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.

ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE

Mecklenburg County commissioners informally approved a budget Wednesday that holds the property tax rate steady. It gives Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools a $26 million increase, but withholds $11 million of that unless CMS pays hourly employees at least $15 an hour.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board unanimously approved a new 2020-21 calendar Tuesday that reopens schools Aug. 17. But board Chair Elyse Dashew says families and employees aren’t as concerned about when schools will reopen as how.

Courtesy of Patty Armstrong

For the class of 2020, the coronavirus redefined the end of their education. For the class of 2033 – next year’s kindergarteners – it’s likely to shape the beginning in ways that have parents worried. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Even after students return to classes Aug. 17, remote learning is going to be a big part of their education, North Carolina officials say.

www.ncsu.edu

North Carolina State University and UNC Chapel Hill announced Thursday they'll open early and condense their fall schedules to send students home before Thanksgiving. Officials at both schools say they hope to get in a semester of in-person classes before a possible resurgence of COVID-19.

LISA WORF / WFAE

The crucial task of monitoring reading skills in K-3 students will fall to local school districts next year, state Superintendent Mark Johnson announced Thursday.

Gaston County’s high school graduates will walk across their school stages in caps and gowns with family and friends watching. But it definitely won't be a traditional ceremony.

Unsplash

Teach For America expects to bring about 70 new teachers to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in August. But instead of spending the summer working with students, the new teachers are likely to arrive with only virtual training. 

LISA WORF / WFAE

Four years ago Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools launched a new diversity plan to break up concentrations of poverty. So far, officials acknowledge it’s hard to see the results. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Superintendent Earnest Winston unveiled his plan for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' Class of 2020 Tuesday: A video ceremony, drive-through diploma pickups and an in-person event in the fall.

Being forced to home-school during the pandemic is tough for most families, but imagine trying to do it in a second language. That’s the reality for more than 128,000 North Carolina students and their families.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board Tuesday approved boundaries for a new southwest elementary school and an expansion of Lansdowne Elementary. They will change assignments for six existing schools.

UNSPLASH

The North Carolina Board of Education voted Thursday to stick with the state’s special pass-withdraw grading system for seniors. Some board members argued for an option that would let seniors boost their grade-point average.

Pixabay

Cabarrus County graduates will get their diplomas at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, while Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is planning pre-recorded videos.

Those are plans that emerged Thursday as districts grapple with how to make the Class of 2020's commencement memorable and safe.

Governor Roy Cooper visited this second grade class at Cotswold Elementary School which would have to make changes to comply with the smaller K-3 class size mandate.
Alex Olgin / WFAE

Gov. Roy Cooper has assembled a panel of educators, parents, advocates, employers and elected officials to get more educators of color into North Carolina's K-12 work force.

Taylor Robinson

State education officials have some graduation ideas: Maybe families could pull into a drive-in theater and watch while graduates walk up one at a time to collect diplomas.

Right after a scathing audit report went public, North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction is seeking a new chief financial officer. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

When people talk about what the coronavirus has done to North Carolina schools, you’ll generally hear some variation on this statement by Gov. Roy Cooper: "School classrooms may be closed, but the learning is not over."

And then you’ll hear something like this from Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board Chair Elyse Dashew: "We’ve got to work together, more than we ever have before, to help these kids who could so easily slip through the cracks."

Ann Doss Helms / WFAE

All North Carolina public schools will reopen Aug. 17 -- and add five days to the school year -- as part of a COVID-19 response plan signed by Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday.

Taylor Wilcox / Unsplash

State Auditor Beth Wood says North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction will have to repay $18 million in federal money intended for students with disabilities because of department errors. 

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