Wake County Schools

Test drive for Wake student assignment proposal extended

Posted June 17, 2011 9:46 a.m. EDT
Updated June 17, 2011 6:33 p.m. EDT

— More Wake County parents are needed to take part in a trial run of one proposed student assignment plan, schools Superintendent Tony Tata said Friday.

The families of 10,260 students have done an online test drive of the Community-Based Choice plan, but Tata appealed 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 underrepresented in the results.

"We want and need more input to get the data we need to better understand what parents would choose," Tata said during his weekly news conference. "Every parent has a voice, and the more we hear, the better we can make choices in the future."

Dena McQueen, who has a child at Southeast Raleigh High School, said she tries to keep up with student assignment issues but admitted that she hasn't visited the website for the proposed assignment plans or taken the online test drive.

"This is the first time I've heard about it, but ... I'll probably do that as soon as I get home and check it out," McQueen said.

To get such input, the deadline for participating in the trial run has been extended until June 24, and district administrators will hold community outreach events Sunday and Monday to explain to parents how to do the online trial.

The Community-Based Choice plan, or "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.

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.

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

He said that feedback on both plans will be part of his presentation on student assignment at the June 21 meeting of the Wake County Board of Education.

Tata also said he plans to meet with the state NAACP, which has been critical of the school boards' decision to end a policy that assigned students to schools based, in part, on achieving socio-economic diversity across the district.

Tata shared a letter he wrote state NAACP President Rev. William Barber Thursday, agreeing to meet to talk about student assignment.

The superintendent said he also wants to talk about working with the NAACP to hire more black and Hispanic teachers and to improve communication with Wake residents.

Blue plan test drive outreach events

Sunday, June 19

  • First Baptist Church, 101 S. Wilmington St. in Raleigh; after the 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. services

Monday, June 20

  • 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.