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One school semester down, many more to go

I’ve survived my first semester of school in Rowan County, and much like local students and teachers, I feel like that’s an accomplishment.
Over the past semester, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many of the students, teachers and administrators that make each of these schools, districts and colleges function.
All in all, I’ve been able to have a lot of fun, all in the name of learning about and reporting on education in Rowan County.
Each school is so unique, making it hard to narrow down the experiences I’ve had so far to just a few favorites.
For example, Livingstone is steeped in rich history and heritage. I loved watching the pride and excitement in the faces of students, alumni and faculty as they celebrated the school’s first CIAA basketball title in early March.
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College hosts an awesome STEM open house each year, where kids can make slime and experiment with fruit DNA. The event opens up the opportunity for the college to show the community how they make careers in science, technology, engineering and math feasible.
I’ve also enjoyed exploring Catawba College’s absolutely beautiful campus as I’ve had the opportunity to attend several events on the college’s campus.
Salisbury Academy knows how to throw an educational Cinco de Mayo party, and North Hills students got to not only see, but also touch an ancient copy of the Torah. And don’t forget those girls at Sacred Heart who were willing to sacrifice their own long hair for children who have none at all.
I’ve watched the Rowan-Salisbury School System work through mediation and eventually reach resolution with county commissioners over a new central office, renovations to Knox Middle and a consolidated elementary school.
A.L. Brown teacher Belinda Rojo was an inspiration to me as she shared how she overcame poverty, went to college and is now a teacher with her masters degree.
It’s exciting to see collaboration partnerships between the different entities I cover – particularly Catawba College, Livingstone College and the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
The end of the school year is a time to be proud of what’s been accomplished, and summer gives students, teachers and administrators the chance to rest, reset and focus on new goals.
Just because students are out for summer and class isn’t in session (at most schools) doesn’t mean I get a summer break too, though.
The summer’s just getting started, and education news hasn’t even come close to dwindling.
Rowan-Cabarrus still has classes meeting, and the college is hosting camps throughout the summer.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System has been and will continue to be making key decisions about the district’s central office, Knox and the consolidated elementary school. The district also has intense professional development planned for teachers and staff over the summer.
Due to the departure of Kevin Garay from A.L. Brown, Kannapolis City Schools officials are currently searching for a new principal and Salisbury Academy has a new head of school as of Tuesday.
And of course, there’s also summer camps galore taking place across the county at churches, schools and community centers.
As exciting as summer is, I’m especially looking forward to reporting on the first day of school. I can’t wait to see all the smiles, “first day of school” outfits and the new pencils and folders.
Next school year will see the groundbreaking on Rowan-Salisbury’s central office, and the implementation of the district’s one-to-one technology plan. All students in the third through 12th grade will be given an iPad or laptop to use throughout the school year.
Catawba College recently announced a new nursing program, and will introduce several new majors in the fall, and Kannapolis City Schools will be developing a new strategic plan.
So, while I’ve seen and learned a lot over the past six months, there’s so much more to come, and I can’t wait.

Contact education reporter Jeanie Groh at 704-797-4222 or jeanie.groh@salisburypost.com

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