For our nonprofit special issue, Mountain Xpress took a look at a spectrum of local nonprofits that have recently experienced significant changes or are in the midst of transformative shifts in management or focus. We also checked in on some of the largest grant funding awards our region has seen this year.
Interim Asheville City Schools Superintendent Bobbie Short is taking over — for the third time in six years — as the district struggles with extreme disparities in the academic performance of its white and black students, which are the largest of any district in the state. The district is once again searching for a permanent leader. In the best-case scenario, a new superintendent will start work in January.
When the time comes for a new leader or a new strategic direction, nonprofits recognize that sound decisions can mean the difference between a sustainable future and irrelevance. That’s why Mountain Xpress took a look at a spectrum of local nonprofits that have recently experienced significant change s or are now in the midst of transformative shifts in management or focus.
As a result of the HCA acquisition of Mission Health, proceeds of the sale created the Dogwood Health Trust, a nonprofit foundation whose purpose is “to dramatically improve the health and well-being of all people and communities in Western North Carolina,” according to a press release from the trust.
“When the members of this class were born, the nation and the entire world were in a panic — not because these particular little babies happened to arrive then, but because the Great Depression had begun.”
The Asheville forum kicks off the IEI’s broader ReCONNECT NC initiative. Over the next three years, a series of six forums in four different cities will focus on the overarching theme of reconnection. Maggie Woods, policy and program manager at IEI, says people across the state are feeling out-of-touch and that this sense of detachment needs to be addressed at length.
“With the halving of school resources over the last few years, it looks like Raleigh wants to make quite sure that our kids ‘don’t count.’ Defeating this brazen attack on our own and our kids’ future will need volunteer efforts over the long haul, not one-time flashes in the pan.”
While it makes logical sense that students who’ve spent years attending Asheville City Schools would know better than anyone what is and isn’t working to promote their educational success, asking those students for input is nonetheless a radical proposition. That’s not stopping the system and the Asheville City Schools Foundation from carrying out The Listening Project to allow educators to learn from students’ experiences and insights.
“Raw talent is evenly distributed through the school population, but opportunity is not. If we are going to supplement their education in some way, we have to go where the kids are and cover all of them.”
The North Carolina Apple Festival returns for its 71st year. Also: Whole Foods Market and Greenlife raise funds for Asheville City Schools Foundation, the Acupuncture for Digestive Health offers a free event on fats, The Asheville School of Wine hosts a canned wine tasting event and French Broad Chocolates announces plans for expansion.
When seasoned teachers leave the classroom, everybody suffers. Students lose out on the benefits of the educators’ experience, school systems struggle to find and train replacements and the larger community often mourns the departure of a valued contributor with established relationships. While Asheville and Buncombe County public schools have lower teacher turnover than in other parts of the state, retaining and attracting the best teachers is increasingly challenging.
State data show that the gap in academic achievement between white and black students in the Asheville City Schools is the largest in North Carolina. The district is launching a new initiative to address the persistent problem — but only time will tell whether this effort will succeed where so many have failed to show results.
“A package to attract those jobs would require many moving parts, but the longest lead-time component would be an effort to get all our kids into an Asheville City Schools computer literacy pipeline.”
Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features a project to equip a youth cheerleading team with uniforms and other supplies; a local film collective’s contribution to a global project; plus one parent’s quest to improve Oakley Elementary School’s playground.
It all began with a picture in a shop window, but as the Asheville Grown Business Alliance has developed from a poster to a loyalty card to a web of interdependent local businesses, the goal has always been, well, growth.
School is back in session, and that means the Asheville City Schools Foundation has an immediate need for volunteers. Julia Shuster, director of volunteer training and outreach programs, tells us about the volunteering opportunities at ACSF.
To thrive in the uncertain job market of the future, students will need to become proficient with technological tools that are advancing at a lightening pace. And to help them keep up, the Asheville City Schools Foundation is seeking community partners to build off recent successes and overcome a range of challenges. (photo by Jake Frankel)
In a fourth-grade classroom at Hall Fletcher Elementary, two boys are huddled around the pint-sized table they use as their desk. One is reading from Page 72, problem No. 4, in his math book. As the pair work through the problem, the second boy chronicles the process, recording each step on an iPad cradled in his hands.
It’s time to kick off the third year of Go Local, the loyalty card from Asheville Grown Business Alliance that raises funds for Asheville City Schools and the local economy. Part one of our series looks at the big difference the little card is making in city schools.
Asheville City Schools Foundation announces the 2014 Go Local card directory.
Against a backdrop of government funding cuts, a diverse group of community members is rallying to improve the Asheville elementary school with the highest percentage of impoverished students.