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Looking at Wake County's choice-based student assignment plan and racial shifts at kindergarten level

It looks like one consequence of Wake County's controlled-choice student assignment plan is that it's impacting the racial balance at schools

As noted in today's article, an analysis of projected kindergarten enrollment data for this fall indicates kindergarten classes at 23 schools will see their percentages of white students increase by at least 10 percentage points over the 2011-12 school year. Meanwhile, the proportion of black students at schools with predominantly minority kindergarten classes will rise as well, but not as sharply.

"There were no diversity guidelines,” said education consultant Michael Alves. “Pretty much what you are looking at is the result of parental preference.”


For those who are having trouble viewing the Excel files, I'm adding PDF links. Click here for the 2012-13 projected white kindergarten enrollments. Click here for the 2012-13 projected black kindergarten enrollments.

1347245680 Looking at Wake County's choice-based student assignment plan and racial shifts at kindergarten level The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wake County school board debates how long to extend school waiting lists

Was the Wake County school board's decision to only extend the dissolution of first-choice wait lists to July 18 the right call?

Some school board members talked last week about extending the deadline even further for all students, or least for those in high schools. But staff cited the need to lock in a date for schools to have their enrollment figures and to be fair to newcomers who will be moving in over the summer.

The waiting lists were going to expire on June 29. But after parents lobbied for more time to get into their first-choice school, the board told staff to look at a later date.

Looking at the impact of the new student assignment plan on Eastern Wake County

What lessons should be taken from the way Eastern Wake County parents responded to the new student assignment plan this year?

As noted in today's article by Paul A. Specht, data analyzed by the Eastern Wake News indicated that about 11 percent of the student population in Knightdale, Wendell, and Zebulon participated in the first two rounds of the school choice process (about 990 of 9,070 students)

Approximately 67 percent of the students from eastern Wake who participated in the choice plan picked schools outside of the region as their top choice (670 students listed a non-regional school as their top choice, while 319 students listed a local school as their top choice).

Wake County school board could make changes to student assignment plan on March 6

Pencil in March 6 for the date when the Wake County school board could make changes for this fall to the new student assignment plan.

School administrators told the board on Tuesday that they want to wait until they get all the data in from the first round of the selection process before they make recommendations for any adjustments. The application period ends at 10 p.m. Friday.

Chief Transformation Officer Judy Peppler told the board they may recommend adjustments in four areas: whether seat set-asides should be allocated for some or all of the high-performing schools, the percentage of magnet vs. base students at some schools, options for students whose feeder doesn't include transportation and sibling priority in grades 1-5, 7-8 and 10-12.


Wake County school board weighing pros and cons of delaying feeder patterns

Are the complaints that have come in about the new feeder patterns worth the consequences of delaying their implementation in Wake County's new student assignment plan?

As noted in today's article, the Democratic board members cited all the complaints they've received to suggest a one-year delay in implementation. But the Republican board members and staff warned that could pose major problems to the plan.

If the feeder patterns are delayed, staff thinks that will require all rising sixth- and ninth-graders to have to apply for a school this year. The students currently in middle school and high school would be grandfathered with transportation but could apply to go elsewhere.

Weighing the impact of high-performing school choice options

Just how much impact will the ability to apply to high-performing schools (formerly called achievement-choice schools) have on Wake County's new student assignment plan?

As noted in today's article, members of the student assignment task force promoted to the audience Wednesday how every family would have access to high quality schools via the high-performing school choices.

But Susan Pullium also said a number of times that no decision has been yet whether firm set asides need to be established for the high-performing schools. This comes after talk about using as much as a 20 percent set aside drew complaints from people such as school board chairman Ron Margiotta.

Discussing the blue plan

The discussion of the blue plan being used for Wake County school assignment also got detailed Monday.

Once again, start with this handout. Let's start with the clarifications.

One, everyone who is already in a school for 2011-12 gets to stay there in 2012-13 and through completion of that grade span if that's what they want, even if it's not on their "list" of choices. (Grandfathering is also provided in the green plan but some people were concerned about the blue plan more because you're more likely to see changes in choices.)

Discussing the green plan

Monday's discussion about the blue and green plans offered a lot more detail about how either option could work, particularly when it comes to the issue of using student achievement in Wake County schools.

Let's start with this handout that was presented to school board members. You're going to want to read the rest of the post.

To avoid making an overly long blog post, I'll focus this one on the green plan. I'll do the blue plan discussion in a different post. Just realize there's bound to be overlap between the two posts.

Student assignment task force members announced

James Overman, the senior director in charge of elementary school programs, has been tapped to lead the new task force charged with developing a student assignment plan for the Wake County school system.

Overman, a former Wake County Principal of the Year, was principal of East Garner and Creech Road elementary schools before moving to central office last year. He'll lead a team that includes five other administrators from Central Services.

The other task force members are Brad McMillen, a senior director in Evaluation and Research; David Ansbacher, senior director of Magnet Programs; Tamani Anderson Powell, a director in Magnet Programs; Susan Pullium, a director in Growth and Planning and Susan Andrews a senior administrator in Staff Development.

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