Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools

Section Title

Students engaged


Doing What is Right for Children

Through Teacher-Led Design Teams

The 'Renewal School System' model provides charter-like flexibilities for all 34 Rowan-Salisbury Schools. Teachers will be empowered to lead, design, and create how instruction is offered to students. This allows us to do things we never thought possible in traditional public schools such as:

Curriculum Flexibility

Opportunity for teacher-led teams to design new curriculum with the possibility to be exempt from some standardized testing.

Budget Flexibility

Opportunity to receive state funds in one lump sum, rather than in multiple restricted funds that allow us to use our money in the way we need to support our students.

Personnel Flexibility

Opportunity to hire teachers with industry expertise to teach in their areas of strength regardless of their teaching license.

Calendar Flexibility

Opportunity to create a school calendar that meets the needs of students, parents, staff, community and the designed curriculum.

The case for Renewal

The Case for Renewal

We want every child to discover their passions, find their unique smartness, and set personal life goals. We want to engage every student in profound and deep learning, not superficial learning that is rushed and shallow. We want our students to be innovative, creative, and confident. We want students to have learning experiences that are customized and tailored to their benefit. We want to prepare students for the future, not for the past. Knowing that our community invests heavily in education we want to invest in our future possibilities, not the Iimits of the past.

Create a true accountability system which aligns with the district's vision


There are generic standards that every child is expected to learn by a specific age, which are then inspected or tested by a standardized test which is validated on a bell shaped curve. However, we know that outside school and economic factors are greater influences than aptitude on test results. Our students are more than a singular statistical measurement. Our students are creative thinkers with passions and goals, which we have a responsibility to nurture. Our accountability model is simply wrong. A true accountability model should offer a complete and truthful account of student learning. Observation, evidence of work, and conversations about student progress are equally or more important than standardized testing. Assessing student knowledge and testing student knowledge are not the same. We need to ask, "What do we want to accomplish?" NOT - "What do we want to measure?"

Create a school district that engages students in profound learning experiences


We believe there are certain academic requirements that students need to learn deeply before moving to a new topic. We want our students, at a minimum, to read and write well, to be good citizens, to know math skills, and to work collaboratively. Upon these foundational skills each student's growth toward their personal best future can be limitless. We believe our teachers and our community are in the best position to determine those requirements. Therefore, we want to be accountable to our students, their parents, and our community. We do not soley want to be accountable to the State for higher test scores - tests which "order" students by resuIts, and do not provide any statistical sense for why.

Create an accountability system that benefits all students and is supported by the community


Benefits to Stakeholders

  • Allow educators to redesign a system that allows for creativity, maneuverability, flexibility, and opportunity.
  • Allow the district to seek out unique funding opportunities and private partnerships to support new, innovative practices.
  • Implement the Renewal School System framework with no incremental state funding or additional burdens on taxpayers.
  • Serve as a state and national model for school transformation, which increases stakeholder morale and engagement.
  • Inspire students through authentic experiences.

Expected Outcomes

  • Create a learning organization that fosters highly engaged schools and classrooms.
  • Design engaging academic work for students and lead them to success in that work.
  • Provide engaging academic experiences aligned to students' personal talents, gifts, and life goals.
  • Ensure all students can read, write, and apply math skills.
  • Ensure that the school system is responsive to the needs of a diverse community.
  • Attract and retain experienced, high-quality educators and principals.
  • Increase job satisfaction and morale of teachers by increasing autonomy and engagement.

An Innovative School Means More for Students

An Innovative School Means More for Students

Funds & personnel will be reallocated to support unique learning opportunities, which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing school choice opportunities that align with a focus on student interests, needs, passions, & personal life goals
  • Focusing on a student's mastery of skills
  • Re-examining student accountability measures including eliminating the NC Final Exams
  • Hiring teachers with industry expert experience 
  • Adjusting calendars to meet curriculum & community needs
  • Increasing the focus on the community values in community area schools
  • Increasing extracurricular opportunities, such as coding, film & production, robotics, maker space, etc.
  • Offering additional exploratory classes & field study experiences
  • Offering high school credits in middle school
  • Hiring experts in the field to provide instruction in such areas as mindfulness, strength-discipline-Karate, dance, theater, etc.
  • Providing foreign language at elementary schools
  • increasing student leadership programs
  • Increasing teacher planning time & professional development



  • June 14, 2018 - NC General Assembly Passed House Bill 986
    • Passed in the House Education Committee
    • Passed through Rules Committee
    • Passed in the Senate
    • Passed in the House
    • Allows Rowan-Salisbury the opportunity to become the first 'Renewal School System' with charter-like flexibilities in NC

  • June 18, 2018 - 'Renewal School System' Resolution presented to RSS Board of Education

  • June 28, 2018 - RSS Board of Education votes unanimously to approve resolution to State Board of Education

  • July 3, 2018 - RSS 'Renewal School System Plan' submitted to State Board of Education

  • August 2, 2018 - State Board of Education approves for RSS to be a 'Renewal School System'



When Do We Begin?

The first year will be planning; however, some schools may start implementing different pieces of their plan immediately.

How Long Can RSS Remain a Renewal School System?

Renewal status will be reviewed in 2023 with annual reports to the NC State Superintendent.

Why was RSS Chosen?

  • Innovative practices
  • Greatest % of restart schools
  • More than 10,000 students
  • Receive low-wealth funds

What Will Not Change?

We will still:

  • Operate under the RSS Board of Education
  • Receive State & Federal Funds
  • Administer the same services for Exceptional Children
  • Follow State Standards
  • Provide 1:1 technology devices & infrastructure
  • Provide Meals - including Free & Reduced meal programs
  • Provide Transportation

Renewal Guidebook

To view a larger version of the Guidebook, click the full screen button.

Students Working
Students Working on a Lab
Knox Teachers Speaking about Renewal
Student Showcasing AR App