The magnet school program will be a major discussion topic during today's Wake County school board meeting.
During the work session, staff will recommend which schools to include in the new federal magnet grant application. This means staff will identify today which schools are recommended for new magnet programs and which existing magnets will see major revisions to their themes.
Whether staff also recommends today which schools to demagnetize remains to be seen.
Also on the work session agenda is the discussion of the magnet program principles. The three principles in the draft version are the same as what's now in place:
* Reduce high concentrations of poverty and support diverse populations.
* Maximize use of school facilities.
* Provide expanded educational opportunities.
The wrinkle is what staff has proposed in the preamble. Back in June, the board couldn't agree on adding student achievement as one of the principles.
Now staff is proposing that the preamble for the magnet principles reads: "In alignment with the WCPSS Strategic Plan Academic Focus Areas of 1) Facilitating High Academic Achievement and Growth for All Students and 2) Reducing Achievement Gaps, WCPSS Magnet Programs will continue to be an important mechanism helping to: (followed by the principles).
Part of the reason that the board majority gave for passing the student assignment directive was to have an impact on the magnet review. Today's magnet discussion could offer some insight into how board members and staff are viewing the new assignment model that's being developed for the 2013-14 school year.
Other work session topics include the 2013-14 instructional calendars, the initial list of renovation and life cycle projects for the next school bond issue and an updated strategic plan.
The General Assembly modified the calendar law so that, starting in the 2013-14 school year, districts can have either 1,025 hours of instruction or 185 days of classes.
It used to be that schools had to have both 180 days and 1,000 hours. When the General Assembly increased both, districts balked at adding the days and got waivers.
It's more likely that Wake will extend the school day to get in the 25 extra hours under a 180-day calendar than to go to a 185-day schedule.
During the regular session, topics include voting to reinstate one additional day of floor sweeping and vacuuming per week to schools and adoption of the magnet principles.
All five Democrats are expected tonight so you may also see them reversing the decision made at the last meeting when a temporary Republican majority suspended funding for the use of M16 as Panther Creek High School's ninth-grade center.
Here's a warning for people who may want to attend the work session in person. Parking spaces are limited because of all the people registering their children for the new school year. You may have to park at the Crossroad II building and walk over.
School board chairman Kevin Hill is not here due to the death of his mother. This leaves eight members tonight.
The board agreed during the work session to add student achievement into the header of the magnet school principles as a compromise with those who wanted it in the guiding principles. The official vote will come during the work session.
The principles were unanimously adopted at the regular meeting.