NC Coalition for Charter Schools Archives - North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools

New survey data: NC charter teachers are happy at work

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New survey findings presented this morning to the Charter Schools Review Board offer an encouraging report about job satisfaction among the state’s charter school teachers. More than 9 in 10 are proud of their schools and feel good about working there.

Dr. Jeni Corn, the director of the Office of Research and Evaluation at the Department of Public Instruction, shared the findings in a presentation with disaggregated charter school data.  Data come from the 2024 North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey. Regarding charter school teachers’ high levels of job satisfaction, Dr. Corn stated, “This is data to be celebrated.”

Here are some highlights about what the state’s charter teachers think:

  • 93% believe their school is “a good place to work and learn.”
  • 93% say they’re proud to work at their school.
  • 91% believe they are are “an important part” of their school.
  • 89% say they feel loyal to their school.
  • 83% say there is “an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect” at their school.

The slide below summarizes these items relevant to teacher retention:

Dr. Jeni Corn, “CSRB Update: 2024 NC Teacher Working Conditions,” Presentation to the Charter Schools Review Board, June 11, 2024.

Who responded to the survey?

  • 72% of NC charter schools had a greater than 50% completion rate (the minimum threshold to receive school-level data back).
  • Overall, the charter sector had a 68% teacher response rate. Most survey participants, 88%, were classroom teachers (6,986 out of 10,279 total respondents). Other respondents worked in school services, and included school counselors, school psychologists, instructional coaches, and more.
  • More than half (54%) of survey respondents were experienced educators.

“CSRB Update: 2024 NC Teacher Working Conditions.”

View Dr. Corn’s presentation here. Listen to the audio from the presentation this morning. (Dr. Corn’s presentation is at the beginning of the video.)

Community Public Charter School Chosen for National Dance Video

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We have exciting news to share about one of our member schools and National School Choice Week (NSCW) in 2025.  Community Charter School, a K-9 public charter school in Stanley, North Carolina, will participate in the dance video launching the national celebration of school choice. Congratulations, CCS!

CCS won the Coalition’s dance video contest for National School Choice Week (NSCW) in 2024. (Read more about that here and here.) CCS created a completely winsome and inspirational video, based on National School Choice Week’s song and dance moves for the year. Dance teacher Christie Stuckey, a former member of East Carolina University’s Dance Team, led school efforts to produce the video. Clips from that video headlined NSCW’s 2024 recap video, with a feature in the national newsletter.

For 2025, NSCW coordinators have asked Ms. Stuckey to make the national video with her students. Each year, coordinators choose a school to record the dance moves for other schools across the country.

Lindalyn Kakadelis, the Coalition’s executive director, recommended CCS and Ms. Stuckey to produce the video for National School Choice Week. Upon hearing of the school’s selection, Ms. Kakadelis said,

I’m delighted Christie Stuckey and her CCS students have been selected to produce the national video in 2025, in celebration of school choice. In 2024, this innovative public charter school captured the true spirit of educational choice in North Carolina and its transformative impact on students. I know they’ll do it for the nation in 2025!

In selecting CCS, LaQuita Hudson, the school participation coordinator for NCSW, said,

We are very excited to work with Ms. Stuckey and her Community Charter School students! They choreographed and recorded an amazing dance performance in 2024. I know they’ll utilize their creativity through our 2025 dance to help us communicate the ideals–and dance moves–of National School Choice Week to schools and supporters all across the country.

Christie Stuckey of CCS said:

Being able to use my passion for dance and students as a career is the ultimate dream job. I can’t say enough how thankful I am for my school and this opportunity we have been given. I’m so excited to create next year’s NSCW dance!

In case you missed it, we’re sharing CCS’s 2024 video below:

Pinnacle Classical Academy to Host State Archery Championship

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Pinnacle Classical Academy, a K-12 public charter school in Shelby, North Carolina, will host a state archery competition on Saturday. Last year, the Pinnacle Thunderbirds placed third in the country at the Scholastic 3-D Archery (S3DA) 3D National Championship in Rend Lake, Illinois. Makenzie Glenn, a 9th grader, won the Individual S3DA National Championship (youth female pins division).  (Read more about those accomplishments here.)

Pinnacle has provided the following information about this year’s statewide competition:

Pinnacle Classical Academy will host the North Carolina Scholastic 3-D Archery (S3DA) State Championship on Saturday, June 8, at its grade 4-12 campus on Joes Lake Rd. in Shelby.

Check-in begins at 7:30 AM, with an 8:30 safety meeting and a 9:00 AM shotgun start. Concessions, including various food items, will be available during breakfast and lunch hours.

The North Carolina S3DA State Championship is open to the public with free admission. Members of the community are invited to cheer on the PCA Thunderbirds — whose archers have won multiple state and national championships — as well as talented archers from other teams.

Pinnacle Classical Academy is a free public charter school in Shelby that attracts 1,165 students from five counties. PCA’s elementary school, middle school, and high school are all ranked among America’s best schools by U.S. News & World Report.

At last year’s national archery competition, the Pinnacle Thunderbirds placed third in the country. Photo credit: Pinnacle Classical Academy.

Learn more about this year’s competition on Pinnacle’s Facebook page. Pinnacle is a Coalition member school led by Dr. Shelly Shope, who serves on the Coalition’s Board of Directors.

Coalition Member Schools in the News

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We have some exciting news to share about recent recognitions of Coalition member schools!

Two charter schools receive county-wide honors

Piedmont Community Charter School was recognized as “Best Charter School” by the Gaston Gazette’s “Best of Gaston” awards. Holly White, the elementary school principal was the winner in the “Best Principal” category, while Dawn Johnston was honored as “Best Teacher.” David Benfield, a middle school principal, earned finalist recognition for “Best Principal.”
Community Charter School earned finalist recognition for “Best Charter School.” Monica Dellinger was a finalist for “Best Principal.”
Read more about the awards from the Gaston Gazette.

Monica Dellinger (second from left) celebrates recognition through Gaston Gazette’s Community Choice awards. Photo credit: Community Charter School, Facebook.

One charter school’s approach to ‘second chances’ garners media coverage

Central Wake High School is the subject of a recent feature article from The Carolinian. Central Wake serves students ages 16 to 21 who are at risk of academic failure. Read the article here.
Congratulations to these outstanding Coalition member schools!

Bladen Journal Spotlights Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy

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The Bladen Journal has a new spotlight piece out about Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy (PRBLA). The only military charter school in the state, PRBLA serves 214 students in 6th-12th grades in Elizabethtown, NC. Students hail from five counties–Bladen, Cumberland, Hoke, Columbus, and Robinson–and the school provides them with transportation. The school launched over a decade ago, and student graduates have since gone on to do exciting things. Perhaps not surprisingly, a number of them are choosing military service.

A Veterans Day ceremony at Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy. Photo credit: Bladen Journal.

The article highlights the achievements of some recent PRBLA graduates:

The Academy’s ten-year history has seen many alum success stories, with its Cadets becoming college graduates, learning trades, and enlisting in the armed forces. In 2020, PRBLA 2017 graduate, former First Captain Iyanna McAllister graduated from North Carolina A&T State University.  She is working on obtaining her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Bowie State University. Fellow 2017 graduate Starnari Ballard obtained her bachelor’s degree in science from UNC Pembroke and currently works as a science teacher at the Academy.

Former First Captain Tristen Bray, a PRBLA 2020 graduate, will be commissioned as a United States Army officer next month after he graduates from Virginia Military Institute. Jessica Lamb, a PRBLA 2020 graduate, serves in the United States Marine Corps. Keyanna Cann, PRBLA 2019 graduate; Josh White, PRBLA 2022 graduate; Omar Cisse, PRBLA 2022 graduate; and Michael Gillespie, PRBLA 2022 graduate, all serve in the United States Navy.  Marvin Munford, PRBLA 2022 graduate, Dayvion Lacy, PRBLA 2023 graduate, and Linwood Britton, PRBLA 2023 graduate, serve in the United States Army.

Under the leadership of its Superintendent, Dr. Wray, the Academy is setting records and looking forward to another record-breaking enrollment this year.

Read more from the Bladen Journal.

PRBLA is a Coalition member school. Learn more about PRBLA here.

Durham Charter School Joins the Coalition

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We’re delighted to welcome Durham Charter School to the Coalition as our newest member. Formerly known as Healthy Start Academy, Durham Charter has played a significant role in the state’s broader charter movement. The school launched in 1997 as North Carolina’s very first public charter school!

Now a K-12 school, Durham Charter currently serves 775 students. The school has a well-earned reputation for excellence and innovation. Headed by state charter leader Alex Quigley (read our Q&A with Alex here), Durham Charter is a 2022 National ESEA Distinguished School and a 2023 Yass Prize Quarterfinalist. In addition to leading Durham Charter, Alex also serves on the state’s Charter Schools Review Board.

Here’s how Durham Charter characterizes its mission:

Our mission is to build a world-class K-12 school in Durham that empowers students to thrive in college, career, and life.

The school is currently located on W. Chapel Hill Street in Durham. However, next June, Durham Charter will move to a new campus on Wake Forest Highway.

Photo credits: Durham Charter School.

Welcome to the Coalition, Durham Charter! We’re excited to partner with you.

Read Durham Charter’s academic snapshot. View the updated list of Coalition member schools.

TMSA Students Recognized at NC General Assembly

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As part of National Charter Schools Week, House Speaker Tim Moore on Wednesday recognized students from TMSA Triangle Math and Science Academy and The Math & Science Academy of Apex. These students, who gathered in the House Gallery with parents and school leaders, represent charter school excellence in multiple areas, and at various ages.

Coalition Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis and Coalition lobbyist Lee Teague organized the event with TMSA students and lawmakers. Rep. Erin Paré, District 37 (Wake), sponsored their visit.

Below, we include the write-up of the visit from TMSA leaders:

It is with great pride and excitement that we extend the highest honors to six of our outstanding students from TMSA Triangle Math and Science Academy and The Math and Science Academy of Apex. Led by the NC Coalition for Charter Schools and sponsored by Rep. Erin Paré, the visit honoring these remarkable students provided them with recognition in the House Chamber of the NC General Assembly. House Speaker Tim Moore called out their names and read their achievements. They then received a standing ovation from all of the representatives in the House Gallery. Students’ parents also joined the event and met Rep. Erin Paré.
These students have demonstrated exceptional talent, dedication, and achievement in various fields. We acknowledge their remarkable accomplishments and invite you to join us in congratulating them! The students are:
  • Aashritha Karthik Kamu (Grade 5, TMSA Triangle)
  • Abeeha Yasheen (Grade 7, TMSA Triangle)
  • Vatsalya Vishnoi (Grade 6, TMSA Apex)
  • Daniel Loeffler (Grade 6, TMSA Apex)
  • Sina Dehghani (Grade 11, TMSA Triangle)
  • Alekhya Kotha (Grade 11, TMSA Triangle)

Here are some specifics about these students’ achievements:

Aashritha Karthik Kamu won 1st prize across all five categories in the Elementary division for a special award by NC One Water in the NC Science and Engineering Fair.

TMSA Triangle FLL team, the Cyber Tigers, achieved a remarkable feat at the North Carolina FLL Semifinals. With their incredible project, “The Arithmacade,” they not only captured the imagination of all but also earned the prestigious First Place Innovation Project Award and advanced to the NC State Championship. Abeeha Yasheen is recognized on behalf of her team.

Sixth graders Vatsalya Vishnoi and Daniel Loeffler were ranked top at the NC State Science Olympiad State Tournament. Vatsalya and Daniel competed with 40 teams consisting of 7th and 8th graders and came in first in the Air Trajectory category.

Sina Dehghani received 2nd Place in Travel and Tourism in the 2024 DECA State and 2024 DECA Internationals. Additionally, Sina achieved 2nd Place in the College Physics and Community Awareness Project in 2024 HOSA States.
Alekhya Kotha distinguished herself as a USA Biology Olympiad Semi-Finalist, ranking in the top 500 out of 10,000 participants from 44 states.

Congratulations to these exemplary students! We share photos from Wednesday’s visit:

Six students from TMSA visit the General Assembly on Wednesday and meet with Rep. Erin Paré.

Students and leaders from TMSA stand outside the House Gallery at the General Assembly.

Left to right: Coalition lobbyist Lee Teague, Rep. Erin Paré, TMSA leader Fatih Sahin, and Coalition Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis at the General Assembly. Photo credits: TMSA.

Report on NC School Segregation Features Outdated Data on Charters

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Shutterstock photo.

Released to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, a new report from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project offers a critical read-out on segregation in North Carolina’s public schools. The report, written by NC State researchers, presents charter schools as one of the forces fueling segregation and widening achievement gaps. But there’s a fundamental problem with that premise: Data used to support it are outdated and inaccurate.

Let’s start with a core argument about charter schools. On page 20, the authors write:

Charters in North Carolina have not only increased racial isolation between Black and White students, but have also widened the achievement gap between the two groups precisely because of the negative impacts on Black students in racially isolated schools.
What’s the basis for this statement? A study from Duke researcher Helen Ladd, which she and her co-author published 17 years ago–in 2007! That year, 98 charter schools operated in North Carolina, less than half of the 210 charter schools serving students today. In reality, robust, encouraging–and much more recent data–show charter schools are helping to narrow achievement gaps.

Stanford study: Charter students gain 16 days in reading and 6 days in math

A widely reported 2023 study from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO)  revealed significant achievement gains for students attending public charter schools nationwide. Researchers evaluated learning outcomes in terms of days of learning–gained or lost, across the academic year. Compared to traditional public schools, charter schools advanced student learning by an average of 16 days in reading and 6 days in math. Charter schools were particularly effective in producing learning gains for Black and Hispanic students, students living in poverty, and English language learners, CREDO found. And charters run by CMOs (charter management organizations) produced even bigger gains than stand-alone charter schools–27 days in reading and 23 days in math.

North Carolina CMOs recognized as “gap-busting” schools

That’s the national picture. In North Carolina, several CMOs also earned national recognition as “gap-busting” schools. (Read more about CREDO’s findings here and here.)  Roger Bacon Academy (RBA)National Heritage Academies, and KIPP Eastern North Carolina were among the CMOs Stanford researchers commended for success in closing achievement gaps. Criteria for inclusion as a “gap-buster” were rigorous, requiring high performance for schools overall as well as for subgroups of disadvantaged students.

CREDO study findings prompted North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx to refer to charter schools as “conduits of opportunity.”

Other charter schools are earning accolades for success in closing achievement gaps. For instance, Sallie B. Howard School in Wilson, North Carolina–a majority non-white school and one of the state’s first charter schools–earned National Blue Ribbon recognition in 2021 from the U.S. Department of Education. The reason: SBHS is an “exemplary achievement gap-closing school.”

UCLA report: Wrong on weighted lotteries, too

Back to the UCLA report’s misguided claims: Authors also criticize slow uptake of weighted lotteries among North Carolina charter schools. Such lotteries enable school leaders to give an admission preference to students who are educationally disadvantaged. They’re a key way to help charter schools diversify their student populations.

On pages 20-21, as evidence of a lack of weighted lotteries in North Carolina, the authors of the UCLA study write:

In 2015, the state legislature passed HB 334, which authorized the voluntary use of a weighted lottery system that took diversity into account in admissions. This attempt was met with limited success as only four charter schools in the state implemented the system by the 2018 school year.

Limited success–and only four charter schools? As the widely available 2023 Annual Charter Schools Report notes, 70+ North Carolina charter schools–fully one-third of the state’s charters–have received approval to use weighted lotteries!

Here’s a summary from that annual report:

Over 70 charter schools are approved to utilize a weighted lottery. As more charter schools begin to implement a weighted lottery, the hope is to see more educationally disadvantaged students enrolling in charter schools. As part of the approval process, schools must explain how the needs of educationally disadvantaged students will be met. Many schools report an increase in staff, improved nutrition and transportation programs, as well as increased community outreach and partnerships.

In fact, increasing charter diversity through weighted lotteries has been a key focus of the state’s NC ACCESS Program, funded by federal Charter Schools Program grant dollars. The NC ACCESS annual review for 2022 is explicit in chronicling the explosive growth of weighted lotteries among the state’s charter schools as a way to remove barriers to enrollment.

Unfortunately, none of this information made it into the UCLA report.

It’s a shame that this new report includes outdated information about charters to support sweeping statements on a topic of such importance. Report claims will invariably make their way into news stories, which is how misinformation spreads.

*This post has been updated.

Charter Schools Week Op-Ed from Lindalyn

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Lindalyn Kakadelis, the executive director of the Coalition, has a new op-ed out to mark National Charter Schools Week. The op-ed, published yesterday in Carolina Journal, highlights the growth and popularity of North Carolina’s public charter school movement–even as the political divide on charter schools grows.

Here’s an excerpt from the op-ed:

It’s National Charter Schools Week, and there is much to celebrate about North Carolina’s charter school movement. Public charter schools in our state now educate 145,000 students in 63 counties, and charter popularity continues to grow with families. In fact, the state’s charter school waitlist now features over 85,000 student names. Despite widespread popularity, however, charter schools face mounting political challenges.

First, some facts: Charter schools are free, public, and open to all. Yet, as more parents turn to them for their children’s education, there remains a threat that these public schools of choice will face new regulatory obstacles or even a cap prohibiting new charter schools from opening. The reason baffles me, but some corners view public charter schools as a threat to be tamed, rather than a dynamic educational environment that provides the best choice for some children.

A broad bipartisan coalition birthed public charter schools decades ago, and has supported the movement for many years. It has long been my dream for the politics surrounding the issue to return to that.

Read the full CJ perspective here.

N.C. Charters Earn Top Spots in New U.S. News High School Ranking

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U.S. News & World Report is out with new high school rankings for 2024, and the news is very good for public charter schools!

In North Carolina, public charter schools occupy 14 of the top 50 spots among the state’s leading public high schools.

Here’s the list of those charter schools:

  • Raleigh Charter High School, #4
  • Woods Charter, #5
  • Lake Norman Charter, #15
  • Research Triangle High School, #17
  • Triangle Math & Science Academy, #18
  • Pine Lake Prep, #21
  • NC Leadership Academy, #24
  • Eno River Academy, #27
  • Gray Stone Day, #28
  • Community School of Davidson, #29
  • Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, #30
  • Henderson Collegiate, #35
  • Oxford Prep, #40
  • The Hawbridge School, #49

Congratulations to these schools, and especially to Coalition member schools!

Read more: