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Seven remote charter schools approved

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(The Center Square) – Seven new remote charter school programs have been approved under a new North Carolina law.

Ashley Baquero, executive director of the state’s Office of Charter Schools, told The Center Square the remote programs will be operated by boards that have brick and mortar charter schools already in existence, Baquero said.

“And of course we have the two statewide pilot programs that have been in existence for about 10 years,” she added, speaking of full virtual and no brick and morter buildings.

The Legislature approved a bill in 2023 allowing brick and mortar schools to extend their reach across the state beyond traditional classrooms by offering remote learning.

One of the charter schools recently approved for a remote program is Longleaf School of the Arts in Raleigh. Four hundred come to its campus. The school would like to expand to 600 students from 10 counties, Johneka Williams, head of the school, told the North Carolina Charter Review Board in a recent meeting.

“With our building that we are currently residing in it can be difficult to add an additional 200 students,” she said.

The school had a “very successful” remote experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, Williams added.

“We support the arts, obviously, and we want to make sure there are opportunities for students across the state of North Carolina to be able to utilize their talents while they are learning remotely,” Williams said.

In the visual arts, remote students upload their images to their teachers from their home computers, said Williams.

During the pandemic, Longleaf learned that teachers were able to effectively work one-on-one with art students, Williams said.

“I contribute the success of our program to the teachers we have,” she said. “They have the skills and the tools they need in order to share the correct feedback on an individual basis. During COVID, they were able to work one-on-one with students during assignments. A lot of that I attribute to the quality of the staff that we have.”

Some schools around North Carolina may not have the resources to offer the arts instruction that Longleaf has, Williams said.

“To be able to have the opportunity to potentially offer that to other students is exciting to us,” she said.

In addition to Longleaf, the other approvals are for Pine Springs Prep in Holly Springs, Uwharrie Charter in Asheboro, Carolina Charter Academy in Angier, Ascend Leadership Academy in Sanford, Telra Institute in Mecklenburg County, and Northeast Carolina Prep School in Edgecombe County.

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