Wake Ed

Wake County school administrators to recommend adding magnet programs to five schools

Wake County school administrators want to turn five schools into magnet schools so that, they say, all students in the district can have access to foreign language immersion programs.

At Tuesday’s school board work session, administrators will propose that Hodge Road Elementary School in Knightdale and four Raleigh schools – Broughton High School, Daniels Middle School and Jeffreys Grove and Stough elementary schools – become magnet schools.

Administrators say it will cost $180,959 a year to magnetize the five schools to create an “immersion magnet pathway” for students in kindergarten through high school.

Stough offers a Chinese full immersion program and Jeffreys Grove offers a Spanish full immersion program. This means some students at both schools take all of their core subjects – including reading, writing and math – in that foreign language.

Hodge Road offers a dual language Spanish immersion program, meaning some students take half their core subjects in Spanish.

The three elementary immersion schools primarily serve the students in their neighborhoods. Designating them as magnet schools would allow students from other areas to apply during the magnet application period.

Administrators say that magnetizing Daniels and Broughton would give elementary students an opportunity to continue in the program through high school.

Daniels and Broughton were magnet schools when the school board voted in 2008 to remove their programs. Board members said at the time that both schools, which serve some of the more affluent parts of Raleigh, no longer needed the magnet program to be academically healthy.

In 2010, the school board voted to allow Broughton to keep its International Baccalaureate program, which costs $136,777 a year, even though it was losing its magnet status.

One of the potential issues of remagnetizing Broughton and Daniels is the balance between creating enough seats for magnet students and neighborhood students. The board had voted to demagnetize Broughton after neighborhood parents complained that too many families would be moved out to free up spots for magnet applicants.

The final decision on magnetization would be up to the school board. A quick response in October would allow the district to advertise the five schools at the district’s Nov. 1 magnet school fair.