A Day in the Life of CMS

We chronicled a day at West Charlotte High School with a student, teacher, and the principal, and we did the same with an administrator. One topic dominated: Tests
Chris Edwards
Paige McNeil was a junior at West Charlotte High School last year. She also has a two-year-old son, which makes it difficult for her to find time to study. But she was determined to perform well on her End of Course tests.

The headlines have made it clear that testing is a big deal in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. But what the headlines can’t explain is how End of Course tests have infiltrated the culture of our public high schools at every level. So here we report on a day in late May—less than two weeks before the EOCs—with a student, teacher, and the principal at West Charlotte High School, one of the lowest-performing high schools in CMS. We also narrate an April day with the administrator in charge of testing. For each, while they struggle with complicated lives, the test could mean the difference between dropping out or advancing a grade, or keeping or losing a job. For each, the test is everything:

The Stories:

The Student

Despite good grades this year, Paige McNeil, a junior at West Charlotte, needs to do well on the EOCs to make up for last year, when she amassed more than fifty individual class absences while she struggled to find childcare for her two-year-old son.

The Teacher


It’s Spencer Singleton’s last year before he retires from teaching Civics and Economics at West Charlotte, but he still feels the pressure that EOC tests bring

The Principal

By May, according to school data, more students were on track to fail the EOCs at West Charlotte High School than in the previous year—which means principal Shelton Jefferies has lots of work to do

The Administrator

Whether Robert Avossa is talking to parents, state administrators, or the media, the theme is the same: testing




Categories: Feature, The Buzz