KCS Curriculum and Instruction

Teaching and Learning News to Start the 2016-17 School Year

A Note From Dr. Burgess

I have lost sleep over the past few weeks because of the Olympics. I stay up late because I love watching the athletes compete. I am in awe of their dedication, stamina, expertise and the sacrifices they make to achieve their goals. As I heard countless Olympic stories of sacrifice, dedication and success despite adversity, I couldn’t help but make the comparison to our KCS teachers and staff. Each of our teachers work tirelessly every day to challenge students to accomplish more than they thought possible. In addition, not only is every teacher in KCS highly qualified, but many teachers pursue advances degrees and certifications on nights and weekends to continuously improve our skills.


During the Olympics athletes make extraordinary things look easy. Similarly, our KCS teachers differentiate instruction to meet the needs of our diverse learners, seamlessly integrate literacy, technology, and STEM while teaching students to be global citizens.

And just like Olympic athletes, there is a team behind every success. Working with every child is a team of professionals: we transport over 7,000 students to and from school every day; we serve about 6,500 free, healthy breakfasts and lunches; each school has a full time school nurse and we offer professional development by having an instructional coach, technology facilitator and a top-notch administrative team at each school. We do all of this with highly qualified teachers.


Now the Olympics are over and I am reclaiming my hours of sleep, only to lose them again in eager anticipation of a great school year.


KCS is better because of you!

Mark Your Calendars!

Monday September 5: Labor Day Holiday - You will have earned this already!


September 6-9: Registration Window for Fall District PD Path - Teachers will register via TimeKeeper for their early release day professional development sessions. More information below.


First Quarter: District Assessments - View the Assessment Calendar from Dr. Schleider and note your testing windows for your grade/subject. For a more complete list of assessments required for each grade level/subject, view the KCS Assessment Plan here.


September 23 and October 28: Early Release Days/District Professional Development - All staff will be required to attend PD sessions on these two early release days from 1:00-3:30pm. A variety of topics will be offered, and staff will choose one topic to focus on for both PD days. More information will be sent before Labor Day.


Various Dates: Greater Cabarrus Reading Association Events - All staff are encouraged to become a member of the GCRA, and to participate in their various learning opportunities. They offer great opportunities for literacy learning and can offer CEU's for participation. Contact Sara Newell or Cindy Lawrence for more information.

Book Clubs: All meetings are at the Wine Room in Afton and run from 7:00-9:00pm

  • Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz- Monday, September 19th
  • In Defense of Read Aloud by Steven L. Layne- Monday, October 24th
  • The Multiple Menu Model by Joseph Renzulli/Jann Leppien/Thomas Hays- Monday, January 23rd
  • Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller- Monday, March 13th


Mini Conferences: October 15th and April 1st @ Cannon School **presenters are needed


Young Authors Writing Contest - Informational Flyer

Submissions due to schools- October 18th

Submissions due to GCRA- October 25th

County Grading- November 7th 6:00-8:00pm

5 Beginning of the Year Must-Haves

  1. Your KCS Curriculum Documents: Over 130 teachers participated in this summer's curriculum writing/revision week, and they were extremely productive! Most courses now have curriculum documents designed with the UbD framework, and the rest will be created in our next phase. Please make sure you are using the most recent documents for your subject(s)/grade level(s)! (Need to learn more about UbD? Email Cara Wolford to enroll in a KCS online course.)

  2. Your Standards and Unpacking Documents: The most updated of these can be found on each department's DPI wiki (bottom left of this page). A close second to our KCS curriculum documents are the state's unpacking documents, which break down the Common Core and Essential Standards into what NC says the students should know, be able to do, and understand. While these documents were relied on to create the UbD unit documents, their contents go beyond what you will see there. These are a must-have to truly understand the Common Core and Essential Standards.

  3. Lesson Planning Menu: No matter how much experience you have, you can always benefit from a new engaging instructional strategy. Click here to view a Lesson Planning Menu that offers a variety of tempting strategies for any subject area. Some of these will be nice reminders, while others may be a fresh new idea for you.

  4. Professional Learning Goals: It's that time of the year for setting your professional learning goals. Reflecting on your strengths and growth areas is always good practice, but sometimes it's just hard to produce the right words you need to create your PDP goals. See this list of sample PDP goals that are aligned with the teacher evaluation instrument. Perhaps it might bring some clarity to what you really want to improve this year.

  5. A Smile: I bet most of us have been told at one point, "Don't smile until after Thanksgiving." As this article retorts: Hogwash. So please do smile and read the article for eight reasons why you should.

Finding Common Ground: Panorama's Getting to Know You Survey

Get to know your students from day one! The company that gives us our student surveys that we administer in the fall and spring has a free back-to-school survey that helps you and your students get to know each other. Click here to get started.


Last winter, Jennifer Ward at A.L. Brown used the survey with her new second semester students. Here is what she had to say about the tool:


I used the survey with my 1st block English III class today (2nd and 3rd are my AP students I've had all year), and I loved it! I completed my part last week, and students spent roughly 15 minutes completing theirs today. They were able to see what they had in common with me as soon as they submitted their survey, and then I was able to see what I had in common with each student after that. Then, I chose the commonality that I thought was most important to remember for teaching each student this semester, and wrote a reflection for each student (each student had a particular page where I repeated this process). Even though I've had some of the students in English I and/or II, I still learned more about them, and I learned what each student needs from me to be successful. This was a wonderful experience for both students and teacher, and I'd highly recommend it to ALL teachers. (Oh, and it even translated to Spanish for my non-native speakers...how cool is that?!?!)


To learn more, check out this article explaining how this activity and activities like this can help close achievement gaps.

KCS Spotlight on Teaching and Learning

In each issue of this newsletter, we like to shine a spotlight on KCS teachers and their effective strategies that others might learn from. Until you get your new awesome students in your room and we collect more highlights to share, we invite you to review the classroom closeups we shared in our June newsletter. These classrooms were highlighted for exemplifying Understanding by Design (UbD) principles in their lessons that:

  • were aligned with but went beyond the standards,
  • used elements of the UbD framework to build understanding,
  • were deeply engaging, and
  • illustrated wonderful examples of learning experiences with purpose and relevance.

Click here and scroll down to see June's KCS Spotlight on Teaching and Learning!

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Academics + Character = College and Career Ready!

As part of our district Strategic Plan, a Kannapolis City Schools committee is developing a K-12 comprehensive framework addressing Character and Career Readiness. The goal is to work collaboratively with families, schools, and the community to inspire our learners to become responsible and productive citizens who are driven by a strong internal compass. We believe that equipping students with the skills of creativity, empathy, integrity, resilience, sociability, self-awareness, resourcefulness, and curiosity is crucial for successfully navigating a successful path now and in the future. See the image above and click here to learn more about these particular skills. We know you do many things now to teach character and skills that complement academics. We look forward to sharing the good work already happening and supporting you with more strategies in the future.

KCS Curriculum and Instruction

Dr. Kelly Burgess, Assistant Superintendent

Anne Parker, Director of Elementary Education and Title I

Jessica Grant, Director of Student Services and Secondary Education

Welcome, Dr. Matthew Schleider, our new Director of Accountability!

Daryle Adams, Director of CTE, ESL, and STEM

Brenda McCombs, Director of Technology

Bonnie West, Director of Exceptional Children

Cara Wolford, K-12 Curriculum and Professional Development Coordinator

Welcome Laura Baker, our new K-6 Math Coach!

Welcome, Sara Newell, our AIG Coordinator!