Olympic Community of Schools
|Olympic Community of Schools|
|4301 Sandy Porter Road
Charlotte, North Carolina, 28273
|School district||Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools|
|Principal||Angela Bozeman (Biotech)
Erik Olejarczyk (TEAM)
Leduan Pratt (METS)
Tamara Hines (Renaissance)
|Teaching staff||20 ea.|
|Color(s)||Scarlet/col.blue/white (sports and shared programs)|
|Information||+1 980 343 3800|
Olympic Community of Schools is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is one of 27 high schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) system. It joined the Coalition of Essential Schools in 2005 with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and has split into the 5 smaller, theme-based schools as follows:
- The School of Biotechnology, Health, and Public Administration at Olympic (Biotech)
- The School of Technology Entrepreneurship & Advanced Manufacturing at Olympic (TEAM)
- The School of Math, Engineering, Technology, and Science at Olympic (METS)
- The Renaissance School of Arts and Technology at Olympic (Renaissance)
- The School of Executive Leadership & Entrepreneurial Development (ELED)
- The School of International Business and Communication Studies at Olympic (Business)
- The School of International Studies and Global Economics at Olympic (Global)
Although its name changed officially, it is still commonly referred to by its former name, Olympic High School.
Administration / Faculty
Olympic is one of a handful of high schools in CMS that straddle the line between a comparable number of low-performing, primarily urban schools and high-performing, primarily suburban schools, and thus its student body largely mirrors the district as a whole. For comparison, Olympic has an ethnic makeup of 44.3% Black, 34.4% White, 6.0% Asian and 1.2% Other. 14.2% is Hispanic(in the 2005-06 school year). CMS' demographics are 42.4% Black, 36.2% White 4.3% Asian, 13.6% Hispanic and 3.5% Other. Its pass rate on the 2006-07 North Carolina End-of-Course tests, used to sample knowledge and mastery of subject areas most students take as freshmen and sophomores, was 63.2%, near the CMS average of 65.7%.
The graduating class of 2006, around 300 students, received $2.3 million in scholarships.
Clubs and activities
The football team has made the NCHSAA Playoffs in the following years: 1970, 1991, 1993 (2nd Round), 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 (1st Round), 2003 (1st Round), 2004 (1st Round), 2005 (1st Round), 2006 (2nd Round), 2008 (2nd Round), and 2009. The best season Olympic had was in 1970 when they finished 10-3, losing 14-0 to Raleigh Needham B. Broughton High School in the 4A state championship game. Olympic has only had 3 seasons of 10 wins, in the years 1970, 1993 and 2006, finishing 10-3 each year. The Trojans most recently won the 2009 MEGA-7 4A/3A Conference. Coach Ty Baumgardner took the Olympic High school Trojans basketball team to 4A state championships in the 2013. Olympic finished a perfect 30-0 on the season. Olympic entered the game ranked No. 4 nationally by MaxPreps.
Olympic's U.S. Army JROTC has an "honor unit with distinction" gold star, which it has held for 25 consecutive years. The gold star is worn by students, and is the highest honor a high school JROTC can obtain. It is received when a 95% or more is given in what is known as the Annual Formal Inspection (AFI), which audits different areas of the JROTC program, and is conducted by a group of officers sent by the Army. It has also won fourth in the Superintendent's Cup, which is awarded to the 5 JROTC units with the highest overall combined scores from the year's competitions.
The Olympic Trojan Marching Band supports the varsity football team at its games, and competes regularly with other schools in CMS and around the region. It has been known to place well in these competitions despite being a smaller marching band. As a subgroup of the marching band, Olympic High School Winds performs throughout the winter and spring ending their season with Winter Guard International world finals in Dayton, Ohio.
The small schools conversion began with the securing of a grant in 2005 from the Coalition of Essential Schools' (CES) Small Schools Project, a 5-year initiative backed by the education arm of the Gates Foundation. An initial $305,000 was received for planning. This planning process involved 5 committees of teachers, parents, and students forging out the specifics of each school of no more than 400 students, such as its themes and what part of the Olympic campus it would be located in. The hiring of principals and visits to other CES affiliated schools across the country were also covered. The results were presented at the end of the 05-06 school year to CES for a further $1.3 million for the next two years.
Students, at first skeptical and not wanting to be separated from friends, have taken a liking to Olympic's more intimate atmosphere that has afforded principals to get to know them by name. There have been challenges, however, like setting up channels of communication among the 5 schools. 
Critics say the small schools movement is new, and few schools have produced long-term academic results. They also emphasize the importance of reform not stopping at smaller settings. For instance, generic courses driven by multiple-choice tests being replaced with challenging projects linked to real-life results. This involves a certain degree of experimentation and creativity that can be hobbled by district mandates, too many teachers relying on routine, budget restraints, and a test-driven culture instituted by an array of local and national achievement exams. There has been some success with project-based learning at Olympic, most notably with a 1,150-square-foot (107 m2), three-bedroom Habitat for Humanity house for a family in northwest Charlotte built on school property by advanced construction students in Olympic's METS school, with the $70,000 required for the project raised in part by students in the Business school.
Most agree that dealing with these obstacles at Olympic will require extraordinary leadership and leaps of faith by all parties involved. There has been a noticeable increase in involvement by parents and the community. For instance, attendance for athletic events in 2006-07 was the highest since 1982, and a multi-million capital campaign was started by parents and community residents for facility improvements. The most recent incarnation of this fundraising is the Olympic High School Foundation, which raised $276,500 in 2015. It is the hoped that enthusiasm like this can be sustained and even grow as Olympic's success is measured in the coming years.
CMS may build a new high school near The Palisades in coming years. Former principal Pamela Espinosa and others worry that it could lead to a "have and have-not school". They say that they are otherwise hopeful that innovation and pride will lead the school into an exciting future.
- Olympic celebrates its community. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
- Lyttle, Steve. (2007, 27 June). 5 CMS principals named. The Charlotte Observer.
- Espinosa to lead McClintock Middle. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
- School Profiles. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
- "Facts Facts on CMS" (PDF). Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
- Smolowitz, Peter. (2007, 26 June). CMS tests scores a mixed bag. The Charlotte Observer.
- "NCHSAA CONFERENCES 2011–12" (PDF). NCHSAA website. NCHSAA. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- Olympic High School JROTC.
- Ceremony held for JROTC cadets. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
- Core Schools Project. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
- Helms, Ann. (2007, 31 May). Big hopes poured into small settings. The Charlotte Observer.
- Valle, Kirsten. (2007, 4 March). Principal: 'We have a lot of work to do'. The Charlotte Observer.
- Helms, Ann. (2006, 5 February). Caution urged in shift to smaller high schools. The Charlotte Observer.
- Valle, Kirsten. (2007, 10 May). Kids build a real house at school. The Charlotte Observer.
- Trojan Torch. Volume 41 (2007).
- Valle. Kirsten. (2007, 25 February). Residents' goal: Raise money for Olympic High. The Charlotte Observer.
- Valle, Kirsten. (2007, 5 April). Volunteers, money coming from Olympic. The Charlotte Observer.
- Dunn, Andrew. (2015, 12 February). Olympic High teachers put $34,000 to use from new fund. The Charlotte Observer.
- Helms, Ann. (2006, 5 February). Fresh teaching methods also part of reform. The Charlotte Observer.
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Homepage
- CES Small Schools Project Overview
- Olympic High School Foundation