The Wake County School Board agreed to partner with two organizations that will bring a new partnership and expand an existing one to help build more community responsive schools.
In two separate agreements, WCPSS will join forces with the YMCA to open an elementary school and full-service YMCA building in Southeast Raleigh, and WCPSS and Wake Tech will work together to turn the Wakefield 9th Grade Center in Wake Forest into a smaller version of the Vernon Malone College and Career Academy.
These agreements extend the way schools are working with other human service or education organizations to respond to community needs.
The YMCA of the Triangle is looking for a location in Southeast Raleigh, and WCPSS has a great need for another school in that area. The YMCA already offers a number programs for families with school-aged children, one of the largest being before and after school care on site at many WCPSS schools, so putting these two institutions together makes sense, Kia Baker told the school board’s facilities subcommittee. Baker is director of the Southeast Raleigh Promise Project, a community improvement organization that is working to end intergenerational poverty.
The school/YMCA project would be built under a partnership with the Purpose-Built Communities program, which has recently built the Renaissance West Center in Charlotte. These projects allow for better integration of services.
Wake Tech is already working in many ways with WCPSS, but especially at Vernon Malone where students are enrolled in programs that allow them to earn a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree upon graduation. The Wake Forest site will be smaller and will be established under the state’s “cooperative innovative” high school program that allows for specific flexibility and improves graduation rates.
“Students with 4 credit hours in a focused CTE area have graduation rates at 97 percent,” WCPSS Real Estate Services Senior Director Betty Parker told the school board’s facilities subcommittee. “Two years past graduation, 98 percent are still involved in further education or careers related to CTE.” These numbers are above the 95 percent graduation rate that WCPSS has set in its strategic plan.
The Wake Forest campus would also be used for evening adult and continuing education classes by Wake Tech, and this would the second of several such cooperative agreements around the county. Board members were told that the format could be replicated at Research Triangle Park and near Wake Tech’s main campus in Southeast Raleigh.