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Implementing the Renaissance Model

Eyes around Wake County are focused on how the four Renaissance Model  schools will do this year.

As noted in today's article, the four Renaissance schools got additional resources, such as the money that was used to have a quartet from the N.C. Symphony work with students at Barwell Road Elementary School on Monday.

“We want to focus on everything we can to bring enrichment to their lives," said Barwell Road Principal Sandy Barefoot. “It certainly opens up the world to them.”

Speculating what Southeast Raleigh families will do in a choice plan

When it comes time to make a decision, will Southeast Raleigh families still continue to go to suburban schools or opt to stay in their neighborhoods?

As noted in today's article, the Southeast Raleigh families have traditionally been silent when it comes to participating in Wake County's student assignment process. That was shown again Thursday at Southeast Raleigh High when only 30 people showed up at the latest student assignment public meeting.

A lot could depend on what Southeast Raleigh families think about the old diversity policy.


School board questioning sample feeder patterns

Could the development of feeder patterns be more of a hold-up on the new Wake County student assignment plan than coming to an agreement on achievement-choice schools?

As noted in today's article, staff's update on the student assignment plan included discussion on achievement schools and a presentation on sample feeder patterns. During the meeting, board members said zilch on the achievement schools but went into detail on the feeder patterns.

"We know this is contentious," Superintendent Tony Tata said to board members in response to the feeder pattern concerns. "This is high stakes. We want your feedback to make this right."

School board approves slew of principal changes

The Wake County school board appointed five principals tonight while moving four principals to assistant principal posts.

Gregory Butler was named principal of North Garner Middle School with a salary of $92,707.68. He has been an assistant principal at Southeast Raleigh High since 2009.

Carmen Graf was named principal of Banks Road Elementary School in Fuquay-Varina with a salary of $73,803.68. Graf has been an assistant principal at Timber Drive Elementary since October.


Click here to view the bio sheets.

Wake's 2011 calendar acceptances by base school

For you numbers crunchers, here's additional information on Wake County year-round and traditional-calendar acceptances by base school

The most year-round applicants by base elementary schools this year was at Wildwood Forest Elementary, where 67 of 109 applicants were accepted. That's compared to 52 acceptances out of 78 applicants last year.

The most year-round applicants by base middle schools was again Wake Forest-Rolesville Middle, where 242 of 265 applicants got accepted Last year, 252 of 282 applicants were accepted.

Looking at magnet school acceptances by base schools

There are some interesting facts when you look at which Wake County base schools lost applicants to magnet schools for the 2011-12 school year.

A lot of Walnut Creek Elementary families took the advice of supporters of the old diversity policy who urged them to consider applying out based on the high percentage of F&R students on campus. The data shows that 55 out of 141 magnet applicants from Walnut Creek got accepted.

At nearby Barwell Road Elementary, you apparently had a lot of families who didn't want to hang around and see how it would fare under the new Renaissance Schools Model. You had 80 out of 229 magnet applicants get accepted compared to 35 out of 149 last year.

New principals at Southeast Raleigh High and Renaissance Schools

The Wake County school board announced tonight they had replaced three principals who are part of a new program to help struggling schools and had also chosen a new leader for Southeast Raleigh High.

New principals were chosen for Barwell Road, Brentwood and Wilburn elementary schools while the principal of Creech Road Elementary was allowed to keep her job. They’re all part of the Renaissance Schools program, a new effort targeting additional resources at Wake’s four lowest-performing elementary schools.

The principals and teachers at the four Renaissance schools had to reapply if they wanted to keep their jobs, which comes with a hiring bonus and merit pay. Those who aren’t hired back or don’t want to stay are transferred to other schools.


Looking at the Renaissance Schools Model

Here's some more details about the Renaissance Model being used to turn around the Wake County school system's four lowest performing elementary schools.

The quick description is that additional resources, including new technology, signing bonuses and performance bonuses, will be used at Barwell Road, Brentwood, Creech Road and Wilburn elementary schools. All four schools happen to have high poverty levels but they were chosen because their passing rates were below 60 percent on state exams last year.

The issue has gotten more attention this week because the school board voted Tuesday on a $950,000 a year bonus plan for the schools using federal Race to the Top money.

School board's long Feb. 15 meeting agenda

Today's Wake County school board meeting will be long and touch on a variety of topics, including reassignment, bonuses to work at high-poverty schools, redistricting, bell schedules and the magnet review.

The school board will vote today on the last three potential changes to the 2011-12 student reassignment plan, including moving school board member John Tedesco's neighborhood from Creech Road Elementary to Aversboro Elementary. The plan calls for splitting off the part of the node that includes his subdivision to go to Aversboro.

Also as noted in today's article by Thomas Goldsmith, the board will vote on setting aside $950,000 in Race to the Top grant money to provide signing bonuses and merit pay to teachers who will work at the four Renaissance schools: Barwell Road, Brentwood Road, Creech Road and Wilburn elementary schools.

Staff looking at how to implement the new student assignment policy

Next year's Wake County student reassignment plan is a work in progress with everything approved by the old school board under review with new suggestions coming in all the time.

During Tuesday's work session, Laura Evans, senior director of growth and planning, laid out to the board an explanation of the assignments being considered and the direction they're leaning toward. It will help to have your copy of the handout present.

The ensuing discussion showed how the thinking has changed to reflect the new student assignment policy. Multiple times, Evans talked about bringing students home, having them attend their neighborhood schools and moving the least number possible for stability.

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