What We’ve Done

What We’ve Done

Aimed at serving underserved and rural communities, as well as low-wealth districts that have been traditionally underfunded, the North Carolina Public Charter School Accelerator is creating a vibrant pipeline of high-quality, highly innovative, public charter schools. These public charter schools will produce strong academic results while introducing dynamic new teaching models and technology-rich learning strategies.

The North Carolina Public Charter School Accelerator is already producing results in just two short years. A total of nine Accelerator supported schools will be open by the fall of 2016 with three additional schools preparing to open in 2017. 

Here are the inaugural schools we have worked with. Scroll down to learn more about their mission and future plans to help students in underserved areas of North Carolina.

Opened 2014

KIPP Halifax

Halifax County: KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Halifax, is replicated from the very successful KIPP Gaston College Preparatory Charter School in nearby Northampton County. KIPP Halifax will eventually grow to be a K-8 school serving over 800 students. The school is the county’s first public charter school and works to meet the needs of students who are currently performing below the state average of proficiency in both reading and math.

Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy (HCLA)

Bertie County: Heritage is a college preparatory, leadership-themed public charter school that will provide Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. This school implements character-based leadership curriculum (KidLead) and utilizes a blended-learning model. Heritage will grow to a K-8 school serving over 500 students. HCLA is the county’s first public charter school and strives to meet the needs of students who are currently performing well below the state average of proficiency in both reading and math.

Opened 2015

KIPP Durham College Preparatory

Durham County: KIPP Durham’s mission is to empower all of their students with the skills, knowledge, and character necessary to succeed at the colleges of their choice, strengthen their community and fight for social justice. It will be modeled after the successful KIPP Gaston College Preparatory Charter School and serve 360 students in grades 5-8 its first year.

PAVE Southeast Raleigh Charter School

Wake County: This school, modeled after a successful PAVE school in New York, will prepare students to thrive in competitive high schools and four-year colleges and will grow to serve a total of 531 students in grades K-8. It provides its scholars with a rigorous academic program and a community built upon the school’s core values of Perseverance, Achievement, Vibrance and Excellent Character (PAVE)

Shining Rock Classical Academy: CFA

Haywood County: Shining Rock will be the first public charter school to open in Haywood County. Growing to a K-12 school, their mission is to engage all students and challenge them to excel through an integrated, content-rich curriculum. The organization encourages local and global citizenship through their six core values: Integrity, Respect, Compassion, Responsibility, Wisdom, and Leadership.

VERITAS Community School

Mecklenburg County: VERITAS will serve students in grades K-5 and drive high academic standards through differentiated, collaborative, and inquiry-based instruction. Through the Core Knowledge Sequence, a content-rich, sequential, and developmentally-appropriate curriculum will provide students the foundations needed to become capable and creative citizens.

Opening 2016

FernLeaf Community Charter School

Henderson County: This public charter school will utilize an Experiential and Project Based Learning Model focused on building respect, kindness and trust within the community for students in Grades K-8. FernLeaf’s mission is to foster a rich and engaging learning community that nurtures the innate curiosity in children, cultivates their unique passions, and creates inspired, thoughtful, compassionate, and engaged learners.

Girls Leadership Academy for Young Women (GLOW)

New Hanover County: GLOW will be the first single gender public charter school in North Carolina. Having a strategic partnership with the New Initiatives for Young Women’s Leadership Network based in New York, their model will be a college prep secondary school for young women. This is a similar model to the Young Women’s Leadership School in East Harlem.

Opened 2016

Ignite Innovation Academy

Pitt County: Ignite’s mission is to inspire a passion within all students to learn, lead, and grow so they will become resilient, engaged citizens in a future-focused society. Ignite will utilize a technology-enhanced (blended) teaching and learning framework that focuses on hands-on, competency-based learning outcomes. The school will serve 468 students in grades K-8 in rural Pitt County.

The Movement School*

Mecklenburg County: A replication of the very successful Sugar Creek Charter school in Charlotte, The Movement School aims to lead students and families to academic excellence and socio-emotional health that enables them to be successful in college and their careers. They will accomplish this by focusing their academic and social program on culturally-relevant pedagogy, character development, socio-emotional supports, and data-driven decision making.

UpROAR Academy*

Mecklenburg County: Envisioned while two of the founding board members served our country in Afghanistan, the mission of UpROAR Leadership Academy emphasizes educating cadets to be leaders by concentrating on high academic standards and life skills. Their culture is structured in a quasi-military environment to ensure that cadets succeed in the seven core competencies: academics, vocational, life skills, healthy living and physical fitness, community service and productive citizens.

Opening 2017

Unity Classical Charter Academy

Mecklenburg County: This classical education focused public charter school, serving grades K-8, will develop intellectually, morally and physically excellent citizens who embrace learning and the desire to serve.


The NC Accelerator program continues to be a source of ongoing support for FernLeaf since opening this past Fall.  The team regularly provides access to important information and resources along with timely reminders for important deadlines.  One of the most valuable services is their continued on-call support in all areas from HR to NCDPI Policies and Procedures.  Without their breadth of experience and expertise we would be left floundering in many areas.  We are truly grateful for the support!

Michael Luplow, Executive Director of FernLeaf Community Charter School

We are incredibly grateful for the additional expertise and feedback provided by the North Carolina Charter School Accelerator. We know that because of their hard work and investment in our school, we are now better equipped to provide a high-quality educational option for students and families in Durham.

Anders Campbell
School Leader
KIPP Durham College Preparatory

Shining Rock wishes to express gratitude to the good people at the NC Accelerator program and the Calder Foundation for their support in our first year. Starting a charter is a huge challenge, and rural charters face the particular challenge of securing start-up funding. This year’s Calder Grant went toward much needed academic materials that might otherwise not have been available to our hard working students and teachers. 

 Please add to this my personal gratitude for this support. As the founding director, I’ve been involved in every aspect of the process since the writing of the charter. Thank you for supporting the Shining Rock Family and the children of Haywood County!

Ben Butler
Shining Rock Classical Academy: A Challenge Foundation Academy

FernLeaf, and Henderson County Families, are forever indebted to NC Public Charter School Accelerator for its expertise and support. We truly believe that without your help and behind the scenes work that we would not have garnered approval from the State Board of Education to open in 2016. We look forward to bringing the families in our community another option for their children thanks to NC Accelerator’s help!

Michael Luplow
Founder and Executive Director
FernLeaf Community Charter School

The Accelerator Program has not only offered us an engaged, informed, and supportive source of answers and ideas about running a start-up charter school, but it also offered us the opportunity to apply for grant monies and to engage in Board training that has served as a guiding force as we work to include best practices in everything that we do from governance to finances, school operations and policy development, Open Meetings Law and creating a cohesive school community. The grant money has helped us meet our mission, serve our children’s academic, socio-emotional, and health needs, and implement programming that most private schools consider prohibitively expensive. Through negotiating for low-cost and free furniture, school supplies, and materials, we are able to funnel the bulk our money to our students’ needs, whether that be in higher teacher salaries, innovative programming, professional development offerings, or hands-on, engaging classroom materials.  We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Tom and Geoff and the rest of the Accelerator Program staff.  We thank you!

Katy Ridnouer
Founding Principal
VERITAS Community Charter School

Do you want to join this list of school leaders who are working to make an impact in the lives of kids most in need? If so, click below.

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