Ann Doss Helms

Education Reporter

Ann Doss Helms covers education for WFAE. She was a reporter for the Charlotte Observer for 32 years, including 16 years on the education beat. She has repeatedly won first place in education reporting from the North Carolina Press Association and won the 2015 Associated Press Senator Sam Open Government Award for reporting on charter school salaries.

She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master's in liberal arts from Winthrop University.

WFAE File Photo

The North Carolina Board of Education approved Friday an emergency paid leave policy to ensure that school employees get paid through the COVID-19 crisis.


How do you grade students who are learning from home, some of them without internet access, adult guidance or other means to keep up?


North Carolina's year-end testing is likely to be put on hold for this year, as students face at least nine weeks of learning from home to avoid the coronavirus.


It was a strange morning in the Olde Providence parking lot Wednesday, what with the suit of armor wearing a surgical mask and the teachers whooping it up like it was Friday night before a big game.

Then again, there haven’t been any normal days at the south Charlotte elementary school or anywhere else, with schools closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.


Even if North Carolina's schools can reopen in mid-May, families and school employees may see their summer plans disrupted by the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, a key legislator said Wednesday.

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools pulled the plug on spring proms Tuesday night, as the county prepares to go on stay-home orders to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston wants an additional $36.8 million from the county for the coming school year. 


It wasn’t a surprise, but it was still kind of shocking: North Carolina students will have at least nine weeks carved out of their classroom time because of the coronavirus pandemic. In the best-case scenario, they could return on May 18 for a very truncated school experience.

UNC-TV screenshot

Life amid the coronavirus in North Carolina is about to get more restrictive. First, Governor Cooper announced today that the closing of all schools is extended to May 15. And additional businesses. 


North Carolina's public schools will remain closed through May 15 as the coronavirus pandemic spreads through the state, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Monday.

Gaston College has named John Hauser as its new president, starting June 1. He’s currently president of Carteret Community College and has more than 30 years of experience in North Carolina’s community college system, including more than 20 at Wilkes Community College. 

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board’s student representative is getting a lot of public love after he grilled the adults in the room at an emergency board meeting this week.

Ann Doss Helms / WFAE

North Carolina’s public schools are moving fast to create emergency child care, meals for students and online learning plans, a state official told the state Board of Education Wednesday.

Deputy Superintendent David Stegall, who is leading the Department of Public Instruction's coronavirus response, and state board chair Eric Davis, say some questions remain unanswered, including how to ensure seniors can meet graduation requirements and whether the two weeks of closing that Gov. Roy Cooper ordered Saturday can count toward required school time if distance learning is provided.

Charlotte Lab School

Updated to reflect Monday night's CMS board meeting.

Last week schools across North Carolina and South Carolina hummed with energy of students learning.

Phil Roeder / Flickr/

This morning every public school in North Carolina is closed as state and local officials hash out a strategy for keeping kids safe and educated during what could be a prolonged closure for coronavirus protection. The first steps were taken in a series of weekend meetings and phone conferences.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Saturday closing all K-12 public schools in the state for at least two weeks and prohibiting gatherings of 100 or more people amid coronavirus concerns.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board voted Friday to move up spring break in hopes of buying time to prepare for possible longer closings.

Ann Doss Helms / WFAE

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools notified families Thursday evening that all sports, competitions and school-based performances are canceled as the coronavirus pandemic reaches Mecklenburg County.

@ProvidenceDay / Twitter

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the letter from Charlotte Latin Head of School Chuck Baldecchi as saying there was a confirmed case in the school community. Another version said all three schools had decided to shift to online learning after spring break.

Three large private schools in Charlotte are closing their campuses Friday and preparing to shift to online classes after spring break to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Charlotte Country Day, Charlotte Latin and Providence Day School notified families Thursday afternoon that they'll dismiss for spring break Friday,  instead of waiting until next week, and are making plans to launch distance learning after the break ends.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE

Union County, Gaston County and Iredell-Statesville Schools have joined CMS in canceling or restricting field trips to slow the spread of coronavirus, as the World Health Organization declared the virus and disease it causes a pandemic.