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Wake Superintendent Wants Focus To Be On Teaching

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County Public Schools System's new superintendent has made some internal changes at the school system's central office as students on a traditional calendar begin the new school year on Friday.
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    At a news conference Monday morning, Del Burns said he hopes the focus this year will be on teaching despite ongoing issues such as the year-round conversion of as many as 23 elementary schools, a nearly $970 million bond proposal and a booming student population.

    "We have to maintain a very strong focus on teaching and learning for all children. That is our constant," he said.

    He announced that he had restructured the school system's management team and added a new position for a chief business officer. His goals, he said, are to look at the impact of teaching and learning with growth, teacher retention and fiscal accountability.

    One of the biggest teaching changes will be at the high-school level, where school officials want to make big high schools feel more intimate.

    One example is the "academy style" teaching at East Wake High School. Its School of Health Science is a school within a school to offer smaller classes with specialized teaching.

    With 127,000 students enrolled in the Wake County school system and a projected 40,000 more by 2010, the school system will continue to reinvent itself, administrators said.

    This year, the Wake County school system has seven new schools, including two new high schools. There are 8,000 teachers in the school system, 930 of whom are new to the system.

    There are still 52 teaching vacancies that school system officials hope to have filled by Friday. There are also 85 vacancies for bus drivers, which officials hope to fill as soon as possible.


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