In August, the Carolina Community Academy began its second year serving Roxboro, N.C. students and families in kindergarten through second grade with a social-emotional learning curriculum.
UNC and Person County Schools launched CCA, an educational initiative, in August 2022 to “redefine and strengthen” University relationships with North Carolina public schools, according to its website.
The partnership aims to be a resource for the academic success and social well-being of the whole child and the whole family, CCA principal Daniel Watson said.
CCA is a laboratory school within North Elementary and is separate from Person County Schools. Amy Richardson, the director of CCA, said the academy provides an advanced learning opportunity for students in “low-performing” schools and districts.
The N.C. General Assembly passed House Bill 1030 in 2016, which mandated the UNC Board of Governors to establish eight lab schools. The bill was then revised in 2017 to require at least nine lab schools. The Roxboro program is the ninth lab school to open across the state.
Watson said UNC took the task of creating a lab school "to heart" considering the breadth of the Leandro v. North Carolina case. The Leandro case concerns inadequate and unequal funding for students in low-wealth school districts, and it is based on the idea that all students should receive a "sound basic education."
CCA’s goal is to provide resources that increase K-2 literacy in Person County, so students continue to show growth and improvement through the years, Watson said.
“UNC doesn’t look for the easy way out,” Watson said. “We look for where there is need and what can we do to increase capacity in that area.”
The academy expects to operate for a minimum of five years in compliance with the bill. Appointed by UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, the CCA advisory board includes UNC’s School of Education Dean Fouad Abd-El-Khalick and UNC Board of Trustees member Ramsey White. The CCA advisory board meets at least twice a year to receive feedback on the academy’s progress.