Thursday, October 9, 2014

6 in North Carolina make Newsweek "top high schools" list

Six North Carolina high schools were named in Newsweek's recent rating of the top 500 high schools in the nation in terms of preparing students for college.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, almost all of the schools are partnerships with local community colleges or universities.

The top school in the state was a Stanly County charter school on the campus of Pfeiffer University that serves seven counties in the Charlotte region.

Gray Stone Day School came in at No. 203 on the list, and was lauded for sending more than 93 percent of its students off to college. The school also received a gold star for having its low-income students perform better than the average for all students in reading and math.

Newsweek's rankings were primarily based on the college enrollment rate, graduation rate, and weighted test scores. Schools must also perform better than the 80th percentile in their state on standardized tests.

Here are the other North Carolina schools that made the list:

No. 210: Chapel Hill High
No. 259: Middle College at GTCC - Greensboro
No. 365: Early College Of Forsyth County
No. 445: Cross Creek Early College
No. 457: Rutherford County Early College High


Mr. Bennett said...

Glad you put "top high schools" in quotes. I'd rather send my child to a school that has him prepared for whatever is next in life, whether college, military, or straight to work. It appears this list doesn't consider the last 2 options.

Anonymous said...

congrats to these well deserving schools, where learning real skills and information is key. They are not the Education factories that we have here in Charlotte.

Take back our schools said...

Andrew, I am personally aware that two of these schools have entrance requirements. Has that become the norm now to address educating the "prepared" and "supported" students in our society?

Anonymous said...

Graystone is not your typical high school, they actually do screen applicants, students have to be accepted into the school. As such, it should come to no surprise they have such a high percentage of students going to college. But then again, if all of the other schools were allowed to reject those deemed to be academically inferior, they too would have very similar results.

Andrew, I know you are knew to this job, but you really should do further research before posting such articles.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
congrats to these well deserving schools, where learning real skills and information is key. They are not the Education factories that we have here in Charlotte.

October 9, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Let's bet this PERSON is WHITE and has ZERO children in CMS. SO how would THEY know what's going on in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:28
please research Graystone before you heap such praise upon them. Once you have done so, you will understand the school only accepts top academic students to begin with, which makes it just a little easier for them, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

It is also worth noting what some parents have been saying about Graystone, such as this comment posted over the summer on great schools.

"When I learned that at Graystone the teachers were not certified, and many who were teaching out of their area of certification (a history major teaches English, for example, and rather poorly), I got my kid out of the school. He was bullied on a daily basis after I complained about a grade to the administrator--by the teachers! Teachers do not grade most of the work they assign. They say they are rigorous, but no teacher (when asked) seems to have the same concept of what that means. Graystone does not prepare one for college, it filters away students who need help and gives degrees to the independent learners-the students who succeed without help. My son is now a senior at UNC and he strongly warns people against going to Graystone. I wish I could tell you of all of the ethical (according to the NC state board of education) violations that go on daily there--and they do not know enough to understand that their actions are unethical. Beware. You might have a good experience, but you could have a nightmare that has an adverse effect on your child."

Anonymous said...

Which has stolen more money out of the taxpayers of Charlotte :

"Its for the children"


"In the name of Jesus" ?

Anonymous said...

All school should be :



Home School

This eliminates most of the incessant bureaucracy that is CMS and the Federal Department of Education.

Anonymous said...


You could be talking about some of our CMS high schools as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised some of our local, highly ranked private schools, like Latin, Providence Day,Covenant Day, Charlotte Christian and Davidson Day aren't on this list. The article didn't state that this was just Public high schools, or maybe I missed it.

Anonymous said...

Private schools today. Private schools tomorrow. Private schools forever!

Anonymous said...

and a few of those schools have start times of 11am/noon - 4pm/5pm. This is the future of high school education.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps unsurprisingly, almost all of the schools are partnerships with local community colleges or universities".

So, in other words, CMS is actually on the right band wagon with the expansion of schools like CATO Middle College (that has entrance requirements) where students can earn an associate's degree that's transferable to any 4-year state university.

I concur. 60% of American students who start college never finish.

Interesting - or perhaps not - to find a charter school on the list that educates low-income students.


Anonymous said...

Does that somehow imply that your school has entrance standards? I can't imagine your school turning away Central American immigrants, profoundly EC students, Mckinney-Vento, or the chronically poor. No, tell me it isn't so Joe!

Anonymous said... about sour grapes. Can't we just celebrate a school that is helping students to perform well and meet their goal of being college ready instead of throwing stones? You do realize that the early colleges also have an application process?

I am happy for all the schools that are succeeding (traditional, magnet, charter, early-colleges, etc.) One size DOES NOT fit all, but when it comes to education, this seems to invoke such resistance.

If you can not be positive about the success of others who are serving children well, maybe you should stop to question what your motive for the negative comments are?

Congratulations to all the schools that made that list and have reached other accomplishments that benefit the students in both NC and the Mecklenburg area!

Anonymous said...

and none of the noted schools are Mecklenburg county schools. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

"chronically poor"

That is a state of mind Alicia.


Anonymous said...

anon 1:21,
it's not sour grapes, I merely pointed out something that Andrew failed to mention, in that Graystone screens out applicants deemed academically inferior.

I would imagine if any school were able to control the quality of the students enrolling in the school, those schools would do very well also.

schools are merely a reflection of the culture of the community they serve.

Anonymous said...

But it's all right now, I learned my lesson well

You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself

Someone opened up a closet door and out stepped Johnny B. Goode

Playing guitar like a-ringin' a bell and lookin' like he should

If you gotta play at garden parties, I wish you a lotta luck

But if memories were all I sang, I rather drive a truck

Read more: Rick Nelson - Garden Party Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Anonymous said...

Only a ship of fools would believe anything that these rankings have to say. The rankings are based overwhelmingly on # of students in AP and IB classes, not the number of students successfully passing them. CMS fails to make the list anymore because it now inflates its grades, passes on anyone with a pulse and makes claims to a 92 percent graduation rate. Keep up the good work Heath, at this rate the only kids left in CMS will be the ones that are financially unable to leave.

Anonymous said...

Well 11:15 you would be correct. CMS school rankings are also by how many kids sign up for AP classes, what a joke. It doesn't factor in who actually passed (or got college credits) for the class. It is all a game and the public should start to question CMS administrators and high ups about this.

My neighbor's child went from a local private school to the highest rated CMS high school this year. He said to me that it is "super easy" compared to the high school where he went the past two years.

Anonymous said...

to 8:52

Nobody wins when kids are tired all the time. Those school times make so much sense.

Unknown said...

I am a parent of a student at Gray Stone Day School - a Public High School. The school DOES NOT screen out students. In fact we were part of the first lottery 3 years ago when there were more applications than slots available. Is there testing for accepted students (lottery winners) - yes, but it is so they can place students in appropriate classes to give them the best chance to succeed.

Are there students not cut out for the school - YES! This school has a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. Because of the academic challenge, colleges "think highly" of our graduates. We have had students accepted at all the Ivy Leagues and Highly Selective Colleges. We have had students accepted into the military academy's. Our students go onto large universities and small colleges-receiving scholarships. These students are PREPARED!!!

The staff and teachers are some of the most dedicated professionals I have even meet. They encourage students to come to them before school, after school or at lunch if they need extra help. These teachers want to see the students SUCCEED!

The only reason for students leaving that I have heard of is that it is too hard and they don't want to have to work.

The current state of much of the education at Public School in this state is to dumb down to the lowest common denominator verses raising everyone up.

A high standard of education is what you will find at Gray Stone Day School.

Donna M.

Anonymous said...

From reading the admissions policy of your school, one could argue that Gray Stone does in fact screen incoming students. Incoming students are required to take "diagnostic" tests either during the spring or summer before they can enroll (not after). The school website states that if the student performs poorly, they may discuss whether or not this school is this best option for your student.

In essence, Gray Stone is accepting students that are already on a trajectory that will lead them to college. One could conclude that Gray Stone is not concerned about taking children who are not on a trajectory for college, or "lifting them up" as you say, but would rather the local public schools work with them while Gray Stone takes the cream of the crop and then claims they are preparing children for college, when in fact those children were already prepared.

Anonymous said...

What about the EBOLA Test ?

How many thousands of students flowed across our borders into the American Public School systems? How many of those are now in our NC Public School systems?

Try stopping it once it breaks out!

Anonymous said...

Ebola test wont work.

MOrrison and the BofE already have temps over 103.

Anonymous said...

still waiting for your in-depth story of personalized learning...

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:32am

Do you know for a FACT that the kids who went to Gray Stone would have been prepared for college if they had stayed in a regular CMS school?

You claim that these kids are "already prepared", but people aren't born prepared for college in most cases.

Isn't it likely that some would have fallen through the cracks if not for Gray Stone?

It seems unlikely to me that Gray Stone adds no value to a child's education if they are as dedicated as Donna Moore has said.

If they are able to BETTER prepare kids who MIGHT be bound for college, then they are doing a good job.

No telling where they would have gone otherwise.

One sad thing about US education is that we are willing to bend over backwards and spend all kinds of money to keep potential thugs out of prison, but get all bent out of shape when hard-working, dedicated students get a "lift up".

We should DO MORE for the kids and parents who are willing to do the hard work necessary to succeed and not waste as much on those who don't really care.

Anonymous said...

Gray stone sounds like a good option for many students.

If your child is an average student in CMS, be prepared to have them pushed through the system, forgotten in the classroom, sitting with tutors at night ($) and in remedial classes unprepared for college.

Anonymous said...

I agree that "chronically poor" is often a state of mind perpetuated and reinforced by well intentioned but misguided policies that aim to solve the cycle of poverty by blaming teachers, over testing students, overhauling curriculums, changing school boundary lines, handing out free laptops, throwing 55 million dollars down the drain, and everything else we've tried over the past 40 years that hasn't sustainably worked. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

No one can argue that my "utopian" charter school is racially diverse. It isn't. However, our student population is 30% low-come and represents an unusually high number of students who have academically failed in traditional public schools, have disabilities, have extenuating family circumstances including homelessness and foster care situations and have sought sanctuary here. My charter school also has an unusually high percentage of teachers, staff members, administrators, school board members, local clergy, and elected community officials with children, grandchildren and other family members at the school. Our public charter school test scores are not top in the state but in the 4 years the school has been in operation, scores have steadily increased. There is no doubt my charter school will continue to grow, make strides and succeed for 3 simple reasons - The "Magic Trinity" as I call them:

1. Parents:
Parents, step-parents, foster parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members who care about education and are willing to make personal sacrifices by choosing to send a child they love to our school when they have other viable options available to them with far fancier things.

2. Teachers:
Teachers, staff members and administrators who are personally and deeply invested in the school by choosing the enroll their own children and grandchildren at the school despite having other viable options available to them with far fancier things.

3. Community:
A small town that has fully embraced re-establishing a true community charter school after they lost their traditional public school when NC decided to consolidate schools into a county-wide system therefor forcing students to sit on a bus for up to four hours each day.

Yes, I believe in the United States "chronically poor" is often a state of mind. I also believe my school - and others like it - will succeed despite the challenges, obstacles, failures and other things standing in the way because of the many "states of minds" that share a common passion, mission and desire to succeed by offering a quality education to all who enter our trailer park doors.

And BTW, I'm getting a bus drivers license like many of our staff members, teachers and administrators who wear many hats at our school. I'll be driving school buses that Wake County, Rutherford County, and CMS have discarded. Yep. Technically not a TRUCK but close enough. Wouldn't you say? All aboard!

The Courage to Dream
The Courage to Achieve
I am
A NC Public School Teacher.


Anonymous said...

I went to school in the 60's and 70's when boy and girl brains were "the same", urban and rural kids were "the same" and everyone else was "the same". I never quite understood how it was OK to be different while forcing me to play football with boys during 8th grade PE class (after Title IV passed), suddenly ditching a curriculum that required me to take Home Economics while handing our newly formed girls soccer team the boys old soccer uniforms. In addition, I was subjected to "new" math, "whole" language, "open" classrooms and a host of other educational fads. I think it's safe to say that many of my generation consider themselves lab rats on the topic of their own educations. At least I wasn't bused to a new school every other year on N.C.'s four corners of the earth. There's still much controversy over "A Nation at Risk" but it comes as no surprise that this dire warning was published in 1985 - the same year I graduated from college.

What I find hopeful today is the acknowledgment that "the same" schools for everyone aren't necessarily the best schools for everyone. There's room for schools that have entrance requirements, hold auditions, have highly specialized curriculums and operate differently than traditional public schools. I see all of this as a good sign. Amen.


Anonymous said...

My 8th and 9th grade Home Economics courses were some of the best classes I have ever taken. To this day I still use the skills I learned in those classes. Should be mandatory for all high school students, boys and girls.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, last year Ann did an article on the problem of cell phones being stolen at local schools. It was such a problem that the CMS police were inundated with reports and could barely keep up. Any update or change in that situation?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:01AM,
Since Gray Stone is located on the campus of Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer NC, it is unlikely there are many former CMS students attending this school, unless of course the family moved.

My argument is regarding the elitist and condescending comment made by Donna about public schools in this state. Making such a statement illustrates both ignorance and prejudice. My children don't attend CMS schools, they attend a neighboring school system and we couldn't be happier with the education they are receiving.

sweetwater said...

I guess crowding in south charlotte schools like ardrey kell and comm house doesn't get any attention from cms or the boe.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:38.

Being among the elite is a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Anonymous said...

You (AK) already get three times LESS spending per student. Dont you know that you also will be paid three times less the attention. Unless you top that $55 million private money flowing in CMS doesnt give a flying flip about you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:21.

Such is the price AK pays for being a school for "elites".

The PC crowd must knock them down a notch.

No matter how much money they have to not spend to do so.

Anonymous said...

AK school for the elites, I think not.

My kids go there and its not a privileged school like many think, lots of the same problems that you would see in other urban schools.

Stop the complaining folks, what do you expect for free?

Anonymous said...

Parents are contributing to the grade inflation by expecting teachers to give students an A or B, requesting make-up work regularly, and failing to recognize appropriate grade level work. When students fall behind, parents expect the current teacher to get them caught up. What a difficult process when each year depends on the previous year. An example would be students reading and comprehending at a 6th grade level but is required to read text at the high school level.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:52am

The continuing resistance to starting high school later to accommodate the biological time clocks of teenagers speaks to the attitudes of the adults within CMS in charge of our children.

How can it be that despite overwhelming evidence that sleep deprivation in teenagers is every bit the public health menace that cigarette smoking is, school administrators have abided the status quo?

Tamara Sharpe said...

Who is failing to recognize appropriate grade level work?

I believe that is the school system and the whole Common core that's a mess. Do the teachers really think that the students are learning more because they are pushing higher level material on them in class (or one could say inappropriate grade level info). this only turns the student off from learning. Teaching material at the appropriate time makes more sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Um, uh, why pick on, uh, umm, Doctor uh, Heath.

M. Owens said...

Change is hard. The adolescents that I treat who have behavior and/or learning issues are worsened by getting too little sleep. The use of stimulants and caffeine by teenagers is on the rise.

Anonymous said...

Tamara, your thinking is the reason why so many kids do not do well in the classroom. Holding down the standards to the lowest denominator.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, would you please do a story on the new discipline policy in CMS? I would love to hear how teachers are handling this policy. At my school (no name of course), no consequence for poor behavior. If student misbehaves, it's the teachers fault.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:13

Please elaborate. The truth is that most kids are not Learning more due to common core. I'm not sure how that is the parents fault (other than what one poster mentioned earlier that parents are "expecting" teachers to give A and B's). What does that mean? Sounds like it's a teacher issue. Also teaching to the test, like memorizing study guides, etc.. isn't learning either.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon October 14, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Donna's comment about her kid's school is no different than yours.

You believe your children are getting a good education in your "other county than Mecklenburg school" and that's great.

However, her comment about the overall dismal state of public education and the dumbing down of it is accurate. It's been this way for the past 40+ years across the US.

I love whales said...

anon 11:07

There are a ton of CMS students who fall in that category, and who are falling behind. It's a combination of the time in class (are the 90 minutes productive, are the teachers effectively teaching the material), is the student getting support and accountability from home, and is Common core level appropriate for our students?

Yes, I have seen 6 and 7 graders reading high school level (and content) material. Makes no sense, and doesn't help them learn in the long run.

bbt said...

we are new to CMS this year from PA. Wondering why so many high school students, including my daughter, have to go to tutoring every week? What is not happening in the classroom? This is an unexpected, added expense for us. Is this normal?

I used to be "take back our schools". I think it is too late now. said...

Overheard a staff member tell another that their school enrolled two children from Liberia today that came in on the airplane yesterday. I guess they lack the sensitivity to not stay home for 21 days just to be sure they are not carrying.

Anonymous said...

This is so why so many parents put their kids in private schools down here, it is that bad. But if you say something you are just a northern carpet bagger or darn Yankee who thinks they know everything. Get used to it. Just give up and go to a private school.

Anonymous said...

Hey Andrew: what's this about CMAE using free offices provided by CMS?

Anonymous said...

" The truth is that most kids are not Learning more due to common core."

I think that's been going on a LOT longer than Common Core has been around.

More like the last 50 years or so.

Anonymous said...

" I guess they lack the sensitivity to not stay home for 21 days just to be sure they are not carrying. "

That would be discrimination due to disparate impact on Liberians.

If we did that, we'd have to stop strip searching little old ladies at the airports to stop the "terrorists", too.

Remember, we're ALL EQUAL now.

Viruses do not discriminate. A Scandinavian is just as likely to be carrying Ebola as a Liberian.

Or so the PC crowd would have us believe according to their usual actions.

Anonymous said...


Which School? CMS school?