All the schools just went through a shake down and the principals are all walking on egg shells to meet "no child left behind" requirements:CMS reassigns 7 school principals
09:06 PM EST on Tuesday, February 10, 2009
By Ann Doss Helms and Eric Frazier / Charlotte Observer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Superintendent Peter Gorman, hoping to improve seven of the county's low-performing schools, has reassigned some of his strongest principals to those campuses.
The move, approved Tuesday evening by the school board, marked the second time in less than a year the superintendent has shuffled principal assignments to boost student achievement at struggling schools.
"We recognize that this puts extra demands on the schools these principals are leaving -- but raising student achievement is a districtwide goal," Gorman said. "To achieve it, we must work together as a district."
Last year, he moved six CMS principals and hired one from Guilford County, displacing seven principals whose results he found lacking. The principals this year, like those last year, will get 10 percent pay raises and the right to handpick two administrators and up to five teachers for their new schools.
The teachers will get a $10,000 recruitment bonus based on a three-year commitment, along with a $5,000 retention bonus in the second and third years.
The principals being transferred this year are shifting from low-poverty suburban schools to high-poverty center-city schools with reading, math and writing scores well below district averages. At their current schools, low-income, black and Hispanic students perform well above state and district averages for those groups.
The new principals include:
Avery Mitchell, who moves from Crestdale Middle to Albemarle Road Middle, replacing Thomas Lamb.
Denise Watts from Mint Hill Middle to Spaugh Middle, replacing Tyrone McDonald.
Celeste Spears Ellis from Davidson Elementary to Allenbrook Elementary, replacing LaWanda Williams.
Tonya Kales from McAlpine Elementary to Ashley Park Elementary, replacing Jennifer Smith.
Beverly Newsome from Endhaven Elementary to Druid Hills Elementary, replacing Priscilla Graham.
Mary Jo Koenig from Lansdowne Elementary to Paw Creek Elementary, replacing Sharon Harris.
Cathy Hammond, a CMS administrator and former principal, to Thomasboro Elementary, replacing Vickie Patterson.
Six of the new principals were among the 48 experienced and successful school leaders Gorman tagged last spring to break away from some district mandates and take more power over their schools. That “freedom and flexibility” will follow them to their new assignments.
Hammond, a central-office administrator overseeing teacher training, wasn't eligible for the flexibility program.
The schools targeted for a shake-up have about 3,800 students in all, the overwhelming majority from low-income homes and performing below grade level. Four of the seven have poverty levels above 90 percent. All except Paw Creek, a large westside elementary with a 62 percent poverty level, top 80 percent.
Some of the principals being ousted had two years or less at their schools to make a difference.
Like last year, the switch will trigger ripples throughout the system, as principals are shuffled to fill the gaps and teachers with strong track records are hired to strengthen the seven schools. The schools losing their principals serve about 5,000 students, most of them in the northern and southern suburbs.
Last year's shake-up had negative effects for at least one school, according to a report from a CMS advisory group on equity. One school, identified only as “School B,” lost its principal and four high-achieving teachers as part of the reshuffling. It received a first-year principal, a first-year assistant principal and three classes of profoundly disabled students.
Last year Gorman waited until near the end of the school year to replace principals. This year he's moving earlier and faster, he said, because those principals told him they wished they'd had more time to figure out who should be replaced at their new schools. The new principals are scheduled to take over March 1