Teens Line Up For Voter Pre-Registration

Sep 20, 2012
Tasnim Shamma

Editor's Note: This story includes a correction

North Carolina is one of just five states that allows teenagers to "pre-register.” But, the state goes a step further:  local election boards are required to hold voter registration drives in all public high schools.  In Mecklenburg County alone, there are more than 5,600 teens pre-registered to vote. 

At West Mecklenburg High School, student-body president Brodrick Montgomery is inspired to grab a bullhorn.

The Northwest School of the Arts is the first high school in North Carolina to have the rights to put on a high school production of the Broadway musical "The Color Purple." The play is based on the 1982 Pulitzer-Prize winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker, centered on the story of a black woman’s struggle to find her identity while overcoming abusive family relationships. 

Mekhai Lee, a junior at Northwest, plays the male lead of Mister. He sings from inside a shop set in rural Georgia in the early twentieth century.

New Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison has said improving teacher morale is one of his top priorities.  He's hired an outside consultant to survey employees about morale in schools. 

Morrison has gotten an earful about low teacher morale in the district since he arrived.  He's asked teachers to come to town hall meetings to get their perspectives.  Now, he wants all employees to take a survey that attempts to answer these questions. 

CMS Police Go Door-To-Door Uptown

Aug 20, 2012

Police officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District are going door-to-door Uptown giving parents the run-down on bus changes and security restrictions during the Democratic National Convention.

CMS Police Chief Bud Cesena says the first week of September will pose some challenges for the 372 students and their families who live inside the I-277 loop.

"Some bus stops - because they're in the hot zone - won't exist any more," says Cesena. "So we're making sure the children and their parents know exactly where to go."

Charlotte Mecklenburg School teachers headed back to work Thursday to start preparing for students' arrival on August 27.  The district doesn't expect to be scrambling to hire teachers as the school year starts like in past years.  CMS Auxiliary Services Director Kathryn Block says CMS has a lot of hiring out the way and is in good shape at this point.  The district has filled nearly 99 percent of teaching positions. 

"It's not about putting a body in the seat.  It is about the quality of the teachers we're putting in our classrooms," says Block.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools has been trying to get its best teachers and principals in the most struggling schools through an initiative called strategic staffing. The schools have made big gains, but they're still far from where the district expected them to be at this point. Several school board members voiced frustration about that at Wednesday night's meeting.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools has released student end of year test scores for all of its schools, except two. West Charlotte and Harding high schools didn't have enough students taking the tests to post official scores for those schools. The state requires a school to test 95 percent of students in a course. Last night, school board members asked what happened.

Superintendent Heath Morrison questioned whether leaders at West Charlotte tried hard enough to get students to take them. But at Harding he said it was a different case.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools has had a new superintendent for a month now. Heath Morrison has been praised by parents, teachers, and even state lawmakers as superintendent of Washoe County Schools in Reno, Nevada. And so far, he hasn't had any naysayers in Charlotte. But most of what he's doing is listening at this point.

WFAE's Lisa Miller sat down with Morrison to discuss his impressions about CMS so far.

Thursday August 2, 2012

Jul 29, 2012
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

New CMS Superintendent  Heath Morrison
As students, parents, teachers and administrators gear up for school to begin later this month at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, we sit down with CMS’ new superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison. We’ll talk about Dr. Morrison’s entry plan, the long term budget struggles that the school system has faced and what he hopes to do to best use the money the system has, and talk about the goals of his series of town hall meetings, which begin tonight (Aug. 2). Join us with your questions for the superintendent as well.