By Clellie Allen, with Camryn Jamison
YOUNGSVILLE — Just the second charter school to operate in Franklin County, Youngsville Academy welcomed kindergarten through second grade students to a new school year July 27. The school is leasing classroom, gymnasium and auditorium space from Faith Baptist Church at 249 Holden Road.
Like all charter schools, Youngsville Academy is a public school and as such, while the school may feel private in character, with everything from its location to uniforms and small classroom size, it is a tuition-free charter with admission open to any family willing to provide transportation, until its maximum enrollment is met.
Youngsville Academy opened with 140 students from six counties, with 60 students divided between three kindergarten classes, 40 in two first grade classes and 40 in two second grade classes.
In addition to the regular grade level classes, Youngsville Academy offers Latin, art, physical education, choral music and academic support. Dr. Patricia Warren is the principal and she oversees 14 teachers and staff.
Youngsville Academy will operate on a year-round basis and eventually expand to fifth grade, according to Advisory Board Member Dan Henson. Similarly to Franklin Academy Charter in Wake Forest, Youngsville Charter will utilize a direct instruction (DI) method which involves completely scripted lessons with every class, and student, having a similar experience.
Henson says the DI method allows students to focus on core academics, becoming “highly fluent” in reading and mathematics. Reportedly, it also allows students to advance at their own rate, accommodating both gifted and remedial academic needs.
Although some of the more recently opened charter schools in the area are being managed by out-of-state charter management organizations, Youngsville Academy is an independent charter school overseen by a local board of directors.
This also means that Youngsville Academy has to come up with funding for the school itself. Charter schools receive per-pupil state funds for education, but do not receive money for infrastructure needs, or to provide busing or lunches.
In the spring, the school received IRS 501(c)(3) status, allowing individuals and businesses to make tax-deductible contributions to the school.
The current board includes John Allen, Jim McElwee, Barbara Riley, Margaret Schmitz and Patricia Warren. Larry Henson, the founder of the school, also sits on the board.