Archive for the ‘Front Page News’ Category


Weatherstone ES & Kingswood ES lockdown has been lifted

Update at 3:09 p.m. – The lockdown has been lifted.
At 2:50 p.m., we received word from the Cary Police Department that Weatherstone and Kingswood elementary schools should go into a community lockdown while law enforcement investigated an incident in the neighborhood near the schools.

In a community lockdown, all exterior doors of the school are locked and no one is allowed to enter or exit the building until an all-clear announcement is received from police. The school operates “business as usual” with the exception of no outside activities.

These steps are taken as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of our students and faculty. Once the police gave us the all clear, the lockdown ended without any incident near the school campus.

The school system works closely with law enforcement and WCPSS Security in responding to such situations to ensure the safety of our students.

WCPSS receives $9M in federal funding to expand, refine magnet programs

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) has announced a grant award of more than $9 million to expand and revise magnet school themes in the Wake County Public School System. The Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) award, announced today, will provide funding over the next three years to support three new magnet school themes. It also will support revisions to two existing magnet themes. Continue Reading . . .

Board addresses school capacity at five schools

The Wake County Board of Education agreed on steps to more efficiently use classroom space at five schools beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

The board determined that:

Alston Ridge Elementary, currently operating at 111.6 percent on a single-track year-round calendar, will expand to a multi-track, year-round calendar.  The school system will delay adding temporary classrooms at the school pending future growth.

Ballentine Elementary, currently operating at 65.1 percent on a four-track, year-round calendar, will drop one of its tracks. Four temporary classrooms will be identified for relocation and removed from the school’s crowding calculation. Ballentine will be reviewed again during the next enrollment plan update for options to increase facility utilization. Continue Reading . . .

Funding will support WCPSS counseling and other student services

Students in four Wake County Public School System schools will receive bolstered counseling services aimed at supporting better academic performance through improved discipline and attendance, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Education announced today.

The $1.1 million award from the USED Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program will serve Creech Road, Fox Road, Green and Lynn Road Elementary Schools. Over the next three years, the grant funds will be used to increase the number of counselors on staff and to decrease the counselor to student ratio, as well as to provide outreach to bilingual families and to support the needs of identified children of military families.

“This is an area that has a very real and meaningful impact on how we address all the needs of students,” said Cathy Moore, Deputy Superintendent for School Performance. “We know that strong counseling and other student support services are directly tied to increased academic performance.”

WCPSS is one of 40 school districts from across the nation to receive funding, totaling more than $14.7 million. The grant’s objective is to improve discipline, student attendance, academic performance and social skills development via counseling services.

In addition, funds may be used to boost parental involvement, professional development and to partner with mental health organizations and other services. For more information on the grant, visit

What is the meaning of this STUNT?


A competitive, high-energy new sport for female high school athletes is coming to the Wake County Public School System this spring.

STUNT is a team sport derived from cheerleading, removing the crowd-leading element and focusing on the technical and athletic components of cheer, including partner stunts, pyramids, basket tosses, group jumps and tumbling.

It’s growing in popularity on the collegiate level and is starting to gain popularity at the high school level. WCPSS will be the first district to implement STUNT in North Carolina.

Here’s how it works: The matches are head-to-head between two teams and divided into four quarters. Predetermined routines are distributed to all teams prior to the start of the season. The first quarter is partner stunts, second quarter features pyramids and tosses, the third quarter brings group jumps and tumbling and the fourth quarter is the team performance. Judges tally scores after each quarter and award points to determine a winner. Click HERE for a video breakdown of STUNT.

Interest meetings in all 21 Wake County high schools will be held later this month. Contact your school’s athletic director for more information. Schools will decide if they will field a STUNT team based on interest level. Tryouts are slated to begin on March 2, 2015, with games to be held on Thursday nights starting on Mach 19. The first North Carolina STUNT Championship will be held in early May at Broughton High School.

For more information on the rules and format, click HERE.

Microsoft blog highlights Green Hope teacher’s success

Green Hope High teacher Marty Roettgen is highlighted in a Microsoft blog article on her success in teaching students Microsoft Office skills. Roettgen is 3-for-3 with national champions in the Certiport Microsoft Office competition in her three years teaching the 2010 Microsoft Excel and Access courses. The article notes her most recent national champ, Daniel Hill was offered a paid summer internship for his Microsoft Excel expertise and will be applying for colleges this fall.



Fifty WCPSS students named National Merit Scholar semifinalists

Fifty students from 13 Wake County Public School System high schools were among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

The academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 Merit Scholarship awards worth $33 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must advance to the finalist level of the competition by fulfilling several requirements. About 90 percent of the semi finalists are expected to attain finalists standing and approximately half of the finalists will be selected as Merit Scholarship winners. Continue Reading . . .

Weatherstone Elementary school dismisses students early today

The school will begin dismissal at 12:30 p.m. today as utilities work to repair the water system.

School buses will provide transportation home for students who ride by bus and parents will be able to pick up their children for rides out as usual.

School staff will stay with students at school until arrangements have been made for each child to get home.

Wake students continue to improve according to 2013-14 performance results

Wake County Public School System students posted steady academic growth across multiple measures last school year, according to test results released today by state school officials.

In addition to gains in the percentage of students considered proficient, the school system’s graduation rate also climbed above 82 percent and the percentage of students meeting new college and career standards increased.

The results were part of a large amount of data released today by the state Department of Public Instruction on various academic indicators.

About two-thirds of Wake County students met or exceeded the more rigorous state standards for proficiency introduced two years ago. They also scored well above the state average in all categories tested.

“Steady growth across a broad range of indicators is always a good sign, especially when a school system starts from a relatively high base given the tougher standards now used by the state,” said Superintendent Jim Merrill.

Grades and subjects tested included Math and Reading in Grades 3-8; Science in Grades 5 and 8; and Biology, English II and Math I in high school courses.

For the 2013-14 school year, 82.2 percent of seniors who started school four years earlier graduated on time. This is a 1.2 percentage-point increase over the 2012-13 rate of 81 percent, and the highest rate registered in WCPSS in the past eight years.

The school system as a whole realized a 1.8 percentage-point increase in the number of students who achieved grade level proficiency in particular subject areas. The districtwide proficiency rate moved from 64.8 percent for the 2012-13 academic year to 66.6 percent last year.

This is the second year that students have been tested on academic offerings under the new NC Standard Course of Study. The new Standard Course of Study incorporates the Common Core State Standards and NC Essential Standards that were first implemented in fall 2012, and under which students were first tested in spring 2013.

Career and College Readiness

The percentage of students deemed Career and College Ready also increased by 1.7 percentage points, from 55.8 in 2012-13 to 57.5 in 2013-14. Career and College Readiness is the percentage of students who scored at levels 4 or 5 (with 3 being grade level proficient) and are on track to graduate prepared for college or the workplace.

A number of schools reported significant percentage-point increases, many in the double digits. Durant Road Elementary showed an overall increase in performance of almost 8 percentage points. Principal Teresa Winstead attributes this to more intervention support, very detailed data walls for each teacher, the addition of a literacy coach two years ago, and a Y-Learning partnership with the YMCA.

Among a number of schools that realized higher performance results were:

  • Olds Elementary, which experienced an overall 16.6 percentage point gain in performance;
  • Smith Elementary, which realized a 13.3 percentage-point jump in Grade 3 reading and a 6.6 point jump in Grade 3 math; and
  • Athens Drive High, which experienced an 11.5 percentage point increase in Math 1.


The percentage of high school juniors who scored a 17 or higher on the ACT exam increased, as well. The percentage of juniors who scored at least 17 in 2013-14 was 71.4 percent, up from 70.5 percent for their counterparts the year before.

For more information on these results and how they affect student learning, please visit

A copy of today’s briefing presentation can be downloaded here.

WCPSS breaks ground for Scotts Ridge Elementary

Wake County leaders joined together in breaking ground today for the new Scotts Ridge Elementary due to open in August 2015. Board of Education members, County Commissioners and Town of Apex leaders turned dirt where a new two-story school will serve up to 900 students. Continue Reading . . .