

Mike said...

"..Board member Joe White, a skeptic about the process, says this list "woke me up".."

The classic statement of his whole tenure on the BOE.

Anonymous said...

"I Agree, Jon" Then he runs aways to a so called meeting in Raleigh! Ye-ah Right!

Griffin said...

We had K-8 schools when I was growing up and did not have major issues. In neighborhood schools, an 8th grader is less likely to victimize a kindergartner from his own neighborhood, than say a kid from another neighborhood that was bused in.

Anonymous said...

Gorman keeps saying "looking to the board for guidance" He using them like he uses television to get press cover for his resume! Now , is the time for the BOE to tell him "No" and stop agreeing with him...simply tell he find another option...make him work! He makes the teachers deal with the situation at hand...make him work and it can be done....he just need to find a way and stop throwing it on other people.

jon golden said...

Griffin, I think times are much different today then when we were kids. Beyond that, the number of repeaters when we were kids was smaller. And we don't have neighborhood schools (thanks CMSBOE)!

Anonymous said...

Yes, times have changed! The solution is easy but not logical. I tell you...they can come up with another solution "MAKE THEM WORK"

Ann Doss Helms said...

I'll answer questions as they come up in discussion. Right now my answer to most is "don't know." Barringer is on "targeted assistance" list, which means nothing huge related to closing/reassignment/etc.

Anonymous said...

They so called found $20 million, they can find another solution! CMS officials said earleri in the year thar closing school would'nt necessarily save money, remember!

Anonymous said...

so our kids at Irwin Ave have no IB choice according to CMS? What a joke, there has to be a choice for inner city kids to have an IB education in CMS!

Susan said...

Why would K-8 schools be a problem? I attended a K-12 school, which is the norm in rural areas.

Mike said...

To Anon 2:14, we do know that one source of federal funds, about $50million, goes away next year form the budget. NC has won some "race to the top" money but it has not been publicized how thatmoney wil lbe distributed. Based upon a few requirement sof the program, CMS certainly has the inner city population to qualify for some of the money. However, you know how Raleigh feels about Charlotte.

The problem I see is a lot of states and school districts are under the same financial conditions. I imagine there will be some action by the feds to create some more money for schools due to the near zero growth in the economy. Now CMS may be happy if they have already been promised by the county that property tax reevaluations will go up 15% to 20% to be "revenue neutral".

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Am I reading this correctly? Are they closing Waddell as a high school entirely?

wiley coyote said...

Busing rears its head in ugly ways...under the guise of closing schools.

I now wonder if CMS will use the same process of "central bus stops" with these new boundary changes as they did with magnet schools.

After all, isn't this about cutting expenses and saving money?

The southern most distance in the West Meck home school zone just increased to a potential distance of 10 miles from the 7.5 mile current line.

Here are two key reasons as to why these people have no clue as to what they are doing:

Eric Davis asks how plan to eliminate Winding Springs global leadership magnet benefits kids academically. Staff seems to be struggling to answer. If they don't already know the answer to dumbing down students even more, they need to be fired.

Spaugh, a high-poverty neighborhood school that has been one of Superintendent Peter Gorman's showcases for turnaround efforts, closes. Well Pete, either your experiment didn't work or it did and as in the dumb move to eliminate the Winding Springs magnet, they've made another bad decision.

The only bright spot so far in this debate is that Joe White finally woke up from the slumber he's been in for the past number of years...

Ann Doss Helms said...

2:33, no problem with your opinion, but please try again w/o the F word.

Anonymous said...

When will the proposed boundary lines for the 3 elementary schools be posted. We are in the process of moving to Charlotte.

Ann Doss Helms said...

On Waddell, yes, best I can tell it disappears as a high school. Board hasn't discussed that yet.

Anonymous said...

Are students who are already in the Chantilly magnet guaranteed a spot in the new Oakhurst Montessori if that part of the plan is adopted, or would they be forced to re-apply?

wiley coyote said...

Will the last person left in CMS make sure they turn the lights out before they leave?

Thank you.

Eric Frazier said...

Wow--Major news-bomb here! Ann, your head must be swimming trying to keep up!

Griffin said...

These are lot of changes at once, but better to pull the band-aid off once quickly, rather than slowly in parts. I think these proposals are heading in the right direction - simplify and rationalize the structure that became overly complicated by magnets over the years. FWIW, I attended a magnet myself so I am not bashing magnets.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with an elegant use of the F work? CMS is F'ing the school system! :) We just call it redistricting, etc. As such, the usage seems well-considered. If you want to edit the post feel free.

Anonymous said...

Just a terrible shame to close Davidson IB which is a very diverse school - highest rated magnet middle school in nation. Its success is dependent on its small size, proximity to Davidson College, and community support. Will NOT succeed at Alexander Middle. Shame on Rhonda Lennon for selling out her own constituents. Please remember that in next election.

wiley coyote said...

Griffin said...
These are lot of changes at once, but better to pull the band-aid off once quickly, rather than slowly in parts. I think these proposals are heading in the right direction - simplify and rationalize the structure that became overly complicated by magnets over the years. FWIW, I attended a magnet myself so I am not bashing magnets.

What do you propose to do with those programs?

What do you propose to do with the language magnets for example?

Eliminating magnets further adds to the dumbing down of CMS students.

Anonymous said...

Rhonda Lennon says she'd support a year round track for MPTS, but that it won't work for families in the arts magnets? I personally think year round isn't a bad idea except for the fact that we, like plenty of other families, would have one kids year round, one kid on a trad. schedule. Horrible for family schedules. Not to mention camps, sports, etc are on a traditional schedule all over the county.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of good recommendations in the proposal. I think that its unfortunate that the board appears to have difficulty absording and providing clear direction on the proposals.

Anonymous said...

I'd be curiious to see how much these changes will cost, and how much they believe they could save. I also don't understand keeping half empty, underperforming schools, but making extreme changes to proven successful schools. Is this just about the bottom line, or is any thought given to what might be best for the students?

Mike said...

I will have to go back and look at the data presented but as most of you know, it is one of the highest ,if not the highest performinig middle school in the system and that includes the high poverty students. They succeed as well. I think what I understood is that the magnet is moving, not shutdown. Anyone can correct me there. But as usual, the high performing schools get more obstacles to future success and high cost low achieving schools are given a pass.

The truth about Spaugh which most of us knew who folow the numbers shows the success of Sterling is clearly not the norm.

I hope most of you are following education nation this week on NBC and realize the many falsehoods and smoke and mirrors behind the scenes. If you thnk the politicans were most of the evil behind the decline in public schools, I would submit the mainstream media is the culpable just as much.

Jenna said...

I'm stumped as to why they would close Highland Mill - it's practically brand new & a very nice facility.....?

wiley coyote said...

Mike said...If you thnk the politicans were most of the evil behind the decline in public schools, I would submit the mainstream media is the culpable just as much.

I believe "educators" themselves shoulder the bulk of the blame for the decline in public education for the past 40 years.

Always trying to come up with a better mousetrap, but they never catch any rats.

Anonymous said...

so again closing DAVIDSON IB brings such outrage but closing Irwin Ave IB a program that has mostly inner city kids is ok? tell me where is that, fair not so much as a blink about Irwin Ave a very good school w/excellent teachers/staff..saddest thing

Anonymous said...

I can understand what is going on here...Davidson IB has only a fourth of the student count as other schools...They should be successful, small classes more attention. Truth is other schools are much larger and students get less attention. Now is that fair???? No it isn't, but if you want smaller class send them to a private school! Otherwise every school in CMS should reflect the same class size

wiley coyote said...

3:33 Merchant: Everyone agrees DIB is successful school, but it's in "the absolute worst facility that we have ... and it's way up in the corner of north Mecklenburg County," which makes transportation expensive.

Hey ummm...Trent?

Didn't you just implement a new magnet transportation program that will supposedly save $3.5 million (estimated)?

Do you realize all of the NEW busing you'll do with all of the school closings?

Do you have any numbers showing the increase or savings in dollars in transportation with the proposed shifts in boundaries?

wiley coyote said...

Board moves on to proposals to close three high-poverty, struggling middle schools -- Spaugh, Wilson and Williams -- and move kids to new K-8 neighborhood schools.

Soooo....what magic wand did you wave at the meeting that will ensure the students from these three schools will NOT continue to be underperforming in their new home(s)?


wiley coyote said...

3:55 Several members have raised questions about whether this year's magnet "shuttle stop" approach would continue with proposed changes in magnets. Answer not clear. Probably up to board to decide whether to keep that approach going and/or expand it.

Unless they are prepared to do away with sports programs, then they need to stop the magnet transporation fiasco they created under the guise of saving money.

Eliminating sports programs could have saved about $4.5 million.

Why not do both and save $8 million?

Anonymous said...

Re DIB: So now Rhonda Lennon is all of a sudden concerned about those kids who cannot get into DIB? Does she not realize that there are other IB middle schools that are also available to north Mecklenburg students? Ranson and Piedmont. How about strengthening those schools instead of destroying the most successful magnet in the country? Under the guise of saving a few dollars she would destroy a great school. Really just a situation of H'ville (which is her largest electorate base) antagonism toward a successful school that happens to be in Davidson.

Anonymous said...

Help...getting ready to close on a house in the Torrece Creek School zone Who knows where the lines will be drawn?

Anonymous said...

It won't matter where the lines are drawn for Torrence Creek. The boundaries will probably change In a few years anyway. Just buy a house in a neighborhood that you like and be an involved parent. Your kids and home school will be better as a result.

Anonymous said...

Ann - Thanks for the great live blogging on this meeting.

Anonymous said...

Holy cr-p.

Does this mean the split-feed that currently exists between Waddell H.S. and South Meck. H.S. will end at Quail Hollow Middle School? Will ALL Quail Hollow middle school students now attend South Meck. High located directly across the street?

What about the split-feeds at Carmel Middle School, Community House Middle School and South Charlotte Middle School? Is Trent Merchant willing to send his neighborhood to South Meck to end the split-feed at Carmel M.S?

Anonymous said...

yes because it is best to get kids in gangs from K... K-8?? Kids are FREAKING HAVING SEX, doing drugs, involved in gang activity, using language that is inappropriate for elementary ears... in middle school and you want to put them with elementary kids?? I have never seen such a cluster f happening in my life---when are you people going to get your heads out of your butts BOE???

Anonymous said...

K-8 schools are wonderful! My children are at Smith and we absolutely love it. The only interactions between elementary and middle students are by way of wonderful mentoring opportunities. I think it allows the middle schoolers to stay "young" longer.

Anonymous said...

Parents...please! Pick up your blocks and go home. These arguments are juvenile and circular. Be part of the solution and not more of a problem.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Chantilly Mont. and Highland Mills Mont. would close, and Park Road would stay open. Chantilly and Highland Mills are good facilities.

BYW - I'm just tuning in because my children just started school, but is Peter Gorman worth his paycheck?

LMA said...

Ann -- great job liveblogging. Looks like those "interesting times" are continuing.

Anon 5:18 -- regarding Gorman: no.

Anonymous said...

Ann - Thank you for your live coverage. Must say, I do miss CMS TV of BOE work sessions. I think that the TV coverage is an essential part of the democratic process.

Carol said...

My only concern about the proposed K-8 schools would be the educational opportunities available to the middle school students. As very small middle schools, my fear is that the students would lack access to the full range of electives offered at other schools: Spanish, French, Latin, Dance, Drama, Chorus, etc.

Larry said...

Anne we need to thank the Chamber of Commerce for sending a representative up to Raleigh back when we were trying to get our deconsolidation a few years ago.

That was when the Observer did all that bad press on me.

All I did was to mention that African American Males were not graduation and the Elected were crazy if they thought they were working.

Oh the Deconsolidation of CMS is still alive www.Deconsolidate.com

Maybe one day we will quit playing with the future and wasting the future of kids and start making a future for these kids.

Anonymous said...

Awesome that the Olympic Small Schools escaped the butcher's knife. Complaining that a school has perception issues (even though Olympic is substantially up in attendance, thanks in part to the droves that would rather go there than Harding) is probably sour grapes :)

Anonymous said...

What a sucker punch to Waddell, after Pete told the principal that rezoning would bring more kids there, not to mention that enrollment is up by over 150 already. It's also funny that Waddell wasn't on the latest closing list (just change list) until people on this blog started bringing back the vitriol that divided this community when Waddell was built. So the only high school that is attacked is the one that people perceive has no one to fight for it. What a shame on this community! Will Smith's name become Waddell? Does that change the perception problem? Or will someone be honest and state that there has been a lack of support for Waddell ever since it opened and every zoning decision since 2002 has made sure its population was reduced. Oh and don't forget about the rumors that it was going to become the professional development center. This is ugly and we need to call it what it is, shafting those who are voiceless and powerless! Don't worry, you're next because this community has given Pete carte blanche and he has gone over the top!

Anonymous said...

Mike said...
I am very concerned about a number of these schools becoming K-8. I am not sure parents of elementary students are going to want them exposed to middle school kids on the buses and in the school building.

Nothing wrong with that. I went to a 1-8 elementary school and it posed no problem as far as I know.
Of course that was at another time when we had real schools!

Anonymous said...

Ann, an amazing amount of work on your part! CMS employees were trying their best to keep updated since we're always the last to know anything. Anon 7:24 you are completely correct with the sucker punch analogy. The entire community has been sucker punched. Even though many of these facilities are long overdue for the bulldozer, the shock and awe of the low blow hurts when administered by a band of gypsy educational bureaucrats skipping along the spin trail.

Anonymous said...

I concur. Thank you for keeping us informed. All we got was an email from "Pete" saying "We're making all these changes! Like it or lump it!"

Anonymous said...

Sucker Punched, you are spot on with your comments. These non-educators are making decisions concerning our students, but don't have guts to stand up for them. Students at Waddell deserve the same considerations as those of other Charlotte Meck high school students. Maybe the board should consider closing Myers Park,with its old, dilapidated buildings in need of constant maintenance,and its over crowded classrooms. Why not move the students to Waddell? Could it be that Waddell parents are not as well heeled as those of Myers Park? It may not be Waddell that's deserving of retirement or closing,but maybe the school board and Pete need to think about the road ahead for them. Waddell has been unfairly targeted with feeder students who are from the lower social economic ladder and are academically underachieving since its inception. The students and staff have been pulling up hill battles since day one. To consider closing the school now that the school has made tremendous progress is an insult to these students and the staff. Pete and the School Board, shame,shame, shame! The community should be in an uproar!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant piece of real-time blogging -- new paper writing at its best. This matters more than just about anything else I read.

Anonymous said...

Go to Park Road Montessori.

They get whatever they want.

- but if your child is not good enough to do well on test scores, they'll tell you he is just not right for Montessori.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with the powerpoint comments, the powerpoint is weak and unprofessional in design. However the biggest thing missing are the financials that justify these changes. There is too much inconsistency with our Board, from laying off teachers, to hiring teachers, and now closing schools. Run this like a business with stakeholders - the tax payers, not a board of highly paid, untrained professionals.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps "Waddell has been unfairly targeted with feeder students who are from the lower social economic ladder and are academically underachieving since its inception."
because it was built in an area that would draw this kind of student. When it was first built the board tried to manipulate assignment in a way that would have put some middle class kids there but would have required horrendous commutes for those kids. The community rebelled at this. I am sorry for the disruption this closing may cause for students now there, but actions do have consequences, even if it takes years for them to play out. The board was wrong to build a school at that location, they were not good stewards of the public monies when they did so. This is not the fault of the current board or superintendent.

Anonymous said...

The data about Waddell is from 2008-2009, what about the 2009-2010 composite score, up 10% to 70.1% which takes it off the Judge Manning list. What about the 20 day attendance data? Does Harding now have a lower enrollment than Waddell? Waddell just received a $3 million dollar school improvement grant which is renewable for 3 years, is the district throwing that money away? What about the Title I infusion of money it is going to get this year? This is why these kids are so cynical and slow to believe what adults tell them: just when they were beginning to believe and work harder, an alumni association is starting up, the NFL just gave money and science students making a name for themselves across the country, you close the school and scatter the kids? It doesn't make sense and it certainly is not fair. These kids deserve better from this community. Who will fight for them?

Anonymous said...

Davidson IB/Alexander change: "Bigger, Newer Alexander"? Alexander is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and had one of the highest facility operating costs in the original list of schools up for possible change. Bring the IB kids down, but let them be forewarned: That building is nearly as old, without adequate technology or air conditioning/heating, among other problems.

Anonymous said...

All of the schools are going to get shafted in the over-haul of CMS schools. I love how Gorman likes to hide behind everyone else when the big decisions are taking place. Hiring some man to come in and move schools (goo idea...put the pressure on him...a face with a problem...)...then he hides behind the board saying he's looking to them for guidance...has he been out of the classroom that long that he has forgotten what it's like?...does he realize what these changes are going to do to the system, families, teachers, students, school legacies, and morale? Frankly, I don't think he knows what he's doing, maybe building his resume, or political gains, but I do know one thing for certain and that is CMS is a huge disgrace for education. It's one of the largest school systems in the country, but it's also one of the most poorly run. As a teacher, I see it daily... wasteful, purposeless, and useless programs that only use up tax dollars and gain federal money...this whole plan isn't about students, it's about money...that's all it ever is about with CMS. The board really needs to stop Gorman on this and step up to him. His stupidity needs to stop and stop soon...he's just messing things up even more and at a time when things aren't even certain anywhere. The board should request data before agreeing with any of this...all I can say is that schools aren't going down without a fight...I'm going to fight along side my students to the end. It's time we all stand up to Gorman and the board...

CMS Faithful Volunteer said...

School system Volunteer, I always like to see the good in people. So I gave your leader Peter the benefit of the doubt. I did allot of volunteering this year in Waddell School to put my money where my mouth was, to try and be a solution to the problem, instead of sitting back making decision based on hear say, or passing judgment behind close door against a group of people. What I found was the Waddell family work hard to try to address the whole child. To stress through all the obstacles like the school Board, lack of support that they could achieve better than prevous year and they did just that. It appears that you are creating hinderance to learning, by causing stress among the students, parents and teachers. They cannot focus on learning; the school board has loss their creditability amongst our families and volunteers. If this was any other business no one was to volunteer or donate funds to a mess and confussion. I am trying hard not to think that your proposals are unfairly targeting a certain group of people. As an outsider who has been volunteering in your school I would ask the NBA, to really look at this picture and see what you see.
It is time for some fresh ideas that puts all our children first and not just those who are a mirror image of Peter. Community it is time to take a stand we can no longer trust that others are making recommendations in our best interest.

Parent said...

Why are we paying Peter to cause separation in our communities? I really think this has gone far enough, before this mess gets any deeper. I know the School Board is suppose to be looking out for us, but I do not think they are strong enough to say no the Peter. It’s time for the good old boys and girls to be removed. We need those who will think of realistic budget recommendations, instead of putting our children second by uprooting them. Has anyone ever thought just like to house hold when there is confusion, unrest, segregation, and then our children fail.

Mike said...

"..Gorman says buy-in will be tough in some cases: "Nobody wants to see their home school go away or their magnet school go away." Some magnets recommended for changes "are good schools that are doing good things," but district is in a money pinch..."

Okay so why are you not focusing on the high per pupil cost schools and cut costs from them? Especially when you are not getting any value from them.

Mike said...

"..Raible: Question is whether CMS can afford expensive, exclusive program for about 250 kids.
Clark and Chief Operating Officer Hugh Hattabaugh: More kids in northern middle-school IB magnet could strengthen IB magnet at North Meck High..."

How come Mr. Raible is so out of touch with CMS's data? There are 4 other middle schhols, 23 elementary schools and 7 high schools have higher per pupil costs.