Wake Forest Academy to stress critical thinking skills.
By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — The first day of classes for the town’s newest charter school was yesterday (Wednesday).
Wake Forest Charter Academy, a K-5 elementary, with about 500 students, is located at 1851 Friendship Chapel Road, behind Gateway Commons shopping center.
A ribbon-cutting, dedication and orientation was held Monday. Present for that was Bill Segreve, whose daughter Marina is entering the third grade. She’s coming from a larger Wake County public school, but previously was enrolled in a small Catholic school.
“We wanted to get her into some kind of a charter school, to have a little bit more of that community feel, small school feel,” he said.
“What we’ve experienced over the summer with [Principal Zack Perfitt] and the staff, we got a good sense of that,” Segreve added. “It’s going to be very good for us as a community. Not just academics, but they’re going to be very involved, more involved with the parents, and we’re excited about that. There’s going to be a lot of parent involvement here.”
The just-constructed facility features 28 classrooms, a media center, dedicated parent room, 4,500-square-foot gymnasium and an outdoor playground.
A grade level will be added per year for three years, eventually becoming a K-8 school.
“This is the day we have been working for since we broke ground on this brand new facility,” Perfitt said. “We are so excited to welcome our first year scholars and establish a strong academic foundation for years to come.”
He said the first few weeks at school teachers will focus on establishing routines, setting up the classroom social contract, and providing students with academic expectations for the year ahead.
The school promises to “set the bar high,” according to its website, starting children on the fundamentals of math and reading, then working in science, geography and history. A strong moral foundation will also be stressed, parents were told during orientations Monday.
Character traits (respect, etc.) are written in large letters in the hallways and main office.
A dress code is in effect. Aside from uniform colors of green and blue, hats, wheelies, makeup, excessive jewelry, saggy pants, high heels and gang paraphernalia will be prohibited, among other restrictions.
Before and after school daycare is expected to be provided and extracurricular activities for students will be added as the school develops.
A lifelong dream
Operated by National Heritage Academies, Wake Forest Charter Academy is the brainchild of retired mathematics and language arts educator Hilda Alston Parlér, a Wake Forest real estate broker whose dream of opening a school has taken a lifetime to develop.
Parlér, who was named the Wake Forest Woman’s Club club member of the year in 2014 for her dedication to community service, said it was her parents, the late Dr. Wavie Riley Alston and Minnie Slade Alston, who were her inspiration in pursuing a career and furthering the cause of education.
Parlér chairs the school’s board of directors, the remainder of which is comprised of civic and community leaders. They include Marilyn Bonnett, Salina Gary, William Goccia, Corey Hutcherson, Dr. Daniel Lawson and Mark Marley.
“Our vision for this school is that students will learn to become powerful, critical, and independent thinkers,” said Parlér.
“Each student who walks through the school door will receive the tools to put him or her on the path to college and career readiness,” she added. “I am very proud to be the founder of the academy and serve as president of the board of directors of a school that will continue to thrive year after year and serve as an outstanding school choice to this community.”
Monday, school leaders and Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce members were present for the building dedication. During a parent orientation, Perfitt presented the board with dedication plaques that will hang in the school hallway.
“This board has been amazing to work with as we have been establishing school culture and a rigorous academic program to provide our first year scholars,” said Perfitt. “Their commitment to providing a high quality school choice to the Wake Forest community has been instrumental. We cannot thank them enough for all they have done for this community.”
Endeavor Academy opens
Another academy, Endeavor Charter School, also has just opened in Wake Forest at 4879 One World Way, with 513 students. It’s only new to Wake Forest, however, moving from its previous location in north Raleigh.
The K-8 school focuses on hands-on, experiential learning; fine arts; public speaking and service learning.
Its director is Steve McAdams, a teacher and coach with more than 37 years of experience who co-wrote Endeavor’s entire education plan.
With Franklin Academy’s K-12, Wake Forest is now home to three public charter schools.