Wake County Schools

Blog: School Resource Officers

Posted August 2, 2011

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5:00 p.m. School Resource Officers

The school board heard results from a survey about the use of School Resource Officers or SRO's in high schools. Some have questioned whether having sworn law enforcement officers in the schools can actually create a more harsh environment for discipline.

Senior Director of Security Russ Smith says the overall results suggest that while some areas could use improvement, the SRO program itself is working well.

The Wake County School Board has spent the last few months revamping the student discipline policy with an overall goal of reducing suspensions and keeping students in class more often.

There are two specific areas that Smith and others hope to improve moving forward:

  • The integration of SROs as a member of the school-based team.
  • More effective communication between the district and SROs.

Smith says they plan to hold an annual meeting with all school resource officers before school starts to help enhance teamwork and communication. The first of these meetings is scheduled for August 23rd.

4:45 p.m. Grading Practices

Ruth Steidinger, Senior Director of High School Programs, spoke to the board about changing grading policies to achieve more consistency across the school district.As discussed at last month's meeting,

Wake County public schools' staff reviewing the current system found inconsistencies in grading, including differences in the same subject within the same school from one teacher to the next.
Board member Deborah Prickett has recommended going back to letter grades for students in third through fifth grade to help better evaluate and place students transitioning from elementary to middle school. The board is also considering seperating behavioral grades from academic grades for middle and high school students.


The board discussed possible guidelines and how things like homework, tardiness, and participation would need to be defined in shaping a more streamlined policy.
Board vice chair John Tedesco raised concern about having behavior considered as part of a students overall grade.Debra Goldman said she worries requiring homework to make up a certain percentage of a student's grade may push teachers to issue more homework.

Dr. Carolyn Morrison also raised a concern about the new proposed grading system does not allow for extra credit in grades K-12.

The board asked for a more defined grading rubric and researh on whether there is a true benefit in switching from number to letter grades in grades 3-5.

4 p.m. Building New Schools

Chief Facilities and Operations Officer Don Haydon began by presenting information to the board about building needs to keep up student growth. Haydon says the Wake County Schools system continues to grow by more than 3,000 students per year. He told board members the system need to build 10 new schools by 2015 to have enough space for students.

Right now, Wake County has about $99 million left from a previous bond referendum. Haydon says that would be enough to build one middle and one small high school or one elementary and one large high school.

During the July meeting, board vice chairman John Tedesco asked the staff to look into reducing the number of existing mobile classrooms as part of that plan.

Conversations got a bit heated as the group discussed the status of new school plans. The board voted last year to move forward with pre-design plans for several schools. Board member Chris Malone raised concerns about why those plans have been put on hold and how much money has been spent so far. Haydon said he will have to get back to the board with spending information.

Board Chairman Ron Margiotta said he would like to see the staff consider other construction options to build more schools with the same funding.

Margiotta and board member Debra Goldman also questioned how they can consider future student growth needs in certain areas without a final student assignment plan.

Superintendent Tony Tata assured the board that he would have more detailed information about what the choice model would look like in Wake County within the next two weeks. Tata plans to share information gathered from parental surveys and a test run of the proposed “Blue Plan”

The board is not expect to take any action on new schools right now.

7 Comments

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  • Amusedone Aug 2, 2011

    Wake County schools grading is bizarre...only place I know where a 92% is a "B". Don't they realize that many of our "B" students who in most other states would be "A-" students often don't get scholarships because of this simple difference. Means the difference between a 3.0 and a 3.6. My son got 5 As and 1 "B"--though his average was 92.4 in the class, he got a "B". GPA: 3.83. If it was an A- (3.6) his overall GPA would have been 3.93. Does not seem huge, but when you are competing for scholarships, it makes a big difference.

  • Remy Aug 2, 2011

    "everyone in the free world uses this system."

    Wow! That must have taken a lot of research to reach that conclusion.

  • geosol Aug 2, 2011

    Its laughable for the current Wake Co. school board to issue any kind of policy concerning academics. The tea party stooges that were paid to be on this Board are part of a group that wants to END public education in this country!!! And one of them sits on the Board of a private school to boot! Let's fix this little right wing problem that has made Wake Co. the laughing stock of the nation in the next election cycles folks and VOTE OUT ALL REPUBLICANS!!!!!!

  • com_mon_sents Aug 2, 2011

    I say go back to the letter grades for 3-5...everyone in the free world uses this system. Talk about needing to be "consistent".

  • 37 Aug 2, 2011

    How many of these bond issues are they going to have? Do they have DOT helping them estimate future needs? This is a typical approach to ask for some here and then some there so that they kill us with paper cuts.

  • rand321 Aug 2, 2011

    lets hope they do not approve one site and then un approve it and choose a new site.

    get ready for a tax increase!

  • ajoplin Aug 2, 2011

    10 schools by 2015. Two years to complete from ground up or renovation/expansion, not taking into account funding, property acquisition, design, etc, etc, etc or god forbid, politics or even worse, in-fighting with the board members. H6 was delayed how long because of location? Did the county get their money back from the original land purchase that went nowhere? Doesnt look good. Better sell those bonds they have been holding.