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Pinnacle serves over 466 students in its third year

Pinnacle Classical Academy began its third year of operation Aug. 24, serving over 466 students in grades K-8. The school will add a grade level each year until it serves grades K-12 by the 2019-2020 school year. PCA is a college preparatory school that utilizes an advanced curriculum program to prepare all students for college and career success.

The educational philosophy is based on the three R’s – Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. This means rigorous coursework, relevant learning activities, and meaningful relationships with teachers and other staff members at the school.

The heart of the academic experience is based on the Core Knowledge Curriculum (developed by E.D. Hirsch and the University of Virginia), coupled with the advanced Singapore Math program in grades K-8. Classic interdisciplinary courses including art, physical education, music, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are required for K-five students and foreign language is introduced for sixth- to eighth-grade students. Pinnacle Classical Academy has the only dedicated STEM lab in the county. Students in the STEM course participate in hands-on application and experiential learning of advanced mathematical and science concepts.

Pinnacle has successfully combined a classical education model with modern technology. Beginning this school year, students in sixth- through eighth-grade will be assigned a laptop that they take to each class and use throughout the day. This one-to-one program allows students to collaborate on projects and assignments, conduct research, use online tools and applications, and develop written products and presentations.

The academy also will utilize technology to provide foreign language instruction beginning this school year. Students in sixth- through eighth-grade will use the Rosetta Stone Foundations e-Learning program for in depth study of foreign language. This year the students will focus on Spanish, but in the years that follow students will be able to choose from up to 24 different languages and dialects. These options will offer students the ability to learn multiple foreign languages during their middle and high school careers.

As PCA moves into the high school arena beginning in 2016-2017, the school will implement a rigorous series of selected Advanced Placement courses. This cohort-based program will begin in the ninth grade and will provide students with an unparalleled college preparatory experience in the core academic areas of English, math, science and history. These courses have been carefully selected to provide students with pre-collegiate preparation as well as the potential to earn significant credit at colleges and universities nationwide.

For more information about Pinnacle, visit www.pinnacleclassicalacademy.com.

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Originally Published by The Shelby Star on Sep. 10, 2015

Charter School Performance Framework

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.