Archive for January, 2009


Superintendent Burns: WCPSS Podcast

Superintendent Del Burns told the Wake County Board of Education January 22 about Apex High Principal Matt Wight being named one of the eight finalists for State Principal of the Year and the efforts that go into responding to inclement weather.

Click here to listen to Dr Burns Reports

This is a 9:45 minute mp3 file.

Blues Guitarist Visits Powell Elementary

Guitarist Hurricane Wilson is visiting students at Powell Elementary this week to teach them about the blues.

Principal Jimmy Sposato says teachers are using the visiting artists to teach lessons in music, art, history and writing. Sposato says the discussion of blues music will lead into the school’s reading project where all students will read a book about the blues.

Click here to listen to Blues Guitarist Visits Powell Elementary

This is an 8 minute mp3 file.

You can read the full story here.

State Law Requires Rising 6th Graders to be Vaccinated

By state law, students who will be entering the sixth grade in 2009-10 are required to have the TDAP vaccination.

Michelle Nicely of Wake County Human Services explains the vaccination requirements and the free, no-appointment TDAP clinics Wake County Human Services will be offering.

Click here to listen to State Law Requires Rising 6th Graders to be Vaccinated

This is a 4 minute mp3 file.

More information is available on the clinics here.

More information on TDAP vaccination is available here.

Sycamore Creek Crocodile Blog

As part of our school system’s goal to make students more globally competitive, our schools are finding creative ways to integrate technology into the classroom for students. Sycamore Creek Elementary is no exception! The school has a unique spin on blogging which helps to keep their students engaged and connected even during track-outs. The school’s technology coordinator, Matthew Clobridge, shares the news below:

Students at Sycamore Creek Elementary School have been learning 21st-century technology, critical thinking, and information literacy skills with the help of Kyle Crocodile, a small green stuffed animal, and his crocodile siblings, Kirby, Katie, and Carlyle.

The project takes advantage of the school’s year-round schedule by sending the stuffed animals on trips with students, staff, and friends when they are tracked-out. The crocodiles’ adventures are posted to a weblog ( ) where students ask questions and write comments.

Continue Reading . . .

Board names principals

At its Jan. 22 meeting, the Board of Education named principals for two high schools and for two new elementary schools opening next year.

The board named Stephen Mares principal at Broughton High and Diane Payne interim principal at Leesville Road High.

Mares has served as principal of Daniels Middle School since 2005. Prior to that, he served as principal of Joyner Elementary. He also worked as an assistant principal at West Lake Elementary and an assistant principal intern at Apex Elementary. He was the WCPSS Principal of the Year in 2004-05 and was the NC VIF Principal of the Year in 2006-07.

Payne retired from the school system after serving as principal of Broughton High for 14 years. Prior to that, she served as principal of Enloe High and West Millbrook Middle, as well as interim principal at Poe Elementary. She was a WCPSS Special Assistant for Leadership and Staff Development, NC Department of Public Instruction administrator and NC State University Assistant Dean of Student Development. She was WCPSS Principal of the Year in 1990.

The board named Mary K. Warren principal of Herbert Akins Elementary and Franklin Creech principal of Banks Road Elementary, two schools opening for the first time in 2009-10.

Warren has served as principal of West Lake Elementary since 2005. Prior to that, she served as assistant principal at Adams Elementary and West Lake Elementary. She was a teacher at West Lake Elementary and Enloe High.

Creech has served as principal of Fuquay-Varina Elementary since 2003. Prior to that, he served as assistant principal of Timber Drive Elementary and was a teacher at Clayton High in Johnston County.

Music Students Prepare for Concerts

Our students are busy preparing for several upcoming concerts.

Cary High School will hold its Sweetheart Serenade, a musical evening of singing valentines at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 12 in the Cary High School Auditorium, Cary. For more information, contact Edward Yasick at or call 380-3618.

The Middle Creek High Chorus will have Dinner and A Show! Thursday, Feb. 12. Dinner at 6:30pm, Show at 7:30pm. For more information, contact Athena M. Reaves, Middle Creek High’s Theatre Arts Educator at or call 661-5468.

There will be a joint chorus concert featuring Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School Chorus and Sanderson High School Sandpipers at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 17 at Edenton Street United Methodist Church, Raleigh. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information contact Elsie Shuler at or Marshall Butler at or call 856-2835.

The Sanderson High Jazz Band, Concert Band, and Wind Ensemble will perform in concert at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 24 in the school’s auditorium. For more information, contact Creighton Flowers, Sanderson High Director of Bands at or call 881-4839. You can check the band website here.

The Enloe High Orchestra will perform in concert with guest conductor Dr. James Waddelow of Meredith College at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26 at the Enloe High auditorium, Raleigh. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information contact Beth McCollum at or call 856-7982

The Enloe High Chorus will perform in concert at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 3 at the Enloe High auditorium, Raleigh. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information contact Ann Huff at or call 856-7918

Cary High School will hold its Winter Band Concert featuring Concert, Symphonic, and Jazz Band Performances at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 19 in the Cary High School Auditorium, Cary. For more information, contact Edward Yasick at or call 380-3618. You can find more information about the Cary High Band here.

The Cary High Chorus will present a choral concert with the Concert Singers of Cary at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 28 in the Cary High School Auditorium, Cary. For more information, contact Edward Yasick at or call 380-3618.

New Writing Test Pilot Underway

At its Jan. 22 meeting, Dr. Sherri Merritt, WCPSS senior director for literacy instruction, talked with the Board of Education about changes to testing of student writing skills.

While the state has eliminated the writing prompt test used at grades four and seven, a new testing system is being piloted this school year.

Click here to listen to New Writing Test Pilot Underway

This is a 6.5 minute mp3 file.

Powell Elementary Blues in the Schools Program

During the week of January 27, Blues recording artist Roger “Hurricane” Wilson will be visiting Powell GT Magnet Elementary School from 2:00-3:30 p.m. to work with students and teachers during a weeklong music workshop for elementary school students. The event is part of the first-ever Blues in the Schools pilot program in the Wake County Public School System.

Working in conjunction with Burriss Amps, Powell Elementary invited Mr. Wilson as the Artist in Residence. Wilson will stay at Powell during the week and his residency will conclude with a performance by Mr. Wilson himself and Powell Elementary students on Friday, January 30 at 2:00 p.m.

Continue Reading . . .

Selecting Weather Make-up Days

Our Customer Service Center has fielded some calls and e-mails asking about how the make-up days for this week’s snow cancellations were chosen. Dawn Dawson, senior director for state and federal programs and the administrator who coordinated our calendar committee, responds:

The calendar law requires there be 180 student days, 14 workdays, 10 vacation days, and 11 holidays. The instructional calendar may not start earlier than August 25 and may not end later than June 10. A committee, made up of parents, teachers, school administrators, community members, and central services staff, develop the school calendar which is then recommended to the Board of Education for approval. We are required to build in inclement weather days, which are listed on the left of the traditional calendar. Spring break is often used for inclement weather days because the parameters of the calendar law make scheduling so tight. According to the calendar law, make-up days can’t be after June 10 and can’t be the end of quarter workdays (January 26, April 13).

Our next calendar committee will be meeting in the fall of 2009 to develop the 2011-2012 calendar.

Christy Falba, senior director for elementary education, adds this information regarding year-round schedules.

The decision to have this Saturday as a make-up day is based on several things:

Board Policy 5030.2 – The calendar shall provide for one hundred eighty (180) full days of instruction, and allowances consistent with state law shall be included for making up days that might be needed because of inclement weather or other unforeseen occurrences that might make it necessary to temporarily close a school or schools.

Selecting the Saturday immediately following the inclement weather helps to maintain the instructional pacing for student learning. Additionally, the same three tracks that miss school due to inclement weather need to make up the day(s) together. Because Track 3 is going out, the next time the same three tracks are together is in April. Therefore, the second Saturday make-up had to be scheduled farther out.

Days cannot be added to the tracks during the week because the schools can only accommodate students from three tracks at any one time.

Student absences for the Saturday make-up days do count.

Although this does not solve the issue of Saturday conflicts, it does ensure that students receive the instruction they missed and that the 180 days required by state statute is met.

Board discusses assignment in work session

As the work session on the multi-year student assignment proposal began this morning, Assistant Superintendent Chuck Dulaney recommended two changes to the Dec. 16 staff proposal presented to the Board of Education. Dulaney recommended:

  • Staff recommends that a transfer request for a student be automatically approved if that particular student will be impacted by district assignment decisions twice within a three year period. For example, if a student was in School A as either a base or a calendar applicant and board action changes that student’s assignment to School B and then subsequent board action would change the student’s assignment to School C after less than three years in School B, a transfer request for the student to remain in School B would be automatically approved.
  • Staff recommends that when the “grandfathering” process leads to approval of a transfer for a student and the family applies for a transfer for a younger sibling who has also already begun attending the same school as the older sibling (for example, a rising 1st grade sibling of a rising 4th grade student or a rising 10th grade student assigned to a new high school that has a rising 11th or 12th grade sibling) that the transfer request for the younger sibling automatically be approved.

The board heard additional staff recommendations and then began reviewing the multi year assignment proposal that will fill 10 new schools over the next three years. Today’s work session is scheduled to continue until the board’s regular meeting at 3 p.m.