Eastern Wake News

22 committees help KHS redesign

Faculty, staff and students are moving rapidly toward a redesign to Knightdale’s new High School of Collaborative Design.

Since announcing intentions to the school board in the beginning of January, the school has formed 22 working committees made up of parents, students and faculty.

The committees include a freshman transition group, one for each of the five institutes, a marketing team for each institute and even a committee for the physical redesign.

Under the redesign, the school will offer five institutes. All freshmen will participate in a leadership institute, and upperclassmen will choose from the institute of innovation, the institute of creative design, the institute of government and global inquiry and the institute of entrepreneurship.

The school held their first informational meeting for parents of current students at the end of January.

The goals in the project include improving graduation rates, increasing student engagement, improving test scores and accelerating staff capacity and leadership growth, among others.

Knightdale High School principal Jim Argent said that the freshman institute committee is accomplishing high quality work and working on a professional development curriculum for teachers and staff. They are currently working with several organizations which will assist with the development.

“Freshmen are different from seniors,” Argent said. “Just because you work well with seniors, doesn’t mean you work well with freshmen.”

In addition, curricular units are also underway as well as plans for a first-ever three-day freshman camp in August to prepare students for their high school experience.

He added that the administration wants to ensure that staff have a choice in continuing with the redesign, which will look very different for teachers than working under Knightdale High’s current administration.

Argent pointed out that teachers will be required to take intense professional development courses, including an 11-month commitment model and also be involved in leadership of extracurricular activities and mentoring.

“We want to ensure that all of our staff ... are able to commit to the work we’re doing,” Argent said, adding that though most of the staff is supportive, some are disconcerted with dramatic changes that will impact their lifestyles.

Next year, freshmen and sophomores will launch into their respective institutes. Each institute committee currently is working on marketing materials for rising sophomores to choose their institute for fall 2015.

For rising upperclassmen, the teaching structure will be founded in learning through projects and hands-on learning, although the formal institutes won’t be in place yet.

“In three years, the first matriculated students will have graduated,” Argent said.

The school is concentrating on communication and information sessions, too. On Feb. 16, rising 10th-12th graders can check out the redesign model, particularly students who don’t attend the high school currently. On Feb. 23, rising 9th graders can attend a session to learn what their freshman year might look like.