WAKE COUNTY-- It's the middle of summer, but about 26,000 Wake County students kicked off a new school year. Students at year round school on tracks one through three headed back to class Monday morning.
"I'm having a new teacher,” described 2nd grader Shaun Daniel Jr. “Some people are going to be in my class from last year."
Daniel, his classmates Barwell Road Elementary in Raleigh and other year-round students are the first group of students to experience Wake County Public School System's new student assignment plan, where parents had the chance to select their child's school.
There's still more than 100 open seats at Barwell Road elementary, but principal Sandra Barefoot hopes they'll fill up.
"Last year from the time year round opened to the time traditional opened in August, we gained over 100 students,” recalled Barefoot. “So we're kind of holding our breath right now."
Superintendent Tony Tata congratulated teachers at Barwell for raising the bar in the classroom and turning the lowest performing school in the system to one of the highest performing.
"We had some of the largest proficiency gains in the district,” said Tata. “A ten point gain in proficiency here."
Barefoot credits more technology, additional teachers and fewer students in the classroom.
"We have 685 I-Touch devices which along the smart boards and lady board document cameras have opened up the world for our children."
Daniel's dad and other parents notice the difference.
"He's learning faster, he's learning more and he's come out of his shyness more," said Shaun Daniel.
Last month, the school board voted to change back to a student assignment plan that promotes diversity for the 2013 school year. The traditional school year starts August 27.