Wake County, NC – Thoughts for September 2019 from Bill Fletcher, Member of the Wake County Board of Education.
Our County is “Browning” and so are Our Schools!
Your public school district is now a minority-majority district where students of color and immigrants from all over the world outnumber white enrollees. Taken together this expanding richness of cultures and life experiences is invigorating our communities and education.
Yet existing housing patterns and schooling options other than the public school system are resulting in higher concentrations of students of color and from modest and low income families in more schools.
Diverse Schools Improve Student Preparation
Most people I talk with want their schools to have a rich diversity of cultures and ethnicities to enhance their child’s learning experience. How can that be accomplished? With what tools and strategies can the District continue to provide rich, diverse student populations in all District schools? How might school choice be offered in different ways that support both District and family goals? How could the balance between school calendars, magnet programs, career-tech offerings, for example, be modified to generate voluntary student movement that creates vibrant diverse school communities?
Please share your thoughts with me at BFletcher@wcpss.net.
Schools of Choice Inside the Beltline
The time it takes to get from “here to there” is increasing for everyone and in every mode of transportation. The school that used to be a 30 minute bus ride away could now be 60 minutes away simply due to increased traffic congestion in our growing community.
So which of our previous strategies to promote diverse school communities can be, should be used today?
Competency-Based Education is expected in our Elementary schools today
Competency-based education (CBE) is a pedagogical approach that complements a personalized learning experience. It is a model in which learning is not defined by seat time and students can advance through content at their own pace based on demonstrated mastery of a clearly defined set of measurable competencies. One definition of CBE includes the following concepts:
- students advance upon demonstrated mastery;
- competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students;
- assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students;
- students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs; and
- learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along withthe development of important skills and dispositions.
Perfecting this transition will require open communication between teachers and parents and parent support for increasing academic opportunities for their students.
School Facility Safety Audit
The District has engaged Schools Safety Advocacy Council to conduct a building-by-building, campus-by-campus audit of facilities, procedures and processes. The goal is to identify what the district is doing well and opportunities for improvement. The audit will cover all 191 campuses, more than 25 million square feet of instructional space, as well as athletic competition stadia and crowd control strategies. Stay tuned.
Wake announced the highest grad rate ever at 89.8%… as students who began 9th grade four years ago achieved graduation in the 2018-19 academic year. 19 of our high schools posted rates at/above 90%. Greatest rates of academic gains are seen in Black & Latino students. More detail can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y3vrvd3p — School Progress Reports can be found at https://www.wcpss.net/Page/5055.
Parent chats (except on holidays)
1st Thursday – 1 PM
Cary Chamber, 307 N Academy St., Cary
3rd Monday – 11 AM
Caribou Coffee shop, 109 SW Maynard Rd., Cary
Bill Fletcher school info: BFletcher@wcpss.net || Voice Mail: 919-694-8843 || Mobile: 919-880-5301
Story by Bill Fletcher, Member Wake County Board of Education. Photos courtesy of alamosbasement and Wake County Public Schools.