Education: Bill Fletcher November Newsletter
Wake County, NC — Thoughts for November 2015 from Bill Fletcher, Member Wake County Board of Education.
Wake School Board Issues Pay Raises
Now that the state budget has been finalized, the Wake School Board has approved raises for all employees of the District thanks to the County Commission’s approval of the Board’s budget request. Non-certified employees (bus drivers, cafeteria workers, secretaries, etc.) got a 3% increase. Teachers will share approximately $16MM as changes to the Wake Teacher Supplement are implemented.
The extra-duty schedule for coaches, band directors and the like will get its first boost since 1986. Raises will be paid retroactively to July, the beginning of the academic year.
Choice in Wake Equals Voluntary Student Movement
Last month’s factoid that 49,000 students (the actual number is 48,865) attend a school other than their base brought several comments and questions. Here are a few more facts – of 47,275 elementary students enrolled, 26,572 do not attend their base school.
What conclusions would you draw from this data?
We’ve all heard that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. The state has a penchant for “one size fits all” programs.
The District has created the Elementary Support Model, which will differentiate resources based on the needs of the students in the school. 12 schools with high concentrations of poverty have been chosen for a combination of new instructional and support strategies to boost student performance and overcome the pervasive effects of poverty in these children’s lives. Stay tuned.
Do Housing Patterns Affect School Performance?
It is hard to separate the impact of housing prices and the social capital of the people who choose to live there from the aggregate performance of their neighborhood or community schools. So, how might our communities work together to increase diversity in housing supply across the county?
Schools or Children?
Do we have low performing schools or under-performing children in differing concentrations? When children enter school behind their peers, the most appropriate measure of a school’s effectiveness is academic growth rather than proficiency.
The State Report Card includes growth as only 20% of the state’s school grading system, yet it is the most important and informative measure of what is actually happening in the school.
Regular student attendance is a critical academic success factor. In Wake, only 69% of K-3 students attend school 95% or more days. In other words, 31% of all K-3 students miss nine or more instructional days per year. What are your thoughts about how we might instill a greater commitment to regular attendance in parents, guardians and students?
Parent chats are held on the first Thursdays and on the third Mondays of each month. They are not held on holidays.
- 1st Thursdays: 1 pm, Cary Chamber, 315 N Academy Street
- 3rd Mondays: 11 am, Caribou Coffee shop, 109 SW Maynard
Get in Touch
BFletcher@wcpss.net || Voice Mail: 919-431-7332 || Mobile: 919-880-5301
Story by Bill Fletcher, Member Wake County Board of Education. Photo by Jessica Patrick.
As a former elementary teacher and a current parent, I think it should be noted that this “factoid” might seem like a concern, because school attendance is important. However, quoting a high absence percentage of K-3 children is a bit skewed. K-3 children are particularly prone to viruses and illnesses that need time at home to recover and recuperate from so as to return to their fullest health, ready to learn, AND not to spread to their peers. If you want to encourage students to have a “contingency plan” of what to do at home during this recovery period, that might be a helpful solution. However, this age children have a higher propensity of illness and when they’re home because of such, that’s where they need to be. I understand that all of these absences are NOT due to illness. But I just wanted to highlight a very simple, reasonable, and common explanation for these absences that actually are not “excessive.”
Student health is always important and requiring students to stay at home until 24 hours without a fever is an important safeguard. No one wants to be cooped up in a room with another person who is sick.
That being said, another possible take-away from this stat is the unfortunate reality that some parents place too little importance on school attendance. It does matter whether children are in school and in class.
Another stat I did not share is the correlation of non-attendance in K and 1 and third grade reading skills. Nationally, of the kindergarten and first grade students who missed 18 or more days of school both years, only 17% will read on grade level by the end of third grade.
So there is significant evidence that regular school attendance (coupled with good instruction) is a fundamental part of each child’s education. The the extent possible, the schools have to encourage parents to have a commitment to near perfect attendance to help their children reach this important benchmark.
Again, thank you for your comments.