Blog: Wake school board talks math changes
Posted January 24, 2012
Cary, N.C. — 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.