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Two schools to shift off year-round schedule

Posted October 7, 2008

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— The Wake County school board voted Tuesday to convert two elementary schools from year-round calendars to traditional schedules.

Baucom Elementary School in Apex will return to a traditional nine-month school calendar next fall, while Green Hope Elementary School in Cary will make the switch in the 2010-11 school year. The board also voted to convert Leesville Road Middle School in Raleigh the other way, from a traditional to a year-round schedule.

Chuck Dulaney, assistant superintendent for growth and planning, said the schools would still need to go through the annual student reassignment process, in which the board would formally approve their new calendars, but he said it was very unlikely that the board's votes would be reversed in the process.

"We're giving staff direction, so these decisions are pretty final," school board Chairwoman Rosa Gill said.

Lower-than-expected enrollment the past two years caused board members to rethink their 2006 decision to convert 22 elementary and middle schools to year-round schedules to keep up with surging enrollments. Year-round schools can accommodate more students than other schools because they divide students in four groups and use a rotating schedule where three groups are in school and the fourth is on a break.

The district added 6,000 students last year and another 3,700 this fall. Administrators had projected about 8,000 new students last year and about 6,000 for the 2008-09 school year.

Although many families in Apex and Cary fought the initial conversion of their schools to a year-round schedule – a lawsuit filed by a parents group will be heard by the Supreme Court – some parents of Baucom Elementary students said Tuesday they weren't pleased with the decision to switch their school's schedule again.

"I wish the school board would make up their minds," parent Mark Palmer said.

"We kind of got used to the schedule now," parent Althea Sukhramani said.

"I'm mad at the school board," parent Colleen Schmidt said. "I think there are fingers to point and there is fault, and I think we are messing with children."

Gill said parents need to understand district officials are trying to hit a moving target in balancing enrollment projections with school capacities.

"The parents in all of our schools have to realize (that), from time to time, we are going to have to make hard choices," she said. "Growth has slowed a little bit, (but) we still are experiencing growth. We have a little breathing room for capacity right now, but not in all parts of the county."

Parents who want their children to remain in a year-round school will have an option to transfer to a school on that schedule if their school is changing calendars, Gill said.

Not all Baucom Elementary parents were upset with the switch back to a traditional schedule.

"I think it will be good for the school," parent Victoria Schuster said.

The school board also voted Tuesday against converting Salem Elementary School in Apex back to a traditional calendar.

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  • Better Things Oct 8, 2008

    The Wake County school system is an absolute mess. How can you build strong school communities and a stable learning environment when the kids are constantly shifted around? We lived in Wake County for a number of years and thank goodness we moved back out of state to my hometown where we have stable, community based, high performing schools. Wake County has a high rate of violent and random crime, unstable school system, and a lack of culture.

  • spedteacher Oct 7, 2008

    bs101fly:

    your comment.."you teachers have no choice and certainly won't stand up to Chuck, Del and your leaders to tell them IF you don't agree so you brown nose and go with the flow." was totally off base. The last time I checked, no one was holding a gun to my head telling me where to teach, much less teach in a YR school. Luckily, I live in America where if I don't want to teach in a school district, I have the option of applying and moving to another district. In the 25+ years I have taught school, I have never had to brown nose anyone...maybe you do at work???? Your comments make you sound so bitter. Maybe you need to practice some depp breathing skills so that you can live longer.....otherwise you are going to stroke out!

  • HopingForABetterWorld Oct 7, 2008

    Neen, that is a RIDICULOUS comment. What matters to the Board? Yes, overcrowding, the next thing on the flip chart, matters. That doesn't indicate anything of the Board trying to look good or put themselves first. Let's be realistic here. Then maybe your comments will carry some weight.

  • injameswetrust2003 Oct 7, 2008

    Neen, I wonder what you would have read if you kept reading...

  • Screen Name 64 Oct 7, 2008

    Sorry, should have read WHAT MATTERS TO US

    If anyone saw the wral piece on tv, they saw something interesting. Behind rosa on one shot was a flip chart and the heading stated: WHAT CARES TO US Not what cares for the kids, for US. That is the reason for all the problems, the board wants to ensure that they remain in the spotlight. Doesn't matter what happens to the kids, as long as the board meets its free/reduced quotas. The board needs to be more careful in the future, they will probably not allow anyone in from the media. Nice job school board, worry about what makes you look good and not worry about the kids.

  • Screen Name 64 Oct 7, 2008

    If anyone saw the wral piece on tv, they saw something interesting. Behind rosa on one shot was a flip chart and the heading stated: WHAT CARES TO US Not what cares for the kids, for US. That is the reason for all the problems, the board wants to ensure that they remain in the spotlight. Doesn't matter what happens to the kids, as long as the board meets its free/reduced quotas. The board needs to be more careful in the future, they will probably not allow anyone in from the media.
    Nice job school board, worry about what makes you look good and not worry about the kids.

  • dlsever Oct 7, 2008

    Does anybody care about the kids? By jerking their school schedules around at a whim, it has huge potential to impact their learning. Kids thrive best when they have a routine, but obviously the school board doesn't seem to care how this will impact kids who now have to transition back to a traditional calendar. My kids do very well in year-round at Green Hope and I, for one, will be very disappointed if this change is approved. Learning stops at the end of the school year and a lot of learning has to be re-taught at the beginning of each traditional school year due to the long summer break. I agree that we should vote every school board member out of office. This has been a gigantic waste of taxpayers money and time.

  • amymasterman Oct 7, 2008

    There are a lot of uncertainties. I teach at three outstanding Apex schools, rotating among them during track-outs, so this decision heavily affects my job, as I will no longer be teaching at Baucom. I'm waiting for the dust to settle to figure out how I will remain teaching full time in this tough economy. I personally love the year round schedule. I wouldn't be able to teach at both traditional and year round schools as their schedules will conflict. My heart goes out to all of the parents who have had to adjust and then readjust to the different calendars. I guess I struggle with understanding this decision on switching back when Olive Chapel, 2 miles down the road is bursting at the seems and Baucom is so low?

    Yes, I am very disappointed with today's decision and how it affects my job, but please know that all of the teachers at these Apex schools are outstanding and your children will get a great education no matter what calendar they are on.

  • Tax Man Oct 7, 2008

    Scarecrow - you are right - seems their only priority is to "fix" the race problem singlehandedly. Don't think they are making any headway. Glad my kids have graduated and gotten off to college! They did go to Wake schools and each year we wondered where they would send us. It was so strange to drive past three middle schools to finally get to the one they were sent to! And then when we moved near that middle school they sent us back to one near our old house??? Go figure. So we still had to drive past three middle schools to get to the one they had to attend. And we didn't even have the YR/Traditional problems. Just plain crazy!

  • Scarecrow Cow Oct 7, 2008

    I have no doubt that the school system itself is a big reason why school growth has slowed! I am glad I don't have kids yet because I would never send them to a Wake school unless there are major, fundamental changes. There are so many problems that need to be fixed that there is not enough room here to list them all. No county school system is perfect, but I know for a fact that there are better ones out there than Wake. They may not have as much money or as many programs, but the leadership supports the teachers and is committed to doing what's best for the children. WCPSS has repeatedly made it clear that the students' welfare is not their priority.

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