Wake County Schools

School system reaches out for more feedback on assignment plan

Posted June 20, 2011 2:35 p.m. EDT
Updated July 7, 2011 5:46 p.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

— Members of the task force that studied how to best implement a new student assignment policy for Wake County schools reached out to the community Monday to get more parents' input on a proposed course of action.

School staff set up computers at seven schools in southeast Raleigh and eastern Wake County, where response to an online test drive of the Community-Based Choice plan, or so-called "blue plan," has been slow.

The blue plan would allow parents to pick from a variety schools based on their address.

The trial run is designed to see what student distribution might actually look like.

"I wanted to see what it was going to be like and what the options would be," said Annette Holmquist, a parent and employee at Hodge Road Elementary School in Knightdale.

The families of 10,260 students done have test drives, but Superintendent Tony Tata appealed Friday for at least 12,000 families to participate.

Only a handful of people showed up at the schools Monday to participate in the trial run.

"Even if we have the opportunity to sit down with one person, then I think it makes a difference," said James Overton, who was the lead on the task force, a group of Wake school administrators who devoted all their time to studying the best way to implement the new student assignment policy.

The blue plan allows parents to choose from 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 that the feeder plans would let them know with confidence where their child would go to elementary, middle and high schools, Tata said.

The trial run of the blue plan lasts until Friday.

Tata plans to give feedback on both plans and detail a work plan to devise the final student assignment policy at Tuesday's school board meeting.