TMCNet:  KEF kicks off new campaign

[March 16, 2012]

KEF kicks off new campaign

Mar 16, 2012 (Independent Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- The almost 200 people who attended Kannapolis Education Foundation's first fundraising breakfast on Friday learned that iPads can be used for controlling a robot, playing instruments and helping students to communicate.

That is why the foundation has kicked off a new campaign called TECH (Teach Every Child How), which will focus on putting iPads in classrooms within the Kannapolis City Schools system.

The foundation, a nonprofit group, kicked off the initiative at the North Carolina Research Campus. Its goal for 2012 is to raise at least $75,000 in 2012 and future years, which would provide about 150 iPads for classrooms, board members for the foundation said.

In years past, the foundation has raised about $500,000 to provide classroom supplies for Kannapolis City Schools.

For its first fundraising breakfast, which will become an annual event, the foundation had 23 table hosts, who were board members for the foundation and principals, invite members of the community to the free breakfast, said Ellen Boyd, secretary/treasurer for the nonprofit group. Those who attended were asked at the end of the breakfast to make a donation.

"The main goal today is to spread the word about Kannapolis Education Foundation and make more people aware the foundation exists," Boyd said.

Joe Trull, chairman of the foundation, began the breakfast with the campaign's mission.

"Our world is changing too fast," Trull said. "We can't have business as usual anymore. We know iPads are changing children's lives. Kannapolis Education Foundation is all about changing children's lives." Leah Boits and Scott Rodgers, science teachers at A.L. Brown High School, told those at the breakfast about how the foundation has helped provide opportunities for their classrooms.

"Our students have been able to experience science and technology in a way that's usually (reserved) for college students," Boits said.

She spoke of her classes performing labs that include extracting DNA. Boits said hands-on lessons like these better prepare students for college classes, and Rodgers encouraged the group to stay on the cutting edge.

Sai Lao, an A.L. Brown alum and a graduate student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told those at the breakfast that tablets and smart phones are becoming more commonplace.

"As these technologies become integrated, it is important for our students to have access," Lao said. "These new academic tools will make our students more competitive." Gordon Snyder, A.L. Brown's band director, introduced those at the breakfast to an app on iPads where students can play instruments. Several students then performed a song with iPads.

Kannapolis City Schools Superintendent Pam Cain also addressed the attendees and spoke of how iPads have helped students in exceptional children's classes who have limited mobility to communicate by using the touch screen.

"We believe students come to school to prepare to make a living but also to learn how to live a life," Cain said. "It's going to be done by putting technology in their hands." There was also a video played during the breakfast of teacher Sarah Chapman's autistic classroom at Shady Brook Elementary School, which showed students using iPads to work on writing skills and play educational games, among other things.

Breanna Caulder, a student at Kannapolis Intermediate School, shared with the audience how she uses apps on the iPad for finding more complex books to read, take notes, use the calculator and look up words in the dictionary.

"It's just a really big help to me," Caulder said. "I'd like to see other kids use an iPad because of how much it's helped me." At the conclusion of the breakfast, representatives from the Ben Mynatt Children's Foundation presented Bonnie West, exceptional children's director for Kannapolis City Schools, with five iPads that were purchased with the more than $2,000 donation the group made.

"It is a tremendous benefit for all kids," West said. "I'm glad we were able to spread the word about how iPads are impacting students and their learning." Those who attended the breakfast, including Millie Hall, vice chairperson for the Kannapolis City Board of Education, spoke of how excited they were to see how technology was being used in the classroom.

"It goes to prove it's not the pen and pencil school anymore," Hall said.

For more information about Kannapolis Education Foundation, visit

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