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Wake County parents who are making plans for where they want their children to go to school this fall need to start paying attention to dates this week.
Through Monday, students who aren’t going to the school assigned to their address can request a spot at that school for the 2013-14 school year. This so-called “base declaration period” is in place because the school board voted in December to scrap the choice-based student assignment plan in favor of returning to tying addresses to specific schools.
Also starting this week, families can register their children for kindergarten for the upcoming school year. Any families of students not currently attending a school in the district also should register at this time if they want to participate in the magnet school application period that starts Monday.
Parents should know by now where their children are slated to go to school this fall; notices were sent home. If you did not receive one, contact your child’s school or the district.
Every address in Wake County has an elementary school, middle school and high school assigned to it. Those are called the base schools.
For various reasons, thousands of Wake students are not going to their base school. For those who want to get back to their base school, there’s the base declaration period.
Applying for the base school
To request assignment to a base school, parents must submit an application online through the district’s website, www.wcpss.net. Parents must have their child’s NC WISE identification number. Families who have lost the number can contact their child’s school. Parents may also visit their base school or the student’s current school for assistance.
Other application nuances
All students entering kindergarten, sixth grade or ninth grade this fall will automatically be assigned to their base school.
But if you want to stay on in the magnet program for sixth or ninth grade this fall, you’ll need to submit a magnet application. Approval is all but certain.
Also, if you’d rather go to the feeder middle school or high school that you would have gotten under the choice plan, you’ll need to apply during the first transfer period. Approval is not guaranteed because it’s contingent upon the school having space to take you.
Chances of success
The school district is guaranteeing approval of base school requests unless the family is requesting a school that has reached its maximum capacity and is fully capped. Most schools won’t be capped for this fall.
But even if a school is capped, school assignment staff say they expect to honor most, if not all, of those requests, too.
The school board voted last month to cap 13 schools for the rest of this school year. But Laura Evans, senior director of student assignment, said the cap in the base declaration period refers to the 2013-14 school year, and no schools have been added to that list yet.
Evans said they’ll recommend which schools should be fully capped once they see how many requests come in during the base declaration period. But even if some schools are fully capped, Evans said the school system will make every effort to seat students who make the request this week to return to their base school.
“My goal is to try to seat everybody,” Evans said. “My goal is not to tell people they can’t be seated.”
Evans said existing students returning to base would get priority over people who haven’t yet moved into the district. But Evans said the district won’t be as able to accommodate requests as easily if families miss the Monday filing deadline.
Set for kindergarten
If your child will be 5 years old by Aug. 31, you can register for kindergarten at your base elementary school. Go to wwwgis2.wcpss.net/addressLookup to find out your base school. Go to www.wcpss.net/parents/kindergarten for complete registration information, including a list of which documents to bring.
On Feb. 7, many elementary schools will hold open houses, tours or information sessions to allow parents of new kindergartners to learn more and enroll.
After this week, families will find out Jan. 21 whether their base declaration request has been approved.
From Monday to Jan. 25, families can apply to attend magnet schools, early colleges and the two single-sex leadership academies. Results will be distributed Feb. 8.
From Feb. 18 to March 1, Wake will hold its new “first transfer application period.” During this period, families can request assignment to their calendar option school, which is a school selected by Wake that has a different calendar than the base school. Transportation to that school is provided.
Families can request any other school, but transportation is not provided. Rejections can’t be appealed.
Some of these requests will automatically be approved, such as a currently enrolled student who doesn’t want to accept reassignment or a rising kindergarten, sixth- or ninth-grader who wants to go to the same school as an older sibling.
On May 1, students will receive their official notice of 2013-14 school assignment. Families who still aren’t satisfied can file during the final transfer application period that runs May 1-15. Rejected requests can be appealed to the school board.