Most Get First Pick in Wake School Choice

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CORRECTION: The original posting of this article incorrectly stated that 12 schools were over-chosen. The original story also said 75 percent of incoming kindergarten students participated and 3,000 still needed to participate. The number was actually 2,000 kindergarten students still need to participate, and 80 percent already have made choices.

New data released by the Wake County school board shows that the parents of 80 percent of incoming kindergarten students have participated in the new school selection process, but 2,000 students still need to make assignment choices.

The school choice program was implemented last year by the Republican-controlled majority on the board. The new Democratic majority is responsible for implementing the plan.

So far, almost 97 percent of kindergarteners have received their first- or second-choice schools. The data show that in certain parts of the county few families have participated in the choice program and some schools were under-chosen.

The Numbers

Counting all grade levels, 19,048 people participated in selection round one.

74.9 percent received their first choice.
7.3 percent received their second choice.
2.5 percent received their third choice.
1.4 percent received their fourth choice.
0.4 percent received their fifth choice.
13.5 percent did not receive any of their choices, but remained in the schools to which they were already assigned.

Over-chosen Schools

A.B. Combs Magnet Elementary
Brooks Museums Magnet Elementary
Bugg Magnet Elementary
Cary Elementary
Cedar Fork Elementary
Douglas Magnet Elementary
Heritage Elementary
Millbrook Magnet Elementary
Underwood Magnet Elementary
Wiley Magnet Elementary

Major Fluctuations in F&R

Up by more than five percent
Broughton High
East Cary Middle
Knightdale High
Lincoln Heights Elementary
Poe Elementary

Down by more than five percent
Hilburn Drive Academy

School officials had anticipated that far more kindergarten families would receive their first or second choice than families at higher grade levels.

Out of a projected 12,000 kindergarten families, roughly 9,000 have participated. School officials acknowledge that getting the last 3,000 to participate is where things get tricky.

“It’s where the rubber hits the road,” said Cris Mulder, chief of Family and Public Engagement for Wake schools.

The participation map (divided by nodes) shows the densest clusters of non-participation in East, Southeast and Northeast Wake County.

The school system plans to ramp up its outreach efforts in areas surrounding schools that were under-chosen to combat non-participation. Any school selected 60 times or less and its surrounding area will be targeted with outreach efforts to boost participation.

Thirty-four of 106 elementary schools in Wake County fall into that category.

Mulder told the board Tuesday her team will be conducting outreach via data managers within each school, knocking on doors and through local businesses.

Of the elementary schools, 10 were over-chosen (as defined by schools where 70 percent of applicants or less were accepted). In middle and high schools the amount of people who weren’t accepted into their chosen school goes up drastically, but this was expected.

The school board also released data projecting the percentage of free-and-reduced lunch students in each school for the 2012-13 school year. It notes that five schools will have more than a 5 percent increase in the percentage of F&R students. Only one school will decrease by as much.

Share your comments: Did you participate in the school choice process?

2 thoughts on “Most Get First Pick in Wake School Choice

  1. Any idea whether the “over-chosen” numbers for a magnet school included magnet applications, or just those trying to get in using the choice plan – basically those closest to the schools?

  2. Any data on the students who did not receive any of their choices? Where are their location? I live downtown Raleigh and there seems to be many people who have no choice but to send their kids to either Wake Forest or the West side of Cary because 1) most downtown schools are magnets 2) they cannot build more even though there are more families moving downtown.