In 1996 the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Charter Schools Act. Since that time, the state has steadily seen increasing growth in the number of public charter schools and the number of students those schools serve. During the 2014-2015 school year there were 146 public charter schools serving over 70,000 students across the state. Charter schools are based on the premise that each school should be able to develop innovative techniques and use cutting edge programs within a mission-focused environment. Public charter schools are held accountable by the state to high standards of both quality and performance.
The State Board of Education directed the Office of Charter Schools to create and establish expectations for charter school performance. This directive resulted in the creation and implementation of the North Carolina Charter School Performance Framework (framework). This framework assesses charter schools in the areas of academics, finance, and operations. The 2014-2015 school year saw the first use of the framework and development of baseline results.
The intent of the performance framework is to provide a snapshot of how well each charter school is meeting state expectations, though there is no comparable structure for other public schools. The performance framework has several flaws that limit its ability to provide an accurate picture of the overall performance of charter schools. Unfortunately the framework uses information that is significantly misaligned, which make the results problematic and inconsistent. Financial and operations information from one school year, and academic information from the previous school year are combined into a single report. The framework uses indices that are ill defined and are not in alignment with information that has been formally approved in school charters, and is acceptable under federal guidelines.
In the initial release of the North Carolina Charter School Performance Framework, overall Pinnacle Classical Academy faired very well. The school met or exceeded over 86% of the indicators set forth in the framework. The ambiguous nature of several indicators however created a situation where the school met all federal guidelines yet did not meet those of the framework. In addition, on at least one indicator the State Board of Education had officially approved a measure yet the framework deemed it unmet. For example, Pinnacle was cited for having six board members instead of seven, while our State Board of Education approved charter only calls for as few as five and as many as nine.
Pinnacle Classical Academy is located at 900 South Post Road in Shelby. This will be the school’s home during the construction of our permanent campus. The plan for a permanent home is to construct a new K-12 campus on Joe’s Lake Road, about one mile from the South Post Road location.