Wake County Schools

Wake's plan for single-gender schools based on Guilford model

Posted September 19, 2011

— The Wake County Board of Education could vote Tuesday on a plan that would create both an all-boys and an all-girls leadership academy for middle and high school students beginning with the 2012-13 school year.

Superintendent Tony Tata proposed the idea this month at a board meeting as a way to create more options under a proposed student assignment plan aimed at offering parents more choices for where their children go to school.

"If we can offer these programs, ideally in partnership with local colleges, we can offer more choices to families, create enrollment capacity for our school system at a cheaper cost and provide new paths for success for all students," Tata said earlier this month.

Guilford County's school system has had a similar model in place since 2002 at two local universities – Bennett College and North Carolina A&T State University.

Both schools, referred to as middle colleges, have 116 students enrolled for the 2011-12 school year and have a per-pupil expenditure of approximately $14,000 – more than twice the district average.

Guilford County Schools says that's partly because of lower student enrollment. The schools have some of the same fixed costs as other schools, such as administrative salaries, that are not spread out over as many students.

Esther Coble, who's principal at Guilford's all-girls Middle College at Bennett, says the cost is worth it. The classes are smaller, she says, which keeps students engaged. Learning is highly interactive.

Wake's plan for single-gender schools based on Guilford model Wake's plan for single-gender schools based on Guilford model

"Our school is for young ladies who are disinterested in or dissatisfied with or disconnected from the traditional high school setting," Coble said. "Last year, 100 percent of our students graduated and were accepted to a two- to four-year college."

Critics have raised questions, however, about what the schools would look like in terms of diversity in Wake County. Black students mostly comprise the two Guilford schools, and there has been a debate over the past two years about whether the district's new student assignment policy would lead to segregation.

It's something the Greensboro schools are working on, and the issue will likely come up at Tuesday's Wake school board meeting.

Also up for consideration at Tuesday's school board meeting is a plan that would convert Hilburn Elementary School in northwest Raleigh to a grades K-8 school.

The school system has posted an online survey for parents who would be affected by the change, asking for their thoughts about the school's calendar, program offerings and other information.

Tata recommended the change, saying it would open more middle school seats and postpone the need to build a new middle school in northwestern Wake County.

If approved, it would also go into effect in 2012-13.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • shortcake53 Sep 20, 2011

    If the school system keeps telling kids that they cant learn unless huge changes are made, then you are setting them up to fail. There is NO reason kids cant just get up, go to school, do the work, pay attention and get their education, just like generations of them have done in the past. No excuses, no blaming someone for their lack of success, just DO IT. Why do some have to make it seem so hard? Kids now are conditioned to think if they are not catered to, they wont make it. Gee, how did anyone in the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, etc. ever do it??

  • bill0 Sep 20, 2011

    "Now, tell me what I missed? :-)"

    I already told you - CHOICE!!!! The family directly effected gets to make the choice. If you, as a taxpayer, don't like the choice they make - too bad. That is 100% different than the government being able to force the people effected by the decision in a particular direction.

    Similarly - a black family gets a government backed loan for a home. Should taxpayers then be able to tell them they can't live in a mostly/all black neighborhood? Absolutely not! If an individual family makes the choice to live someplace, that should be 100% up to them. The government shouldn't punish them and take away the loan if some taxpayers don't agree with the choice.

  • UNCG07Grad Sep 20, 2011

    It amazes me how many of you do not want to listen to the FACTS that support the idea of single gender schooling actually being more successful. Yes, a lot of it comes down to the homes that these students come from - but let's be honest, society isn't going to improve homelives of some students any time soon, so why not do what we can to help them through public education? Change must be really scary for some of you.

  • too-obvious Sep 20, 2011

    thats being sexist isnt it?

  • familyfour Sep 20, 2011


    When it is their choice, it will be funded by them and they pay for it....not through our taxes and govt funds.....that is called "Private school"

    Still say it's just fundamentally wrong when the goal to prosperity is unity. But I look through it with the eyes of someone who is searching for bigger and better....not make excuses for situations and remedy by separation. I believe in remedy by putting your foot down.

    No child should have to go through the "drama" of what comes with school, but LOOK what is tolerated. Many years of stories show over and over that problematic students, whom the students KNEW to be so, have caused as much terror as home based terrorists acts.

    Separation is not the answer. Dealing with the problems....well, if we actually fix everything, what will the govt spend our money on?

    Now, tell me what I missed? :-)

  • rand321 Sep 20, 2011

    Why the school system is going to use limited construction dollars on an experiment is beyond logical understanding. Wake needs a long term strategic plan and budget.

    They are planning on asking the taxpayers for billions in new construciton bonds and tax rates that would make Ron feel like he is back in NJ.

    The board is anything but responsive to the long term needs of the taxpayers and the kids.

  • NiceNSmooth Sep 20, 2011

    When is Tedesco going to make his TV appearance on this topic?

    Oh, I can make any comments regarding his brother? I have seen no WRAL follow up on the story... why is that?

  • NiceNSmooth Sep 20, 2011

    I was asked to provide paper, pencils, crayons, tissue and many other basic supplies for my childs class this year because the school couldnt afford to and now you want to spend money wake county doesnt have on an experiment.... and how do I get my kid in this program? will it be a lottery system like the magnet program?

  • NiceNSmooth Sep 20, 2011

    While we are at it, I think maybe we should, have one school for blacks, One for whites, One for Mexicans, One For Orientals, One for Homosexuals, One for Heterosexuals.

    ahhhh... and one for bi-racials and another for bigots... bet we know which one you will be at

  • Shamrock Sep 20, 2011

    When is Tedesco going to make his TV appearance on this topic?