Kannapolis school board discusses Read to Achieve camp

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Kannapolis City Board of Education received an update on the district’s Read to Achieve summer camp at their meeting Monday.
The four-week camp was “very successful and enjoyable,” according to Patty Williams, director of Title I and elementary education.
At the beginning of last school year, 19.3 percent of the district’s 440 third graders tested at or above the third grade reading level. Nearly 46 percent of third graders tested at the appropriate reading level on their end-of-grade test.
Over the course of the camp, 42 of the 119 students received a passing score through Reading 3D, two passed through their reading portfolio and four took the Read to Achieve test and received a passing score.
By the end of the district’s Read to Achieve summer camp, 85 percent, or 374 students, had tested at or above the third grade reading level by a good cause exemption, reading portfolio, Read to Achieve test or the local alternative assessment, Reading 3D.
“Our goal was for these children to know school is a good place and that they can read,” Williams told the board.
Each class had 8 to 12 students per class four days a week for four weeks. There was an average attendance rate of 94 percent, and teachers conducted 51 parent conferences.
“These students were engaged in meaningful reading activities for four more weeks of their summer,” Williams said.
Williams said 61 percent of camp attendees were bilingual Hispanic children who speak English at school, but Spanish at home.
“It becomes a difficult transition for little ones,” Williams said.
The camp employed 19 teachers, five tutors, a nurse, two custodians, an interpreter and two administrators.
In addition, Teacher of the Year Rebecca Merriman shared about her recent trip to Germany with the University of North Carolina’s Center for International Understanding to learn about Germany’s history, culture and educational system.
“I don’t want the journey I took to end with me. I want to share it with everyone in KCS,” Merriman said.
The pieces of Germany’s education system that fascinated Merriman the most were its track-based system, early language exposure, free higher education and corporate partnerships that ensure the non-college bound students have the vocational schools they need.
“KCS really needs to bring in increased foreign language at an elementary level,” Merriman said, adding that the Germans’ language skills make them “very competitive in a global market.”
But the German educational system doesn’t lead Kannapolis City Schools in everything, she said.
“We’re just investing so much in our classrooms,” she said, adding that rigor and inclusion of students with varied abilities are weaknesses of the German system.

In other news, the Kannapolis City Board of Education:
• Approved minutes from its July 14 and 17 meetings, as well as the Head Start Credit Card Statement.
• Approved minor changes to the Head Start parent handbook, faculty handbook, organizational chart, award letter and sequestration and COLA Award letter.
• Approved fees for items such as physical education uniforms, specific classes and electives, planners and supplies.
• Approved a 10 percent price increase on all facility rentals. Groups can rent different facilities in the district for a fee, such as the Kannapolis Performing Arts Center, gyms, cafeterias or classrooms.