Grantee Corner  |  Wake County Public School System



Students gather around a round table and write equations on it
Carroll Leadership and Technology Magnet Middle School students solve an equation presented by their teacher

A female student stands at a podium with a microphone
Green Leadership and World Languages Magnet Elementary School student greets parents and community businesspeople at the site of her new school

Two male students sit at a table with a beaker, glue, and other laboratory supplies
Fox International Baccalaureate/Primary Years Programme Magnet Elementary students create a chemical reaction that will make gummy worms “dance”!

Students gather around a table with a banner laid out on it
Moore Square Gifted and Talented/Academically and Intellectually Gifted/Museums Magnet Middle School students plan the pattern and layout of a banner with a local artist

Three female students play violins
Poe Gifted and Talented/Academically and Intellectually Gifted Basics Magnet Elementary students enjoy the new stringed instruments purchased with MSAP funds

Beth Cochran, Wake County Project Director
Beth Cochran, Wake County Project Director

North Carolina’s Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) is home to over 170 schools, a third of which participate in the district’s vibrant Magnet and Curriculum Enhancement Program. In this program, magnet students enjoy 18 different themes within five K-12 program pathways. Within these pathways, five schools have enhanced or revised their magnet themes with Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant funds, creating innovative and attractive programs for students.

All five schools have new technology that enables teachers to share the world with their students. For example, using 70-inch digital display monitors, students see global events in real time, observe simulations that illustrate complex processes, and participate in video conferences with experts around the world. Students also use the monitors and other new electronic devices to hone their presentation skills and extend their learning. In addition, each school provides unique offerings to promote student learning and success.

At Poe Gifted and Talented/Academically and Intellectually Gifted Basics Magnet Elementary, all 322 students discover their unique gifts and talents through a variety of elective classes. With new instruments and other instructional supplies, children can choose a band or orchestra elective, participate in dance, or build robotics. In the new Green Thumb elective, students look forward to getting their hands dirty in an environmental science garden. Poe students enjoy reading in a media center packed with resources, and learn from faculty trained to use practices that foster academic and intellectual gifts.

At Fox Road International Baccalaureate/Primary Years Programme Magnet Elementary, faculty members encourage more than 700 students to use inquiry-based thinking to deepen their learning. Students receive at least 55 minutes of Spanish instruction every week, and use iPads to practice language vocabulary and create stories. The science inquiry classroom encourages investigation and collaboration as students learn about human body systems, fossils, and ecosystems. Fifth-grade students recently traveled in time to enjoy colonial life, making leather-bound journals and beeswax candles during a field-trip-at-home experience with a local educational group.

Green Leadership and World Languages Magnet Elementary School is growing 550 student leaders. Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective Leaders are evident as students lead parent tours, apply for positions as class leaders, and serve as crew leaders for the Radical Recyclers. Green faculty received training to guide students in project-based learning tasks such as forecasting the weather at a local TV station or performing in an orchestra that uses instruments of their own making. Students experience a rich language environment through daily instruction in Chinese or Spanish.

Green Magnet Elementary feeds into Carroll Leadership and Technology Magnet Middle School, where students build on the leadership skills they learned at Green. More than 900 Carroll students have the opportunity to work with technology leaders at Digital Promise, a company committed to promoting meaningful digital learning. Students create and complete cross-curricular, challenge-based learning units.

More than 400 students at Moore Square Gifted and Talented/Academically and Intellectually Gifted/Museums Magnet Middle School choose from programs that include a first-class orchestra and a dynamic theatre program. In addition, students have been working with an artist-in-residence to make silk banners for the school halls. Other electives include Field Biology, Dig It—Archeology! and Contemporary Jazz and Hip Hop.

Dr. Beth Cochran is the Project Director for the MSAP grant at WCPSS. She has worked as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and senior director for WCPSS, championing magnet schools and magnet ideals for 19 of her 23 years of service to students.

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