If you’d told Jonathan Bryant a few months ago that Lincoln Charter School would pay $10,000 for a graduation venue and ask families to drive an hour to get there, he’d have thought you were crazy. But the coronavirus has uprooted traditions that go so deep in our culture that we barely think about them until they’re banned.

Now the longest, strangest and most controversial graduation season in memory is underway.


A county mandate to raise all Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools staff to at least $15 an hour could lead to the loss of 175 jobs, the school board chair told county commissioners Friday evening.

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.

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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.