Education

The Wake County Board of Commissioners identified four goals in the Education key focus area. Select a goal from the list below to learn more about the rationale, objectives, links to comprehensive plans or resources, community indicators and performance measures, and strategies.

E 1: Support early childhood care and education programs that prepare young children for life-long learning and overall well-being.

Rationale

Wake County's education system is one of the strongest in the country. The County remains committed to supporting our youngest residents as they start their educational journey. A child's early years are crucial for well-rounded development, strongly influencing how successful they will be in K–12 and beyond. Wake County will work with our partners to ensure that every child, regardless of financial or social barriers, has a solid foundation and learns the skills required to succeed in school and life.

Objectives:

  • Increase access to Pre-K programs and other early childhood programs
  • Eliminate disparities in kindergarten readiness
  • Increase access to high-quality, licensed child care
  • Reduce learning loss during summer breaks and track-out periods among public school students

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Number of Wake County Smart Start slots
  • Number of Wake County Smart Start funding allocation

Example Strategies:

  • E 1.1: Develop and begin implementing a multi-year plan expanding Pre-K to serve a specified percentage of qualifying children. Explore funding for the childcare subsidy program with county money.
  • E 1.2: Explore the need for summer and track-out programs for children whose families face barriers to access
  • E 1.3: Support the 'Wake Up and Read' initiative to encourage school readiness, improve school attendance and reduce summer learning loss

E 2: Partner with the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) to improve all public-school students' educational outcomes.

Rationale

Wake County wants every child to thrive and meet their full potential, ultimately becoming productive and contributing citizens with a sense of self-fulfillment. A quality public school system nurtures and supports that goal while also preparing students to thrive when they join the workforce. The County will support the Wake County Public School System as they help prepare students for the future.

Objectives:

  • Improve understanding of the WCPSS annual budget development and approval process
  • Attract, support and retain public school teachers and staff
  • Support services for students with additional needs10
  • Improve college and career readiness for all high school students
  • Advocate for the appropriate allocation of school funding from federal, state and county sources
  • Oppose unfunded state mandates that impact the cost of public-school education
  • Increase the coordination and sharing of relevant data among care providers

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Federal, state, county, and other funding resources to WCPSS
  • Total per-pupil funding
  • WCPSS and charter school enrollment
  • WCPSS student enrollment projections

Example Strategies:

  • E 2.1: Support WCPSS efforts to improve the educational outcomes for students with additional needs. Examples include those affected by homelessness, who lack home and family support, face discipline issues, need language access and benefit from individualized educational plans or 504 plans.
  • E 2.2: Explore developing a county-based teaching fellows' program to help recruit and retain teachers where there is a critical need
  • E 2.3: Investigate and consider free or reduced-price transit GoPasses for public school teachers and employees

10 Need to define students with additional needs.

E 3: Provide affordable college education and training programs in partnership with Wake Technical Community College.

Rationale

After high school, many Wake County graduates continue to Wake Tech as the next step on their career path. Also, Wake County believes that all residents should have access to lifelong learning, regardless of age. Training resources like those found at Wake Tech help support economic mobility and allow individuals to make a better life for themselves and their families. Wake County supports initiatives that increase community college affordability and trade and vocational training opportunities.

Objectives:

  • Expand trade and vocational options for high school and community college students
  • Support all residents' access to lifelong learning
  • Support initiatives to improve community college affordability

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • WakeWorks participants
  • WakeWorks cohorts

Example Strategies:

  • E 3.1: Implement and measure the WakeWorks apprenticeship program's effectiveness in partnership with Wake Technical Community College
    • Workplan will connect WakeWorks (initiative E 3.1) and vulnerable communities (initiative CHV 3.1) to avoid potential disparities during the apprenticeship program's implementation.
  • E 3.2: Explore options to make community college opportunities accessible and affordable to Wake County graduates

E 4: Maintain a long-term funding plan for capital needs at the Wake County Public School System and Wake Technical Community College.

Rationale

Educational facilities, whether for the public-school system or Wake Tech, provide the space where the magic of education happens. A school's physical structure helps students in their journey to be educated, healthy and focused. Wake County is committed to appropriately funding school facility construction, renovation and maintenance to ensure adequate, accessible and appropriately designed spaces for all students.

Objectives:

  • Appropriately budget for the construction, renovation and maintenance of public school and community college facilities
  • Fund capital needs at the lowest cost to taxpayers that are bound by strong financial policies
  • Decrease the use of modular classrooms at public schools
  • Improve accessibility to community college facilities
  • Support public school facility designs that include adequate facilities, equipment and technologies, including flexible space and furnishings and science laboratories

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • WCPSS seven-year capital plan
  • WTCC seven-year capital plan