Wake Ed

Highcroft Elementary converted to traditional calendar

The Wake County school board voted Tuesday to convert Highcroft Elementary School in Cary to a traditional calendar for the 2016-17 school year.

The vote came after board members said that switching Highcroft will help meet the need for more traditional-calendar seats in western Wake. Board members also said it isn’t efficient to leave Highcroft on the single-track year-round calendar or to convert it back to multi-track year-round.

In multi-track schools, students are split into four groups, or tracks, with three in session at all times to increase the campus capacity. When growth slowed, Highcroft was switched to single track, where all students follow the same year-round calendar in case there is a need to move it back to the multi-track schedule.

But the decision comes at a time when there’s a split among Highcroft parents about the change, something board members have acknowledged.

“This decision is not being made based on what we think is a preference one way or the other,” said school board member Susan Evans, who represents the Highcroft area. “It’s made in a greater context of what we think is the most efficient and appropriate thing for that area at this time.”

Before the vote, three Highcroft parents urged the board Tuesday to switch it to the traditional calendar. Parents said the change would end the problem of having children on different calendars because Highcroft feeds into Mills Park Middle School, which is on the traditional calendar.

“We highly value our school education, but we also recognize that many of the values and lessons that children learn, they learn at home,” said Catherine Robinson, a Highcroft parent who asked for the calendar change. “This gives us more time with our children at home together.”

In addition to switching Highcroft, the board also accepted staff’s recommendation to leave Brier Creek Elementary in northwest Raleigh and Salem elementary and middle schools, both in Apex, on the multi-track calendar. Staff will review the calendar again at Salem next year.