Johnston/So. Wake County

VOL16ISS1 2017

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE—JOHNSTON/SOUTHERN WAKE COUNTIES NC | VOLUME 16—ISSUE 1 40 EDUCATION Education For education choices, the Johnston County/Southern Wake County area is rich at both the public and private school levels as well as in 2-year and 4-year college selections. Since most 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 many adults return to the classroom for more education or sometimes a complete career change. The Johnston County School District (JCSD) serves over 35,000 students in Johnston County with 46 schools and currently is experiencing a 4% increase in enrollment yearly. There are 23 elementary schools, 13 middle schools, 11 high schools, and 2 alternative schools (6-8, 9-12). JCSD broke ground on their newest middle school, this past October, just off Norris Road. The school will eventually serve families in the Cleveland area of the county once construction is completed later this year. The district, as a whole, has students from 46 different countries speaking more than 52 different native languages and is an active Inaugural Member of the Global Schools Network of North Carolina. In addition to English, the top five languages spoken are Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Russian. "We're the second fastest growing district in the state, and the seventh largest district in the state," says Johnston County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow. Dr. Renfrow is a firm believer that the parent plays a key role in JCSD's BY STUART JAMES success. "As a parent, you are your child's first teacher and a valued member of the educational team. Parent involvement is critical to the success of our students. Letting your child know that school is important is one way of ensuring success," he said. Though the district has nearly 4,300 employees in its hire, Superintendent Renfrow is still unique in the way he started this 2016-17 school year. Dr. Renfrow celebrated the start of school by visiting every school in the district on the first day. "We need to demonstrate to not only our students and teachers, but to our community as well, that we're about supporting what goes on at each of our schools," said Dr. Renfrow. "What better way to demonstrate that support than being physically present at each school on the first day." In a county roughly 800 square miles with more than 40 schools opening their doors to students, the trip to visit all of them in a day came with challenges. In fact, to help prepare for the expedition JCSD Transportation Services had to map out Dr. Renfrow's 175 mile journey to make the route as efficient as possible. There are several private and charter schools from which to choose within the county including Kids R Kids, a NC 5 Star licensed preschool in Clayton that opened in 2005. Kids R Kids provides innovative facilities and effective educational programs for children 6 weeks through K (and even some actives/programs through12 years of age). Johnson Pond Learning Center, Fuquay-Varina, is also committed to high standards in Early Childhood Education. Low teacher to child ratios, frequent and positive interaction between teachers and children, and developmentally appropriate activities and expectations set JPLC apart as a quality. Numerous religious private schools are available in Johnston County like Southside Christian School (K4-12) in Clayton, Gateway Christian School (K) in Benson, Star Christian Academy (K-12) in Smithfield, and LifeSpring Academy (K-12) in Clayton. Academy of Hope, in Clayton, is an all-girl Christian school for troubled girls age 12 to 17, and Johnston County's free public charter school is located off Booker Dairy Road in the Smithfield-Selma area. The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) with nearly 160,000 students enrolled in 177 schools is the largest public school district in North Carolina and the 15th largest district in the United States. Student population has almost tripled since 1980 and more than 9,000 additional children are expected in classrooms by 2020. Forbes Magazine named Raleigh the #1 city for raising a family, citing a strong Wake accessible, innovative, excellence

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