The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education met on Thursday. The school board spent the majority of the meeting hearing community members' public comments and presentations from students and committees across Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
- High school students appeared at the CHCCS board meeting to speak to the board about how class rank can negatively affect students' lives.
- Class ranking, a system used in many high schools across the country, weighs students' grade point averages against each other.
- North Carolina mandates class rank, but community members and the student equity ambassadors at the meeting urged the CHCCS board to think differently about how rank is calculated. Four students who spoke during the meeting said class rank adds unnecessary academic stress to students' lives.
- “I think as next steps, what sounds like a consensus, is that we take this back to policy committee and come back with a recommendation on the full board on how we might go forward about this,” CHCCS Board Chairperson Rani D. Dasi said.
- The board opened up the meeting for public comment, which lasted for about an hour and a half. The majority of comments were in support of CHCCS Superintendent Nyah Hamlett.
- Community members wore purple in support of her amidst the controversy she is facing over a News and Observer article. The article, written by Dan Kane, called her dissertation into question, claiming there are concerns of plagiarism throughout her work.
- During public comment, community members expressed that Black educators like Hamlett are often heavily scrutinized while their white counterparts are not.
- Resident Dianne Jackson said Kane admitted that he had not looked into the dissertation of any other superintendents.
- “If he (Kane) had looked into how she has handled the job she was hired to do, he would have heard many stories from students, staff, teachers, school board members and the community about how Dr. Hamlett has been one of the finest superintendents we have ever known,” CHCCS parent and alumna Susan Clifford said.
- André Stewart, the chief operations officer for CHCCS, gave a presentation to the board representing the Transportation Optimization Committee.
- Stewart said there are not enough drivers to transport students to and from schools. He said they are in a “crisis mode" for transportation on a daily basis.
- He presented solutions for the problem, such as furthering the staggered school start and end times.
- “We're looking to see where the board stands, what the board's wishes are, so we can take them back to the committee and then bring back a recommendation in February,” Stewart said.
- The board responded with feedback, saying they would not want earlier start times for students and staff. They also said none of the presented solutions were perfect, but they are interested in the ideas presented.
What decisions were made?
- The board unanimously approved the consent agenda. This included the approval for the recommendation to purchase new supplies for all students and to increase the contracts with university instructors with Advancement Via Individual Determination, a college readiness program for students.
- The next regular CHCCS school board meeting will be on Tuesday, Feb. 14.