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Staff to recommend that multi-track year-round schools in Knightdale area go single track

It looks like some more Wake County multi-track year-round schools will be recommended to be switched to a single-track calendar for the 2013-14 school year.

During Tuesday's school board work session, Laura Evans, senior director of growth and planning, offered another "peak" at the 2013-14 assignment plan that will be presented Nov. 13. She said it will include a recommendation to convert multi-track year-round schools in the Knightdale area to a single-track calendar, namely track four.

The reason the issue came up was some school board members asked if the plan for 2013-14 could address underutilized schools.

1351688465 Staff to recommend that multi-track year-round schools in Knightdale area go single track 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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's new student assignment plan offering many different things

The draft summary of Wake County's new student assignment plan seems to promise a lot of things to different people.

As noted in today's article, the plan promotes proximity by noting that "base assignments will be made at one of their proximate schools to the extent possible." It also says that "residential areas and subdivisions proximate to schools and representative of the students already attending the schools" were used.

For those concerned about diversity, administrators say "in the establishment of the base school attendance area, student performance data was used when an overcrowded or under enrolled school was adjusted."

Terry Stoops looks at student performance in Wake County schools

Terry Stoops had done a quick analysis of Wake County student performance data that "suggest that attending schools with low FRL(free-and-reduced lunch) percentages is no guarantee of success and enrollment in schools with high FRL percentages is no guarantee of failure."

In a blog post Friday, Stoops, the director of education studies for the conservative John Locke Foundation, writes he decided to take a look at how low-income students were doing in Wake County. He used documents Wake compiled for the magnet review.

Stoops looked at the five elementary schools with the highest and lowest concentration of low-income students and the performance of FRL students at those schools on state End-of-Grade tests. 

Liberal groups criticizing Tony Tata over Walnut Creek Elementary overcrowding

Here's more signs that life for Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata will be bumpier under the new Democratic school board majority.

In a post today on the liberal Schools Matter blog, Jim Horn points to Cash Michaels' article in The Carolinian about the crowding at Walnut Creek Elementary. Horn essentially calls for the new majority to get rid of Tata.

"We must wonder if the new sane school board majority will allow the incompetent and callous Tata to continue demolishing the reputation of Wake County Schools," Horn writes.


Click here to view the precis for the Walnut Creek capping vote, which includes eight schools the school board could choose from to send the overflow students to for the rest of the school year.

Questioning who is to blame for Walnut Creek Elementary's overcrowding

Two different pictures are emerging about the situation taking place at the new Walnut Creek Elementary School.

As noted in today's article, Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata acknowledged that an enrollment cap is needed at Walnut Creek to deal with overcrowding. But Tata, pointing to the additional resources provided to the school, says that Walnut Creek is "on the right track."

In contrast, Cash Michaels calls the overcrowding situation a "crime." He accuses Tata and the Republican board majority "of literally turning their backs on the growing problem there."


Click here for an updated version of the article in The Carolinian that Cash Michaels wrote about the crowding situation at Walnut Creek.

Tony Tata recommending an enrollment cap at Walnut Creek Elementary

Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata said today that he will ask the school board on Tuesday for permission to cap enrollment at the new Walnut Creek Elementary School in Southeast Raleigh.

Instead of just 780 students as planned, Walnut Creek now has more than 930 students. This comes amid all the scrutiny about Walnut Creek, where concerns that it would open as a high-poverty school with many low-performing students led to a mass infusion of additional resources.

"We wanted to make it a high demand school and we did," Tata said at today's press conference.

Looking at Wake's academic achievement

Here's the quick summary of the new academic audit done of Wake County schools.

Wake still outperforms the state on state exams but the gap is narrowing with the rest of North Carolina growing at a faster rate. Wake’s low-income students aren’t growing as fact academically as their more affluent peers and higher poverty schools are on average not showing as much growth as more affluent schools.

A finding that drew discussion was the one in which, in general, schools with high percentages of free and reduced lunch students have lower rates of growth in reading and math exams than schools with low percentage of free and reduced lunch students.

Looking at the achievement choice schools in the blue plan

Northern and western Wake County schools dominate the list of achievement choices that could be used in the blue student assignment plan.

Of the 36 elementary schools, 14 middle schools and 10 high schools identified so far as achievement options, few are in places like Eastern Wake. The location of these achievement choices could pose a problem for families who face a long haul if they want one of those schools.

As previously indicated, magnet schools aren't being used as achievement choices so as to free up seats for magnet applicants. But even if they were  used as achievement choices, school officials say only six existing magnet schools would qualify.

New magnet schools and a new magnet school director

The Wake County school system will need a new person to help the school board decide on the future of the magnet school program.

David Ansbacher, senior director of magnet school programs, will be leaving to become a principal in Singapore. Since March, he has been a member of the student assignment task force.

Ansbacher's successor will have a myriad of issues to deal with, including recommending which three schools get magnet programs for the 2012-13 school year.

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.

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