If you are moving to Wake County, NC, the school assignments might be a little confusing, especially coming from a Northern State. Elementary and Middle Schools in Wake County have two options: traditional and year round calendars, and it will depend on your base school assignment as to which calendar you get when moving into a new home. High Schools are always traditional calendars with your children being out during the summer months. Look up your Base School Here. Year round calendars have four different tracks that have a rotation of 9 weeks in school and 3 weeks out of school, so think of this like a summer vacation split over the entire year in 3 week sessions. Parents will be given a form when they enroll their child(ren) to rank what track they would like to be on. Sounds easy enough, right?
Here are a few issues that many parents face:
1. Your base school can be “Capped” meaning the school has reached the maximum number of students it can serve. If a student’s base school has an enrollment cap, they will be assigned to an overflow school, and this could be a school in a different town and miles away. The good news; however, is that bus transportation would be provided.
2. Where it gets a little more complicated is when you have more than one child.
• If they are in the same school, they could be on different tracks.
• If one child is in elementary school and one in middle school, they can be on different tracks, or one school can be capped so one child is close to your home and one would be bussed to another school.
• You can have a high schooler and one child in a year round school, so they would be on different schedules.
• You may not always get the same track each year.
There are a few options to these issues:
1. You can fill out a transfer request using this link: Student Assignment, and request a different option (traditional over year round or vise versa) other than your base school, or, request your base school if it is capped and you want to keep your child there.
2. You can enroll your child into a private school. This link lists some top private schools in Wake County: Top Wake County Private Schools
Don’t get too discouraged; there are many reasons why year round schools work:
• It’s easier to schedule vacations for families – you can plan a vacation during the “off season” to save money, enjoy less crowding, or travel to a destination and get a chance to experience winter or fall weather.
• This option solves schools’ overcrowding by staggering vacations, and less crowded schools can alleviate having too many students at one time.
• Shorter breaks help the younger children retain the information better; three month breaks (Traditional Calendar) without using critical thinking sometimes causes children to lose what they learned each year. This means teachers have to take extra time to re-teach students the things they learned the previous year.
• It helps keep children out of trouble; children often get bored when they have three months off as opposed to three weeks.
• Teachers keep their skills toned with the shorter breaks and feel more like a full-time employee. This option also keeps their pay more steady throughout the year. The adjustment back into the classroom is easier than having a 3-month break.
• Students can advance more quickly; critical lessons are not shortened to fit the traditional calendar.
Wake County is experiencing massive growth which has made it difficult for the school systems to keep up with new facilities. Some areas have more overcrowding, but we are thankful in Holly Springs that new schools are being built to meet the demand, including Oakview Elementary, Buckhorn Creek Elementary, Apex Friendship Middle and High School, and Willow Springs High School. Plus, Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) bought land near the intersection of Woods Creek and Friendship roads in Apex/Holly Springs area and plans to add an elementary school in the next year, as well as a middle school in the future. WCPSS also purchased land by the Woodcreek subdivision off Sunset Lake where another high school is planned as growth occurs.
For the readers who have children or are planning to start a family in the future, you know how important schools are, so hopefully this helps to explain the school system here in Wake County and serves as a guide with your decision. These links and resources can save you time and alleviate some of the stress to find the right fit. Choosing a new home in the right location is most important, and it should be an exciting time in your life. For more information about the area schools, ratings, testing scores, and class sizes, visit: Wake County School Ratings.