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Understanding School Choices

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It is hard to go a week without hearing about a new Wake County School Board dispute or change. There are so many different ways that they can handle school assignments in Wake County and they seem to want to try them all. If you talk to a 5 different Wake County residents, chances you will get 5 different opinions on it. I started elementary school in Wake County and there were big changes back then from the beginnings of bussing students to the creation of the magnet program. My point is, this isn't really new to our parental generation. What I think continues to get overlooked is that the schools around here are very good. What makes the choice so hard is when you try to pick the shiniest diamond... we forget that they are all diamonds! Sure a few are in the rough but in comparison with the rest of the state or country, we have some excellent options. 

Having a preschooler means elementary school is around the corner. So, here is a little primer on options... regardless of the actual school assignment plan.


 Public Schools

The public schools are the schools in our county that are supported by public funds and provide free education for children that live within the county. All of the schools have the same standards, strategic plan and curriculum, so your child will receive the same education in an elementary school in Apex and an elementary school in Raleigh. For the most part, schools fall in one of two categories as far as their calendar. Schools on the Traditional calendar have the 3 months of summer off plus regular holidays during the year, spring break and a winter break. The Year Round calendar 'tracks out' for 3 or more weeks at a time two or three times a year but does not have a traditional summer vacation.

You can visit the Wake County Public School System website to learn more about the curriculum, standards, calendars and assignment plants. 


 Magnet Schools

Magnet schools are public schools (see above) that have a theme or focus area and reduce high concentrations of poverty and support diverse populations. You must apply to a magnet school. To learn more visit the Wake County Public School System Magnet Programs website. Some elementary magnet themes are: 

  • Engineering
  • Leadership
  • World Languages
  • Montessori
  • Museums
  • Technology
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Creative Arts and Science

Charter Schools

Charter schools provide parents a choice in the education of their children -- and it is a public choice. Public tax dollars are the primary funding sources for charter schools. Local, state, and federal dollars follow the child to a charter school. The schools have open enrollment with no discrimination, no religious associations, and no tuition.

For a list of Wake County charter schools visit the NC State Board of Education Charter Schools website.


 Private Schools

Private schools are tuition-based schools. Any religion-affiliated school will be private. Currently, there are 83 private schools in our county.

A listing of private schools in our area can be found at the Private School Review website.


 Home Schools

It is very easy to open a homeschool by registering at www.DNPE.org. Each year if the student is at least 7 years old, a nationally standardized test must be given. Those tests can be ordered at www.TriangleEd.com. The other state law regarding homeschooling is that attendance records must be kept in your homeschool files (though the state does not have a set number of days or hours of instruction that it demands). The state does not mandate a certain curriculum. Curriculum can be borrowed from libraries or purchased at the HomeSchool Gathering Place in Raleigh or at multiple online curriculum stores. 

*Information provided by Debbie Thompson at Triangle Education Assessments.


 If you were not overwhelmed before, then you may be now... but do not fret! There is a lot to look at and consider, but there are a lot of amazing options for your child and a wonderful world of learning ahead of them.

Thank you or trusting your child's introduction to learning with us at Triangle Academy Preschool.  

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It's Time to think about Summer

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As we hear reports of possible snow this week it is hard to imagine that it is time to plan for this summer. I was lucky to have been able to make last minute beach reservations last year but when you want the best deals and the best schedule, the earlier the better. If you plan to go to the beach, you are probably quickly running out of affordable options that fit your schedule. If you are planning a Disney get away... uh, it may be too late unless you know some good last minute tricks. If you want to get some fun activities planned for you and your kids, now is the time! Most summer camps are starting registration now so this is the time to get the weeks or themes you want. I like to print out my month-at-a-glance calendars from June through the end of August. First, I mark off any vacations we have planned and pencil in a buffer of at least a few days on either side for NO plans. Then I like to talk with friends and family who are near by to see if they have plans to go away. That way, I can arrange special days with them when they are around. For instance, my parents live here but travel to Florida quite often. I want to make sure we have time planned with them so we are not all booked up when they are here. After I mark my calendar up with saved 'Fun Days' I tackle the summer camps. I have an 8 year old, 5 year old and one that just turned two so putting them in the same camp is not an option. I like to lay out the options in front of me and see which ones have similar schedules, then make sure pick up and drop off times do not over lap. This is no easy feat!

Triangle Academy has an amazing summer camp program. Each week has a theme (more for the 3 and 4 year olds) that they incorporate into the days. My older boys still ask to go to camp there but sadly they don't pass for preschool age. This will be my 2 year old's first camp/classroom experience. I cannot wait to see the look on his face when he walks into the classrooms, or plays on the water table on water day or enjoys ice cream with his new friends... The schedules are flexible too, so you can just send your child 3 half days or up to 5 days with extended day! We are registered for preschool next year so we are required to attend at least one camp but we will likely do more. It will be a good adjustment in getting ready for school disguised as super summer fun! Check out all the themes and dates for their summer camps and get registered today!

As much as I would love to have a summer full of 'Fun Days' with my boys and myself, I know how much they love camp and I suppose a break every now and then for myself isn't so bad either. However, check out my list of fun (and a lot are FREE) summer activities you can enjoy with your kids!

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Think and wonder, wonder and think.

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Do you remember Dr. Seuss books from your childhood? I always loved them but not until I was an adult did I realize that they are so much more than rhyming words and silliness. What amazing lessons they have!

"YOU HAVE BRAINS IN YOUR HEAD. YOU HAVE FEET IN YOUR SHOES. YOU CAN STEER YOURSELF IN ANY DIRECTION YOU CHOOSE."

Each time I open one with my kids, they make me smile. I remember some from my childhood and am always excited when I find one I have not yet read. I even remember getting All the Places You'll Go for high school graduation from my Aunt Connie and not quite getting it.

"YOURE ON YOUR OWN. AND YOU KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW. AND, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO'LL DECIDE WHERE TO GO..."

Did I not get it because I had not yet started my journey into life or too wrapped up in the moment to enjoy it? Today, 20 years and 3 kids later, I cannot finish that book without a strong tug in my heart and tears in my eyes.

Certainly I could find messages that struck home..

"WHY FIT IN WHEN YOU WERE BORN TO STAND OUT"

I admit to not growing up a reader. I actually hated it. But, late in high school, I was given a book that was so interesting to me, that I learned how fun and exciting reading can be. I have been a book lover ever since! So how do I show my kids the love of literacy now rather than wait for them happen upon it as an adult, or maybe 'GASP', never? I read with my boys and my older ones read to me, but we also read together, separately. Showing them that I can get into a good book teaches them that reading is not just homework, but also entertainment, research, a way to relax...

"BE AWESOME, BE A BOOK NUT"

The National Educational Association has a great reference for getting your kids into reading from infants to older children. Click here to check them out.

"FROM THERE TO HERE, AND HERE TO THERE, FUNNY THINGS ARE EVERYWHERE."

March 2nd is the 17th annual Read Across America Day. At Triangle Academy we are celebrating on Wacky Wednesday - March 5th.
Click here to download our flyer and click here to download the reading log.
We encourage the children to dress 'wacky' in honor of Dr Seuss and to encourage a love of reading. So get into the spirt with your child. Check out some of your favorite books from the library, let your kids find what speaks to them, have Green Eggs and Ham, and have fun putting together an outfit for Wacky Wednesday. Show your kids what an adventure reading can be and how it can translate into quite an adventurous life!

"THE MORE THAT YOU READ, THE MORE THINGS YOU WILL KNOW. THE MORE THAT YOU LEARN, THE MORE PLACES YOU'LL GO."

All quotes are from Dr. Seuss books