A new school year often means change and while Knightdale High School has already welcomed its share of change, new principal Jim Argent is switching up one more thing.
With the help of the Knightdale Chamber of Commerce, Argent is planning to bring new life to the school’s Business Alliance.
The Chamber invited several local businesses to the group’s first meeting of the school year next week.
Most schools have a Business Alliance that allows the schools to work with local businesses on events, financial needs or fundraising. Knightdale has always had one, but Chamber director Mary Yount said the group was in a rut.
“One of the things this group will come together and do with the leadership of the school that’s in place (is find a new direction),” she said. “We had that leadership before, but we did the same old (thing).”
Argent said he’s not sure what new things the group will do yet and wants to leave that up to members to decide. He said he wants to make sure businesses have an active role in the group, not just serve as sources of funding if the school needs it.
“What I really want is a partnership that’s going to meet all organizations’ needs,” he said. He said from the school side, he envisions a true give-and-take, where businesses can help the school and accept students to help the business as well.
Ideally, that exchange would mean real-world career experience for the student, Argent said.
“(They) help us but we give it back,” he said.
Yount said the purpose and role of each business and the school will be defined as the group discusses what works best but she does think most of the actions will encourage students to use more skills outside of the classroom.
“I think what you’re going to see ... is getting the community invested in children that are here because that is our future,” she said. “Hopefully they want to come back here and be an active part of this community or an active part of whatever community they land in.”
And that focus is similar to Argent’s goal to ultimately have the alliance help students work on things that can’t be taught in school books.
“I’m very passionate about providing real world application and knowledge to students,” he said. Argent said skills like cooperation and collaboration are things that are better taught through experience, which can be afforded through the Business Alliance.
Responding to the Work Group
The group speaks to some recommendation made by the Knightdale Area Education Work Group, but it was not one of the official recommendations made to strengthen the Business Alliance specifically.
Argent, who just took his post in Knightdale over the summer when the work group was not having regular meetings, said he has a copy of the recommendations, but hasn’t looked at them yet.
He said he wants to evaluate the school on his own before turning to the recommendations.