Eight schools could change their calendars in 2018 in the first step of a districtwide review that reduces the number of year-round schools in Wake County.
Wake County school administrators recommended Tuesday that six year-round schools in Garner and East Wake switch to a traditional calendar in 2018 and that two year-round schools move to a multi-track year-round calendar.
Those proposed changes will be followed in the next few months by more staff recommendations that could lead to calendar changes at multi-track year-round schools and at magnet schools that followed the modified calendar.
By the end of the process, several schools could be on different calendars for the 2018-19 school year.
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The proposed changes come as the result of a 2016 district study that found the majority of traditional-calendar elementary and middle schools were over capacity. The study also found that the majority of the “non-traditional calendar schools” were under capacity.
“We seem to have a sense from the community that the traditional calendar is the preferable calendar,” said Cathy Moore, deputy superintendent for academic advancement, in an interview. “We want to make sure that we maintain the year-round calendar options in locations where our families desire them.”
The majority of Wake’s 159,549 students attend traditional-calendar schools, which open in late August and end by early June. Students have summer breaks of 10 or more weeks.
A study of year-round calendars prompted Wake to consider whether to make changes at the more than 50 schools that don’t use a traditional calendar.
The year-round calendar study prompted Wake to consider whether to make changes at the more than 50 schools that don’t use a traditional calendar. These schools add periodic breaks during the school year that lead to a shorter summer vacation.
At the 37 multi-track year-round schools, students are split into four groups, or tracks, with three in session at all times. The students follow different schedules that result in an increase in how many students can attend.
Wake has 11 single-track schools where students all follow the same schedules. Classes start in late July or early August and end in late June.
Many single-track schools were traditional-calendar schools that were converted in the late 2000s to a multi-track schedule. But when enrollment growth came in less than expected, several multi-track schools were converted to single track or to a traditional calendar.
In modified-calendar schools, classes start in late July and end in late May.
After the large expansion in year-round schools, Moore said school leaders are trying to provide families with calendar choices while making sure schools are efficiently utilized.
“We want to make sure that all of our schools are being appropriately utilized,” she said. “We don’t want to have underenrolled schools. We don’t want to have oversubscribed schools.”
School administrators started first by focusing on the single-track schools and Carver Elementary, which is a modified-calendar school.
On Tuesday, staff recommended for the 2018-19 school year that:
▪ East Wake and North Garner middle schools and Carver, Lockhart, Rand Road and Vance elementary schools switch to a traditional calendar;
▪ Lake Myra and Timber Drive elementary schools switch to a multi-track calendar;
▪ Rolesville Middle School become the year-round school option for East Wake, Wendell and Zebulon middle schools;
▪ West Lake Middle School become the year-round school option for East Garner, Ligon and North Garner middle schools.
Wake opened an online feedback form, www.wcpss.net/calendardiscussion, to get comment on the proposed changes. A proposed timetable calls for staff to bring back the feedback on March 7, with the school board voting on the calendar changes on March 21.
The time line also calls for staff to make recommendations in March on changes at multi-track schools with the board voting April 18,
The time line also has staff potentially making recommendations in May on which modified-calendar magnet schools will change calendars with the board voting in June. Four Raleigh magnet schools – Southeast Raleigh High, Centennial Campus and Moore Square middle schools and Partnership Elementary School – follow the modified calendar.