With one year to go, NC ACCESS is removing barriers to charter attendance

By November 9, 2023 News

A new report on the NC ACCESS Program shows it is succeeding in opening up educational opportunities for students. The program, which is allocating nearly $37 million in school-level grants, seeks to remove barriers for educationally disadvantaged students so they can attend charter schools. Funded through the federal Charter Schools Program, the NC ACCESS grant was due to sunset this fall–but has now been extended through September 30, 2024.

At this week’s meeting of the state’s Charter Schools Review Board, members heard a promising update from Dr. Barbara O’Neal of the Office of Charter Schools. Sharing data from a Friday Institute program evaluation, she said she was “really pleased” with results.

NC ACCESS Highlights

  • Last year, the program served over 25,000 educationally disadvantaged students.
  • Since the program’s inception, grants have benefited 62 charter schools.
  • All NC ACCESS schools offer transportation and lunch.
  • Most of the schools are on track to offer a weighted lottery, prioritizing admission for educationally disadvantaged students.
  • 90% of the schools are deemed high-quality schools. O’Neal told Review Board members that her office will be working with low-performing schools this year.

Source: Barbara O’Neal, NC ACCESS Presentation to the Charter Schools Review Board, November 6, 2023.

Leaders from several NC ACCESS schools, including Eugene Slocum of Alpha Academy and Derrick McCullough of Central Carolina Academy (both Coalition member schools), shared updates with the Review Board.

Kristen Blair

Author Kristen Blair

Kristen Blair is the communications director for the North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools.

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