Johnston/So. Wake County

VOL15ISS1 2016

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Page 43 of 53

THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE—JOHNSTON/SOUTHERN WAKE COUNTIES NC | VOLUmE 15—ISSUE 1 40 education Education Experts rank educational opportunities second only to employment in major relocation concerns. Parents today are not only looking at a region's quality of education for their kids but for themselves as well, as many adults return to the classroom for more education or sometimes a complete career change. If the Johnston/South Wake County region is coming up on your radar as a future home, education worries will start to fall farther down on your 'worry list'. This area is rich both at the public and private school level as well as in colleges and universities. Johnston County Schools (JCS) serves over 33,000 students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade with a student population that has more than doubled in the past 15 years. Superintendent Dr. Ed Croom attributes the districts growth to the impact of strong community support through funding for new schools, partnerships with business and faith based organizations, and great parental involvement. According to Croom, "Just last year our student dropout rate fell dramatically to 2.65%, and our graduation rate climbed to 82.4%." Croom went on to praise the district's diversity, "Global awareness is more than a phrase in our system. There are 46 languages spoken among our students and JCS is proud to be an active Inaugural Member of the Global Schools Network of North Carolina." The Visiting International Faculty Program provides by stuart JaMes teachers from around the world and many of JCS schools are involved in global partnership programs. It is all part of the system's commitment to achieve their vision as they empower all students to become successful in a global society. The Johnston County Schools' achievements have not gone unnoticed by the media. Several schools are rated among the top in the U.S. by Business Week magazine, singling out East Clayton Elementary, Riverwood Elementary and Riverwood Middle Schools as the area's best. JCS are also accredited by AdvancEd, which assures graduates are prepared to be accepted into the fnest universities and colleges. As for private and charter schools in the district: Southside Christian School in Clayton provides biblical integration of all subjects and staff from over 70 local churches to approximately 100 students in grades K-10; Gateway Christian School is a daycare/ preschool in Benson; Lighthouse Christian Academy in Angier, offers K-11; and Academy of Hope in Clayton is an all-girl Christian school for troubled girls age 12 to 17. Johnston County's free public charter school maintains a 26-acre campus off Booker Dairy Road in the Smithfield-Selma area. If you're thinking about coming to central North Carolina it's important to consider all your options. Wake County has long been in the 'hyper-growth' mode. Forbes magazine named Raleigh the #1 city for raising a family and Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) is cited as one of the reasons. WCPSS has experienced the growth explosion 'up-close and personal.' According to Brian Conklin, Senior Director, Facilities Design & Construction WCPSS, "Our community has grown rapidly. In 2014-15, we have 155,184 students compared with 143,289 in 2010-11 and 114,068 in 2004-05. To keep pace with this growth, we have built new schools, improved old schools and found creative ways to provide the learning space our students need." With those recent student population increases, WCPSS remains the largest school system in the state and the 16th largest in the nation. Experts predict as many as 20,000 additional children are expected in classrooms by 2020. WCPSS Superintendent Dr. James Merrill says, "The eforts of our entire staf are focused on addressing the needs of all our students by providing learning environments where children are able to thrive. We work to provide an education that prepares students to be successful when they graduate and gives them the foundation to live healthy and productive lives." >> accessible, innovative, excellence

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