Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Winners and losers in CMS lottery

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' beefed-up menu of options for 2014-15 drew more than 24,000 students for the first lottery,  with 20,287 of them getting assignments at requested schools,  newly posted lottery results show.

The report shows some new offerings,  such as a high school on the UNC Charlotte campus and tech-oriented magnets for lower grades,  opening with strong interest.  Many perennial favorites remain popular.  But enrollment continues to slump at some struggling magnets,  such as Marie G. Davis Military/Leadership Academy and Harding High's IB program.  And it looks like some new programs,  including a middle college high at CPCC's Harper campus and a Montessori school at Long Creek,  will have to keep recruiting to be ready to open in August.

Morehead STEM remains popular
Before the details,  a caution:  A lot can change between now and August.  Many families apply for CMS magnets,  charter schools and/or private schools to see what their options are before making a decision.  Some students who got seats in magnets may fail to meet the admission requirements.  CMS will keep recruiting for underfilled programs.  We'll hear more about upcoming plans at a Wednesday news conference.

Here's what strikes me looking at the list  (find CMS lottery results for the last five years here and check the CMS plans for new options here).
Cotswold Elementary's IB magnet appears to be the toughest to get into,  with 238 waiting for only 190 seats that were filled.  Morehead STEM, a K-8 magnet,  has the longest waiting list,  with 668 waiting and 1,180 seated.

The new early college high based at UNCC's energy and engineering center had originally planned to open with 65 ninth-graders in August.  Instead CMS placed 100 ninth-graders,  with 94 on the waiting list.  Students will be able to attend up to five years of high school and receive two years of tuition-free college credit along with their diplomas.

Students will have a similar option at three middle college high schools at Central Piedmont Community College,  although these schools are open only to 11th- and 12th-graders.  Cato,  the model for the two new clones,  filled 220 seats with nine students waiting. But only 14 were seated at Harper Middle College and 55 at Levine Middle College.

A new health sciences magnet at Hawthorne High pulled 87 students.  CMS had hoped to have about 250 students at Hawthorne,  which is transitioning from an alternative school to a magnet,  but the current list shows only about 160 including the nonmagnet students.

A STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) magnet in the new elementary school opening in the southwest Pallisades area filled its 150 seats and has 63 waiting.

Cochrane Middle School's new iMeck Academy drew 152 students, and McClintock Middle's new STEAM Academy  (that's STEM plus arts)  pulled 107. Coulwood's new STEM magnet, which was created partly to offset the loss of sixth-graders who will stay at Mountain Island Elementary as it becomes a K-8 school,  drew only 38 sixth-graders. CMS had hoped for 150.

One has to wonder:  Has the high-tech craze sapped enthusiasm for other options?

CMS'  existing Montessori schools drew hefty waiting lists,  as usual.  The new Long Creek Montessori,  opening as a separate school next to the neighborhood elementary on the same Huntersville property,  drew 50 prekindergarteners and 37 kindergarteners,  but only five students for grades 1-3  (oddly,  the list says there's one first-grader placed and five on the waiting list).

Northwest School of the Arts, a 6-12 magnet with a long tradition and national reputation, slipped in this year's lottery.  Only 48 sixth-graders applied,  down from 99 last year,  with the total seated slipping from 941 to 854. Update: Student placement director Scott McCully says there's no decline in applications. Students who apply must audition to be admitted, he said, and that has gone more slowly than in past years. Once applicants complete their auditions, he said, the number of sixth-graders will rise.

The  "hub"  plan for high school students to transfer into North Mecklenburg High for career-tech programs didn't get much interest. Seven each applied for seats in the cosmetology and culinary arts programs, two for automotive, one for horticulture and none for carpentry.

Marie G. Davis Military/Leadership Academy, a K-12 magnet that has long struggled to attract students to the school south of uptown Charlotte, had 701 students seated,  down from 847 in last year's lottery. Only 12 kindergarteners and 39 first-graders applied,  compared with 34 kindergarteners and 82 first-graders last year.

East Meck now has the largest high school IB magnet with 1,009, up from 845 in last year's first lottery. North Meck is second at 615, also up slightly. Harding's IB magnet,  which has been struggling since CMS ended the westside school's full-magnet status in 2011,  drew 297 students,  down from 393 last spring and 744 in 2010.  West Charlotte IB is holding steady with 231.

Myers Park High still has an IB program, but since it stopped taking students from outside the attendance zone it isn't part of the lottery.  Likewise,  there's no listing for Olympic's new Advanced Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship school because it's an internal assignment for students living in the Olympic zone.

As noted,  we'll have a chance to hear more from CMS officials on Wednesday,  so if you see interesting patterns or have questions,  please post them.


Anonymous said...

Northwest School of the Arts enrollment dropped because it is a school for wanna be's. Instead of academics, kids can play instead of preparing for college.

Wiley Coyote said...

The Mountain Island/Coulwood scenario was a joke from the beginning.

People whine and whine about overcrowding yet made MIE overcrowded all on their own.

I'm all for STEM and STEAM magnets, but CMS is not using common sense when it comes to efficient use of facilities and tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Since Northwest requires an audition to get in did only 48 applies or only 48 got in? I agree that academics need some work; but, from what I hear this is being address by the school (some of the parents don't like it which makes me think it is a step in the right direction!).

Anonymous said...

10:53, good question. These are just applications; auditions take place after the lottery. Which seems to indicate they'll need to do some additional recruiting to have a full sixth-grade class.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is a student at Northwest and in order to be placed into the lottery she had to audition first. So it is not correct that auditions take place after the lottery. Each child has to pass their audition before even being allowed placement into Northwests lottery. Sounds to me like 6:11 maybe a little bitter about there child not being accepted into the school.

Yes, it is a very different program from the other ones at CMS and the children do have fun while they learn. It is an art driven school and children that are pursuing arts as careers this is a perfect fit. Not all children are wanting a 9-5 business world career ~ we all don't want to be conformists.

Anonymous said...

Ann, what are the waitlists like for area charter schools?? Have most of them held their lottery?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, 11:18! Your info is clearly more up-to-date than mine. Appreciate the correction.

11:20, I don't know. That would require 20+ individual requests.

Anonymous said...

Wonder what time classes will start in the morning for the new UNCC high school? I doubt 7:15am.

Anonymous said...

fyi...Cato Middle High school hours are 11:20am-4:20pm, great hours for high school students.

Anonymous said...

Make a goal and work hard.. If you don't understand your teacher (like my university lab professor) or they don't "reach" you, read the book, use the internet WORK!!!! You can be your own magnet. You will learn and you will grow. Schools, teachers, school boards, politicians, talking heads, free lunch programs or anything else does not make you a loser. You decide your path... GOD BLESS AMERICA

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:37- I somewhat understand your comment. As a succesful business leader I follow osme of your ideas. I have a issue with the other 60% who I have to support with my taxes that I pay via my hard work. I have issue with my kids working and stressing over grades while others do nothing then CMS promotes them with the rest of the class. So if more people 60% held themselves to a higher standard (yours/mine) we would not be having this conversation. Why just look at CMS program Project LIFT. A excuse for a small minority and erodes community trust. In a nutshell what CMS stands for.

Anonymous said...

CMS closed one of their most successful magnet programs Davidson IB Middle School two years ago and moved the students into a partial magnet at Alexander Middle. The Program has been in decline since the move. Why not open another full IB middle school magnet in the north?

Shamash said...

Anon 4:16pm.

I think you can take some consolation from the fact that your kids will probably do better in life after High School for having learned honest effort at an early age.

Unfortunately for the rest, "social promotion" largely ends after High School.

And it's typically downhill from there.

Anonymous said...

The other 60% (children) only know what they have been taught in their early years. It used to be lack of resources at home, then poor school buildings and now it's the teachers fault. Learning is a choice. I pray that they wake up, stop the excuses and work.

Anonymous said...

I remember my teacher complaining about social promotions. Now your not even aloud to fail a student without a legal brief of documentation. The next big move will be suspensions. It will take an act of Congress to suspended a student. Murderer will soon be 2 days of after school suspension. Good luck NC

Shamash said...

"It will take an act of Congress to suspended a student."

Yep. That's where we're headed.

I sometimes have to wonder if the "American Era" isn't winding down a bit.

I don't see where uneducated AND undisciplined people have much of a future in the US (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter).

The days of getting a reasonable paying job with less than a HS education (or even with a HS diploma - or even a college degree, but very little useful knowledge) are long gone.

It's even tough on college grads because graduating from college doesn't mean what it used to mean, either.


So why would our government encourage this?

It doesn't make sense to me at all.

Unless they're OK with more work going outside the US and increased poverty within the US.

Which is entirely possible.

Anonymous said...

Northwest School of the Arts is a true reflection of CMS. The kids who do well here do extremely well - National Merit scholarships, UNC-Chapel Hill acceptances, Broadway contracts, PBS documentary appearances and on and on.

NWSA also houses kids from the Project LIFT zone who arrive far less equipped in terms of private arts lessons, academic enrichment opportunities, home support and on and on. NWSA has it's fair share of "fragile" students.

The two cultures make the teaching environment at NWSA very challenging. My absolute dream job would be teaching 6th grade English or Social Studies and middle school dance here. I'm certified to do both.


Susan Plaza said...

NWSA may be less popular with 6th grade parents due to the 9:15-4:15 bell schedule...

Anonymous said...

Fair criticism of NWSA:

My brother holds a degree in physics from Yale while I struggled through every science class I ever took. Therefore, I get it when students at NWSA consistently say things like, "We're an art school, we don't do math". If I were to teach at NWSA my second mission, after teaching what I'm supposed to teach, would be changing this attitude or "attitude" - as we say in dance.

"Educational Center for the Arts" magnet school. New Haven, CT.
Class of, I'm not telling you.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I'm not a fan of NWSA's 9:15 start time, although, rehearsals are often held at 7:30 in the morning.


Anonymous said...

While I'm touting the WONDERS of myself...

My supervisor, Dr. Laura Campbell, Director of Teacher Education at Belmont Abbey College, wanted to know, "Why 4th grade?" after observing a lesson I taught on writing 'Letters to the Editor' as part of a unit on the differences between opinion and persuasive writing. My dog, Midnight, being my inspirational 'opinion' writer who's letter AND picture was featured in the Charlotte Observer after President Obama's first term election. Dr. Campbell told me I should be teaching middle school. Should the stars and moon align, my first assignment will be tracking down Lew Powell and Nancy Webb as my first guest speakers. Then, I'm coming after you, Ann. You bet.


Anonymous said...

4th grade "Critical Thinking"...

Q: Why do scientists believe reptiles were the first vertebrates to live on land?

A: "Because Adam and Eve's snake was the first vertebrate". - Gianna
A: "Because reptiles are waterproof". - Ben.

Q: How do you know you're an animal?

A: " Because our book said so". - Jacob
A: "Because we learned this in kindergarten". - Millie

The Courage to Teach.


Anonymous said...

The losers of the CMS lottery system are the 1000's of students who can't get into these schools due to the requirements. Yes, the magnets are a public version of private schools, with extra resources and bus service stretching all over the county for the select few.

The other losers in this situation are the 1000's of high school students having to get on buses at 6am for classes at 7:15am (due to the crazy Magnet bus schedule using excessive bus resources). It costs 3-4X more to transport a Magnet student than a home school student.

Let's start a conversation for sane, healthy and more beneficial start times for high school students. It's about time.

Freebies said...

Many parents are happy with the 9:15-4:15 schedule. Free afternoon daycare while kids ride the bus all over town!

Anonymous said...

Don't all the students have to pass a test or perform an art?

Anonymous said...

"CMS closed one of their most successful magnet programs Davidson IB Middle School two years ago"

It's decisions like this which have opened the door to competition from Charters and Private schools.

Shamash said...


Maybe you can find some way to inspire those "artists" to study math with the right role models.

Most arts have a mathematical connection if you only look.

(Allow ME to toot MY own horn a bit...)

One of my earliest college individual projects was with an art student using computer generated graphics as "inspiration" for paintings.

We were actually among the first to do this type work back in the 1970's and actually had someone track us down for a history of computer art book they were writing a few years later.

Unfortunately, all our work was destroyed after our project, so there went our ONE chance to make the "history" books. Oh well...

Having said that, most people may not realize that science and the arts are not that far apart. And many people are successful at both.

For example, most people do not know that the guitarist for Queen, Brian May, is also an astrophysicist (with a Ph.D.)

Wiley Coyote said...

It costs 3-4X more to transport a Magnet student than a home school student.

Show me the numbers and a comparison district-wide for the current setup in CMS.

Also, we can save even more money by not allowing any child to ride a home school bus who lives within two miles of the school.

Anonymous said...

This was an interesting article only in the headline. I could have written it as one only has to go into the CMS website and write down the numbers from the lottery. Why isn't the "reporter" asking CMS officials why this or why that in the numbers, and I pay for this newspaper? With regards to the reporter stating that she would have to go into 20+ charters sites to see their waitlist, where is the actual get out of the office and go report what is going on? I can tell you any of the charters with +500 plus waitlist will be more than happy to give you the coverage. Get a pencil and a pad and go report why these numbers are occurring!

Anonymous said...

My dog, Midnight, being my inspirational 'opinion' writer who's letter AND picture was featured in the Charlotte Observer

Shouldn't that be "WHOSE letter and picture WERE featured...." Dream job is 6th grade English teacher? Really?

Anonymous said...

CMS, the ultimate whiner when it comes to money in this county.

Why can't you (CMS) just admit you only want the gifted kids for the headlines, perfer to be the kneejerk to the NAACP and admit you do a horrible job educating average and above average kids of the "producers" in this county.

Anonymous said...

and most people don't know that the band Boston were MIT graduates.

Anyway, just ask the CMS transportation department for the Magnet transportation costs and for the "home" school transportation costs. There is a significant difference between the two. And ask them, while you're at it, why the No Transportation Zone for "home" schools is only .5 miles, when the state says is can be up to 2 miles.

Anonymous said...

I think if you were to look around CMS, you woudl find some really good schools. I don't care for blanket statements such as the previous person made stating that CMS cannot educate average and above average students, what a ridiculous comment to make. CMS has some really good schools, most people tend to focus on the under performing ones and slam the entire system.

Wiley Coyote said...


How about you provide the data. Just stating it costs more means nothing.

What about students who attend magnets within their home school?

What about those same students who ride past other magnets that sit within their home school zone or are closer than their school?

What about those long routes within hone school boundaries that are 7 to 9 miles away? Fuel costs the same whether the bus goes 9 miles on a home school route just as it does for a magnet route.

Why not use drop points for home schools like magnets and save money?

Only 13.6% of CMS students are in a magnet and many of those are in magnets at their home school.

As stated before - as you have - if you're all about saving money, increase the bus ridership 2 miles outside the school and let's cut out all sports programs.

Anonymous said...

On Northwest: I just updated the post, and it turns out the question about auditions was right on target. Scott McCully says the slump in sixth-graders admitted is because the audition process has gone more slowly -- there are applicants who don't show up as admissions or wait list because they haven't done their audition yet.

Anonymous said...

What a spin on why Long Creek Montessori is not full in 1st and 2nd grade, this shows in the writers ignorant comment of "only" and cluelessness of how the Montessori education works (a child must start in kindergarten, one can not just join the program). This is CMS's smartest school opening in all of the changes in the magnet program. CMS is in direct competition with the charters and Countryside Montessori in the North Charlotte area (the area never written about). Montessori takes a different kind of thinking and mind set, most students come from very educated parents, CMS had to do something. To the writer, Long Creek will have a waitlist very long in the next couple of years, so don't you worry.

Anonymous said...

Cotswold is in such demand from their own neighborhood families trying year after year for a magnet spot because it guarantees entry into Randolph IB.

Wiley Coyote said...

What becomes of Coulwood after MIE becomes a K-8 STEM?

Anonymous said...

I'm the first to acknowledge my own shortcomings.

My mother didn't have the opportunity to attend college although she did type my father's entire PhD thesis at Columbia University. I remember her typing into the wee hours of the night when I was in elementary school. When my parents were "courting" my mother would send my father's love letters back with grammatical corrections. Yep.


Anonymous said...

Oops. My father's dissertation, not his thesis. My mother typed the entire thing. I remember her sitting at her typewriter for hours in our dining room.

My Yale brother can't spell for doo-oo, my father can't spell for doo-doo, and neither can I which may not matter anymore thx to tx. We all miserably failed foreign languages too which has carried on into the next generation. My Yale educated brother had to go to summer school after failing Spanish. My father got a D in foreign language in college. I didn't do much better in French.