Welcome to North Kannapolis STEM Elementary School! We are transitioning to a STEM school for the 2021-2022 school year and we are thrilled you have visited this site to learn more about us. North Kannapolis STEM Elementary is comprised of grades kindergarten through fifth grade. North Kannapolis is a smaller elementary school with approximately 300 students. All North Kannapolis teachers are certified and highly qualified. At North Kannapolis, a highly-qualified teacher is a teacher who majored in Elementary Education (in college) and holds a North Carolina Kindergarten-sixth grade teaching license. At least 70% of our teachers have over 10 years of experience and have taught in Kannapolis City Schools or at North Kannapolis for years. The idea to transition to STEM was born when we decided our students need to be challenged, taught to problem solve, and be exposed to a variety of career opportunities. There are many technical and trade career opportunities that do not require a four-year traditional college degree. Many of these skilled artisans live and work in the Kannapolis community and their children attend North Kannapolis! Bringing STEM into the classroom allows students to learn how to face challenges and work with others to create a solution. North Kannapolis created an engineering cycle students will utilize when solving problems. Part of creating and building is also failing. We want students to fail so they can continue to try different methods to solve a problem. This requires teamwork, trial and error, and perseverance. We want to expose students to many different components of STEM and show them STEM professionals who look like them. Women are underrepresented in STEM fields and we can help change this by exposing girls at a young age and empowering and encouraging them to enhance their math and science skills. A big focus for us is equity – we want our students to see people who like them in these roles. STEM jobs are all around us. STEM is not only about the scientist with a white coat – it is building a home, painting, agriculture, repairing a car engine and much more!
If you would like to schedule a school tour, please contact Dr. Pelusi (704)933-2935 to make arrangements.
We will hold a STEM Interest Night on Thursday, April 1st at 6:00PM. We will hold another interest session for Spanish speaking families at 7:00PM. This meeting will take place via Zoom.
What is STEM?
STEM Stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math!
How will STEM be incorporated into classrooms at NK?
We believe every teacher is a STEM teacher! Our teachers focus on fostering a growth mindset in their classroom community. Teachers will incorporate STEM into their daily lessons in all subject areas! Integrating STEM into the core subjects will expose students to real life scenarios and help them become problem solvers. Students will be challenged daily in each subject area and have the opportunity to focus on creating and building. Every Friday will be dedicated to Project Based Learning (PBL) where students will work collaboratively to create, build, fail, test, and succeed!
What is our school vision and mission?
We will provide innovative instruction to foster each student’s innate curiosity and joy of discovery in order to prepare students to compete, lead, and excel in the community and beyond!
North Kannapolis will be a desired neighborhood school by providing a positive and equitable learning environment for all SCHOLARS as they strive for success and develop a growth mindset.
How is this different from a traditional elementary school?
Students will still receive the same core instruction as other K-5 students in the district and state. NK will teach required state standards. Students at NK will receive STEM instruction throughout the day and have access to a variety of STEM materials and activities. NK has a full-time STEM teacher who is part of our daily schedule. Students will have STEM class with the STEM teacher once per week. STEM will also be incorporated into music, art, physical education, and media classes! These teachers are excited to incorporate STEM into the amazing things they already do with students.
What technologies are in classrooms?
Each classroom is outfitted with either a Promethean Board or a 70-inch TV with built in computer. Each student has their own iPad in the classroom that they utilize each day. We strive to go paperless as much as possible. Our STEM program houses several different types of robots and other interactive technologies.
Does my child have to wear a school uniform?
Yes, all students must adhere to the Kannapolis City Schools Uniform Dress Code Policy.
What if I live outside of Kannapolis City Schools or North Kannapolis Zone?
If you reside in Kannapolis City Schools, but live outside of the North Kannapolis Zone, you may complete a KCS School Choice Form. You can email the completed form to Lyndsey.firstname.lastname@example.org or drop it off in the NK drop box. You can find the school choice form HERE.
If you live outside of Kannapolis City Schools, you will need to complete a release form from the district you reside in. This form can be completed at your children homeschool. Once this has been approved, you may enroll at NK.
You will need to provide your child’s transportation to and from NK if you live outside of the NK school zone. NK offers before and after school care. Before school care begins at 7AM and cost $50 per month, per child. After school care will begin immediately upon dismissal and will end at 5PM. After school care is $75 per month, per child. You can sign up for before and after school care online.
How can I enroll my student at North Kannapolis STEM school?
You can enroll your child online or by picking up a paper copy of the enrollment packet from the front office. We will need a copy of your driver’s license, proof of residency, copy of the child’s birth certificate, and immunization records. You may drop these documents off in the front office or send electronically. CLICK HERE if you wish to enroll your child at North Kannapolis.
Meet our STEM teacher
Jennifer Brazee has been teaching for 14 years and is currently a K-5 “Connect” teacher. While a veteran of the traditional classroom, she describes herself as a novice gardener and outdoor educator. It was only 2019, when she started teaching outdoors. Her focus had simply been letting students get some dirt under their nails and experimenting with different plants using the five senses. However, since COVID, her focus shifted to growing things the students can enjoy and take home. She says, “North Kannapolis Elementary is filled with students from hard working families who are serving on the front lines. I would love for our gardens to be a place where we can provide herbs and vegetables that can nourish their homes.”
North Kannapolis has multiple garden areas. One area that has proven to be multi-purpose are the waist-high raised planters where they grow herbs. Not only are they a wonderful source of butterfly life cycle observations, the herb boxes are also a favorite due to the cilantro and basil grown there, familiar herbs in favorite dishes. They have a strawberry bed and multiple beds used for kale, spinach, lettuce, sweet potatoes, kohlrabi, beets, etc. Outside the “box,” she has grown sunflowers in a spot of shallow soil, sweet potatoes in tires and tomatoes in hay bales. They are currently building an investigative gardening area.
Jennifer says, “At least once a week, weather permitting, I take a group of students outside. It has been a great learning experience for them and myself. Their excitement and natural curiosity makes outdoor learning a fun and rambunctious time as we complete scavenger hunts, gardening activities and learning stations.”
This school year has been a time of great difficulty but also, huge successes. Our students have been through all three models of education this year; we started in Plan B, went to Plan A on November 2, Plan C on January 4 and back to Plan B on February 16. She describes how students have shown perseverance through the shifts between in-person and virtual. They’ve enjoyed nature walks, sensory scavenger hunts, and sweet potato digs. Gridding the beds was a useful tool in keeping students socially distant while enjoying the discoveries above and below the dirt. Since the beginning of 2021, they’ve been fully remote, so Jennifer is currently sharing weekly photos of plants growing in the greenhouse in preparation for what items will be available to share. She says students are already asking for cilantro plants to take home and are excited to turn kohlrabi into stamps as a PBL project with art.
“I have the job of my dreams thanks to the wonderful administrative team of North Kannapolis Elementary School, Dr. Pelusi and Mrs. Keesee,” exclaims Jennifer. “Our goal for the school garden is to build a garden donation/sale stand that parents, students and community members can access at their leisure. I hope that one day the garden will be self-sustaining and can serve the entire community year-round. It is a dream of mine for students to have the opportunity to grow crops on the school grounds for their families. I hope this dream can come true in the next five years.”
“I am fortunate to have a team of teachers and community support to aid me and my students in gardening and learning outdoors,” says Jennifer. Amy and Doug, and the NC State Plants for Human Health Institute website are a resource that she uses in creating lessons and developing best practices. “Some of my students’ favorite lessons have come from them, such as making smoothies with kale grown in the garden, exploring wiggly worms and growing, harvesting and eating sweet potatoes.” Her colleague, Meredith Katz, who teaches STEM in KCS, serves as a resource and collaboration partner also. “We want to give our students the best possible experiences outside.”
Jennifer reflects, “The garden is a place where students can explore openly and discover things from carrots to grubs. It is a place of endless questions, laughs and the occasional scream as students discover a spider lurking under plants. Not all students love gardening but they all love the reward of watching their labors grow into something they can try, whether they enjoy it or not. I love the smiles, patience and persistence gardening teaches students.”
Meet our admin team
Dr. Lyndsey Pelusi
Dr. Pelusi began her educational career in Cabarrus County as a Teacher Assistant and Bus Driver while attending college full time to earn a degree in elementary education. Dr. Pelusi completed student teaching at Kannapolis Intermediate School (now known as G.W. Carver Elementary) and went on to teach sixth grade language arts and social studies thereafter. Dr. Pelusi was promoted to Assistant Principal of Fred L. Wilson Elementary School and served for four years. Dr. Pelusi spent the 18-19 school year working at G.W. Carver Elementary School as the Assistant Principal before being promoted to Principal of North Kannapolis Elementary School.
Dr. Pelusi earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a M.Ed. from Liberty University in Administration and Supervision, and an Ed.D. from Wingate University in Educational Leadership. Dr. Pelusi holds a NC K-6 teaching license, K-12 Principal license, and K-12 Superintendent license.
Mrs. Kim Keesee
Ms. Keesee has worked at North Kannapolis Elementary School since the year 2000. During this time, she has had the pleasure of working as an Exceptional Children's Teacher, 504 Coordinator, SSMT Chair, and Testing Coordinator. Five years ago, Ms. Keesee earned her Master's in Educational Leadership from Queen's University in Charlotte, NC and transitioned to the position of Assistant Principal. Currently she has been accepted into the Doctoral Program at Appalachian State University and is seeking to earn her degree in Educational Leadership.
Ms. Keesee holds an Exceptional Children's License focusing in K-12 Learning Disabilities, K-12 Social Studies License, and K-12 Principal's License.
Who are our community partners?
We partner with the North Carolina Research Campus to cultivate our gardens. We partner with Project Octopus to help plan our STEM roadmap for the school.
What is our 5-year plan?
When beginning the process to transition to a STEM school, we began by creating smart goals and a strategic plan that would get us through the first year of implementation. You can view our smart goals by clicking here. Once we created our smart goals we began planning a yearlong roadmap. This roadmap will be updated as enter year two in December 2021. Our ultimate goal is to apply to become a North Carolina distinguished STEM school.