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Knox to hold open house for magnet program

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost,com

SALISBURY — The Knox Center for Accelerated Studies will hold its first informational open house on Thursday.

The new magnet program will start up next fall, and offer qualifying students the opportunity to earn high school credit. Attending seventh-graders can choose to take Spanish or world history, while eighth graders can take math, English, earth and environmental sciences and a second Spanish course.

“This isn’t just like an advanced class or a middle school honors class, it’s a high school credit class,” Principal Dr. Mike Waiksnis said.

Waisknis and Prinicpal Dr. Latoya Dixon designed the program with input from teachers and students. They hope the high school credit courses will give Knox students “a leg up” when they get to high school, enabling them to take more advanced courses or courses for college credit, and, over all, prepare them for college.

“We hope students are able to see the big picture,” he said.

High school credit courses will be available to students who meet grade qualifications, and Waiksnis said sixth-graders will have the opportunity to take a class on Spanish language and culture.

The new Knox guarantees seats to students in its original attendance zone – remaining seats are opened to students around the county, who can apply to attend. Transportation will not be provided for students outside the current attendance zone.

Waiksnis said that currently, they’re projecting 60 available seats for the 2016-17 school year.

By the 2017-18 year, Waiksnis and Dixon hope to extend the school day, providing students with individualized learning plans and allowing for “flexible Fridays,” where students can pursue extra learning opportunities or receive the time and attention they need to catch up to their peers.

“A lot of students just need more time,” Waiksnis said.

In the 2018-19 year, Knox students may be able to participate in internships with local businesses and organizations.

However, the extended school day and internships will require additional funding. Waiksnis and Dixon have applied for a School Improvement Grant, but Waiksnis said if that falls through, they will seek other funding sources.

Adding advanced classes, however, can be done immediately and is a sustainable program. Waiksnis said several teachers at Knox are certified to teach high school, and are eager to challenge students. The school will also be looking to hire a Spanish teacher.

Informational open houses will be held at the school beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday and on April 12 at 6 p.m. Applications for county students are due by April 18.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

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