International Baccalaureate prepares students for diverse careers 

Learning questions as well as answers
International Baccalaureate prepares students for diverse careers 

Sisters Sharon, Stesha and Sheila Doku graduated from Myers Park High School. The same course of study, the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, led them to take different journeys. Two are in the medical field and one practices law. Each said the program taught them to expand their thinking, find connections, solve problems and prepare for college.  

Twenty-five years ago, Myers Park High became the first public school in North Carolina to offer IB, an academically challenging program that encourages critical thinking, international awareness and open minds. Myers Park was a magnet school at the time. No longer a magnet, the school continues to offer the middle years program for grades nine and 10 and the diploma program for grades 11 and 12. Now, 15 elementary, middle and high magnet schools in CMS offer the program through school choice. 

Sharon Doku, a 2001 graduate, studied at Harvard University and Georgetown Law Center. She is an attorney for an international company in Germany who specializes in international capital markets and corporate transactions. Her work has recently taken her to Lagos, Nigeria. She credits the IB program for helping her find her niche. 

“I never wanted to become a lawyer but IB led me to it,” she said. “I studied German, spent a summer in Germany and enjoyed all the international aspects of the program. It suited me.”  

She was drawn to physics and chemistry as well. Her knowledge in those subjects helps her when she is working with clients in the biotechnology field. She recalls that being a student in the IB program was an adventure, one that required an immense amount of commitment. 

“I loved the passion the teachers displayed for the subject matter,” she said. “Because it was important to them, it became important to me.” 

Stesha Doku, who graduated in 2004, studied biomedical engineering at Duke Pratt School of Engineering. She was named a Fulbright Scholar in 2008. After completing her first year in medical school at Stanford, she began her Fulbright research at the University of New South Wales, Australia in the summer of 2009. She is an anesthesiology specialist and her hobby is designing websites.   

“Our parents are both nurses so we were exposed to the medical field at an early age. I loved science, so medicine was a good fit for me,” she said. “While in the IB program, I also learned computer science. My favorite teacher, Robert Corbin, would let me create websites and produce electronic workbooks.” 

Both women shared a memory of a combined English and social studies class that embodied the program’s purpose. 

“We would study different periods in history and simultaneously study a piece of literature from that time,” said Stesha Doku. “That class taught me to think in a more rounded way because I was learning the literacy skills within the context of what we were studying.” 

Sheila Doku graduated in 2010 and went on to study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy. She is a pharmacist.  

“My IB chemistry class is what set me on the pathway to my career,” she said. “I wrote a research paper in that class about pharmaceuticals and was hooked. I also received an internship with CVS and Walgreens after school and on weekends.”  

She gained self-confidence through the IB studies. 

“In English class I remember having debates and having to stand up to say what you thought about a passage,” she said. “Myers Park felt like a college campus and the classes were difficult. When I attended college the classes didn’t seem as hard but it’s because I was well prepared.” 

The program connected her learning to the real world in many ways. 

“I was reading a book about Morocco and was then set up with a Moroccan pen pal,” she said. “We also held international days where different booths were set up and we would learn about cultures and their foods. It really expanded my thinking.” 

Myers Park has continued to teach IB students to develop strong communication skills, to become adept at sharing their ideas and to justify their thinking through writing and oral presentations.  

“Students in the program become a part of a close-knit learning community,” said mathematics teacher Michelle Krummel. “At Myers Park, teachers meet monthly to receive training and share information about the program and its activities.” 

Krummel has attended two three-day workshops specific to her subject area provided by the International Baccalaureate Organization. She said the workshops provided her with an opportunity to connect with and learn from other teachers around the world. 

Krummel’s students see the benefits of IB. Eleventh-grader Duncan Pickett said he is learning such life skills as time management. 

“Scheduling and planning are things I need to do well,” Duncan said. “There are days I have band practice and long-term projects I have to complete. To get it all done, I need to set priorities so I can stay on track.” 


New School Choice Principals!

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education approved the appointments of Jeffrey Cook as principal at Wilson STEM Academy, Joyce Fullington as principal at Villa Heights, Courtlyn Reeves as principal at Greenway Park Elementary and Gerri Parker as interim chief human resources officer at its Feb. 13 meeting.

Cook has been headmaster at Urban Science Academy in Boston since 2014 and was assistant headmaster/senior curriculum access specialist at the school from 2005 to 2014. He was a principal intern and teacher at Newton South High in Newton, Mass., from 2003 to 2005 and was a teacher and student support coordinator at Media and Technology Charter High in Boston from 2000 to 2003. He also taught at Cooper Middle in McLean, Va., from 1998 to 2000 and was with Teach for America at Bunn Elementary in Enfield, N.C., from 1995 to 1997. Cook earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a master’s degree in Education, Risk and Prevention from Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, Mass. He also earned a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Fullington has been assistant principal at Albemarle Road Elementary since 2015. She was assistant principal at Bain Elementary from 2012 to 2015, dean of students at the school from 2011 to 2012 and a math/science facilitator at Berewick Elementary from 2009 to 2011. She also was a principal intern at Endhaven Elementary from 2007 to 2009, a teacher at the school from 2002 to 2009 and a teacher at Belleview Elementary in Rock Hill, S.C., from 1993 to 2002. Fullington earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Winthrop University, Rock Hill; a master’s degree in education from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.; and a school administration certification from Wingate University, Wingate, N.C.

Reeves has been assistant principal at Zebulon B. Vance High since 2015. He was dean of students at North Mecklenburg High from 2014 to 2015 and was a teacher at the school from 2013 to 2014. Reeves also taught at Vance High from 2011 to 2013. He earned a bachelor’s degree in politics and journalism from Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C., and a master’s degree in education in Educational Leadership from Winthrop University.

Two principals also will be transferring to other schools. Alejandra Garcia will move to Governors Village STEM Academy from Nations Ford Elementary. Carmen Concepcion will move to the Albemarle Road relief school from Oaklawn Language Academy.

Lottery Round 2: Open Seats

Based on the Round 1 Lottery results, these schools have space available in the grade levels listed below. Space available does not include wait pools.


If you applied in Round 1 and received a letter stating you have been placed in the school of your first choice, that assignment will not change.

If you applied in Round 1 and did not get placed in the school of your first choice, you’ll automatically be enrolled for later rounds.

The lottery is always working to place each student in their top preference. This may mean your assignment changes after each round if your preference is available. Assignment changes in the lottery process are automatic – there is no option to accept or decline.

Waitlists will not be generated until the end of the Round 3.

A notification letter will be mailed to you after each round of the lottery with your assignment. If you get placed into a school of higher preference, you will receive a new letter. If you receive an assignment letter stating you have been placed in the school of your first choice, that assignment will not change.

We will start to call with assignment changes from the waitlist during the summer months. You will have the option to stay in your current assignment or choose the waitlist seat. This option is only available after the lottery rounds have closed and for the waitlist process only.

Questions? Email us at [email protected] or call 980-343-5030.


Elementary Schools

Albemarle Road Relief Elementary K,1
Barringer Elementary LI/TD 3,4,5
Billingsville IB K,1,2
Bruns Elementary K,1,2,3,4,5
Dorothy J. Vaughan Elementary K,2,4,5
First Ward Elementary K
Governors Village STEM K,1
Greenway Park Elementary K,1,2,3
Huntingtowne Farms Elementary K,1,2,3,4,5
Idlewild Elementary 3,4,5
Irwin Elementary 3,4,5
Landsdowne Elementary K,1,2,3
Longcreek Elementary K,1,2,3
Mallard Creek Elementary LI/TD 3,4,5
Marie G. Davis Elementary K,1,2,3
Oaklawn Language Academy K
Paw Creek Elementary K,2,4,5
Shamrock Gardens 3,4,5
Statesville Road Elementary K,1,2,3,4,5
Tuckaseegee Elementary K,1,2,3,4,5
University Park Elementary K
Walter G. Byers K,1,2,6,7


Middle Schools

Albemarle Road Middle 6,7,8
Coulwood Middle 6,7,8
Crestdale Middle 7
Eastway Middle 6
J.M. Alexander Middle 6,7,8
Northeast Middle 6
Northridge Middle 6,7
Northwest School of the Arts 6,7,8
Quail Hollow 6,7
Ranson Middle 6
Walter G. Byers K,1,2,6,7
Whitewater Middle 6,7
Wilson Middle 6,7

High Schools

East Meck IB High School 9,10
Harding 3D & Digital Manufacturing 9,10
Harding Automotive 9,10
Harding Computer Science 9
Harding Construction 9,10
Harding IB High School 9,10
Hawthorne Academy Military, Global Leadership and Public Safety 9
iMeck Academy at Cochran 9
North Meck Automotive 9
North Meck Culinary 9
North Meck IB 9,10
Northwest School of the Arts 9,10,11,12
Performance Learning Center 9
Phillip O. Berry IT 10
West Charlotte IB High School 9,10

Oaklawn Language Academy

Oaklawn Language Academy offers a two-way immersion magnet program in which students from different language backgrounds receive academic instruction in two target languages with native English and Spanish speakers.


Benefits of a Dual Language Program

  • Develop strong thinking skills, improve listening, memory and logic and enhance mental flexibility and creativity.
  • Cultivate a greater understanding, appreciation, and respect for other languages and cultures.
  • Increase reading comprehension and other language skills.
  • Prepare students for the future with greater career opportunities.


Your child is a good candidate for the dual language program if he or she:

  • Is developmentally on target in his or her native language.
  • Expresses an interest in different people, places, and things.
  • Wants to become fluent in Spanish and English.
  • Family fully supports the learning of a second language.

Goals of the program

  • Our goal at Oaklawn is to promote high academic achievement in all subjects and proficiency in both languages, while enhancing the levels of cultural awareness and sensitivity of our students.
  • To develop capable scholars who respect and value others’ points of view, ethnic, national and cultural differences.
  • To promote bilingualism, biliteracy, and multicultural proficiency through global and diverse learning.


Oaklawn Model for Spanish Immersion

Kindergarten:100% Spanish

Grade 1, 2, 3, 4, 5: 50/50*

Grade 6, 7, 8: 50/50*

*Core subjects

New Magnet Theme: Environmental Sustainability


We are so very excited that Bruns Elementary and Whitewater Middle School will be the first schools in CMS to implement the Environmental Sustainability magnet theme!  The Environmental Sustainability magnet theme will provide students an opportunity to explore healthy living habits, conservation practices, and give an understanding of how to become mindful citizens within their community.  We have partnered with The Green Schools National Network to provide phenomenal research-based curricular and instructional resources to support our Environmental Sustainability theme.  The GSNN will work closely with the school leaders and staff to create personalized plans for each school that will support the school-wide implementation of the Environmental Sustainability magnet theme beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. -Natasha Thompson, Magnet Programs Director


What is a green school?

A Green School enhances student health and learning while conserving natural resources and empowering students to develop sustainable behaviors, enabling them to become the stewards of the future.

Core Practices of a Green School:

1 – Curriculum that advances environmental literacy and sustainability

All teachers will use inquiry, problem, and project-based pedagogy to facilitate learning about global systems and relationships. Each school will have outdoor experiences and fieldwork that support learning about complex systems, connecting humans with other humans and all aspects of the natural world.


2 – Stewardship and service learning

Each school will have real world service learning projects that explore solutions to local, regional, global problems and issues and teach 21st century skills. We will implement stewardship projects that allow the students to take responsibility of their own school grounds. All students will be given the opportunity to make local and global connections through the support of teachers and leaders.


3 -Sustainable facilities design and management

Facility managers and teachers will work together to use buildings, management practices, materials and supplies to teach about sustainability. Each school will establish projects such as: maintenance that can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, improve indoor air quality and lighting, decrease waste stream and improve water conservation, ad reduced-wase cafeterias.


4 – Health and well being

These schools will implement healthy eating programs that utilize locally sourced and whole foods and support physical fitness and healthy lifestyle choices. We’ll have fitness and recreation programs that include lifetime outdoor activities like walking, hiking, biking, skiing and camping. We will develop a culture of healthy and thoughtful relationships with others that support character development.


5 – Strong partnerships and networks

Partnerships are a key part to a green school network. The leaders of each school will be working with the magnet office and Green Schools National Network to establish partnerships with local businesses that support systemic change and ecological balance within the school and community. These strong alliances among groups of diverse cultural heritage will promote the greening of schools in all communities.


Apply for a seat today at!

Qual Hollow: Leadership and Paidea Model

A unique blend

Quail Hollow will combine leadership and Paideia models


Quail Hollow Middle students will form a unique collaboration next year when the school becomes the only leadership and Paideia magnet program in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

The school will combine The Leader in Me program with the Paideia method. The Leader in Me teaches leadership and life skills using principles from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Paideia promotes active learning through Socratic seminars and comes from the Greek word for the holistic upbringing of a child.

“The Leader in Me will be our operating system, the foundation for everything we do,” said Principal Rachael Neill. “Paideia takes that leadership philosophy into all elements of school.”

The program receives students through magnet/school-options lottery assignments as well as neighborhood attendance-zone assignments. All students receive the same magnet-theme instruction. Feeder schools to Quail Hollow next year will be Myers Park Traditional, Smithfield, Sterling, Pineville and Endhaven elementary schools.

Some CMS schools are using The Leader in Me program and it is perhaps more familiar than the Paideia philosophy. In Socratic seminars, teachers choose a text for student discussion and their role is to ask questions, said Kristen Wawer, a teacher and humanities multi-classroom leader. Texts can include poems and speeches but lessons may also analyze a painting or explore a science or math problem.

Students sit facing their peers and everyone must contribute prior to the spontaneous discussion, which leads to an exploratory writing product. Wawer said students get to know each other through the discussion and that those who struggle or have disabilities are also valuable members of the conversation.

“Paideia leverages the idea that students learn best from each other and should be challenged at a high level, no matter what their background is,” Wawer said. “It melds with leadership as students learn to self-regulate their roles in the discussion. It can be awkward at first, but we all strive for a supportive classroom culture where they can share.”

Neill said the Leadership and Paideia combination made sense for Quail Hollow because it reinforces existing goals to benefit all students and take them to the next level. She said the school is highly diverse, which The Leader in Me and the National Paideia Center consider a required component for most successful outcomes.

“Our students truly get to learn from each other, which makes this a perfect marriage,” Neill said.

Neill said she now sees seminar topics all around her and that the school has already held a parent seminar on the 12 Paideia principles.

“It was really inspiring to hear the parents lead the discussion and for them to have the experience,” Neill said. “Many of them had never met each other but bringing their voices together fostered community pretty quickly.”

Coding, creativity, collaboration

Coding, creativity, collaboration

Paw Creek Elementary inaugurates its computer-science immersion magnet

Dash and Sphero rolled around the floor of the media center at Paw Creek Elementary. The small, roly-poly robots, reminiscent of BB-8 from Star Wars, had been programmed by fifth-graders who were putting them through their paces.

“Dash moves and you can make it turn its head and make sounds,” said student Luca Close. “We’re learning to program things and have fun while we do it.”

Iyannah Derring said programming was difficult when she first started, but now she understands it. “You just get better and better each day,” Iyannah said. “It’s really great – you should try it.”

The Paw Creek computer-science immersion magnet program with a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) focus is in its first year. The program receives students through magnet/school-options lottery assignments as well as neighborhood attendance-zone assignments. All students receive the same magnet-theme instruction.

The school has a partnership with Code to the Future to teach students coding, which involves developing and writing scripts for computer programs. Principal Danielle Belton said students learn in three different cycles. Learning to code comes first. They move on to robotics, where they partner with other students to build robots, and they use Minecraft to create their own computer games.

“In the next few years, there will be a 1 million-job gap in the computer science field,” Belton said. “Our students are learning critical thinking, problem solving and getting a foundation they can build on.”

Lessons are integrated into the school’s STEM unit and provide opportunities for hands-on learning, collaboration and creativity. Students invent something as an inventor’s project and in Genius Hour they research and engage in projects that interest them. Students have use of an Innovation Lab and Makerspace and have built everything from race cars and rockets to roller coasters, Belton said.

Teacher Cassie Webb’s third-grade class was in Makerspace, working in teams to create a structure that would keep a tissue dry when water was poured over it. They had a limited set of materials that included cups, pipe cleaners and cotton balls.

Webb said her students have learned a lot about collaboration and the creative process since they began working on projects. Her students now develop their own teams, paying attention to each other’s individual skills. They also have overcome any frustration when a project fails.

“Now they get that process, how to evaluate what they’re doing and not view it as a competition,” Webb said. “They’ve been a lot more invested and it’s exciting.”