BY DENISE SHERMAN, Staff Writer/easternwakenews
KNIGHTDALE - Wake County School board member John Tedesco told a group of parents he favors an magnet program at Knightdale High School.
But Tedesco didn't go into much detail about how a magnet will work in his community school zone concept, beyond saying that he favors an International Baccalaureat type magnet for the eastern Wake town.
Tedesco, District 1 school board member Chris Malone and Dr David Ansbacher, senior director of the Wake County Magnet School Office spoke at a forum Thursday sponsored by Knightdale 100.
Knightdale 100 is a grassroots organization whose goal is program equity and excellence in schools in eastern Wake County.
Knightdale parent Susan Snotherly said she had read published reports that large numbers of Knightdale High School teachers are applying for transfers, and asked how to keep good teachers here.
Tedesco said an IB program could help because the model includes a lot of professional development which could be attractive to teachers. He also said the system should explore merit pay for teaching at challenging schools.
Tedesco relayed his idea of community zones that would include magnets and year-round schools in each of the community zones created under the plan, but he didn't offer specifics on how they would work.
Tedesco said the county doesn't have a diversity problem, but a growth management problem and that 1,320 nodes or attendance zones had resulted in "node Civil Wars."
Guy Blough, a parent and athletic director at Knightdale High School, asked Tedesco how community schools and magnets could be compatible.
Tedesco said he wants to address the lack of program equity in Wake County schools.
Malone, who represents eastern Wake County and Wake Forest, said he favored making Knightdale High School a magnet. He said Knightdale High School needs better test scores and more access to advanced placement programs.
Ansbacher said more students with Knightdale High School as their base school attend magnets than anywhere else in the school system.
He said achieving diversity and balance were goals of the magnet program, not academic achievement. Ansbacher said magnets schools are like cupcakes with the cake being core curriculum and the icing being the magnet program. Not everybody likes icing, he said.
Shannon Hardy, the moderator, said parents should let their school board members know what they want.
"We've heard all the debates," said Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen. "We are only about the excellence for our kids. We're not for what's before, what's after. We're here to give you a challenge - come work for excellence in our schools."