Tuesday, November 11, 2014

CMS early college is off to a good start, principal says

Ever since the new Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools early college high school at UNC Charlotte was linked to Superintendent Heath Morrison's resignation, we've heard some concern and confusion from parents who were hoping to enroll their kids there.

Would the fact that the school board was concerned that Morrison (allegedly) misled them about the costs of the project impact the program?

Principal Will Leach says not to worry.

The school -- formally known as Charlotte Engineering Early College -- opened this fall with 100 students, all in ninth grade. The winter lottery will give them 100 more students for next year's freshman class.

The school is based out of a 12-classroom modular building on the UNCC campus. The students aren't taking college classes yet. But they have gone to see Nobel laureates speak and used the campus library.

As the students progress, they'll begin taking more college-level classes. By the end of the five-year program, they can earn up to 60 hours of college credit. That's roughly two full years worth.

"We're open. We're operating," Leach said. "Teaching and learning continues. It's just been an amazing opportunity."


Anonymous said...

That's what it is all about "teaching and learning". Parents prepare students to learn. Students work hard in school and complete their home work. Teachers prepare lessons, present material's and grade work. The community decides the curriculum, provides a building and pays for the teachers. That's all folks....

Anonymous said...

If everything is so dag gone peachy then why do you fire an effective leader ?

Where are the people who should be asking the direct and critical questions to the school board.

I have seen modular units put up and taken down only to be put up again at the same schools. CMS is full of waste and inept management.

This idea was a good one and a good leader has been run out of town by the good ole boys and girls.

No I aint gonna work on Annie Clarks farm no more !

Wiley Coyote said...

I have no problem with this program and wish it well.

However, I would like to see the ethnic breakout of students and also what the results are year after year of students on-grade, etc.

Anonymous said...


An editorial that holds the Board of Educations feet to the fire. Get with the program now Dunn.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if my white, suburban son could get into this CMS school? I know he has the proper grades to get in, I just don't know if he is the right demographic.

Anonymous said...

White suburban male student is at the very bottom of the CMS totem pole.

No new story there. Leave like almost every other white male student to another school system.

Take back our schools said...

Since many of these CMS alternative schools require passing or higher grade point averages to get in, there is a good chance for white male suburbans to get it.

When are you people going to realize that all CMS has to do is refuse to take federal money and all these Washington silly edicts go away!

Anonymous said...

Just to placate the peanut gallery and its never ending search for an "urban" target, see if the CMS communications clowns can even attempt to gather a racial breakdown of each department. I'm sure that with student race broken down to DNA samples, employees are designated as such in CMS big data. The uptown crowd needs a lot more exposure that doesn't need to be explained away by Ms. McCray or Clark as a personnel issue. UNCC certainly could of used RR ties to support that wall instead of a brick fashion statement for mobile classrooms.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:14,
seems as if I am not the only one who has noticed this trend, it is truly a shame what has happened to most community schools in the CMS system. The latest casuality that comes to my mind is Hopewell High school.

The more I read and think about the situation surrounding Morrison's recent departure, the more I wonder if he wanted to raise the bar here. However that was not what the local network around here wanted, as others have speculated.

Hopewell is located in a nice rural setting yet the school is totally ghetto (used to be a great school), I think Morrison wanted to correct that situation (Cambridge), but others wanted to cater to the lessor students. Most of the white families have already left this school and the ones who remain are hoping to attend Hough.
I hope the new Cambridge program will weed out the bad students while attracting and retaining the better students to return Hopewell to what it should be.

Anonymous said...

Hopewell does not stand a chance. It is already in motion to be socially correct from the Gods at CMS.

Your only chance is to head to the great white north ( Hough or Mooresville HS )

Anonymous said...

This is a great opportunity for those fortunate enough to win the "lottery"!

Yet, 100 students this year, 200 students next year, 300 students the following year and 400 students every year after that equals .07% this year, .14% next year, .21% the third year, and .28% of CMS' 145,122 students (student count from CMS website).

So, over 145K students won't get any benefit from this pet project, but since this will generate a news for the school district, it will be considered money well spent....

Great idea, even better principal to make this idea happen. Sadly, it's small, very expensive programs like this that allow CMS to hide and distract the public from what's really going on in the majority of the district's classrooms..

Anonymous said...


These new kids will be in overcrowded classrooms, hopefully in seats and not on the floor.

Anonymous said...

"We're open. We're operating," Leach said. "Teaching and learning continues. It's just been an amazing opportunity."

Yes it is.....for 100-400 students. What about the rest of the CMS student population?

Anonymous said...

anon 6:05,
I hope you are wrong, but I suspect you are probably correct. It is very difficult to restore a good reputation once lost. I am hopeful the new curriculum combined with strong leadership can make a positive difference.

A suggestion to the principal at Hopewell, make a change with the leadership in your band program. Hire a director similiar to the gentleman at East Meck. I saw East Meck at a band competition this fall, was extremely impressed!

Anonymous said...

Friction Erupts

That is like saying friction erupts in Hawaii with the lava situation. The CO is almost starting to do some investigative journalism and peeling back the onion.

The eruption of lava is there Dunn just keep digging.You are getting warmer.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing 9:07. This is stinking of corruption. This goes really deep and I am glad that Heath has starting opening more up. Lawyers and lobbyist continue and will continue to run this country, and the only thing that can ruin their control are newspapers doing in-depth investigations.
Keeping going Andrew, blow this up!

Anonymous said...

A culture of fear!!! Teachers have complained for years. Where was the good lawyers investigation then? What a load of crap..... Time for the school Board too go..

Anonymous said...

Guilty before proven innocent. Hope someone gets to the bottom of this. Sounds like a few people in the Ivory tower were having to work too much, or threatened by changes coming.

The BOE cannot be trusted, what a bunch of amateurs.

Anonymous said...

Friction erupts in CMS over Heath Morrison departure

After speaking with Bringewatt, Battle began interviewing other members of the CMS executive staff. Battle’s report indicates he spoke with Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark in one of his first interviews. She said there was a “culture of fear” among Morrison’s staff, the report states.

Hmmm. Ann Clark knew there was a culture of fear, yet said nothing about this until Battle spoke with her. Why was this? Was it she because she didn't want to be the one to take Morrison down, or could it be that she simply lacks the leadership skills needed to run the district? Either way, if she knew of this culture of fear, she should not have waited to say anything until asked about it.

Clearly, where there is smoke there is fire!!!!!

Andrew, please keep digging!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Way to go Andrew!
Even the usual DUNN cryers are behind the exposition of the legal folks, the good old girl network, the sorority franchises, etc., real estate, egos, and race ad nauseum. One day they'll eventually drop your name in all caps………… nah, that's not the civility crowd you're dealing with here. Good work!

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand why if Ann Clark is so good and she was basically Heath counterpart why she was such a darn wimp and didn't have the ability to say "hey Heath, I think you were a little harsh to Mrs. XYZ".

That in itself makes me not believe that she is an effective, capable leader. When folks are that high up in any sort of system they must have the mind set to speak up to their associates.

She is no leader, just the perfect door mat for BOE and Battle.

Wiley Coyote said...

Here's my problem.

Battle couldn't find a replacement for staff so he divvies up much of that salary to other people and uses "well, they'll be doing more work" to justify it.

Why weren't they doing more work to begin with if they can do it now?

I'm also confused as to how they had all these legal people, lost one, expanded responsibilities to the remaining staff and now won't have to hire outside help.

Sounds to me like Battle was running his department very poorly to begin with.

In light of this, the legal department shouldn't get ANY new hires or more funding in the future.

Anonymous said...


The head of the legal department finds he can't replace one of his staff, so he shares the savings with his employees???

Is it just me, or is he sharing tax payers dollars with the wrong people??

The scariest part is that the BOE was apparently willing to go along with this scheme....

Andrew, keep digging!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like there might have been a staffing problem in the legal department, and Morrison's questioning wasn't well received by the CMS status quo crowd.

Oh, and like others have said, why in the world didn't Ann Clark speak up before being asked about the "culture of fear"?

Too many questions, too few answers....

Anonymous said...

The question that needs to be answered:

How could Ann Clark possibly stand by and witness a "culture of fear" among the executive staff without saying anything?

Anonymous said...

They all - yes all - need to go. This really smells bad. All have been contaminated. School Bd., Clark, Battle, and on and on.

Anonymous said...

Ann Clark, who is now leading Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools after the departure of Superintendent Heath Morrison, said Friday that she will work to restore public trust and confidence in the district.

The investigatory report compiled by CMS general counsel George Battle III quoted Clark as saying there was a “culture of fear” among Morrison’s staff.

Clark also would not say whether she brought any concerns about Morrison to the board or to Morrison himself.

She said the district has a grievance policy posted on its website that is available to all employees. CMS school board policies list steps to elevate complaints from a direct supervisor all the way to the board.

Leadership = action!

Lack of action does not equal leadership!!

Anonymous said...

School for Scandal

This autumn, Dallas endured one of the most bizarre scandals in its history, one that would have made for great slapstick comedy if it had not been so pathetic. Yvonne Gonzalez, the 44-year-old superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, was accused of sending the district’s chief financial officer sexually suggestive greeting cards, whispering lewd comments in his ear at meetings, and—in a fit of jealousy—using DISD funds to hire a private investigator to follow him to see if he was meeting other women. Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney’s office discovered that Gonzalez had stolen $16,000 of the district’s funds so she could buy furni-ture for her home and office. Dallas residents were flabbergasted. Why would the superintendent of the nation’s tenth-largest school district, someone who earned nearly $200,000 a year, throw away her career to purchase, among other things, a really tacky Oriental credenza?

What few residents asked—or wanted to ask—was an even more disturbing question: How could someone so incompetent and corrupt ever get appointed head of the DISD in the first place? With more than two hundred schools, 155,000 students, and a budget of nearly $1 billion, the DISD has become a source of deep frustration for anyone who has genuinely cared about the city’s future. Though it’s not surprising that Dallas, like almost every urban area in the country, has a school system plagued by weak test scores, high dropout rates, and overworked teachers, the utter vacuum of educational leadership is disheartening. School administrators and the Dallas school board are locked in an eternal struggle over power, patronage, and money. DISD leaders seem unwilling to put into place the financial controls necessary to ensure that taxpayer dollars get into the classrooms. A special counsel who investigated DISD practices recently concluded that more than $10 million had been paid to private vendors for shoddy, incomplete, or overpriced work. In a city that has long prided itself on its business acumen and can-do attitude, the DISD administrative operation is a disgrace.

Sound familiar? Well at least the bolded part...

Anonymous said...

What’s more, the elected members of the Dallas school board almost never take the time to debate educational innovation and excellence. Instead, they’re so caught up in racial politics that they barely reach a consensus on anything. Because about 100,000 white students have fled DISD schools since the mid-seventies for either the suburbs or private schools, the district’s breakdown is now 47 percent Hispanic, 41 percent black, and 10 percent white. But whites still hold five places on the nine-member school board mainly because voter turnout for DISD elections is mostly white. Some whites argue that they deserve those places on the board because they pay the largest portion of property taxes that fund the DISD. But the city’s most outspoken black activists, including the New Black Panthers, regularly disrupt school board meetings with shrill speeches attacking white board members and insisting that more black administrators and principals are needed to lead black kids. When the school board recently announced that a new administrator had been hired, one black activist shouted, “If he’s not African American, we’re definitely opposed!” Representatives from Hispanic organizations also come to board meetings and demand more Hispanic administrators and principals. Such an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion has polarized the board, which has three black members and one Hispanic in addition to the five whites.

Anonymous said...

It’s tempting to say that the school board members should forget their racial differences and get on with their work, but they won’t. The present situation is hopeless, so something has to change. Chicago has successfully put its schools in the hands of the mayor, who then appoints the district’s board and management team. If the people don’t like the way the schools are run, they can vote the mayor out. But that doesn’t seem possible in Dallas, since the district extends beyond the city boundaries and thus outside the authority of the mayor. Perhaps it is time for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to step in and monitor the DISD. If necessary, it could take over the DISD itself, as it has done with smaller troubled districts. Of course, the TEA couldn’t run the Dallas schools permanently, but maybe its intervention would become a cooling-off period. The TEA could even prevent another round of political infighting by choosing the next DISD superintendent—someone who would not be tied to one interest group or another. Such changes may sound extreme, but without them the city’s bonfire will burn out of control.

Anonymous said...

More Controversy For DISD Superintendent Mike Miles
October 14, 2014 4:00 PM

SOUTH DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Fliers written by people asking for the resignation of Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles were placed on parent’s cars Tuesday at South Dallas’ largest middle school.

Calling Miles as a bully, the fliers come on the heels of a big shakeup at Dade Middle School.

A year ago the school district highlighted the school as the campus of the future for South Dallas. However, Miles named the third principal there since the school’s opening day.Ten teachers, plus Miles’ handpicked principal for 2014 are out. He said poor teaching techniques are the reason why. Miles’ decision reflects poorly on his track record and overall impact on the school, according to some board members.

“This is the fourth principal in two years, and I think you need stability, and how will this impact childrenwith the constant turnover,” said Dallas ISD trustee, Bernadette Nutall.

Miles ordered Nutall to be removed from the Dade campus by DISD police, after she questioned his latest staff change decisions.

Critics have said Miles should be fired for such actions.

But Board President Miguel Solis supports the superintendent.

“You’ve got the superintendent who believes that we’ve hired him to lead us… who believes a serious situation exists at Dade and serious changes must happen,” said Solis.

Anonymous said...

As evidenced by the above articles, these school districts are, without question, too large to manage, or expect local school board members to oversee.

It's time to look for a way to break CMS into smaller pieces where clear lines of authority can be established and accountability as well.

Wiley Coyote said...

This is where we're headed folks....just a matter of time...

In Minneapolis, teachers and principals are no longer allowed to suspend a Hispanic or black student, but suspending white students is just fine.

Suspending “non-white” students now requires approval from the district superintendent.

Anonymous said...

Just one simple question: who authorized Mr. Battle to initiate an investigation of our superintendent? He had to have directon/authorization. General Counsel are there not to handle complaints but to handle litigation and keep CMS operating within the law. I don't see how our superintendent's management success is Mr. Battle's number one concern. So, who authorized Mr. Battle to initiate an investigation? Simple question.

Shamash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shamash said...

Lordy, this is just pathetic.


Principals have already been asking Johnson if she would be “grilling” them when reviewing proposed suspensions.

“No, it’s a conversation,” Johnson said.


Yeah, probably one of those "courageous" conversations we've been hearing about.

(Yeah, about as "courageous" as the Spanish Inquisition.)

But maybe it's the future of CMS now that the way has been cleared for a "new" superintendent.

I wonder if she will look as much like Vilma as the Minnesota superintendent Bernadeia Johnson does?