Ann Doss Helms

Ann Doss Helms covers education for WFAE. She was a reporter for The Charlotte Observer for 32 years, including 16 years on the education beat. She has repeatedly won first place in education reporting from the North Carolina Press Association and won the 2015 Associated Press Senator Sam Open Government Award for reporting on charter school salaries.

She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master's in liberal arts from Winthrop University.

Ann Doss Helms / WFAE

Mooresville is the first school district in the Charlotte area to bring students back with a mask optional policy, with students returning to classrooms Monday.

As the COVID-19 pandemic abates, public bodies across the Charlotte region are resuming in-person meetings. But that raises questions about whether there’s still a role for remote participation by elected officials or members of the public who want to speak.

Nancy Pierce / Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

North Carolina health officials are working on streamlined rules for COVID-19 safety in schools, as they prepare for a year when vaccination is up, cases are down and students are expected to return in person.

Jarrett McCain

When public schools opened with remote classes and uncertain schedules last August, it quickly became clear that a lot of North Carolina families were choosing other options for their kids.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has released video of an anti-racism presentation that two top North Carolina Republicans called dangerous and divisive without having seen it. The district’s decision to pay author Ibram X. Kendi $25,000 to speak caused the latest flare-up over how educators talk about racism.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has drawn fire from two of the state’s top Republicans after the superintendent hired anti-racism author Ibram X. Kendi to speak to district leaders.

Union Academy Charter School

Union Academy Charter School held a special board meeting Thursday to explain how it’s handling security and background checks after a teacher died in a shootout that law officers say involved a stash-house robbery.

North Carolina health officials said Thursday they want to make rapid testing for COVID-19 a part of the safety plan for public and private schools, and they say they’ve got money to make it happen.

Two major education bills are headed to Gov. Roy Cooper’s office after winning bipartisan support in the North Carolina General Assembly on Thursday.

Every year at school budget time, UNC Charlotte education professor Walter Hart hears a similar question: "Why do you need more money? You’ve got the lottery."

A school discipline bill in front of the North Carolina House has revived debate over school discipline, racial equity and dropout prevention.

North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase the amount of public money available to subsidize students in private schools. It would also authorize counties to offer up to $1,000 per pupil in local money for children in private schools.

Travis Long/Tlong@Newsobserver.Com / The News & Observer / NC Department Of Public Safety

Gaston County commissioners' vote to authorize $100,000 to pursue a controversial libel suit was delayed Tuesday by "a potential COVID case."

Last year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools rolled out a new reading curriculum chosen in part for its anti-racism focus. This year, that program has been modified for remote instruction, and the deletion of sensitive topics has some wondering whether the social justice themes are being watered down.

Gaston County commissioners voted 6-1 Monday night to move a Confederate monument that has stood in front of the courthouse since 1912.

Gov. Roy Cooper pushed back his self-imposed July 1 deadline for a statewide school reopening plan, saying Wednesday he needs more time to "get it right."

Union County School Board member Travis Kiker resigned Monday after other board members learned about Facebook posts that board Chair Melissa Merrell described as "insensitive and inappropriate."

Updated June 29

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill Monday that gives public schools the flexibility needed to operate schools on a hybrid remote and in-person schedule because of the coronavirus.

Mecklenburg Sheriff Garry McFadden said Friday that Thursday’s confrontation between his deputies and demonstrators outside the jail, which resulted in 43 arrests, was a catastrophe. 

Zebulon Vance was a Confederate general, a slaveholder, a North Carolina governor and a U.S. senator -- but he won't be the namesake for a Charlotte-Mecklenburg high school much longer.

How long will it take to do health screenings on every student entering school? Can families opt their kids out of in-person classes? How do you persuade swarms of children and adolescents to keep a safe distance apart?

Those are among the lingering questions after Gov. Roy Cooper and state health officials released a 26-page road map  for reopening schools Aug. 17.

All North Carolina public schools will reopen Aug. 17 -- and add five days to the school year -- as part of a COVID-19 response plan signed by Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday.

North Carolina’s charter schools are seeing troubling trends in academic performance, even as their popularity grows.

A state hearing officer ruled Monday that the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction violated the law and jeopardized the integrity of the state procurement process in selecting Istation software to test the reading skills of the state’s youngest students. 

Last week a Charlotte judge issued an order temporarily blocking WBTV from airing a story. It was dissolved less than 24 hours later, with little real-life impact. 

But the constitutional principle at stake was huge.

Gov. Roy Cooper and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger took to Twitter on Tuesday to blame each other for the lack of North Carolina teacher raises.

North Carolina’s charter schools are performing well on financial and management goals but falling short of academic targets.

If you’ve followed the news about North Carolina teacher pay over the last few months you might think educators are feeling a bit better about their paychecks as schools open.

You’d be wrong. They’ve been promised raises, but so far they haven’t gotten a penny of extra pay.

A rebellion against North Carolina’s school calendar law has gotten the attention of state lawmakers. About a dozen districts have started earlier than the law allows. One key legislator says the state can’t keep looking the other way, but it’s unclear whether officials will ease up or crack down.