Kannapolis school system leverages partnerships to receive more resources

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 14, 2012

KANNAPOLIS — Officials with the Kannapolis City school system have leveraged community partnerships to receive about $1 million in resources this year.
Spokeswoman Ellen Boyd said the strategic plan calls for “partnerships and imagination and creative ways of connecting community resources” as a way to undergird everything the district does.
Boyd said the work began this summer when she checked in with Classroom Central in Charlotte.
“We’ve worked with them for years, but this year we decided to expand that partnership, so I went down there to see how we could ramp things up,” she said. “They have been tremendous to work with.”
Teachers are allowed to sign up to go to the store and pick out items needed for their classrooms.
Boyd said Classroom Central has also delivered two large pallets of supplies such as copy paper, markets, book bags and new teacher survival kits worth about $6,700 to Woodrow Wilson Elementary and A.L. Brown High School. All of the schools in the system are set to receive a pallet by the end of the year.
The store recently offered the district 19 computers and flat screen monitors, which will go to Kannapolis Middle.
“We’re easily on track to get $100,000 worth of free materials from Classroom Central this year, which would be more than a 25 percent increase from previous years,” Boyd said.
Earlier this year, Belk donated more than 500 new uniforms worth about $25,000. Through a partnership with United Way, Belk has committed to provide more uniforms in 2013.
Cannon School, a private school in Concord, has also offered to help the district with uniforms, field trips funding, supplies and other resources.
“Basically if a student or family needs something, we can call on the Cannon School,” Boyd said.
Boyd said six cases of shoes were donated to A.L. Brown, where adult sizes are needed, from Shoe Show.
A partnership with Cabarrus County government worth $100,000 allows the district to back up its servers, protect electronic data and access county technology specialists.
This year, the school system has received $542,000 from the county to upgrade its equipment and buy additional technology.
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has donated 300 used computers worth an estimated $90,000 to the district.
Boyd said they’ll be used to set up computer labs at several schools, and about 70 will be loaned to families that do not have access to a home computer.
The Kannapolis Education Foundation has donated more than $40,000 to buy iPads.
The district recently teamed up with the YMCA and Cabarrus Literacy Council to receive a $50,000 grant from IBM.
The grant will allow the school system to install the company’s reading companion software at about half of its schools.
The voice recognition technology will help children and adults learn how to read by correcting them as they read aloud.
Rowan-Cabarrus will continue offering free English class to Kannapolis families this year.
Boyd said the school system will soon roll out a new website at no cost.
Kevin Russell, a science teacher at A.L. Brown, is doing the project as part of his coursework to complete his master’s degree from Appalachian State University.
“He will continue to work with us to make sure it’s user friendly,” Boyd said.
School board member Millie Hall said the collaborative efforts are great step.
Superintendent Dr. Pam Cain said she’s been impressed by how much people are willing to give.
“We are very proud of these partnerships,” she said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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