Wake County Schools

Some pleased, some frustrated with school choice results

Posted March 16, 2012
Updated April 26, 2012

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— After two months of waiting, the parents of more than more than 19,000 Wake County public school students got word Friday afternoon where their children will go to school in the fall.

middle school, school bus Wake schools student assignment results

The Wake County Public School System posted results of the first round of the district's student assignment plan's choice selection process online, and letters went out in the mail to notify parents of their children's assignments. School system staff were also available by phone.

Nearly 75 percent of parents who took part in the first phase – from Jan. 17 until Feb. 24 – received their first choice. 

Tina Sherman, whose son is in kindergarten, got her third choice – Laurel Park Elementary School – and she said she was happy with that assignment. "We would like to get him started off in the right place," she said.

Michelle Evans' kindergartner was one of those left out. She did not get into any of her top four choices. "We fell through the cracks," she said. "It is very upsetting to me."

Superintendent Tony Tata told reporters in his weekly news briefing that more parents could receive their first choice after the district places 723 students who are currently on waiting lists for magnet schools.

"The first-round selection rates will only go up, from what we announced," Tata said. "It's a small number, but every family is important, and we are focused on absolute accuracy and transparency."

A second choice selection round is scheduled from March 19 through April 9 for any parents unhappy with the assignment they received as well as parents who didn't participate in the first round. Assignments based on those choices will be made by mid-April.

Wake makes student assignment results available Wake makes student assignment results available

Tata said the district is also waiting on final numbers for two new elementary schools – Richland Creek and Abbots Creek – to determine whether there are enough students to open them.

He said no school will be overcapacity in the choice plan because the district maintained caps set by schools.

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.

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.


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  • michelll Mar 22, 2012

    I do not understand how you can have 2 year round schools within a few miles of each other with such low capacity they only have 1 track, but the traditional calendar choice option is over capacity causing those living 1.5 miles away unable to attend and going to different schools than their neighbors. Take another look at the year round schools in West Cary and reassess what calendar option the school should be in order to meet the needs of the community.

  • SaveEnergyMan Mar 21, 2012

    We found out that just ONE fifth grader in the entire school got their any proximity choice. Another gifted student who applied outside proximity can't go to middle school with their older sibling - so much for siblings getting higher priority.

    People have now told me that gifted students in my area are intentionally NOT allowed out of the area to balance all of the low performing students that get bussed in. I thought the system was "fair and transparent". Mr. Tata, the parents deserve the TRUTH. This is not choice. WRAL, can you look into this?

  • PeopleWatcher Mar 20, 2012

    This system is so awesome - NOT! When I went to log in this morning to see my child's assignment, guess what? My child did not even get a school assignment, nothing, zilch, nada.

    I left a message for the supposed appropriate person this morning, telling her that I am staring at my print-out from my first round selection and am not real confident in having just printed down a second round selection, since the first apparently meant diddly-squat.

    If you are going to use a computer system, make sure it works.

    Wake County Public Schools, you are seriously incompetent!

  • momoffive Mar 19, 2012

    It seems that you either got your 1st choice or you got nothing. We tried to get our 3 sons back into feeders to our neighborhood school Apex High where our 2 oldest kids went. Now they are on 3 different feeder patterns heading to 3 different high schools.

    Our 4th grader was the one and only applicant to Apex El. with less than 5 seats yet he didn't get in. He was also shut out of his 3 other choices and will remain in a Cary feeder pattern.

    Our 7th grader was in the 1.5 mile walk zone yet didn't get into Apex Middle. He is being sent to Salem where he knows no one.

    Our 9th grader was in priority 3(we live 2 miles away) yet didn't get into Apex High although student assignment claims they sat most priority 3 in K, 6th, and 9th grade.

    Unless they get in on their waiting lists they will be heading for Athens, and Apex and Cary high schools in the future. I guess my middle one can pull my youngest into Apex in 5 years once he's been locked into Cary schools and knows no one in Apex

  • SaveEnergyMan Mar 19, 2012

    I don't believe the 75% number. We not only didn't get our first or second choice - no one else we asked did either. I saw there were only about a dozen seats at each of the two non-YR middle schools we wanted to move to (our only choices in proximity). We are #41 on the list for one and didn't even get a # for the other.

    Meanwhile, hundreds of students not living in the immediate area get to go to these schools because of the magnet option. So much for community schools.

    Choice suggests there is a choice that exists. A dozen seats for hundreds of people is not choice, it's a shot in the dark. Wake promised us we could get out of the YR option anytime we wanted, and now we can't. If I had moved my child from the YR back to our regularly districted school in January, we'd have gotten in no problem. Millions of dollars and they still can't work out the bugs.

  • As if .... Mar 16, 2012

    Heritage middle has put my son as #20 on a wait list . This in a school that is in walking distance and a year round with 4 tracks !
    The Wake weekly on thur. clearly stated that only two middle schools in the area did not have enough seats,and Heritage was not one of them!!
    This is more than frustrating ,Mr Tata and others get ready for some not so nice emails starting on Mon.

  • SomeRandomGuy Mar 16, 2012

    I can login, but am getting a server error. Capacity fail!

  • tarheels60 Mar 16, 2012

    I have tried to support WCPSS and let the system do it's job. But I am done. I have a second child graduating from high school this year from the same school as my first. My third child, a rising 9th grader is getting sent to another high school due to the elementary school he attended. As far as I know he is one of two kids in our neighborhood to be assigned to a different high school. Tried making the choice but he is 54th on the waiting list. How can they send a child to a different high school than the rest of the neighborhood and how in the world can they retro act the feeder patterns for a student? If we had known 3 years ago it was going to impact what high school he went to we could have made an informed decision. In my opinion it's really not choice if a student is "assigned" to a school. By they way,they are providing transportation, for one or two students. What a waste of our tax dollars!

  • Burger Mar 16, 2012

    I supported community schools. We just got our assignment. We have a rising 3rd grader and a rising Kindergartener assigned to 2 different schools, with 2 different start/release times. It is likely that they will be on different tracks. This is a colossal disaster. We live too close to both schools for a bus. So my wife or I will have to sit in 4 carpools a day. Wake County has gone to far.

  • Alexia.1 Mar 16, 2012

    "Can someone explain to me why my daughters did not get their first choice..... the high school we chose is .7 miles from our home." --lbbaer

    Just have her walk there to school in the morning. It then becomes their responsibility to deal with her.