A.L. Brown wins award

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (NCASCD) has honored A.L. Brown High School for its excellence and innovation.
The school has earned the NCASCD’s Lighthouse School Award, which is given to schools that are leading the way in innovative programs and practices that get demonstrated results.
The NCASCD is honoring Brown for the ways it improved academic success. Brown has some of the highest physical science scores in North Carolina. It also is above the state average in writing, biology, algebra, geometry, civics and economics and overall high school achievement. Brown produced a 61-point jump in SAT scores in 2007 and has raised writing scores by 33 points in two years.
Brown started a Freshman Academy, a student uniform dress code, a Renaissance Program to reward both character and academics, and a Bridge to Brown summer program for rising ninth-graders.
Brown also has started hosting Hispanic Parent Nights in which local restaurants provide food and interpreters provide school information to Spanish-speaking families.
“This is an extremely exciting announcement for Kannapolis City Schools,” said Superintendent Dr. Jo Anne Byerly. “We are all so proud of what the students and staff at A.L. Brown are doing. For every challenge, they find ways to be successful, and they truly deserve this honor.”
The Freshman Academy is a school-within-a-school. It keeps ninth-graders together during most of the day. Freshmen are assigned to small classes and a core group of teachers. Those teachers work with counselors, parents and upper classmen to make sure all ninth-graders make a smooth transition to high school.
Brown’s Renaissance Program provides incentives and recognition to students who show outstanding academic performance, character and attendance.
Bridge to Brown is a week-long summer program for rising ninth-graders. It not only introduces rising freshman to Brown but also takes them to area universities so they can begin to see that college is within their reach.
The dress code began during the 2006-2007 school year. Principal Debra Morris and her staff got input from parents and students so the transition would go smoothly. The uniform policy has helped improve safety and discipline at Brown, as well as student achievement.
The Lighthouse School Award is the latest in a series of honors for Brown. Morris is the N.C. High School Principal of the Year, named by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She also is the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s 2008 Regional Principal of the Year. She is among the finalists to become N.C. Principal of the Year. Brown is the second KCS school to win the Lighthouse School Award.
The award will be presented to Brown on Thursday during the NCASCD’s annual conference in Pinehurst.