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Rowan County Early College, North Rowan High to start new school year soon

SPENCER — School will start early for some Rowan-Salisbury students.

Rowan County Early College will start Wednesday, and North Rowan High School students will return on Aug. 9.

Both schools have aligned their schedules with that of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, which starts classes Aug. 13. The amended calendar is part of North Rowan High’s restart plan, which provides the school with charter-like flexibility and autonomy over its own calendar.

The new calendar allows North Rowan to put some long sought after goals into practice, such as holding final exams before Christmas and ending the first semester in December to match local colleges’ calendars. North Rowan will end the school year on May 24.

Rowan County Early College has a similar schedule, with exams and the end of the first semester occurring before Christmas break. However, the school’s schedule has always closely followed that of RCCC. The Early College will dismiss for the year on May 21.

North Rowan Principal Meredith Williams said faculty and staff members are excited for the new year to begin and that there is a lot in store for students. Not only have North Rowan teachers designed the school’s new calendar, but they revamped the curriculum.

Learning will now focus on solving real-world problems and challenges as they relate to core curriculum. Most of the projects and challenges, Williams said, will be community-based.

“Students will be solving problems in the community and finding ways to give back,” Williams said.

Other opportunities will be available to students. This year’s 10th-graders will be able to see the hit musical “Hamilton” after a successful completion of a project on the founding fathers. The opportunity is possible thanks to the Gilder Lehrman Institute.

“It’s such an exciting year,” Williams said.

While ninth- and 10th-graders focus on projects, problem-solving and design, upperclassmen will be able to take free courses at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College thanks to the college’s Career and College Promise Program.

North area teachers — including teachers at North High, North Elementary, North Middle and Hanford Dole Elementary — also received training from Apple Inc. on challenge-based learning.

“They’re also helping us think not just how we use technology, but how we structure school,” Williams said.

All in all, Williams and other educators are looking forward to the start of the 2018-19 school year and hope that students are, as well.

“I think the students are going to be really excited to come to school,” Williams said.

Rowan County Early College will start Wednesday with 248 students, Principal Patrick Hosey said. The school, which last year became the first Rowan-Salisbury school to earn an A+ score for testing, has established itself as an economic powerhouse, Hosey said. This year, faculty and staff want to branch out.

“We’re discussing trying to give out a broader look at real-world experiences,” Hosey said.

The school plans to arrange and offer more internships, college visits and outside-school learning opportunities for students.

Classes for ninth- and 10th-grade students begin Wednesday, while most upperclassmen have a schedule packed with college courses and will therefore head back to class Aug. 14. All students will receive textbooks and laptops Wednesday.

Visit individual school websites for more detailed calendar information.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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