Wake County Schools

Year-round Wake County students head back to school

Posted July 11, 2011
Updated September 12, 2011

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— The summer is not over, but more than 40,000 year-round Wake County public school students headed back to class Monday.

The school system faces deep budget cuts this year, and Superintendent Tony Tata has been busy preparing teachers for the reality of the cuts.

Tata said he hoped to speak with all teachers before all schools are back in session.

Wake County school officials say this year's state budget is $40 million less than last year. So far, the school system has laid off more than 200 clerical and administrative positions.

On Tuesday, the school board will vote on more cuts, including proposals to lay off custodial staff and to reduce teacher assistants' contracts from 10 months to 9¼ months, effectively cutting their pay by 7.5 percent.

While year-round schools started Monday, five elementary schools that were year-round will now be on a single-track for two years. These schools – Alston Ridge Elementary, Highcroft Elementary, Lake Myra Elementary, Rand Road Elementary and Timber Drive Elementary – start Aug. 1.

Tata said he recommended the change because those schools were under-enrolled. The new calendar for those schools will save nearly $1 million in two years.

Multi-track year-round schools have four groups of students on different schedules. Three are in school at a time, while one is out on break.

Students enrolled in traditional-calendar schools begin class on Aug. 25.

Renaissance schools see big changes 

Some of the biggest changes this school year can be seen at the four lowest-performing schools in the county last year. All teachers at these so-called "Renaissance Schools" had to reapply for their jobs.

Three of these schools – Wilburn Elementary and Barwell Road Elementary – reopened on Monday.

"We have new leadership, new staff in there and there is an energy in there," Tata said.

At Wilburn Elementary in Raleigh, nearly 80 percent of the teachers are new, including Principal Mark Tracy.

"The parents and students have done a marvelous job adjusting to that change in just one day," Tracy said.

Wilburn Elementary sees big changes Wilburn Elementary sees big changes

Some new employees got bonuses to sign on, and more bonuses will be available at schools that show improvement.

"This is a dream for a principal, to have the opportunity to hire your own staff, have the full support of the administration at the central level, to be infused with technology and (have) smaller class sizes," Tracy said. 

The Renaissance Schools project is being funded using the federal Race to the Top grant. 

66 Comments

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  • Shamrock Jul 13, 2011

    Heat and Drought, where did you get that number 14?

  • Remy Jul 13, 2011

    "In most circles where human thinking takes place that's considered several."
    Heat n Drought n Fire n Smoke

    Might want to look it up cause it ain't.

  • Remy Jul 13, 2011

    "It was 5 of 14"

    Thought there were 22 YR ES, and 3 YR MS? They returned 5 ES to to traditional so we still have 20 YR schools, right?

  • s.wake.co Jul 12, 2011

    Haven't read all the comments, but a lot of comments mention children being or getting 'bored' (I assume) if they are out of school for more than 3-4 weeks. Is it necessarily a bad thing for kids to get bored? Not saying children don't need structure, but could it be that society is unintentionally stifling the creative nature of children by protecting them from boredom? I'm sure some will take the flip side view and say that boredom could just as easily lead to destructive behavior, too, which I readily agree, but only if we send them the message that we do not expect them to behave.

  • RMC10 Jul 12, 2011

    Renaissance Schools - do we really have to slap a label on them - make them stand out from other schools, and announce them to be "formerly" low performing schools?

  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Jul 11, 2011

    "I would not call 5 of 25 YR schools several."

    It was 5 of 14 and that's more than 1/3rd. In most circles where human thinking takes place that's considered several.

  • NC Reader Jul 11, 2011

    "As I read these comments, one things stands out that comes from the year round lovers, you prefer the school system raise your kids for you. Heaven forbid you have to be responsible for them for 8-12 weeks at one time."

    What about parents who complain about how hard it is to find child care for 3 weeks at a time? Are they just trying to get the schools to raise their children for them?

    The reason I like year-round is the reason so many others do -- that the children have breaks during nicer weather and at times when the rest of the world isn't on vacation. To me, the length of vacation is secondary. I'd be happy if they had a ten-week vacation from March to May or September to November. The posters who say that their children get bored during a long summer were merely responding to the posters who claim that it's a terrible thing for children not to have a long summer.

  • poohperson2000 Jul 11, 2011

    Amused, adjustment is part of life.. ALL those that squaked that the year round schedule was dispruptive should listen to you. As adults we work much more, than what our kids spend in school. Yes, this is life, and the kids will adjust to adulthood just like anyone else, wether they attended YR or traditional schools. Thank you for your valuable point to this debate!

  • poohperson2000 Jul 11, 2011

    Heat, I raise my child, and I am responsible for him all the time. The teachers may monitor behavior and grades in school, but it is the parent that is responsible for making sure adjustments get made. You make a huge assumption that year round parents are lazy. In year round we get the privledge of taking our kids camping, to the beach, pool, at various times of the year. The kids all attend school for the same number of days, so review your math and let me know how you figure we want less responsibilty!

  • JaniceJoplin Jul 11, 2011

    Hope all students had a great first day!

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