An elementary school in Fuquay-Varina is getting a second chance to become a magnet school, and three Raleigh magnet schools will undergo major program changes to revitalize declining parental interest.
The Wake County school board voted Tuesday to apply for a federal grant to make Lincoln Heights Elementary a magnet school again and to revise the magnet themes at Southeast Raleigh High and Bugg and Millbrook elementary schools. School leaders hope the changes will help fill empty seats, attract more affluent students and improve the academic performance of the four high-poverty schools.
Lincoln Heights will become the 12th new Wake magnet school since 2012. Tuesday’s vote continues the trend of how Wake has scaled back on moving low-income students out of schools in favor of expanding magnet programs to diversify the enrollment.
School leaders said Tuesday that Wake might locally fund some other new magnet programs.
“This does not mean that these are the only four schools that might receive additional resources for different programs and themes as we move along,” said school board Chairman Tom Benton.
For more than 30 years, Wake has offered unique academic programs at magnet schools to try to fill and diversify under-enrolled schools. School administrators will present a list of potential new themes for the four schools in December.
Families can learn more about their different choice options for the 2017-18 school year at the Magnet and Early College Fair that will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at Southeast Raleigh High School, 2600 Rock Quarry Road in Raleigh.
If the grant is not approved, Wake will be obligated to continue the changes at the four schools with local money.
Bugg, Lincoln Heights, Millbrook and Southeast Raleigh all have some common traits. They all have a much higher percentage of students receiving subsidized lunches than the district average, and their test scores are also below Wake’s average.
In Lincoln Heights’ case, the trend worsened after school leaders decided in 2008 that the school was in good enough shape that it no longer needed to remain a magnet school. At the time, Lincoln Heights emphasized having class sizes as low as 15 students.
“I’m pleased that we are able to include Lincoln Heights,” said school board Vice Chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler. “It’s a jewel in the most southeastern corner of our county, and a school that used to be a very thriving magnet.”
Swing space changes approved
The Wake County school board on Tuesday approved a new schedule for where and when students at four Raleigh elementary schools will be moved off campus during upcoming renovation projects.
North Ridge Elementary students will now spend the 2018-19 school year at a modular campus on Spring Forest Road in Raleigh. Conn Elementary will spend the 2019-20 school year at the Spring Forest site.
Stough Elementary students will spend the 2019-20 school year at an elementary school that will be built at 12004 Strickland Road in Raleigh. York Elementary will spend the 2020-21 school year at that new school.
If Wake gets approval from a shopping center in Garner, the district will move Wiley Elementary students for the 2018-19 school year to the building now being used as Garner High School’s 9th Grade Center.
Staff writer T. Keung Hui