Thursday, July 17, 2014

Study cites CMS for reshaping principals' role

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is among six school systems cited for innovative leadership in a recent study of the changing role of principals.

Cotswold Principal Alicia Hash
The Center for American Progress,  a progressive think tank based in Washington, D.C., says the changing demands on school leaders has created a stream of early-career departures and early retirements, especially at the most challenging schools.  "The Changing Role of the Principal:  How High Achieving Districts Are Recalibrating School Leadership" looks for ways to make the job more meaningful and manageable while providing better support from central offices.

"Attrition due to resignations and early retirements, along with a shortage of qualified candidates for open principal positions, is leading toward a crisis of leadership in American education,"  the report says.

CMS has had its share of principal churn lately,  but the Southern Methodist University researchers who did the work looked to CMS;  Gwinnett County, Ga.;  Denver;  Washington,  DC;  Uplift Education in Dallas-Fort Worth and the Northeast Leadership Academy at N.C. State University for promising strategies  (read the CMS case study here).  CMS gets credit for creating  "super standards"  that go beyond the required state principal evaluations,  for working with nearby universities to help develop leadership and for providing supports such as  "opportunity culture"  classroom leaders and deans of students,  who can keep principals from being spread too thin.

In an aside following up on my recent post about cumbersome school names,  the STEM/STEAM acronym popped up for discussion on the Education Writers Association email list Wednesday.  An EWA staffer shared this New York Times essay urging writers to shun the "didactic and jargony" term for science,  technology,  engineering and math  (with or without art).  A Florida reporter noted the emergence of B-STEM,  adding business.  I figure with the local enthusiasm for entrepreneurship,  it's only a matter of time until we have Education in Science,  Technology, Engineering,  Entrepreneurship and Math,  or ESTEEM schools.


Unknown said...


Old McDonald's School of Farm Sciences.


Here’s the CMS official school song

Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.
And on that farm he had a bell, E-I-E-I-O.
With a ding dong here and a ding dong there
Here a ding, there a dong, too many times a ding dong
Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

No matter what acronym is used, two are conspicuously missing by design….. English and Reading. To reach critical thinking, communication and writing skills are a necessary base before STEM of the day and butts in seats are fashionable.

Anonymous said...

acrononyms are like the dummies who always wear their cell phone in holsters outside on their belts to try to look important but never get phone calls except from mommy or their wives to remind them to pick up a loaf of bread or a quart of milk on their way home.

Wiley Coyote said...

This is another in a long, historical list in the quest to build the better mouse trap, but the trap never catches any mice.

Opportunity culture uses more technology so teachers can "plan and collaborate". This is supposed to somehow free up teachers for more face to face teaching.

Here's the snake in the grass:

...CMS gets credit for creating "super standards" that go beyond the required state principal evaluations, for working with nearby universities to help develop leadership and for providing supports such as "opportunity culture" classroom leaders and deans of students, who can keep principals from being spread too thin

221 Assistant Principals: Top 5 Elementary salaries

Asst Principal, Elem $92,296.59
Asst Principal, Elem $89,528.17
Asst Principal, Elem $88,862.54
Asst Principal, Elem $88,625.20
Asst Principal, Elem $86,767.93

145 Dean of Students: Top 5 salaries

Dean Of Students $86,002.67
Dean Of Students $76,992.46
Dean Of Students $72,783.54
Dean Of Students $70,324.89
Dean Of Students $70,249.20

The "opportunity culture" idea is supposed to work "within a financially sustainable model".

When comparing salaries between Assistant Principals and Dean of Students, there isn't much, if any, difference.

Where do Assistant Principals fall in this hierarchy?

All I see is more layers of management, high salaries and more buckets of money which equals waste.

Does anyone have a clue as to how much money it takes for a "financially sustainable model"?

My money is on CMS not believing they have enough money. You?

Wiley Coyote said...


In the vein of "reshaping", do you have any knowledge of whether the Federal Government has or intends to dump any of the illegals crossing the border into Mecklenburg County?

Saw a report on the news this morning where a small town in Massachusetts (Lynn) was sent 600 illegals that has overwhelmed their school system and don't have a clue as to how they are going to pay for it.

..."We have been aware of the unaccompanied children issue for quite a while, and we were able to absorb a lot of these children early on," said Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy. "But now it's gotten to the point where the school system is overwhelmed, our health department is overwhelmed, the city's budget is being sustainably altered in order of accommodate all of these admissions in the school department."

Anonymous said...

There is the California model of homeless dispersion. A one way bus ticket to somewhere out of state.

Anonymous said...

Wiley, county commissioner Bill James asked the county manager to check on that earlier this week. The Health Department and DSS reported that they've seen no sign of an influx of immigrant children.

Unknown said...


Subject: Refugee Relocation and Mecklenburg

There is a specific fund from federal ORR to either the state or county for communities and/or schools impacted by refugee relocation.

Considering how poorly MeckLink and DSS have communicated with the BOCC it might be a stretch that DSS would even give Bill James the answer if they had it.

The question should be addressed to the federal ORR.

These are funds are the ones now exhausted and for which Washington is now bickering over what to do.

Bolyn McClung

Wiley Coyote said...


They are not refugees.

Anonymous said...


They cost several teachers their jobs over the years and the ones left are now doing the job of 1.75 teachers. They only pay sales tax and receive all other services for FREE. The emergency room healthcare is free along with the education.

All LEAGAL US taxpayers fund them and some LOOSE THEIR JOBS over it.

Anonymous said...

"They are ILLEAGALS"

"All LEAGAL US taxpayers fund them and some LOOSE THEIR JOBS over it."

classic, a person complaining about immigrants and you can't even spell:)

Anonymous said...


That is inventive spelling, which we used to teach here in CMS. Mastery!

Anonymous said...

Innovative leadership? CMS? These things are incompatible with each other, you do realize this right?

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about it 3:45.. There are many elderly people on this blog. They sit on desktops and wait for people to make grammatical errors. They get their panties in a bunch not realizing many people use cell phones. They do not know blogging edict. It's not as rude as it is ignorant. Predictive text is a foreign concept..

Anonymous said...

@6:50 Good justification for total lack of basic linguistic concepts. So according to you, proper English is no longer important?

Anonymous said...

If your eagle's ill, you should really take it to the vet.


Anonymous said...

FYI.....Dean of Student positions are paid on the teacher pay scale.........the attempted comparison is not legitimate.....most likely those top 5 paid Dean of Students are seasoned vetrans with post bachelor's degrees......Elementary AP's are the lowest paid in Administration......all of these pay scales are public information and posted on the CMS web site......

Wiley Coyote said...


Where do you think I got the data from?

The top 5 are the top 5, no matter what the scale.

The point I was trying to make was dean of students are supposed to be be "helping principals" yet nothing was mentioned about Assistant Principals.

My opinion is that the level of Dean of Students is not needed and that money could be put back into the classrooms in the form of teachers.

145 Dean of Students versus 145 more teachers.

Anonymous said...

I think the endorsement by outside researchers is well intentioned but at odds with the experiences of a large group of educators. CMS administrators do not seem empowered with the exception of well- connected few. Most are constrained by numerous informal directives. This fear of independent action is seen in countless small policies, ranging from field trips to teacher ratings. The paperwork and slow approval process has made it excruciatingly difficult to prepare field trips in the same numbers as before, and institutions from Discovery Place to the James K. Polk Memorial have noted declining numbers.

Another example of CMS tying its administrators’ hands is the teacher rating system. Administrators have been repeatedly warned to give lower ratings on average to CMS teachers. While CMS administration claims their lower ratings match what the state intended, a comparison of CMS to nearly every surrounding district reveals that CMS has a higher proportion of high growth teachers with gains in the classroom under Standard 6 but lower ratings than those in other counties. This directive reduces potential pay expenses and lowers the marketability of a teacher trying to transfer to another district.
With regard to how it evaluates its principals in general, CMS routinely ignores valuable indicators as to effectiveness. The number one reason in survey after survey for teachers leaving a position is lack of support by the school’s principal/administration. Yet nobody downtown seriously evaluates whether good teachers are leaving particular schools in record numbers and why. Turnover is discussed at a district level with little attention paid to the details. The survey offered to teachers exiting CMS is not conducive to honest feedback on poor administrators, and teachers transferring within the district are not seriously surveyed about why they left their old school. Simply put, high turnover rates are not questioned within CMS and some of the schools with the highest turnover rates have rewarded their administrators with promotions. There is NO cross correlation to determine if the teachers who departed were highly qualified or struggling failures. If the principal forced out “bad” teachers, it should be lauded but if they are running off their highest rated teachers due to poor administrative practice, the administrator should be removed. The latter is occurring as we speak. If one compares the turnover rate at each school, there are some shocking examples of suburban schools with extremely high staff turnover rates, and the teachers leaving are often the most successful. Yet there is no internal questioning why this is occurring. One might expect high poverty schools to suffer high turnover, but no effort has been made to survey why so many teachers are leaving relatively comfortable suburban environments and what that indicates about the administrators who may be causing it. I am not sure if detailed introspection is really possible in an organization so large but I do know its lacking, which makes me wonder if there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Anonymous said...

The Dean of Studenrs is necessary to handle all the mentally ill, disturbed, and ill-hehaved children that now are present in our schools. It's a full-time job.

Anonymous said...

first of all, I am not elderly and neither am I a woman. I have a suggestion for you, put your ignorant assumptions back in your pocket and take the time to get to know these people these people before making such hateful remarks.

As a small child, my parents moved here from Great Britain, we came here legally. For those of you who don't know, it is not as easy as many of you think to go through this process. As a matter of fact it's actually rather difficult and expensive. I recently paid my alien card fee to renew, $650.

I have as much reason to be upset as the rest of you because I have done everything properly. Like you, I have paid taxes my entire adult life, even registered for the draft when I was 18. But the truth is I feel very sorry for those kids and if my taxes will go towards helping them have a chance for a better life, then I say God Bless them and good luck to them.

Furthermore, I believe most of them will end up contributing to this society, generally speaking they are hard working people who share many of the same family values as you and I. Which sadly, is more than I can say for many of the people already here.

Wiley Coyote said...


That's what suspensions and expulsions are for.

The lack of serious discipline in the schools is the problem.

We don't need 145 Dean of Students making over $50,000 a year essentially babysitting if problem students will not be kicked out of school.

All one has to do is look to our southern border and watch Border Patrol Agents changing diapers instead of doing their job.

Unfortunately, this is where our country is headed.

No one has the guts to stand up and deal with the problems; at the border or in our schools.

But by golly we have political correctness and diversity!

Anonymous said...

What happened to the concept of Management By Walking Around? At our children's elementary school the principal is rarely visible. He is locked up in his office most days, and only comes out on special occasions.

Anonymous said...

from my experience, we have seen inconsistency with regards to principals where my children attend school. With our local elementary school, the former principal, although very nice, was a "go along to get along" type of person. He did not engage under performing teachers and neither would he have those difficult conversations with parents.
However, the new principal and his curriculum coordinator take a much firmer stance and are very visible. I have been exceptionally impressed with their approach.

Anonymous said...

11:08 funny you mention Curriculum coordinator. At our elementary school, the two curriculum coordinators run the school, the principal is their puppet.

Anonymous said...

Then tell your boys in Raleigh to support suspensions. CMS was punished for having too many suspension. Tell Raleigh to write a letter to Eric Holder. Stay out of our state... You can't blame CMS for this.

Anonymous said...

not sure about how one reshapes the role of principals other than perhaps doing away with the advanced degree requirements.