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Kannapolis parent meeting touches on school performance, funding and dress code

Kannapolis City Schools held a Parent Council meeting Tuesday to keep parents up to date with the issues impacting the district, including parent involvement, school performance grades, public school funding and dress codes.

In its Oct. 13 meeting, the Kannapolis City Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution asking the State Board of Education and General Assembly to adjust the statewide school performance grades.

The grades, which assign an A through F letter grade to each public school in the state, will be released in February and are based on two factors – performance and growth.

Performance, which makes up 80 percent of the grade, is based on standardized end of grade courses, graduation rates and ACT scores.

Growth makes up only 20 percent of the final grade.

Director of Student Assessment and Testing Kelly Burgess said the grading scale isn’t fair because it’s based too heavily on assessments and doesn’t take other factors such as poverty or improvement into account.

Based on preliminary information released by the state, Kannapolis leaders projected the final grades of each of its schools. A.L. Brown High School and Forest Park, Fred L. Wilson and Shady Brook elementary schools are projected to receive a final grade of a “C,” while Kannapolis Middle, Kannapolis Intermediate, Jackson Park and Woodrow Wilson are expected to score “Ds.”

“We don’t feel this is a measure of what our schools do for our students, our community, for our stakeholders,” Burgess said.

She added that there is an 80 percent correlation between income levels and projected school performance grades across the state.

Will Crabtree, the district’s director of business operations, discussed state funding changes for Kannapolis City Schools since the 2008-09 school year.

Throughout the years, the costs of salary and benefits have drastically increased, while funding and teaching positions have been cut and more students have enrolled.

“There have been some changes in the legislation this year that will, quite honestly, make this situation worse,” he said.

Additional funding is in competition with other expansion programs, such as state universities and Medicaid.

Crabtree asked the parents to advocate for the state’s schools to lawmakers.

“The parents are the people who will get real change,” he said.

The district is creating a dress code task force.

“We need to take a step back and look at what’s working and what’s not,” said Superintendent Dr. Pam Cain, pointing out that it’s been 10 years since the district’s dress code was implemented.

The parents also looked over the parent involvement policy — an annual Title I requirement. No changes were made at the meeting.



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