ERIC Number: EJ1015170
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
"Here's to the Crazy Ones:" Legendary Words Spark Educators and Businesses
Realon, Michael S.
Techniques: Connecting Education and Careers (J3), v88 n2 p48-51 Feb 2013
During the summer of 2006, as part of a court ruling, Olympic High School of Charlotte-Mecklenberg School (CMS) District, was accused of committing "academic genocide" against its students and was threatened to be taken over by the state of North Carolina. However, in 2005, Olympic had earlier won a $1.2 million grant from a high school change agent associated with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. By the time of the ruling, the school was already deeply engaged in a transformation to become a campus of five theme-based small high schools: International Business and Communications Studies; Biotechnology and Health; Global Studies and Economics; Arts and Humanities; and Math, Engineering, Technology and Science. The school improved immediately. In fact, just five years after Olympic became a small schools campus, the CMS district conducted an exhaustive study about the performance of its schools because of serious impending cost cuts which would require closing many schools and unsuccessful programs. The performance data compiled by the district demonstrated that Olympic's proficiency scores on state-mandated tests had actually risen by 65 percent since becoming a small schools campus, and its campus now houses four of the top seven CMS high schools in terms of the district's key performance metric--the academic growth of its students. How did such a significant transformation happen in such a short time? Since 2006, Olympic can boast having more than 200 organizations that have volunteered 12,000 hours and donated over $2 million towards project-based and experiential learning initiatives that help differentiate the Olympic brand of educational opportunity. From the initial planning stages of converting itself into a small schools campus, Olympic has embraced the action strategy of becoming strategic partners with the business, faith, nonprofit and postsecondary communities. This article describes how these partnerships were forged and why they proved so effective in turning Olympic High School around.
Descriptors: High Schools, Small Schools, School Turnaround, Partnerships in Education, School Business Relationship, STEM Education
Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). 1410 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: 800-826-9972; Tel: 703-683-3111; Fax: 703-683-7424; Web site: http://www.acteonline.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A