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Charlotte Learning Academy's Charter License Not Renewed By NC BOE

Gwendolyn Glenn
NC Board of Education member James Ford cast the only vote against the closure of Charlotte Learning Academy

North Carolina board of education members voted to close the Charlotte Learning Academy because of poor student performance on state proficiency exams and for not meeting student growth targets. The decision not to renew the charter school’s license was rendered at this week’s monthly board meeting. 

According to board member Amy White, chair of the board’s charter schools committee, Charlotte Learning Academy only met expected growth one year since it opened five years ago and slightly less than 18 percent of its students are on grade level.

"We have three years where the school's accountability shows a grade of F, we have growth not met three consistent years and so we have to hold our charter schools accountable," White said.

Board member James Ford, the former North Carolina Teacher of the Year, was the only board member who did not want to see the academy lose its license. He says after reading emails and viewing information submitted by students and parents, he did not feel comfortable closing the school.

"I’m wondering if there can be some sort of provision made for them?" Ford asked. "The measurable data is not necessarily to be celebrated but some good things are going on."

White and some other board members acknowledged that some positive things have occurred at Charlotte Learning Academy but overall, it’s not been enough to warrant renewal.

"The passion is there but we have a pattern of low performance and as a whole, the school has not met expectations," White said.

The academy, located on Briar Creek Road, serves 260 mainly low-income students in the sixth through 12th grades. Most struggled in traditional school settings. School officials have not said if they will appeal the board’s decision. If they do not, the academy will close at the end of this school year.

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.