Anyone an expert on Wake County Public Schools inside the beltline? We are trying to focus a house search

Asked by Bailey139, Raleigh, NC Sat Jun 27, 2009

around the best elementary, but getting conflicting reviews on which schools we should focus on. Thanks!

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Anne B. Sher…, , Raleigh, NC
Sun Jun 28, 2009
Hi Bailey139 -
I serve on the Student Assignment Parent Advisory Committee, which gives insight and guidance to the Growth Management Team, who in turn develops the next Student Assignment Plan. This is an annual event, not looked fondly upon by many parents in our community! The student assignment process is necessary in Wake County because of concentrated growth in some areas, minimal growth in others, and a lack of seats throughout the county. Having served on this advisory committee for 10 years, and having children in the WCPSS, I understand the challenges for the district and the opportunities for parents when navagating the school/home location. Stability for your children is the key, and should be considered with any school choice you make. While I do not agree with many of their decisions, I do have a keen understanding of the process and will be willing to share my expertise with you. Anne Sherron
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Wendy Norman, , Raleigh, NC
Sat Jun 27, 2009
Hi...

I was a former teacher in the Wake Co. school system, so I may be able to offer some insight. There is information on ncreportcards.org and on the local school website http://www.wcpss.net that can give you an idea of scores, attendance areas, etc. Another great resource is http://www.greatschools.net...and you can also participate in conversation threads at http://www.city-data.com, I think. A lot of it depends on the needs of your family and whether you child(ren) would function best in a magnet school, traditional calendar school, or perhaps year round. Test scores don't tell the whole story, so it would be helpful to go to the schools of interest and perhaps do a tour w/ one of the staff members...this gives you an idea of what is important to them and whether it fits your little ones' personalities. With reassignment, there's a chance that if a school had a high score in testing one year, it could be different the next depending on the students who are reassigned to that school, so just using scores to determine what's best isn't always indicative of a great school. You'll want to know how involved the PTA is, ask about fundraisers and parent support, do people volunteer there regularly, etc.

I actually advise clients not to base their housing choice on a certain school attendance area because as this area continues to grow, reassignment could become a factor. Wake Co. just had the largest reassignment of students ever to balance out the populations in the schools and the school I last taught at a few years ago had 3 reassignments in the 5 years I was there...but depending on the area where you live, there's a chance if you're closeby that you'd probably remain in the core attendance area ITB...but there are no guarantees. Wake Co. has stringent expectations for its students, but it really all boils down to the teacher and how your child's learning preferences come into play.

Hope that helps...have a great weekend. Feel free to contact me with any questions. :) Wendy
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Tonya McCoy, , Raleigh, NC
Sat Jun 27, 2009
Hi Bailey 139,

Wake County School System can be complicated with the many reassignments, However, with the Magnet School Programs that have one of the best elementary schools in the U.S. in Washington Elementary but several of the programs are top notch. You have to apply to the magnet programs, I believe that process starts in February. You may already be aware of the Wake County Public Schools Systems website but in case you are not here is the address: http://www.wcpss.net I hope this helps!
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Mimi Francis, Agent, Cary, NC
Sat Jun 27, 2009
Just a bit of a caution around finding "the best elementary" - since so much of the teaching emphasis in Wake County is centered around the End Of Grade (EOG) scores, it's very tempting to treat that score as the entirety of the school's success. We have 3 children in the Wake County school system and my husband teaches 7th grade here. I encourage you to look at each school in its entirety and your family's wants, needs and desires to determine which is best for your family. We have strong base schools and wonderful magnet programs - including a bi-lingual curriculum at a strong magnet school. Apex High School, for example, has a wonderful technology track that my daughter adores - so it's the best 'fit' for her even if another High School's average EOG were to be a couple of points higher. Another daughter has a mild learning disability, so the school that offers the best accomodations for her needs is best for her, even if another has a higher EOG average. There's no universal 'report card' for our schools and each school has somewhat different culture and flavor. I'm happy to speak with you directly, if it would be helpful in your search :0)
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Tim Burrell, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Sat Jun 27, 2009
Go to http://www.FreeSchoolinfo.com and it will tell you everything about the schools. You can also look at http://www.WCPSS.net .
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