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.
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 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:
- World Languages
- International Baccalaureate
- Creative Arts and Science
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 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.
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.