Kannapolis: Creating the future

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 18, 2011

By Pam Cain
Kannapolis City Schools superintendent
KANNAPOLIS — As we move into the 2011-12 school year, I see many opportunities for Kannapolis City Schools.
We will be creating the future for our students and community as never before.
Our new STEM Academy will open on the campus of A.L. Brown High School, and it will offer many new resources to our students. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and our STEM Academy will offer a variety of courses in all those areas.
Students will be able to learn about microbiology, robotics, biologics, bioethics, forensics, 3D engineering, computer engineering, horticulture and much more.
STEM education is the foundation of what our students will need to be successful in the future, and we are excited about opening this wonderful new facility.
As important as STEM education is, we cannot forget about the basics of reading and writing.
KCS will put a great deal of emphasis on reading and writing this year.
This past summer, we sponsored our first Summer Reading Camp for rising third- graders. We wanted to help our early readers build their reading skills and fall in love with reading because we know it is vital for children to be successful readers by the end of third grade.
We also will increase our emphasis on writing during the coming school year. Writing is a power standard that is essential to students’ academic achievement and success in life.
Even though North Carolina has stopped testing students in writing except in 10th grade, we feel that putting more emphasis on writing is an important ingredient to improving student achievement.
Another area of focus will be to eliminate the dip in achievement as students transition between schools. Our test scores show that achievement tends to drop during students’ first year at the intermediate school or middle school, but it rises after that.
We want to eliminate that first year dip and make the transitions smoother for students. We talked with students over the summer to find out how to improve the shift between schools, and we will make smoother transitions a priority in 2011-12.
When we open our new STEM Academy this month, the district will be able to offer a Welcome Center for international families and a Health and Wellness center for students. We also will add a Performing Arts academy and Culinary Arts Program at A.L. Brown.
With these new opportunities for students and the steps we are taking to raise achievement, I am extremely excited about the coming school year.
Kannapolis City Schools already has one of the highest graduation rates in North Carolina, and nearly all of our schools have made high academic growth in recent years. I believe the possibilities are limitless for our students, and that we will keep creating the future for many years to come.
Dr. Pam Cain is the superintendent of the Kannapolis City school system.