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

Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board members said Monday that the district's central offices made a series of mistakes in rolling out survey questions asking students about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE

This week Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools says it will provide details on cost overruns and changes to school bond projects – and will start laying the groundwork for a 2023 bond.

CMS
Ann Doss Helms / WFAE

Facing a barrage of criticism and questions from parents, Superintendent Earnest Winston announced Saturday that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will withdraw controversial student survey questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said fifth-graders got the questions about sexual orientation and gender identity, but a CMS official says fifth-graders only took the school climate survey without those questions.

Some Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools parents and teachers say they're concerned about a mandatory survey being given in class that asks students in grades 6-12 to list their sexual orientation and gender identity.

ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE

The power of zoning and regulations to encourage or squelch affordable housing was a theme that came up repeatedly Thursday at a Building the Dream housing forum in Charlotte.

ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE

A growing number of North Carolina’s charter schools are setting aside seats for disadvantaged students in their fiercely competitive admission lotteries. It’s part of a $37 million push to make those schools more diverse.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY

If you think of public preschool as free child care for the poor, you’re behind the times … at least in Mecklenburg County.

The county has opened registration for next year’s Meck Pre-K classes, and some families making six-figure incomes are eligible for the free program.

ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE

What started about a year ago as a push for safer schools has turned into a war of words between Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Centegix, a company that sold the district a panic-alarm system. Caught in the middle are Mecklenburg taxpayers, students and CMS employees.

ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Vilma Leake gave the school board a scolding Tuedsay over the prospect of changes to the bond projects Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools promised in 2017.

ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE

For the past two years, tension between the town of Matthews and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has threatened to upend the way new schools are built in Mecklenburg County. Those tensions were laid to rest this week with back-to-back votes in Matthews and Charlotte.

Scott Brody / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/CC BY-SA 4.0

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston said Tuesday he's severing the district’s relationship with a company that sold a school panic-alarm system and that he'll try to get the district’s money back.

ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has formally asked Mecklenburg County commissioners for more money to complete school construction projects.

ANN DOSS HELMS

Updated 6:45 a.m. Tuesday

In a unanimous vote, Matthews town commissioners last night passed a resolution saying the town has no intention of opening municipal charter schools. It’s a truce with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in a two-year battle over how to build schools. 

CMS

The $922 million in school bonds that voters approved in 2017 is no longer enough to cover all the projects promised during the campaign, a top Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools official said Friday.

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is scaling back on the size of new high schools it promised to build during the 2017 bond campaign, and district officials aren't explaining the change.

LISA WORF / WFAE file photo

The number of teachers leaving North Carolina public schools declined in 2019, and that trend also played out in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Gaston, Iredell-Statesville and Kannapolis school systems.

ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board agreed in November to create a position for a new, independent officer to monitor the superintendent and other top staff. But after almost three hours of discussion Tuesday  the board isn’t much closer to hiring that person. 

ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE

When Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools combined Dilworth and Sedgefield elementary schools in 2017, it was seen as part of a bold experiment to undo segregation, keep families in public schools and help more students thrive. But that’s only part of the story.

ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE

In 2017, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board launched an experiment in reversing resegregation by merging pairs of elementary schools with very different demographics and needs. Those paired schools are halfway through their second year now, with data that highlights some triumphs and some troubling questions.

TimJN1 / Flickr / ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Human evolution and prehistoric times would vanish from North Carolina’s social studies curriculum under new proposed standards. But some teachers are fighting to keep the Paleolithic Era alive in classrooms. 

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