Friday, July 18, 2014

Olympic's support squad keeps growing

Almost six weeks before the kids report back to school,  dozens of business people,  faith leaders and educators gathered at a southwest Charlotte church Thursday to plot strategy for Olympic High and its eight feeder schools.

I've been hearing about Olympic's partnerships for several years,  since the school split into five smaller schools with career-focused themes in 2006.  Almost everyone talks about collaboration,  but this effort has grown into something that's making a tangible difference for a growing number of students.

Rucker-Shivers in 2013
I've written about how Olympic leaders have worked with nearby businesses to develop internships and apprenticeships to prepare students for high-paying jobs.  It was fun to see 2013 graduate Maceo Rucker-Shivers,  whom I interviewed as a high school student and intern,  at Thursday's event as a CPCC student and Bosch Rexroth apprentice.

Those efforts continue to pay off and expand.  In August,  Olympic's new advanced manufacturing school opens,  supported by an $80,000 grant from the German machine-parts company.  So does Pallisades Park Elementary, a new neighborhood school that will get the youngest children focused on the math,  science and technology themes that can carry through to graduation.

Mike Realon,  Olympic's career development coordinator,  has been leading seven years of summits like the latest one at Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church. Last year he and his band of partners expanded the effort to include area elementary and middle schools.  They patterned their  "Alignment Southwest Charlotte"  effort and its  "cradle-to-career" theme on similar efforts in Nashville,  he said.  First-year results ranged from reading buddies in elementary schools to donations for teacher grants that helped start a robotics program at Southwest Middle School.

Realon likes to talk about  "finding the happy space,"  where school needs and the interests of businesses and faith partners intersect.  Dozens gathered around tables to talk about needs ranging from literacy tutors at Berewick Elementary to Hispanic family engagement at Southwest to male mentors at Olympic.

That kind of partnership network,  which links elementary,  middle and high schools and gets a community deeply invested in its schools,  is something Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools hopes to cultivate across the district.  LaTarzja Henry,  the assistant superintendent in charge of partnerships, said the Southwest Charlotte group is a success story but not necessarily a model that can be replicated for every area.  The needs and resources are different in,  say,  the Governors Village schools in the UNCC area or the McClintock Middle/East Meck zone,  which she cited as other areas leading the way.

The key is finding the right people,  inside and outside of schools,  to locate those happy spaces.


Anonymous said...

Aren't there other more timely blog posts? There is alot of stuff happening in NC.
1) Salary for teachers
2) Teacher and Principal turnover
3) Updates on charter schools' openings

Anonymous said...

CMS, if you would like more high school students to attend these magnet programs and special schools don't start them at 7:15am. Thanks, the Public

Anonymous said...

I found this story to be a refreshing change, but I see others already found a way to go negative, typical.

however, since a previous post mentioned it. I would like to see a comparison with charter schools and tradtional public schools regarding turnover in both teachers and principals.

Pamela Grundy said...

Between demands for hard-hitting coverage and calls for more "good news" there's a lot for even the best education reporter in North Carolina to handle. Perhaps if more people would subscribe to the paper, instead of just freeloading online, there'd be funds to hire a second education reporter, which this community could certainly use.

Anonymous said...

Pamela Grundy every time I see your post I know it is your personal propaganda with lots of accusatory assumptions. You don't know everything and every thing you say I trend lightly in the believability factor. We pay for the paper and read it every morning, but this blog is not in the paper.

Wiley Coyote said...


First Quarter Results

Total revenues in the first quarter of 2014 were $287.2 million, down 2.7% from the first quarter of 2013. Advertising revenues were $183.9 million, down 6.7%, and circulation revenues were $90.8 million, up 5.8% from the same quarter in 2013. Circulation revenues were up approximately 0.7% for the quarter excluding the $4.3 million in revenue related to the transition to fee-for-service circulation delivery contracts at certain newspapers. Total digital-only revenues, which include digital-only revenues from advertising and circulation, were up 11.6% compared to the same quarter last year.

Print ad revenue seems to be the problem.

I have a computer. I have the internet. I have the ability to get up to date news and information from a myriad of sources for free around the world.

What you suggest is akin to my owning a cow and then believe I should go to the store and buy milk because it helps the store?

Why would I pay for a print subscription that is out of date before it's folded off the press or an online subscription where the Observer will ban you from comments they don't like, even though you're buying the paper?

McCLatchy does everything it can to dissuade people from being involved with their business (locally) and keeps many people from having "thoughtful and respectful" commentary.

Anonymous said...

... he said on a McClatchy blog.

Wiley Coyote said...

...but I'm banned from commenting on the other pages...

If it comes down to being banned here, so be it.

Pam, Bolyn and Larry will have the sandbox all to themselves.

Should be some lively conversations....

So when people are banned or cannot read stories, they cannot see ADs, which helps drive revenue to pay your salary.

They will go elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I hesitate to ask, but ... where has Larry been? I swear I haven't been "censoring" him.

Wiley Coyote said...

Last I heard, Larry was in Proctor Jail.

Anonymous said...

Nice to have some good news/ positive story! Love seeing the business and faith community coming together to help our schools and children.

I do wonder why the Southwest Charlotte group's success story is "not necessarily a model that can be replicated for every area." Why couldn't this be replicated if it works?

Ann - can you speak to how "The needs and resources are different" in the Southwest zone from the other CMS zones?

RE other's posts - Are teacher and principle turn over rates for each public school listed somewhere? This seemed to be a pretty "timely" blog - and if you have the paper recently teacher salary issues and principle turnover rates have been well documented, as have concerns about Charter Schools openings and updates on an aborted Charter school. I suspect teacher turnover rates are not available yet - again this has been mentioned in the paper as many maybe going to SC and other states - but the numbers are not in yet on how many will actually leave the system for other districts or higher paying careers.

Anonymous said...

personally I don't miss Larry. I don't have a problem with different opinions, but he was simply unreasonable and extremely rude. I watched his interviews on youtube and was totally shocked with his behavior towards others, totally disrespectful.

his only solution was charter schools.

Anonymous said...

Is Larry the guy who was videotaping kids without permission?

Anonymous said...

Over 100,000 Illegal children just came into the US. How many will end up in Charlotte? The projected costs to US taxpayers for these children is around $1,000 per day.

This will also lead to the LOSS of teachers jobs and the ones left will have to take up the slack with an increased workload.

We have a country where now the leagal children want to have the same handouts as the rest.


Anonymous said...


yes, he was the guy.

Anonymous said...

In other news, I had the opportunity to talk to two former CMS teachers who have recently moved to York County to teach and bring up their families. Nothing was mentioned about pay. But both didn't want their children in CMS and mentioned the atmosphere at both schools and loss of respect tolerated by administrators. And yet, the high salaried administrator churn continues. A sad commentary that will only increase. As one said, rural was far preferable to the usual suspects in a CMS classroom.

David Phillips said...

Thank you, Ann, for the continued coverage of the community efforts being driven by Olympic High School. Although there is still much to be done, this is a success story we should be trumpeting far and wide.