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Tata proposes letting underenrolled year-round schools go to a single track

More details to come later but there's now a proposal on the table to collapse 14 multi-track Wake County year-round schools to a single track.

Superintendent Tony Tata proposed today giving flexibility to principals at under-enrolled year-round schools the flexibility to go to a single track for the 2011-12 school year. He said the principals would pick the track.

The schools identified by Tata are those that are at under 100 percent of what would be their single-track capacity: Alston Ridge, Ballentine, Banks Road, East Garner, Harris Creek, Highcroft, Lake Myra, Rand Road, River Bend, Timber Drive, Wakefield and West Lake elementary schools; and East Cary and Holly Grove middle schools.


Tata says he'll come back in May with a specific list of schools to recommend. While he didn't specify a number, it will likely not be all of the 14 year-round schools that are below 100 percent of single-track capacity.

Quick recap of tonight's reassignment hearing at Cary High

Here's a very abbreviated recap of tonight's public hearing at Cary High School, which drew 75 speakers.

Among the biggest contingents were those calling for Salem elementary and middle schools and Highcroft Drive Elementary to be converted back to a traditional calendar. You also had a smaller group from Highcroft urging that the school stay on the year-round calendar.

You also had a lot of people supporting reassigning Carpenter Village to Davis Drive Middle and Green Hope High. There were also several speakers who asked that Breckenridge be allowed to stay at Cedar Fork Elementary.

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.

Plans being developed for families to leave converted schools

Details are still being worked out on how to accommodate the families who still want to stay on the year-round calendar now that the Wake County school board has changed schedules for four schools for the 2010-11 school year.

The school board unanimously agreed Tuesday to convert Leesville Road elementary and middle schools and Mills Park Elementary to a traditional calendar and to open Mills Park MIddle on that same calendar.

The plan is to allow families at those four schools to apply to a year-round calendar if they don't want to stay after conversion. But the mechanism for allowing families to apply still is being worked out.

Wake's 20-mile school assignments

So Wake is saying that no one is assigned to a school 20 miles from home.

"I don't know of a single child assigned to a school 20 miles away — not one," said Asst. Supt. Chuck Dulaney in the latest issue of In Context, the weekly newsletter of the Wake Education Partnership.

That sure would come as a surprise to some folks. For instance, nodes 51.0 and 444.4.

Wake's ABCs results

Wake took an academic hit but still fared better, on at least some measures, than the state on the new ABCs of Public Education results.

The number of Wake schools where at least 80 percent of students passed state exams and also met growth goals dropped from 69 to 30. But the lower total still accounted for 20 percent of Wake's schools, compared to 10 percent statewide.

A majority of Wake's schools, 58 percent, were listed as Schools of Progress, meaning between 60 and 80 percent of students passed state exams and also met growth goals.

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