• 28°

Changes in store for Kannapolis schools

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

KANNAPOLIS — August 2017 will see several changes in Kannapolis City Schools. The system is due to roll out three brand new magnet programs, will shift its grade configuration, adjust attendance zones and may change bell times.

Kannapolis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Chip Buckwell unveiled the changes at the district’s first parent information meeting for the magnet program Monday night.

Currently, Kannapolis City Schools has kindergarten through fourth grade elementary schools with fifth- and sixth-graders attending an intermediate school and seventh- and eighth-graders attending middle school.

But starting in the 2017-18 school year, that will change. The district will shift to the more common K-5 elementary school, with an expanded middle school serving grades six through eight. The current Kannapolis Intermediate School building will be dubbed the G. W. Carver Elementary School and will become one of the district’s first magnet schools — A+ Arts Academy.

“We’re excited about this opportunity,” Buckwell said, “It’s going to be something brand new for KCS.”

But school officials made it clear that the program will not be a school of the arts. Rather, art will be interwoven into the curriculum and used to teach regular curriculum.

“They’re going to get instruction on the same subjects, with the same goals, using different tools . . .” Dr. Kelly Burgess, assistant superintendent, said.

Instead of traditional classroom instruction, teachers at A+ Arts might use music or drawing to teach a concept.

The inclusion of a new school will also require some shuffling of attendance zones, with G.W. Carver pulling students from all current areas. But the final perimeter is flexible, Buckwell said.

Two more programs, a Spanish immersion program, known as Splash, and a global studies program, will open at Fred L. Wilson elementary school. The immersion program — where students will have class in English one day and Spanish the next — will only be available to kindergarteners the first year. The grade levels will stack as the first cohort moves through school. The arts program and global studies, where students will spend each grade level focusing on a different area of the world, will be school-wide.

Buckwell said the move came from a desire to bolster arts and foreign language programs for lower grades after multiple funding cuts from the state.

“We are hopefully crawling our way back out of that,” he said.

All programs are available to students who fall within the attendance zones of the two schools. Those who live outside the attendance zones and wish to attend may apply. If the number of applications exceeds the number of available seats, a lottery will be held.

If the programs are successful, Buckwell said, the district would like to start up other magnet programs.

But the programs come with other changes. Currently, system administration is considering changing bell times across the district — though Buckwell said that the idea has yet to be formally presented to the Kannapolis City Schools Board of Education. Proposed new bell times were: 8:45 a.m. to 3:47 p.m. for elementary, 7:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. for middle school and 8 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. for high school.

Administration is proposing the shift in hopes to optimize instructional time and bus use and provide transportation to magnet programs. In addition, all pre-k programs will be moved to Woodrow Wilson Elementary.

“It’s a big endeavor,” Buckwell said.

After the presentation, attending parents called out rapid-fire questions concerned with transportation, attendance and asking for clarification. Many asked for more concrete answers to the possibility of different start times, which Buckwell said administration was still just looking into.

Many parents expressed disappointment that the language immersion program would only be available to kindergarteners next year. Maria Hall, a teacher with Kannapolis City Schools and a parent, said her daughter, a second-grader, missed the boat.

“Given the opportunity, I would have signed her up for the Splash program in a heartbeat,” she said.

Her sister, Christine Hall, said that the programs sounded great, but didn’t think it was worth it to move her son, who will be a fourth-grader next year, to a different school.

“I probably wouldn’t move him — just because it’s only two years,” she said.

But they were both optimistic about what the programs meant for the district — particularly the Spanish immersion program.

“They’re going to have to carry it through to the upper levels,” Christine said, “Which I think is fantastic.

Robin Carver came with daughter, Kamryn, to satisfy her curiosity. While the bell times concerned many parents, Carver said she wasn’t worried, and a lot could still change. But she, too, is looking forward to the future.

“I’m curious to see how it all works out,” she said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

Comments

Local

Political Notebook: Interim health director to talk COVID-19 at county Democrats breakfast

Local

‘Their names liveth forevermore:’ Officials dedicate Fire Station No. 6 to fallen firefighters Monroe, Isler

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking into Salisbury high, getting juvenile to help

Nation/World

With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month

Lifestyle

Together at last: High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools sorts out transportation logistics in preparation for full-time return to classes

High School

Photo gallery: Carson goes undefeated, wins 3A state championship

Nation/World

Europe staggers as infectious variants power virus surge

Nation/World

Biden, Democrats prevail as Senate OKs $1.9 trillion virus relief bill

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Eight new COVID-19 deaths, 203 positives reported in county this week