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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Seventy-five percent of Wake County families got first choice in student assignment plan

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More to come later but Wake County school administrators said today that 75 percent of families who requested a school under the new student assignment plan got their first choice

School administrators said that 74.9 percent of the 19,048 applicants got their first choice. The figure rises to 82.2 percent when the second choice is included.

The results varied across grade levels with 92.2 percent of students entering kindergarten getting their first choice. The percent getting their first choice drops to 73.4 percent of rising ninth-graders and 65.3 percent of rising sixth-graders.

In the other grades, the first-choice acceptance rate was 49.8 percent. It rose to 60.4 percent when you include the second choice.

You may hear staff touting a 90 percent first-choice rate in kindergaten, sixth- and ninth-grades. That's because they're including the pre-assigned students in sixth and ninth-grades who took the seat as having gotten their first choice.

All this could change depending on what adjustments are made to the plan by the school board today.

Staff isn't recommending any seat set asides at the high-performing schools, saying they've got enough capacity to handle applicants from the low-performing areas.

The data has been posted here on Wake's website, including school-by-school results.


The only change staff will recommend today is increasing the percentage of magnet students at Poe Elementary to 80 percent. Staff hopes this will lower the school's F&R rate.


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http  ://www.raleighpublicrecord.org/news/2012/03/08/data-show-deep-economic-divide-in-schools-from-east-to-west/

'Schools East of downtown Raleigh are almost exclusively high-poverty schools. Schools with more than 50 percent F&R students, represented by the red dots, are generally acknowledged to be more prone to problems and low test scores.'

This map is the result of people choosing where they want their kids to go to school .

Read further: "the

Read further:

"the percentages and distribution will likely remain the same as the current school year."

According to WakeEd Partnership:

The number of schools where more than 40 percent of students qualify for subsidized lunches did not change. The same is true for schools where more than 50 percent of student qualify for free or reduced-price meals


I'm also confused as to why WCPSS needs to wait until March 16 now that the BOE isn't making major changes to the plan.  It's frustrating that WCPSS knows where my child is attending K (but I don't) and has no pressing reason to keep that information longer than necessary (except to drive up our anxiety levels for those of us at overchosen schools). 

Also, I would have liked to see a breakdown of the priority acceptances at the overchosen schools.  It would give parents a better idea of whether or not they got their first choice because as it stands I have no more information now than when I applied. 

found it

WRAL says 8911 kindergarteners participated.  That leaves 3000 who still need to be placed when they show up.


How many of the incoming kindergarteners are registered and participated in either the magnet or choice lotteries?  Last I heard it was only about 50%.  Has that increased? 

Very interesting info from

Very interesting info from Ruth Steidinger on the compacted 5th/6th math.  If I heard her correctly, there were 300-something kids who qualified and only around 150 of those kids were actually placed in that class.  But there were 600-something (or did she say 800) kids in that class this year.

So once again, kids who didn't qualify were let in and kids who did qualify were kept out.  I understand that we don't know why all of those kids didn't take the class.  Maybe their parents said no--that is a real possibility.  But I don't think there's any way that all of those kids declined the offer.  I think that some weren't offered it at all.

You heard right..of the 382

You heard right..of the 382 kids that qualified, 182 didn't get a 5/6th compacted math class (I wonder if they were at YR schools and didn't get one offered on their track); and 800 kids across the district got in--meaning many that were not qualified were placed inspite of the fact that hard-working kids dropped thru cracks.   

New Students and Students with No Transporatation

Any news on how many 6th and 9th graders that have feeders with no transporation that have been resolved via choice?  I still believe that priority should be given to these students so that they can be fit into an exsiting transporatation pattern.  What about the new students who still received no assignment?  Isn't the district required to provide them a school assignment?

They're saying 875 students

They're saying 875 students who didn't have transportation took part in the first round. For the remaining studetns who don't have transportation, staff will individually contact each family that they can participate in the second round that starts March 19. They'll also forward the data to trasnportation seeing whether bus service can be provided to any of the students.

Does this mean that the 875

Does this mean that the 875 who didn't have transportation and took part in the 1st round got one of their choices? Or are you saying if they didn't get a choice school, they will be called to participate in the 2nd round?

Unclear. But if you didn't

Unclear. But if you didn't get into a school in the first round, you'll get notified about participating in the second round.

I didn't see any mention of

I didn't see any mention of this topic.

Where's Abbott's Creek?

Keung--I heard somebody say that the modular schools were underchosen, but I don't see Abbott's Creek listed at all in any of the documents.  Did they say anything about this?

And Keung, what

about the new schools in Wake Forest and Durant, E25 and E20 I think. I do not even see them on the list, did no one apply?

I'll get into it more

I'll get into it more tomorrow but they've got a big problem in that few people applied to Abbots Creek and Richland Creek elementary schools, the two new modular schools

e20 and e25 are the "new"

e20 and e25 are the "new" schools - they are modular until the brick buildings are actually constructed.  there is zero information about e20 anywhere - no website, the links on wcpss schools sites do not offer any info - so nobody chose it.  I can't believe they are surprised about it being under chosen when nobody knows anything about it - who would pick that?

I agree completely

that it should not be a surprise that no one applied.  But now we have actual modular campuses with zero students on them, translation, wasted capacity, wasted $s.  However, in the past, they were only successful in filling such schools forcefully, and by making many unhappy, so I would say choice is way better in this case.  No one being forced to go to these temporary schools if they don't want to, but taxpayers are paying to lease the land and the buildings, that will go unused in 2012-13.

I think those modular

I think those modular campuses have been around for years - I am not sure though.  I thought they were created almost as "swing space" to be used when schools were under construction and capacity was needed.  I don't really know.  I don't believe the modular campuses are new as in they were just built in recent months - they've been sitting empty for a while, or being used as other transition spaces for different schools when needed.

It will be interesting to see what happens with these two in the very near future.  Last I checked construction had not begun on E20 Abbotts - how long does it take to build a school - a couple years, right?  Is there something else that has to happen before they start to actually build?

You're right that both

You're right that both modular campuses have been around for a while and have been used as 'swing space'.  The one on Spring Forest (E-20/Abbott's Creek) was most recently used by Wilburn while their school was being renovated. Before that it was used as an early start for River Bend.  There could be others in there that I don't remember offhand.

The Dubois Center (E-25) was used as an early start for Forest Pines and then I think was a 9th grade center for WF-R HS. 

I don't know about E-25, but for Abbotts Creek the start date depends on when the next bond is passed. I don't remember the dates offhand anymore but if the next bond passed in Fall 2012 then it would open in Fall 2014--something like that.  I haven't seen anything about it recently.  Haven't seen anything about the bond itself either. 


so - if the bond does not pass - does that mean the school will not be built?

It's seems a little crazy to not just mentally/theoretically "build" a school and assign kids to it, assign a principal, etc - when it is dependent on these other things! 

Or do bonds for schools never fail?  Maybe that's it.  (#cannotvoteyet!)

Is it possible that

Is it possible that newcomers whose choice schools are at capacity would be bused to those two new modulars?


You got it I think - it's very possible that students could get bussed from all over to utilize these seats. 

Sure it's possible

And I think a great idea.


It seems Kev is getting a little flak about changing the meeting time. Margiotta was right in holding the meetings at a time more convenient to parents. Where's Yevonne's outrage?

meeting time???

We have thousands of students negatively impacted and we are more worried about meeting times...seriously!! 


I'm sorry. Did I talk about something you don't care about?

Tell me. Did you apply for the school you wanted? How did you fare in Round 1?

Parents have not been

Parents have not been notified yet if they got what they wanted in round one so none of us know. All we keep hearing is that we'll find out March 16. I'm a little confused why we can't find out earlier since the decisions have apparently already been made.


Well, some people know -- if there was 100% acceptance at the school they applied for.

I'm confused about the waiting as well. I assumed perhaps the Board wanted to review the choices made prior to final approval. That happened last night though, didn't it? (I didn't get to watch the meeting.)

The 100% is helpful only for

The 100% is helpful only for people who are moving into an "entry" grade because they listed it by school. Those of us who are trying to move for a non-entry grade have nothing to go on since that only lists a total percentage of 49% and there is no school breakdown. So all I know is that my daughter has a 49% chance of moving at this point. I'm optimistic since we are within 1.5 miles of the school and one of three that applied for less than five seats. But I'll still be holding my breath until we know...


So, they put out a schedule originally not knowing precisely how long it would take for them to finalize the numbers.  At this point, they are probably auditing to make sure that everything was done correctly.  Better to release the info a little later than to release it and then have to revise it.

I would think they can

I would think they can release the assignments anytime they want.  On the choice website, the second round begins March 19 and ends April 9.  Notification for second round begins the next day on April 10.  Why so many differences in notification windows for magnet, round 1 and round 2?


Round 2 because there are presumably a lot fewer people involved, and they will have already had the complicated stuff in Round 1.

I'm just guessing here.  They do want to make sure that they get everything right.  

(For an anology, think about EOGs. They're graded within about a week, yet it takes the state about 6 months to make the results public.)

We have 1000's negatively impacted every year

that's nothing new.

So are you still waiting to hear about your situation or did your crisis end today?

so different is ok

so a different set of 1000s is ok as long as it is not yours???

Come on Sam you're not answering the question

Did you get what you wanted in round 1 or not?

As for your comment, there will always be 1000s. Last year it was me, next year it's you and on and on.

Blame the board. They didn't have the guts to even discuss canning the new plan today did they. Your Rep failed you miserably and so Kevin is the one you should be taking it out on, not bloggers who actually feel for your situation and have fought to end crap like you are dealing with, like others deal with every year, and who are actually on your side.

Even when you continue to beat the same drum over their heads.

Sam, did you try

to move your rising 5th grader, and if so, were you successful?  I am not sure what you finally decided to do, just sit tight and hope they delay the plan, or apply to get into the Wakefield feeder pattern.

How would he know if he was

How would he know if he was successful. They haven't notified the parents. All I can tell is that 12 rising 9th graders got changed from Enloe to Broughton. Have to wait and see if we were one of the lucky 12. What is even more interesting - the chart shows that students from Apex High, Athens High, Holly Springs High, Green Hope, and Panther Creek were changed from those assigned schools to Broughton. How did proximity enter into that equation? We live 3 miles away and it's been our base for 80 years. How did someone in Holly Springs get to "choose" Broughton. Only 28% of those who applied got in. Either the chart is wrong or there was a computer malfunction. Any ideas?


Have you considered that those students actually live by you -- and have been bused to Apex, Athens, Holly Springs, Green Hope and Panther Creek under the old assignment plan? Maybe they'll get a shot at having a neighborhood base for the next 80 years.


Actually, it never occurred

Actually, it never occurred to me that anyone living in this area would be bussed to Apex, Cary, or Holly Springs.But it also never occurred to me that my child would be sent across town WITHOUT a bus. Maybe they were bussed to add some diversity to Apex, Cary, and Holly Springs. If that's true, it seems like there would have been more of them - only 1, 2, or 3 from each of those schools. If they do live nearby, that's certainly fair. I guess we have no way of knowing since nobody's address is tied to a school.  

One can get some indication based on the current base maps

If you track back using the 2011-12 base maps for the HSs you listed and/or the middle schools that are the feeders schools for those HS (i.e. rising 9th graders would have been pre-assigned to the HSs you mentioned), you can find those kids. It appears many live within about 1.5 to 3.5 miles of Broughton.

If one looks at the general Centential area and downtown, a handful of nodes are assigned to each of the following HSs: Athens, Apex and Green Hope. Nodes in that area were assigned to Davis Drive and Salem MSs, which feed Green Hope. It appears those from Holly Springs HS may relate to students from near downtown who were assigned to Holly Ridge MS, which is a feeder school to Holly Springs HS (Broughton is on their choice list). MS students near downtown were also assigned to Dillard Drive MS and Lufkin, which both feed Athens, but Broughton would be more proximate for those students than Athens. There's a street downtown, which is 2.5 miles from Broughton, where the first three blocks were assigned to Davis Drive MS, the next three to Salem MS and the last three to Ligon. Broughton appears to be their most proximate HS.

Students from certain areas were assigned in patterns that look like buckshot (not to mention often reassigned).

They're not offering you any

They're not offering you any transportation to Enloe?  That surprises me very much and I would double check.  That just doesn't seem right.

It's correct. There are a

It's correct. There are a lot of rising 6th and 9th graders without transportation due to the new "feeder patterns". In our case, it's due to the new magnet "feeder patterns". That's what Hui is referring to when he said 875 of us without transportaion have applied in the first round to a choice school. There are over 2,000 without transportation. I'm not sure if all of those without transportation are in the magnet program but assume so. In the past, we've gone to a magnet elementary school without transportation but we knew that when we applied to go to that school. The school was 5 minutes away and it was voluntary so it wasn't a big deal. I'm just surprised that they assigned children to a school without transportation. However, they say that state law does not require that they provide it. They said they discuss giving priority in the "choice" process to those students without transportation but apparently changed their minds. According to Hui, they are going to individually contact everyone affected so that they can participate in the 2nd round.

No Transportation for Feeders

In many cases, such as mine, we aren't at a magnet, we're at a YR opt-out school that leads us to feeder middle and high schools with no transporation.  I understand that there are also students who applied to YR on a voluntary basis that are also in this position.  In my case we always planned to return to our base middle school but with this new plan we had to apply and we're playing the "wait and see" game to see if we get in.  It makes no sense to try to bus my child to a school 30 minutes away when all my neighbors at a YR ES are fed into our one proximate traditional calendar MS.  I have my fingers crossed that we're one of the 875!

we are totally right there

we are totally right there with you.  :) everything crossed!!

I figured that you were

I figured that you were assigned to Southeast.  Enloe has such extensive neighborhood and express busing that I'm really shocked that you don't have transportation.


That's the great thing about a choice plan. Some could choose to stay; some could choose another school on their list. It seems a little of both occurred.

And why did it just occur to you that someone living in your area was being bused to the suburbs?

noticed that

I noticed the same thing for the middle and high school close to me. 

Another question for Keung

Another question for Keung or anybody else--

On that same "9th graders requesting a change in assignment" chart--what's with the red highlighted boxes?  Why do some of them have numbers in them?  How did people pre-assigned to a school apply to that same school?  

Don't know.

Don't know.

On a positive note, I was

On a positive note, I was very surprised that 100% of 1st choice applicants were accepted into Davis Drive ES and Durant ES. I really didn't expect Durant to take 100%--I expected much lower.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.