Back to School: KCS Superintendent’s message

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2018

By Darren “Chip” Buckwell

Superintendent, Kannapolis City Schools

Welcome to the start of the 2018-19 school year. All of us in Kannapolis City Schools are excited about the new opportunities we will offer to our students this year.

When school starts in August, we will add apprenticeship opportunities for high school students and start giving middle school students the chance to prepare for a new Kannapolis City Schools Public Safety Academy that will open in 2019.

We also will expand programs at the elementary level that let students explore outdoor learning, engage in more meaningful classroom conversations and use technology to increase individualized learning opportunities. Throughout KCS, our students will find more areas where they can excel in 2018-19 and new programs that will meet their academic needs.

For the 2018-19 school year, Kannapolis City Schools will expand its pre-apprenticeship program for high school students. Dozens of students at A.L. Brown High School will have the opportunity to enter pre-apprenticeships with Wayne Brothers Construction, Hilbish Ford or S&D Coffee.

The apprenticeships will give students real-world opportunities to learn about construction, engineering, mechanics, sales, advanced manufacturing and other career pathways. In addition, students who complete the pre-apprenticeship programs will have the chance to go straight into employment with Wayne Brothers, Hilbish Ford or S&D Coffee when they graduate.

If the students choose to continue their education, the apprenticeship programs will open the door to giving them a free college education. It is a truly life-changing opportunity for our students and their families.

At the middle school level, eighth-grade students will have the chance to become part of the new Explorers Program that will start at Kannapolis Middle School this month.

The Explorers Program will prepare students for the new Public Safety Academy that will open at A.L. Brown High School in August 2019. The Public Safety Academy will train students in the areas of police work, firefighting and emergency medical response. Students who graduate from the program will have the opportunity to become certified in these public safety areas.

At the elementary level, we’re excited to continue our magnet programs in A+ Arts, Global Studies and Spanish Language Immersion. We will expand the Spanish Language Immersion program at Fred L. Wilson Elementary to two grade levels in 2018-19.

First grade will also become part of the Spanish Language Immersion Program in addition to kindergarten. The program will expand by one grade level every year for the next four years.

In addition to the magnet programs offered, KCS has outstanding neighborhood schools that offer other opportunities for students. For example, Woodrow Wilson Elementary will expand its Real School Garden program this year. It provides outdoor and hands-on learning opportunities for students.

Shady Brook Elementary will add to its Classrooms of Tomorrow program that uses technology to enhance learning and give students an even more personalized learning environment. All district elementary schools will also add in-depth conversations as part of the lessons that are taught each day. The conversations will allow students to get a deeper understanding of the material being taught so they can have even greater academic success.

Along with these new opportunities being added for 2018-19, Kannapolis City Schools will continue to offer its award-winning culinary program, a variety of visual and performing arts opportunities, and a host of career certification programs in fields such as welding, graphic design, internet technology, nursing fundamentals and more.

We also will continue to provide STEM programs and offer our before-school care program at all KCS elementary schools.

In Kannapolis City Schools, we are giving our students a wonderful combination of personal attention and global opportunities. We are meeting the needs of our students and paving the way for their success in the classroom, at college, or in the workforce. It is all part of our commitment to creating the future, and I am looking forward to another fantastic year in Kannapolis City Schools.