Wake Ed

Interscholastic sports back as an option for students at new high school

The new North Wake College and Career Academy will open in August 2017 at a former Winn-Dixie supermarket in Wake Forest that for several years housed Wakefield High School’s freshmen.
The new North Wake College and Career Academy will open in August 2017 at a former Winn-Dixie supermarket in Wake Forest that for several years housed Wakefield High School’s freshmen. cseward@newsobserver.com

The Wake County school board reversed course Tuesday to allow students at the new North Wake College and Career Academy to have the option to try out for interscholastic sports at Wakefield High School.

Under the school district’s athletics policy, students at middle schools and high schools that have don’t have interscholastic athletics can try out for teams at other schools. The school board voted Tuesday to waive the policy so that only students at Crossroads Flex High School in Cary don’t have interscholastic sports as an option.

The board had previously voted in February to waive the athletics policy at both Crossroads and North Wake. But school officials said Tuesday that the vote needed to be modified.

Deputy Superintendent Cathy Moore said it would be odd to not give the sports option to North Wake when it’s still being allowed at the other early colleges.

North Wake College and Career Academy is scheduled to open in August. Students will be able to graduate with a diploma and job training in specialized areas such as culinary arts and early childhood education.

Interscholastic sports is less of an issue at Crossroads Flex, which opened this school year to provide flexible school hours for students whose outside pursuits conflict with the standard high school schedule. The school has several athletes enrolled who instead of playing high school sports may be involved in activities such as figure skating and playing youth hockey.

Still uncertain is whether Wake will make any changes for students at the existing middle schools and high schools that don’t have interscholastic sports programs.

Wake has five early college high schools that partner with colleges or universities to provide students the chance to graduate with as much as two years of college credit. The early colleges don’t have athletics programs but are filled only by students who applied. North Wake will be Wake’s sixth early college.

Wake has three small middle schools that don’t offer interscholastic sports. Some students apply to those schools, but others are assigned there.

For at least the past several years, students at the eight existing small schools have been allowed to try out for sports teams at nearby designated schools.

Some parents at Broughton High and at Daniels Middle schools have complained about taking in students from the other schools.

The school board’s policy committee had initially backed staff’s recommendation to remove interscholastic sports for the eight schools on Dec. 13. But the proposal was referred back to the committee for further review after families from the early colleges spoke out against the proposal at a Dec. 20 school board meeting.

The policy committee discussed the issue on Jan. 24 and said more information is needed on the existing schools before a recommendation can be made.

“There was a fairly strong sentiment that it probably would not be something that would be revisited anytime soon,” Moore said.

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