Secured commitment to fund a comprehensive redesign of the Knightdale area schools. This process includes a “Knightdale Working Group” consisting of school, civic and business leaders who were provided in-depth information about each school. The group helped set goals, priorities and other recommendations. The group started with Knightdale High which is now in its second year of a comprehensive redesign that has become a model across the state. Graduation rates are up and the level of transfer students has slowed tremendously. The school has kept the highest percent of its base population this year since the 2010 school year.
East Wake Middle is in its second year of redesign with the elementary schools in their first year of redesign.
Hodge Road Elementary has become a Second Language Immersion magnet.
Knightdale Elementary has been in a partnership with NC Arts in Action for three years. This is a program that uses song, dance and movement to support basic skills, character traits, and application of building students skills in collaboration, creative thinking, team building and many other traits.
East Wake High School is undergoing a comprehensive redesign schoolwide and will identify and implement one or more career academies as a part of that process.
The Zebulon-Wendell working group is following work done in Knightdale and putting early emphasis on redesigning East Wake High. Many of the things being done at Knightdale are being incorporated into the work at East Wake High.
The two working groups are now merging into one group with the goal of becoming an advocacy group for our three towns much like the Garner Education Foundation. The group will represent all schools and all grades, Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Successfully secured funding for a new East Wake Middle School into the current building program.
Planning is underway to open a CTE-North in the Wake Forest area (fall 2017). This is a partnership with Wake Technical and Community College and will use the same model as Vernon Malone Career and College Ready High School. This school will serve students in eastern and Northeastern Wake.
Comprehensive Initiatives for all Schools
Worked with school board to develop and adopt a strategic plan with a goal of 95% graduation, to prepare our students for college and/or career, and to be productive citizens. These goals have given a common focus to formerly disjointed initiatives. Knightdale High and East Wake have led the way in increasing graduation rates over the last two years. Please use this link to see a summary of the plan,
Worked with county commissioners to secure additional funding for teacher and support staff salaries to help with overall increases and balance out some of the inequalities of the state raises of the last two years.
Developed and adopted a comprehensive student assignment plan that is built on four pillars:
Helped to guide school system in developing “equity” funding versus a strict formula driven approach.
Worked with commissioners to pass the 2013 Bond issue, secure an inter-local agreement on construction of schools that has enabled staffs to work together in a strong collaborative model, and to develop a seven-year building program that starts this year.
Adopted the Elementary Support Model that supports our most challenging elementary schools. Most of these schools are now meeting or exceeding growth on state standardized test.
Continue to work to increase salaries, improve working conditions and increase respect for our teachers and support staff. We are fast approaching a crisis in our overall teaching field. Students entering education are down 30 percent over the last 6 years and teacher turnover rates remain very high statewide. We can have all of the buildings and programs in the world but without a highly competent teacher and school leadership staff, our programs will be ineffective.
When the Wake County Commissioners set their goal to have of their employees earn a “livable wage” of at least $15 an hour, I have instructed our staff to help us achieve the same goal. Staff are working now on a report showing which positions or employees do not meet this criteria of $15 per hour. Our school system employees should be treated with the same respect and benefits that county employees receive and we appreciate the County Commissioners initiating this effort.
Finding ways to guarantee that students receive a high quality education regardless of what school they attend. Part of this will include addressing the equity funding opportunities mentioned above.
Continuing to focus on our strategic goal and looking for innovative and effective ways to truly have 95% graduation rates that are producing quality graduates.
Continue to work on strategies to improve academic results and other success measures of all students. Providing additional reading support to students by direct services and by providing additional training to teachers of all subjects and grades on how to teach reading have begun to narrow achievement gaps but more work is needed in this area.
Implementing several new innovative school models. Our new innovative school models such as the Elementary Support Model, the partnership with Raleigh YMCA for a new type of elementary school in southeast Raleigh, and the recent announced plans to open a new vocational, career and technical high school in partnership with Wake Tech to serve north and eastern Wake County are exciting efforts by our school board. There efforts will take time using our very best talent at the school board, from our staff and from our entire community.