WakeEd

The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. How will the new student assignment plan balance diversity, stability, proximity and stability? How will Jim Merrill replace Tony Tata as the new superintendent of the state's largest district? How will voters react to a $810 million school construction bond referendum on Oct. 8 ballot? How will this fall's school board elections impact the future of the district?

WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui. While Keung posts information and analysis on the issues, keep us posted on your suggestions, questions, tips and what you're doing to cope with the changes in Wake's schools.

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NC HEAT on moving Wake County schools forward

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N.C. HEAT says the recent election results show that "the people of Wake County spoke loud and clear that the political nature of the Wake County Board of Education would no longer be tolerated."

In a press release Monday, the liberal youth advocacy group says that to move Wake County forward the new school board majority should work "to create schools that are diverse in nature and allow for all students to learn and grow from such diversity."

The group says "the following actions are essential to creating equitable education for all students:

The Wake County Board of Education must take a proactive role in efforts to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. There are clear discrepancies with the handling of discipline matters from school to school. We cannot expect our education system to be successful if injustice exists in matters of student discipline.

It is imperative that the new Board actively works together toward eliminating the graduation gaps seen between different races.

The Board should request appropriate funding from the county commissioners. When our schools’ leaders refuse to ask for increased funding in order to obtain more resources in the classrooms, they are disregarding the needs of the very students they were elected to represent."

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how many options do you have?

If most of your proximate MSs are traditional there should be no problem getting a seat in one.  If you are within 1 1/2 miles you'll already have priority over others. 

It doesn't appear the same is true for YR students.  The chance to move up to a YR middle school are far more limited in many areas. For my node we can choose from 7 ES's, 2 are YR.  We have 4 middle schools, only one is YR.  It is more than 10 miles from my house, many families in my area are in the same boat.  So wouldn't that put kids in my node behind siblings, feeder pattern (only one of the YR ESs feeds into that YR middle, and it's not the one the kids in my neighborhood currently attend) then children within 1 and 1/2 miles, etc.  

 

Minimal options

I only have four elementary schools (fifth hasn't been built yet), two middle schools and three high schools.  My home is exactly three miles from both middle schools so proximity doesn't help with the traditional school assignment.  Student assignment agreed with me that "I'm stuck" and they wished me the best of luck.

I'm assuming that the 5th

I'm assuming that the 5th elem school is still showing up on your choice list.  Is it opening up at a modular campus?  We have that situation with E20.  Its on everybody's choice list but it will be at the modular campus for the next few years while the permanent building is under construction.  Somebody is going to have to go there--it will be interesting to see who.

Feeder Pattern

I confirm that I spoke to the student assignment department and if you are currently in 5th or 8th grade and your "feeder" school for next year isn't on your choice list you will NOT receive a bus.  My daughter is in the same position at another school.  We left MYR and now we have a feeder assignment middle school much further from home with no transportation.  The student assignment department said that if you need an assignment with a bus you must apply during the Choice Application process and they will guarantee you a seat with a bus at one of the schools from your choice list.  Whether you get your first, second or third choice depends on where they have available seats.  In my case I only have two choices, one YR and one traditional and I was told I have no guarantee of a traditional calendar seat that I need to keep my children on the same school calendar.

I definitely agree that this issue hasn't been publicized.  I've contacted both the student assignment department as well as my school board representative and I encourage others to do the same.

Agreed

I have contacted Student Assignment and my board rep. And you confirmed what I assumed...families who chose their calendar option school are likely going to be in this strange situation of being assigned to a school outside their proximity choices without transportation. I guess I was hoping the lack of transportation was an oversight and not the design of the plan. This also has implications for grandfathering decisions for younger siblings. Sadly, I don't think this is widely or completely understood.

I think that transportation

I think that transportation is going to be the ultimate manipulation in this plan to get people to go where WCPSS wants them to go. 

I am very sorry to hear of your predicament.  I have some friends who are in the same boat.  They left MYR for their traditional option which now leads to a middle and high much further away with no bus service.  I don't think they thought about all of the opt out families and how screwed up the traditional opt out schools were from a proximity standpoint.   

To clarify

Right, the intention of my original post was to find out if there are other families/neighborhoods in a similar situation (it appears that there are) and to draw attention to this issue. I didn't mean to get into the nitty-gritty of our neighborhood's situation--it just illustrates some of the unintended(intended?) consequences of this plan. It's not all that neat and tidy for some of us.

Transportation

I've been begging the student assignment department as well the the board to review their data for current 5th and 8th graders and look for these outliers and address then now instead of hoping that the parents realize that they need to act.  I find it disappointing that the choice priorities include a priority for YR students who apply to continue at a YR middle school that isn't their feeder but there's no equivalent priority for traditional calendar elementary students to have the same priority for a proximate traditional calendar seat that isn't their current feeder. 

"Hey Ho"

 Enloe Pirates elite education "secure".

2012-2013 school assignment

Speaking of moving forward...did anyone else receive their child(ren)'s school assignment for next year? Not sure how this is possible but our initial assignment is to a school where my child is NOT going to be provided transportation. Is anyone else in this bind?

What school are you now

What school are you now attending and where are you slated to go next year?

schools

We are currently at Sycamore Creek Elementary and are slated to attend Leesville Middle.

How close do you live to

How close do you live to Leesville Road Middle? Are you within 1.5 miles of the school? If you're further than that you are entitled to bus service.

not a proximity school

Leesville is 7 - 8 miles from our neighborhood and is not on our "choice list" yet we are assigned there since our children attend Sycamore Creek. According to the initial assignment form we received today from WCPSS, our transportation is "parent" to Leesville Middle. No bus.

I would double check with

I would double check with the school system. For you not to get transporation to the school that's in your feeder and beyond your walk zone doesn't sound right.

Mr. Hui could you do a blog on the transportation aspect?

See jevedi's post. I was told the same thing. Essentially, I was told that it doesn't matter how a student ended up in their current school (base assignment, calendar option, NCLB opt out, etc.). Regardless of how the student got there, they will automatically follow the feeder pattern. However, as they move to the next level (ES to MS for example), if that feeder school is not in their list of choices, they do not receive transportation. I did also ask about the next step as well. If the family then moves to an address that does have that school in the choice list, they then would get transportation.

It sounds like there may be a significant number of families impacted by this aspect of the plan and not just next year, but at whichever year their child ages out of their current school. 

I blogged about it before

I blogged about it before the vote about how the transportation didn't automatically extend if you're going to a different school than the one you're now at. I think I cited the example of Southeast Raleigh kids whose feeder, based on their current school, would be a middle school or high school in Apex. Awake1's case is different because it looks like transportation should be provided in that case.

Publicize this issue?

Mr. Hui,

Is there any chance that you could publish an article to highlight this issue?  I've received emails from many of the opt-out 5th grade parents at my school who were surprised today with their notice.  Under the "transp." section of the form it says "parent" meaning that we have no bus.

Surprised today with their notice?

What notice? Heck, we'd be happy to get a notice. As of yet we, and no one we know, has.

Continuing to shine the light on the inequities with the WCPSS.

I want to see how much it's

I want to see how much it's discussed at Tata's press conference on Friday.

Before the vote

The problem is that the choice lists were not revealed to the public until after the vote on the plan. Even now that the lists have been disclosed, all that parents keep hearing is that you can stay in your current school/feeder pattern if you want. What they aren't widely publicizing is that transportation is not guaranteed. People need to know so they can make decisions. Relying on ad hoc conversations on a blog or one-on-one conversations with Student Assignment is not a good strategy for communicating these critical details.

How far do you live from

How far do you live from Sycamore Creek? I assume it would be on your elementary choice list but it may not be.

Equidistant

Our neighborhood is equidistant from sycamore creek and green year-round (7miles). Green is on our choice list but sycamore creek is not. And our neighborhood is north of 540. Neighborhood kids have been going either to leesville elementary (when it was year round) or sycamore creek for the past 4 years so, for peer group continuity, you would think sycamore creek and leesville middle & high would be on our neighborhood's list but it's not.

What are your yr choices for

What are your yr choices for elem?  Green and what else?

 

YR choices are Pleasant

YR choices are Pleasant union and brassfield, in addition to green. And for traditional our choices are baileywick, leadmine, and Lynn road

Wow, your node is all over

Wow, your node is all over the place in terms of feeder patterns. 

Aren't many nodes that way?

I have 4 T ES choices and 2 YR ES choices. Of the 4 T, 3 feed MS R and 1 feeds MS A1. Of the 2 YR, one feeds MS A2 and one feeds MS C. The 3 ESs that feed MS R + the YR ES option that feeds MS A2, feed into HS R. The one T ES that feeds MS A1, feeds to HS A. The YR ES that feeds into MS C, feeds into HS C. (R, A and C stand for the towns.) Good thing a 16 zone/4 or 5 region concept was halted because clearly this method is more intuitive ;-)

Some of the downtown areas get really interesting. There's one street where if you live in the 300 block, depending on which ES you end up in, you feed to Carnage (Enloe), Daniels (Broughton), Salem or Apex (both Apex). If you live in the 600 block, depending on which ES you end up in, you feed to Ligon or Carnage (both Enloe), Daniels (Broughton), West Cary or Reedy Creek (both Cary HS), or Dillard or Lufkin Rd (both Athens).

Same for our neighborhood

Same for our neighborhood. MS and HS we have been going to for 15 years is now no longer part of our choice.  But I take comfort in knowing when my daughter goes from 8th grade to HS we will not have a "forced reassignment".   I have not told her that she will not be going to the same HS as some of her neighborhood best friends that are 1 year older and would be grandfathered. So even though the bus will be coming through the neighborhood to take her friends to Millbrook, she will be on the bus to Sanderson.

Unfortunate

I am sorry to hear of your daughter's situation. I know it is difficult. We went through a reassignment in the middle of ES. Unfortunately, assignment has been a mess for some time and it seems there is going to be some messiness for those already in the system in the adjustment to the new method. I suspect some areas are more complicated than others. It sounds like there is a variety of situations in play.

We are fortunate in that our current base schools ended up being our feeder pattern. I know that makes us luckier than many. However, I also know that there are many at our current school where the feeder pattern schools aren't in their choices and friendship is a two-way street. (I had asked the transportation question with regard to my daughter's friend, not us.) However unlike your situation, our next level "base" schools weren't an option for them under the old method either. Going on with all their friends wasn't an option (absent transfer or moving). Now they have that option, but they are faced with deciding to follow the feeder with friends but without transportation or applying for a choice school to get transportation, but splitting from friends. So for my daughter's friend, it was "congrats now you don't have to move to keep her with friends, but sorry you are going to have to get her to school yourselves unless you move afterall."

It seems not much here is easy across the board.

Millbrook

Solon77 - Is Millbrook listed on your "choice" list for your node?  If so you can apply for Millbrook during the choice window.  If you live closer to Millbrook than Sanderson you stand a good chance of getting a seat with a bus to Millbrook.

It sounds like Awake's case

It sounds like Awake's case isn't different.  If I understand it correctly, they automatically feed into Leesville Middle since they are currently at Sycamore Creek.  Leesville Middle doesn't appear on their 'choice list' (Sycamore Creek must not either) so they don't get transportation.  They would continue to get trans to SCES since that is where they are now, but once you move up a level, you no longer get bus if the feeder school isn't on your list.

Correct

That is correct. Nearly all of the elementary school-aged kids in our neighborhood go to sycamore creek so it's not just my children who are affected. In fact, I suggested during the "test drive" of the plan that sycamore creek be added to our elementary school choices since so many of us choose to go there now. No luck on that front. So we're left with a middle school assignment for which we don't have transportation and difficult decisions to make for a younger siblings still at sces.

What are your elementary

What are your elementary school choices?

Rumors are.......

Leesville Middle School is not that great of a school.  The high school gets high marks.  I would recommend visiting LMS and others you have access to.  You might find that another would be a better fit.  I have friends that are trying to get their kids out of Leesville MS next year. Too many fights, really good teachers, but some really bad ones too!    Don't be shocked like some of my friends were!

Not a rumor

It is the truth but you also left out how awful administration is there too.

That's What I've Heard....

as well.  I thought it was just a disgruntled parent at first, but then I started hearing it from more and more people!   The general concensus at LMS is something needs to change there and it sounds like it needs to start from the top down.

Sorry about your bus

Sorry about your bus situation.  Delightful, huh?  I do have a question--did you receive this assignment info in the mail or was it sent home with your student?  Haven't gotten ours yet.

backpacks

Our children brought them home from school today.

?

Are you in the walk zone (1.5 miles, I think)?   I don't think that's supposed to happen otherwise.  You should give the school principal a call.

feeder pattern

No, our assigned middle school is about 7 or 8 miles from our house. I think we are caught up in some strange no-mans land where our feeder pattern middle school is not on our "choice list" which I guess means that we don't get transportation to the school we are assigned to. Not sure I understand this.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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