CMS needs volunteers to proctor state testing, need varies by school

Whether it’s baking homemade pound cake, providing breakfast or bringing in door prizes, Nancy Needham – a physical education teacher at Southwest Middle School – has tried a number of ways to entice volunteers.

Southwest Middle is one of many Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools that need community members to act as proctors when they begin state testing on May 23.

With nearly 1,400 students, Southwest Middle needs between 70 and 80 proctors per exam day, Needham said. And with 160 schools in the district, finding enough volunteers is a “major, major challenge to the schools.”

The state requires that two adults be present in every classroom where exams occur, mainly to ensure nothing goes wrong, Needham said. Extra volunteer “runners” are also needed in the hallways to escort students to the bathroom.

The task isn’t difficult, mainly just dull. “The tests are extremely long, (proctors) are not supposed to bring anything to read, they can’t have their phone on, or a computer,” she said.

The number of proctors needed varies by school, and the length of most exams is two to four hours, depending on the subject matter, Needham said.

But if there aren’t enough volunteers, other personnel who are not administering tests must be found, CMS spokesperson Tahira Stalberte said.

Anyone who has graduated high school and can pass the CMS background check can volunteer, whether they are a college student, civic group, member of the faith community or a grandparent.

The majority of district schools are scheduled for state exams between May 23 and June 10, Stalberte said.