Stacy Fields admits she felt a little overwhelmed at Wake County schools’ magnet fair earlier this month. With about 10 different magnet programs available, she wasn’t sure what would best fit her daughter in elementary school.
She doesn’t want to pigeonhole her child into a single subject before she even starts school. “I don’t want to say, ‘you’re going to an arts school and that is what you want to do,’ ” Fields said. “I want her to find herself.”
Fields narrowed her choices to the International Baccalaureate and gifted and talented programs. “I just really wanted to know what the difference is,” she said. “I was confused with that.”
So to get answers, Fields headed to an open house Wednesday at Fox Road Elementary in North Raleigh, which is set to become the district’s newest IB school next year. The school board approved new magnet status for Fox, Green Elementary and Carroll Middle, with plans to overhaul existing programs at Moore Square Middle and Poe Elementary.
Principals have two months to get the word out about their programs. On Jan. 14, the magnet application process will begin, and parents will have to rank their choices.
Fox Road Principal Robert Lewis touted the benefits of IB at Wednesday’s open house. The program encourages kids to think globally, offering Spanish instruction starting in kindergarten.
“It’s holistic and it addresses all areas of school life,” Lewis said. “There is that recognition of the arts, there’s a recognition of a second language.”
Lewis said the program also pushes students to be independent. “It puts responsibility where I think it needs to go, which is on the student,” he said.
Wednesday’s open house was lightly attended, and Lewis doesn’t expect to have much of a waiting list for Fox Road’s first IB year. “It’s going to take a while to build,” he said.
Lewis plans to hold more open houses before the application period begins, and he can sometimes even arrange personal visits for interested parents. Often, a short chat with the principal is all it takes.
Fields said after the open house that she’ll likely make Fox Road her first choice. She’s eager to give her daughter a magnet school education. “You want to give them what you couldn’t get,” she said.