North Raleigh News

Franklin County will get its second charter school

Franklin County’s second charter school will open in July, giving families another option in an area where some students leave the county to attend charter schools.

Youngsville Academy, a year-round school for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, will fill a need in Franklin County, according to the school’s charter application.

“The current public perception of Franklin County Schools, which is able to be vetted by performance data, is that they ‘are not as good as Wake County schools,’” the application says. “We want to help change that by offering a results-oriented, engaging, academically driven educational alternative.”

Dan Henson, a member of Youngsville Academy’s board, said the school will serve the average Franklin County student. That includes low-income students, students with disabilities and students who speak English as a second language.

“We’re really trying to be a college preparatory school for the average kid and focus on getting them engaged and loving learning,” Henson said.

The school did extensive research to figure out the best way to reach those students. The plan is to have small class sizes and to use direct instruction with a classical curriculum, said principal Patricia Warren.

“The curriculum is kind of like a private school,” Warren said.

Direct instruction is used by some other schools, including Franklin Academy, a charter school in Wake Forest, and Thales Academy, a network of private schools in Wake County. It focuses on prepared lesson plans that are often scripted so every student has the same experience.

In addition to serving students, the school will also help Franklin County, Henson said.

While researching charter schools, the board found that hundreds of students left Franklin County each day to attend a charter school elsewhere. Wake County, which has more than 15 charter schools, is about five miles south of Youngsville.

“In terms of helping Franklin County, it’s important to have a charter school as a draw,” Henson said.

Youngsville Academy will open July 27 with 140 kindergartners through second graders. By its 10th year, the school plans to be at full capacity, with 360 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Most students will come from Franklin County, but the board anticipates about 30 percent of students might come from Wake County and 10 percent from Granville County.

For the school’s first year, students will come from as far as Vance and Warren counties and Rocky Mount, Henson said.

When it opens next month, the school will operate in the education building of Faith Baptist Church in Youngsville. The school’s board will soon begin looking for a permanent location.

The other charter school in Franklin County is Crosscreek Charter in Louisburg.

Charter schools receive public funding but do not follow all of the regulations of traditional public schools.

Hankerson: 919-829-4802;

Twitter: @mechelleh