Public education is the great equalizer. It has changed the legacy and future of countless individuals throughout the years. More and more families are looking at multiple options for education. Parents want the best choice for their child and their family. We wholeheartedly agree that families should find the best fit for their children. If all a school does is educate a child, we’ve missed half of the equation. We should be preparing our children for a bright and prosperous future. Whether that future is higher education or immediate entry into the workforce, our charge should be helping each student find his or her life path and providing the training and resources to ensure their success in those endeavors once they leave our district.
Newton-Conover consistently seeks to adopt approaches, programs, and experiences that will give our students the best possible opportunities to find success throughout school and in their adult lives. To that end, we have spent the last 18 months planning, meeting with community leaders, speaking to parents, getting input from students, and researching what options our students and families need to have the best preparation for their futures. Beginning next year, each of our schools will be focused on a magnet approach and provide specific programs to create clear pathways for students to grow and transition from elementary school, to middle school, to high school, and to college or career.
So, what will these opportunities look like?
Elementary school families will have the option of three schools. Students can attend a dual language school where some classrooms will provide students the opportunity to become fluent in a second language. Another choice is to attend a school with high tech approaches to learning. A third option is for students to attend a school where they canengage in a leadership program that will change their lives.
Middle school students will have the opportunity to learn in a school that will lay the groundwork to prepare them for well paying, rewarding, future job opportunities in the fastest growing fields in our area. With an emphasis on project-based learning and STEM, middle school students will be approaching their education from an inquiry-based approach.
When students get to the high school level, parents have up to six options, each tailored to focus on specific areas of career and college preparation. They can choose from a STEM high school that has one of the highest college acceptance rates in the state, attend an early college, select a career prep magnet, or attend our comprehensive high school which is rated in the top 10% of all high schools in the state (US News and World Report 2014). For those choosing to attend Discovery High or Newton-Conover High, students will still have further options. They could still choose to attend L-R Scholars their senior year and receive university credit for their classes for a nominal fee. They could also receive up to 33 college credits that are guaranteed to be accepted at any of the 16 state universities for FREE. This opportunity is provided through the College and Career Promise partnership between Newton-Conover City Schools and Catawba Valley Community College and is free to any student who meets the criteria to enter this pathway.
As you can see, we don’t just want our schools to be magnets; we want our environments to be ‘magnets’ for connecting with students’ interests and preparing them for bright futures.
Below you’ll see brief descriptions of our choice programs. We’re excited about all we have to offer families and about doing our part to create strong legacies for our students and our community.
Let’s take a closer look at each campus and what we offer.
South Newton Elementary School: The Leader in Me
What would be possible if a school were filled with students who set their own goals and met them, students who were responsible, students who demonstrated creativity and initiative and worked productively with people of different backgrounds and cultures, students who could problem solve and seek and find resolutions to conflict independently?
The Leader in Me is a research based, whole-school transformation model that is based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Author Stephen Covey has shown how to equip students with the self-confidence and talents they need to succeed and lead. The book, The Leader in Me helps guide students through seven habits of operating that will improve how they approach challenges.
The Seven Habits:
Habit 1: Be Proactive • You’re in Charge
Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind • Have a Plan
Habit 3: Put First Things First • Work First, Then Play
Habit 4: Think Win-Win • Everyone Can Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood • Listen Before You Talk
Habit 6: Synergize • Together Is Better
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw • Balance Feels Best
North Newton Elementary School: Dual Immersion & Global Community
Why is Globalization and dual language important? Globalization is the driving demand for an internationally competent workplace. One in five jobs is tied to international trade.
What will you see in North Newton classrooms?
- Project-based, performance assessment approach
- Real-world experiences
- High-quality world language program
- Emphasis on diversity
- Service Learning
Dual Language Classrooms: Starting in Kindergarten, students will learn content through both English and Spanish (50% each). Students will gain language fluency and comprehension in both languages through the program.
Shuford Elementary School: Blended Learning
Starting next year, students at Shuford will have the opportunity to work in a tech-rich environment through the adoption of a blended learning approach. A blended learning model uses technology and digital curriculum, along with face to face instruction, to deepen student understanding, develop problem-solving strategies, connect learning to real world issues and develop potential solutions to those issues, and accelerate learning opportunities
Source: Transforming American Education, National Education Technology Plan 2010, U.S. Department of Education
Students will work in collaborative groups to focus on problem-based learning where they collaboratively seek answers to actual problems and issues that our community and country are faced with. They will use the content they’ve learned to provide a framework for understanding and potentially finding a resolution to the problem. Technology will be used for research, enrichment, personalized instruction, and support as well as to broaden opportunities for learning outside of the classroom.
Newton-Conover Middle School – STEM School
What is STEM, and why is STEM education important? STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Currently, the Hickory Metro area is the eighth largest manufacturing area in the United States and the first largest manufacturing area in the Southeast. From the K-16 system to business, industry and government, most everyone is focused on STEM education as a key solution to improve educational performance and solve the persistent workforce development problems that plague our nation. Additionally, STEM wages are 71% higher than the average national wage. The STEM mindset allows us to do more than just school our students. Through STEM we can help them become makers, innovators, and artisans.
Both Newton-Conover Middle School will employ a project-based learning (PBL) approach in order to help students learn through collaboration, evaluation, critical thinking, analysis, communication, and creativity. These skills will help students develop the perseverance and life skills they will need to be successful in college and/or career.
Discovery High School – Project-Based, Inquiry Learning School
Discovery High School is a project-based inquiry learning school. Their small class sizes and personalized learning plans for each student are tailored around a non-traditional approach to learning. With built in enrichment, family time, and small classes, Discovery is the perfect atmosphere for college-bound students who need a collaborative, hands-on approach to their learning.
Newton-Conover High School and Career and College Promise
Not only can a student from N-CHS get a comprehensive high school experience that includes opportunities for AP courses, access to Career and Technical opportunities that lead to workforce credentials, comprehensive arts programs, championship sports programs, and multiple extra-curricular opportunities, but now we’re adding an additional, potentially financially rewarding opportunity. Last year N-CHS graduated 183 students who earned over $6.3 million in scholarships. Now through College and Career Promise (CCP), the state allows us to provide college courses taught by college professors to our students while they are still in high school. Students who participate in CCP their junior and senior years can earn between 32-33 college credits. Newton-Conover City Schools will purchase textbooks, pay the cost of tuition, and provide transportation for all students who qualify for this exciting program. CCP will provide a tremendous college savings, and the credits earned through CCP are guaranteed to transfer to any of the 16 North Carolina state universities-course for course. Parents and students are invited to join us at the NCHS media center on Monday, March 23 at 6:00 pm to learn more about this innovative program and how to apply.
To help parents understand these choices and options at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, we are communicating descriptions of each school’s magnet approach. We are working with our local news media to create 60-second commercials for each school. These commercials will highlight the students, facilities, the school’s magnet approach, and what the parents can expect from the school. These videos will be published online in June of this year. The excitement level and buzz around our district is contagious as we continually seek to implement personalized opportunities to help all of our students connect and grow now and long after they’ve graduated from our district. I’m excited to see the great results ahead!