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Apex private school triples enrollment in second year

Posted October 15, 2009

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— Enrollment growth in public schools can be a challenge. In private schools, it's a sign of success. Thales Academy in Apex, pronounced THAY-leez, is only in its second year and has tripled its enrollment.

Named after an ancient Greek philosopher, the school was born partly out of frustration over the Wake County Public School System, Thales leaders said.

Apex private school triples enrollment Apex private school triples enrollment

“(There was) turmoil due to constant reassignment and then the issue of year-round versus traditional,” said Kent Misegades, director of Thales Academy-Apex. "(There was) continued dissatisfaction with quality and stability of government schools. Many parents reject these altogether and would not enroll their children in any public school. Others have transferred out of WCPSS."

Public school transfers and parents' desire for strong academics helped triple enrollment, according to Misegades. Thales Academy opened last year with 60 students in grades K-5. This year, it has more than 180 in K-6.

Robin Faltz of Cary switched her kids from public to private.

“Class sizes were increasing and to prepare our fifth-grader for middle school, I felt like he needed a smaller classroom,” Faltz said.

Thales’ class sizes average around 18 students. The school has a dress code so students can focus on learning. Teachers focus on what's called direct instruction.

“It involves a lot of repetition and involves grouping students by their ability for core subjects like reading, math, spelling and language arts,” said Headmistress Hilary Hillman.

Thales recently purchased a nearby church and its surrounding acres to build a high school. There are also plans for three other Thales schools in the coming years. To keep construction costs down, every Thales school will have the same two-story floor plan.

"We do not provide transportation, a cafeteria and expansive athletic fields, nor do we need extensive parental assistance in our school," Misegades said. "Our teachers are highly-qualified, well-paid and receive a contract for only one year. There is no tenure for teachers, and their performance is evaluated along with that of their students."

Thales’ tuition is $5,000 a year, and some students attend on scholarships. Thales Academy also has a campus in Wake Forest.

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  • mike21 Oct 16, 2009

    ncteacher22: You personal comments concerning a specific faculty memeber are classless and teribly insulting. The only certification that matters is MINE. I see the efforts of the staff and the results on a daily basis.

    Further, I suspect that your so called "certification" has little to do with keeping quality teachers in classes. Quite the opposite, in fact. The ugly truth is that the certificates serve more as protectionist barriers to minimize competition for teaching jobs than as a quality control measure. Don't agree? Well let's raise the issue of testing current teachers for their grasp of core subjects and listen for the howls of protest...

    A stamp of a approval from the very entities that have been screwing up deducation for decades means nothing to me. Thales is kicking WCPSS's rear in plain sight, and you can't seem to stand it.

  • findoutthefacts Oct 16, 2009

    Ever hear the saying that the one who is guilty protests the most?

    Well that's the feeling I get from ncteacher22...you obviously work for the public school system with your objections!

  • lmbl Oct 15, 2009

    Having a teaching degree does not guarantee that one is a good teacher. It is very possible to be a terrific PE teacher without having a teacher's certificate. As a matter of fact, most lateral entry teacher's have very little, if any ,classroom experience at all.

  • ncteacher22 Oct 15, 2009

    You don't always get what you pay for....If a school wants your money they will keep telling you that precious Jonny is a rare gem and GIVE him good grades. If they disappoint you, they lose your money, and they sure don't want that! If you skimp on your PE teacher..where else are you skimping? Buyer beware!

  • lmbl Oct 15, 2009

    Caring, dedicated teachers working alongside with caring, responsible parents -this school must be wonderful! There are good public schools in Raleigh, but there are others that are horrendous and the missing link is the quality of the parenting and the educators.

  • ladyblue Oct 15, 2009

    I'd like a response from Thales about how many of their teachers are certified to teach

    I think they are as my DIL has a four year degree to teach 4 year olds in today's times. They will probably be hiring the best teachers from WCPS with better salaries if it keeps growing.

  • ncteacher22 Oct 15, 2009

    I'd like a response from Thales about how many of their teachers are certified to teach. Even PE teachers need to go to four years of college and get certified. I wouldn't want to dish out huge bucks to a school that hires a soccer mom with no degree.

  • ncteacher22 Oct 15, 2009

    Robin Faltz, who was quoted in the article, is the PE teacher and she is not certified to teach at all. The school can not claim that it hires highly qualified staff. Apparently it saves her money to work there and have three kids there?

  • orionsteve Oct 15, 2009

    Professor. Great commentes...I like the way you purposfuly mess up your grammer and syntaxes.

  • AtALost Oct 15, 2009

    Hoopster...I realize a lot is based on who you know. But, a lot is based on what you know as well. It's about choices. Choosing to have kids and choosing to buy non-essentials like satellite TV instead of investing in your child's future falls squarely on the parents. It would be nice if everyone was wealthy and could afford it all. But the reality is that many parents are sacrificing for the sake of their kids. I've found that many poverty level parents are barely working one job, don't know much themselves, and don't believe that being a parent means being selfless and putting the child's best interests first. I went to public school and know that you can get a good education. But the lack of discipline and special student challenges today make it more difficult. Expecting parents to keep their kids in public schools because others cannot afford to move is ridiculous.

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