Asheville City Schools begin new year with interim leadership

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.

Checking in on staffing, strategy shifts at local nonprofits

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.

Mission Hospital

News briefs: HCA completes acquisitio­n of Mission Health; Dogwood Trust establishe­d

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.

City schools listen as pupils speak up

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.

Burned out: Preserving Asheville’­s teacher corps

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.

Asheville City Schools take aim at racial disparitie­s

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.

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

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.