Cole del Charco

Fletcher Fellow

Cole del Charco is WUNC’s Fletcher Fellow for education policy reporting. He grew up in Hickory, North Carolina, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. from the School of Media and Journalism and spent his first year out of college working with WFAE, Charlotte’s NPR member station. Cole loves pine trees, sunny days and the mountains of North Carolina.

Tweets at @ColedelCharco

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Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

The rate of crime in schools has gone down for the third year in a row. Education leaders on the State Board of Education discussed the findings in their monthly meeting in Raleigh on Thursday.

Both the number of reportable crimes and the rate of crime on school campuses decreased in the 2018-19 year. The rate of crime decreased nine percent between 2018 and 2019.

It’s also the first year no school in North Carolina used corporal punishment, after the final two districts using it banned the practice after the 2017-18 school year.

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The State Board of Education has renewed the charter for Kestrel Heights Elementary and Middle School in Durham. The school had sought a 10-year renewal, just a few years after having to close its high school because it awarded diplomas to students who had not completed the required coursework. Forty percent of its graduates were awarded these diplomas over several years.

Cole del Charco / WUNC

How teachers end up in the profession, and how they progress in their careers, was a main focus of the State Board of Education's February meeting.

The January 2020 State Board of Education meeting room empties out as the board goes into closed session.
Cole del Charco / WUNC

When North Carolina voters go to the polls on Super Tuesday, they will be faced with making a preliminary selection on who should be the next Superintendent of Public Instruction. It’s a position that directs an enormous amount of state and other funds. But it’s also a role that is poorly defined, and, currently, a source of contention.

The January 2020 State Board of Education meeting room empties out as the board goes into closed session.
Cole del Charco / WUNC

The State Board of Education and State School Superintendent are clashing again over a contract for a K-3 reading diagnostic tool.

Cole del Charco / WUNC

Governor Roy Cooper has created a task force to address an ongoing concern in public schools across North Carolina -- a lack of diversity among the state’s teachers. 

Image of Kevin Guskiewicz
Courtesy UNC Office of the Chancellor

The University of  North Carolina Board of Governors voted today for Interim UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz to step into the role permanently. 

photo of an apple on top of books
Kate Ter Haar / Creative Commons

The State Board of Education turned down a charter school application from a group that wants to serve indigenous students in Robeson County.

Cole del Charco / WUNC

Teachers in North Carolina are going without a pay raise until at least next year.  That’s after the General Assembly and Governor couldn’t come to an agreement on a budget this past session, or even a so-called mini-budget, focused on teacher pay. 

A water fountain inside a hallway at a school at Chapel Hill Carrboro Public Schools.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

The difference between making and missing reporting deadlines for federal compliance can be slim. That’s why having personnel who do evaluations of exceptional children on staff is helpful. But many North Carolina districts can’t afford to.

A hallway with a row of red lockers at a public school in Durham.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Board of Education officials in Johnston County are struggling to fill an almost $9 million dollar budget shortfall.  The board will ask county commissioners for more money at the Dec. 2 meeting.

Cole del Charco / WUNC

Earlier this semester, students in sixth grade at St. Timothy’s School in Raleigh took a trip to the Roman Coliseum and Greek Parthenon. But they did so without ever leaving their classroom.

File photo of UNC Board of Governors Chairman Harry Smith and UNC system President Margaret Spellings responding to questions about the aborted Western Carolina University chancellor search at a July 27, 2018 press conference.
Lisa Philip / WUNC

Harry Smith has announced he's resigning entirely from the UNC  System Board of Governors.

Smith stepped down as chairman in September but said at the time he planned to remain on the board.

On Monday, he said he's decided to relinquish his board seat completely in February to focus more on the private equity firm he started.

Cole del Charco / WUNC

The UNC-Chapel Hill Student Government held a town hall to discuss campus sexual assault, and what's being done to combat it on campus. It was a direct response to a campus-climate survey released last week by the American Association of Universities on sexual assault.

An image of UNC's Old Well
yeungb / Wikipedia Creative Commons

A new campus climate report shows that more than 20 percent of students surveyed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill experienced forceful or non-consensual sexual touching or penetration.  The survey was conducted at 33 leading research universities by the Association for American Universities.

Michelle Burton is a library media coordinator at an elementary school in Durham. On a normal day, she helps teachers and students with computers, manages the school library, and teaches students to use technology. One day last year, a box arrived unannounced. It was filled with bookmarks with State Superintendent Mark Johnson’s name prominently printed at the bottom.

UNC System interim president Bill Roper, left, announced Tuesday that Dan Gerlach, right, will serve as ECU's leader.
East Carolina University

Updated at 12:24 p.m.

East Carolina University's Interim Chancellor has been placed on administrative leave.

bus
Cole del Charco / WUNC

Most school years across North Carolina are well underway, and that means giant yellow school buses are out on the roads each morning and afternoon. But just as universal as the first day of school is a near-constant bus driver shortage in districts across the state. 

Cole del Charco / WUNC

As Hurricane Dorian nears the North Carolina coast, shelters across the eastern part of the state are preparing for evacuees from coastal communities where the Governor ordered a mandatory evacuation.

At the Northgate Mall in Durham, state officials have turned a former Sears department store into a hurricane shelter. The group had set up more than 500 beds before noon and said it could add another 500 if needed.

Cole del Charco / WUNC

Jones County has seen its share of destruction and economic challenges. It was one of the poorest counties in North Carolina, even before Hurricane Florence swept through last September, decimating two of the county’s six school buildings. Students in the district missed 25 days of school.

N.C. Department of Public Instruction
Dave DeWitt

In a letter to the State Board of Education, district superintendents say they need more time to train educators to use the new iStation program before using it to assess K-3 readers.

UNC Police

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has named Thomas Younce as its new interim police chief.

children reading
U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

The company that North Carolina K-3 schools used for reading assessments has filed a formal protest over the Read To Achieve contract it lost. 

Since the recession, school districts are increasingly relying on donors and foundations, like the Guilford Education Alliance, to stock their classrooms.
Jess Clark / WUNC

It's the second time Democratic Governor Roy Cooper is proposing a budget to the General Assembly, but this time he has some negotiating power. Last time, the Republican legislature had a veto-proof majority, but now the two groups will have to find a compromise.

Teacher in classroom with students.
woodleywonderworks / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/auPuAq

Teachers across the state of North Carolina who haven’t been able to pass a licensure exam could get an extension from the General Assembly.

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