Wake County Schools

Blog: Wake school board talks math changes

Posted January 24, 2012

Wake County Public School System
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— The Wake County Board of Education meets Tuesday for a work session and a special board meeting that recognizes students and teachers.

Among the items on the board's work session agenda are an update on magnet school selection results and discussion about a hiring freeze for the 2012-13 school year.

Here is the full work session agenda:

  • Update on Magnet Selection Round Results
  • Hiring Freeze for the 2012-13 School Year
  • Common Core Mathematics 2012-13
  • Board Policy and Practice Discussion
  • Board Committee Structure
  • Draft Resolution in Support of the Restoration of the N.C. Teaching Fellows Program Adopted by the Wake County Board of Education

Common Core Math Update:

Staff briefed the board on required changes to the way math is taught in middle and high school. In June of 2010 North Carolina adopted the Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten through 12th grade Mathematics and English Language Arts. A significant change for middle and high school math content is the grouping of subjects including algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics and they way assessments are done for each. To meet this required change Wake County staff is charged with coming up with new names for math courses, ways to place students in those courses, and ensuring teachers have the right materials and resources in the classroom. Staff suggested naming the courses: (for middle school) Common Core Math 6, 7, and 8 and Common Core High School 1,2 and 3. They briefed the board on specific criteria for placing students in each of these math courses. They also said intense training will be required to ensure each teacher is teaching effectively under the new system.

Hiring Freeze Update:

Dr. Stephen Gainey updated the board on a Wake Schools hiring freeze effective January 10th. He told board members this is a management tool to ensure the school system does not over extend the budget before knowing exactly what the budget will be for next school year. Gainey said it will not prevent a school from starting the 2012-2013 school year with a full staff. He told the board they want to plan now to try to avoid having to cut any positions later. The hiring freeze impacts all school-based positions with the exception of principals, bookkeepers, NCWISE, data managers, and lead secretary positions. The hiring freeze also applies to all central service positions for the 2012-2013 school year. It impacts new-hires and re-hires.

Magnet application update:

Members of the student assignment task force updated board members on the magnet school application process. The Wake County Public School System received more than 4,200 magnet school applications for the 2012-2013 school year. 1,865 were selected for seats in magnet schools, and 2,671 were put on a waitlist. Some raised questions about a sharp decline in the number of applicants this year compared to last. Last year Wake County got 8, 469 applications, this year the number dropped to 4,296. Task Force lead James Overman told the board there are many signs that the magnet program is still, “healthy and robust.” Under the newly approved student assignment plan 1,808 rising sixth- and ninth-grade magnet students, were pre-assigned to magnet schools following their feeder pattern instead of having to apply as in years past. More families also have access to magnet schools this year as a proximity choice reducing their need to apply.
Board member Christine Kushner said she is still concerned by what she sees a clear decline in the number of families who applied for next year. Some have questioned the fairness in the number of seats actually available this year. Superintendent Tony Tata has said the number of available seats remained about the same this year, but acknowledged some parents may be surprised by actually being able to see that number for the first time this year during the application process.

Overman told the board that as of 2:00 p.m. Tuesday 10,311 families have signed on to the new student assignment website and selected at least one choice, 4,935 are incoming kindergartners. WCPSS expects to enroll more than 12 thousand kindergartners next year, and all must participate in the new plan.


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  • cjw6105 Jan 25, 2012

    I am absolutely amazed at the comments I've had which dispute that my neighborhood was assigned to magnet schools with no alternative.

    For billO and haggis basher, one more time. We were assigned to schools close to our neighborhood. The school board could not racially balance magnet schools over 10 miles from where we lived, so they CHANGED our base schools to the magnets' base area, FORCING us to go there. We objected en masse to being moved from undercrowded schools 2 to 5 miles away, but the board would not listen. And being able to vote on only one board member, we were unable to hold the other 8 members accountable at the ballot box.

    Wake County for the past 30 or more years was a county made up of haves and have-nots. I resented seeing my area shut out of traditional schools because of our kids' color. Oh yes, the board, under threat of lawsuits, changed it from racial balance to socio-economic balance, but the results were the same. Half a foot is still 6 inches.

  • swimfreak19 Jan 25, 2012

    "Common Core Math"??

    Haven't they already dumbed things down enough without trying to disguise things now?

  • wakemom Jan 25, 2012

    And by the way ,talk about being ticked off... my son got put on a waiting list for Ligon middle while 3 of his classmates got in! They are all in the ag class at his elementary school and live a block away from each other. ???????

    that is nothing! i remember last yr my son lost his magnet status coming from elementary school trying to get in ligon. then i found out kids that lived in wake forest, knightdale, and even car got into that school. they were non minority student. and they all applied just like i did during the magnet application. talk about ticked off. but they were also non minority. so i always wondered how do they pick and choose who gets in if it is based off lottery. but i was upset that kids far off as wake forest got into the schools downtown by choice. while others of us in that zip code of southeast/east raleigh had to be bused out far away... not by choice. see the double standard here?

  • haggis basher Jan 25, 2012

    "Federal grants are just tax money coming from a different direction."

    Indeed and it helps level the playing field between rich and poor States........

  • haggis basher Jan 25, 2012

    ""The rest of us are supporting not only your childs education but also helping you support them.""

    and just who do you think will be paying for your Soc. Sec and healthcare.....thats right, those kids who are in school now. Now you might prefer to have illeducated ones to do that but I'll go with having well educated ones as they are more likely to be able to do so......

  • Shamrock Jan 25, 2012

    Superman- I really do not understand your logic.
    " Perhaps if the schools were funded 100% by the people who have filled them up with children--funding would be more than adequate."
    How can a population of 140k (WCS students) fund education better than the entire county with a population of 900k? How can that mathmatically be correct?

    "The rest of us are supporting not only your childs education but also helping you support them."

    You are not supporting my children in the least, however you are "helping" to provide them with an education. We provide education to all because it draws in companies that provide jobs to kids when they are out of school. RTP was started for that very reason.

    While I understand your comments about the lost money, your other arguments do not work. Keep in mind, many of us make a good salary and therefore do not even qualify for the dependant deduction so that little dig is lost on me.

  • justabumer Jan 25, 2012

    Federal grants are just tax money coming from a different direction.

  • superman Jan 25, 2012

    Am very happy to hear you say you are willing to pay more taxes. You remember the 30 million federal grant they lost? Add to that another 3 million when the board changed the location of a new high school. Do you recall that the previous school bond issued failed? Perhaps if the schools were funded 100% by the people who have filled them up with children--funding would be more than adequate. Public education is no different than public welfare. The rest of us are supporting not only your childs education but also helping you support them. You do realize that a dependent deduction on your federal and state income taxes is the same as getting a welfare check.

  • bill0 Jan 25, 2012

    "When the school board needed to fill magnet schools with non-minority students, they created satellite nodes."

    You are severely misinformed about how base nodes are created. The school board doesn't need to fill magnet schools with non-minority students as the base population. If your node was reassigned, it was due to population growth, not the magnet program. Magnet schools get plenty of non-minority applicants and that is the method that was used for "balance".

    And NO students had choices. It wasn't because the node was going to a magnet school. That was just the whole model. You could have been assigned to any type of school and you wouldn't have had a say. (unfortunately, many parents are about to find out that not much has changed in that regard.)

  • haggis basher Jan 25, 2012

    "It was forced magnet attendance, period. I can't make it any plainer."

    Rubbish, its no more "forced" than any other base school is. Whats your problem, don't like the Po' on you? Its hilarious that you would complain about getting for no effort that which many Parent try hard to get.