Rowan-Salisbury School officials ready for changes under 'renewal school system'

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — Local public schools will be run more like charter schools for the first time.

This means means flexible curriculums, a chance to opt out of standardized testing, and more personalized classrooms.

Students and parents will start to notice some of the changes at schools like North Rowan High School this coming school year. For other schools, they will spend this year in the planning phases.

Teacher Abby Covington is working with Millbridge Elementary School in China Grove during the planning phases, taking a hard look at how students should be taught.

"I'm very excited to have some teachers, to really be making the decisions in our school about how this going to look," Covington said.

One of the things Covington said she wants them to talk about is getting rid of some standardized testing.

State and local officials passed House Bill 986, which allows the Rowan-Salisbury School District to have the freedom like a charter school.

It is the first renewal school system in the state, giving schools more flexibility when it comes to designing curriculum, standardized testing, budgeting, and the school calendar.

"Some schools are thinking about lowering class size and hiring more adults in the building. So we will be modeling and piloting a number of things, but the common goal will be to personalized education," Superintendent Lynn Moody said.

Moody said students could start to see attorneys or even karate instructors leading classes.

Lawmakers backed the major education movement saying this is a start of something exciting for North Carolina.

"Failure isn't an option here. There's an opportunity for us to use this template here in this county and spread it across the entire state of North Carolina or even the nation," District 25 Senator Tom McInnis said.

Moody told Channel 9's Gina Esposito they are already working on notifying students and parents about the possible changes.

"We want the joy of teaching to be back in school again," Moody said.

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