Wake County Schools

Wake parents encouraged to test student assignment proposal

Posted June 19, 2011
Updated June 20, 2011

— Wake County schools are holding a series of outreach events this week to get more parents involved in figuring out how one proposed student assignment plan would work.

School staff set up computers at First Baptist Church in downtown Raleigh Sunday and helped parents do an online test drive of the Community-Based Choice plan, or "blue plan."

"I didn't know about it. I didn't realize until I came into church this morning and realized they were doing it here," parent Stephanie Bullock-Allen said.

The families of 10,260 students have done test drives, but Superintendent Tony Tata appealed Friday for at least 12,000 families to participate.

The idea is to get feel for what student distribution might actually look like under the plan. Greater participation will produce more accurate results, he said, adding that families in eastern Wake County and southeast Raleigh are currently under-represented in the results.

"That they are taking the time and the effort to garner our wishes and what we desire, I do appreciate it," Bullock-Allen said.

Wake parents encouraged to test student assignment proposal Wake parents encouraged to test student assignment proposal

The blue plan allows parents to choose from a variety of four to six elementary schools, each linked with a middle and high school. Students get priority based on whether they have a sibling at the school or live close by, and the district takes into account achievement balance and capacity at each school.

"My kids were 15 to 20 minutes away, so bringing them back a lot closer to home is helpful," said Jenine Dolby, who has three children in Wake County schools.

The alternative, the Base Schools Achievement plan, or "green plan," is more similar to the current assignment model. Under it, the school system assigns students based on student achievement, ensuring that students from low-performing areas end up at high-performing schools.

Since that plan has stable feeder plans from elementary to high school, a test drive of it wasn't necessary.

Parents who prefer the green plan say they like that the feeder plans would let them know with confidence where their child would go to elementary, middle and high schools, Tata said.

The trial run of the blue plan lasts until Friday.

Tata plans to give feedback on both plans and detail a work plan to devise the final student assignment policy at the Tuesday meeting of the Wake County Board of Education.

Blue plan test drive outreach events on Monday

  • Wendell Elementary School, 8-10 a.m.
  • Southeast Raleigh High School, 8-10 a.m.
  • Fuller Elementary School, 8-10 a.m.
  • Wakelon Elementary School, 8-10 a.m.
  • Ligon Middle School, 8-10 a.m.
  • Zebulon Middle School, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Hodge Road Elementary School, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Boys and Girls Club, 605 N. Raleigh Blvd. in Raleigh, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

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  • common_sense_plz Jun 20, 2011

    It appears that the county has placed sites in lower economic areas of the county so that these parents can "test drive" the plan. It is no ones fault but those parents who will not take the time to go by and participate. Other than tax payer money paying for workers go door to door for these non interested parents to take part in the exercise. I hope I do not see the school system end up going door to door wasting our tax dollars.

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Jun 20, 2011

    Concerning Mr. Barber's letter: Spell and grammar check, dude.

    Concerning Mr. Tata's letter: Awesome!

  • bikely Jun 20, 2011

    If you have not checked out the choices for your address in this plan, you need to do so asap, and give feedback to the WCPSS. Our 5 elementary school choices range from 5 minutes from our house in N Raleigh, to a school in Garner and another in Cary. Can you imagine the bus routes? And if the folks in my N Ral neck of the woods don't get their first/second choice and end up bused to Garner/Cary, how on earth is that an improvement over the current system?

  • bill0 Jun 20, 2011

    "aren't the outreach events the way they intend to reach those without internet access? "

    Maybe that was the intent, but they didn't do a great job of notifying parents if people were surprised to find out their church was one of the sites.

    Also, take a look at the times for the meetings. You've got them all basically at the same time - during normal working hours. Unless you are a stay at home mom, that is a pretty inconvenient time for most people.

    To reach the parents that aren't active in their kids education, that approach is obviously going to fail. Yes, it would be nice if all parents came in with a great attitude and interest in learning, but the reality is that they don't. Unless we address that, then shuffling kids around isn't going to make much difference.

  • slackzac2 Jun 20, 2011

    aren't the outreach events the way they intend to reach those without internet access?

    parent disinterest is the problem with education today. "they're not my problem from 8am to 3pm" is sadly a far too common thought for some parents these days.

  • bill0 Jun 20, 2011

    I'm sure Mr Tata is well intentioned, but only 70% of citizen have internet access in Raleigh. The percentage is much lower in some of the surrounding towns. Guess who doesn't have access? hint - it isn't the families in wakefield.

    Posting online surveys is a horrible way to reach the parents of struggling students. Most of the school districts problems stem from parents who aren't active in their child's education. Unless our school reform plans address that issue head on, they won't be successful.

  • wakemom Jun 20, 2011

    no matter what they still gonna do what they want to do. why keep pushing for folks to go online??

  • What_I_Think Jun 20, 2011

    I just tried it. We have traditional middle school alternatives now but won't under the blue plan. Under this proposal, when my oldest starts middle school (YR) my youngest will be still be in elementary (T). What happened to keeping families on the same calendar and not being forced into YR?

  • superman Jun 20, 2011

    What are their plans for schools that are under their enrollment capacity? Do they plan to close and abandom them? Parents may not be close to a "Burger King". The board is going to have to assign students to those schools and some parents will not have a choice. Parents frequently move. What will happen to the people who move into an area where their school is at capacity? Will we see reassignments every year? And of course there are federal programs at some schools. Federal teachers, supplies, and equipment will have to move where the students who qualify are assigned. The board receives over 100 million in federal grants that have to be used where the students are located. I dont think the board or the supt are aware of the many changes that will have to be made other than just neighborhood assignments. Federal grant money that is not used according to the guidelines will have to be repaid. They lost 30 million federal grant already.