Wake County Schools

Thousands of Wake parents go online for new assignment plan

Posted January 17, 2012

— Thousands of parents went online Tuesday to tell the Wake County Public School System where they would like their children to go to school next year.

The online selection process for the district's new student assignment plan went live on the school system's website at 1 p.m., with approximately 2,200 parents participating within the first hour, school officials said.

Heavy website traffic throughout the afternoon led to slow response times for some parents while others had to try several times before being able to connect.

By 6 p.m., 4,689 people had made at least one choice, Cris Mulder, the school system's chief of family and community engagement.

middle school, school bus Wake schools student assignment plan

"The launch has gone smoothly," Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata said Tuesday afternoon, adding that more work continues to reach out to parents to make sure they know what options are available to them.

The school system has scheduled a number of "mobile enrollment events" in Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Fuquay-Varina, Zebulon and Knightdale over the next month during which school system staff will provide computers and assistance to help parents choose. (Click here for a list of events.)

Parents have until Feb. 24 to rank their choices before school staff place students. They will be notify parents by March 16.

A second choice-selection period will open up March 19 for any parent who don't participate in the first round. Assignments based on those choices will be made by mid-April.

Wake parents select schools of choice Wake parents select schools of choice

Under the new assignment model, parents rank a list of schools, based on their home address. Once a student is assigned to a school, he or she is guaranteed a seat in that school's feeder pattern as long as he or she is enrolled in the school system.

Each year, parents can request placement for a different school if they want.

The school system estimates that parents of about 6 percent of current students will opt to make a change to their plan. The other 94 percent will choose to remain in their current school.

Parents of students who are new or returning to the school system, rising kindergartners and parents who want their children to switch schools must go through the selection process.

Any student new to the school system, including rising kindergartners, must be pre-enrolled at a local school or at the school system’s central office at 5625 Dillard Drive in Cary before they can select their schools.

Current students received their preliminary assignments in November, and parents wanting to change that assignment can go online and rank their school choices but should only pick schools if they are willing to leave their current assignment.

Parents have priority to schools closest to their home as well as schools where children already have a sibling attending. Each student currently enrolled in the district also has the option to stay at the school to which he or she is already assigned.

Students in schools considered low-performing will also have an additional choice to attend a school that's considered high-performing, based on test scores and qualified teachers.

The choice-selection process is moving forward despite calls in recent weeks by some school board members and community groups to delay it over concerns about costs, feeder patterns and whether students from low-performing schools would really have enough access to high-performing schools.

But the board decided last week during a work session not to delay the process. Instead, the plan will be closely monitored and any issues with it will be addressed as they arise.

Tuesday’s process comes after months of community debate and controversy about replacing the school system’s decade-old busing policy to help keep schools socio-economically diverse.

Some, including the state chapter of the NAACP, still fear that doing so will segregate schools, lead to high teacher turnover at economically disadvantaged schools and violate students’ constitutional rights to a fair and equal education.

Those who support the plan have maintained that the new community-based policy will provide more stability for students who are reassigned every school year, give parents more input in their child’s education and increase parents’ involvement.


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  • beaupeep Jan 18, 2012

    "There are less than 5 seats at the only schools on my list. I don't see how Wake county says this is a choice."

    You shoulda been faster.........

  • Screw WrAl Jan 18, 2012

    "There are less than 5 seats at the only schools on my list. I don't see how Wake county says this is a choice."

    That's because you didn't sign up yesterday. When there were more.

    But you are correct, once half of our schools fill up in a few weeks, they will get capped. Then many upon many more will not get anywhere near what they had hoped for. Far from it.

  • Screw WrAl Jan 18, 2012

    "As a parent of a child with special needs, I do not have a choice of where my child will go to school."

    Sure you do, it's a CHOICE PLAN. If the media isn't covering it then it isn't news.

  • alexannelise Jan 18, 2012

    There are less than 5 seats at the only schools on my list. I don't see how Wake county says this is a choice.

  • Shamrock Jan 18, 2012

    ""It's not first come first served."

    You betcha it is."

    Just cause you keep saying it doesn't make it so.

  • laurawilson945 Jan 18, 2012

    Does anyone see the proximity distances filled out in the choice list? We are equidistant (1.9 miles on Google) between our 2 closest schools. I'm dying to know which one WCPSS thinks is our closest school.

  • jhigman1960 Jan 18, 2012

    As a parent of a child with special needs, I do not have a choice of where my child will go to school. How come this hasn't been reported by the media during this entire process?

  • Screw WrAl Jan 18, 2012

    "It's not first come first served."

    You betcha it is.

  • kealyn12 Jan 18, 2012


    It's not first come first served. If there are more applicants for a particular school than there are seats, then selection priorities will be used with the highest priorities being given to incoming siblings (kindergartners) of students already assigned to that school and then by proximity. So if a parent waits until the last possible moment to select, they still have a better chance of getting their close proximity school (or school where their older child attends) than somebody who selected that school the first minute it opened but isn't in that schools primary proximity or doesn't have a sibiling already at the school.

    No need to rush. This is a very important decision so I recommend you research the schools prior to jumping the gun just to get it in.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 18, 2012

    This primarily affects Kindergarten, sixth grade, and ninth grade when students enter different schools.

    My bet is that the bulk of parents with kids in school will choose to stay where they are minimizing the number of seats for those who want to change.