Have you ever driven by Lake Lure Classical Academy (LLCA) located on Island Creek Rd in Lake Lure, and wondered what a classical academy is? Have you been told that charter schools do not have to follow state policies and guidelines, and that they are independent from most school laws? Have you been told that charter schools are not public schools? There are many inaccurate assumptions made about charter schools. There are also many ways that charter schools are different from a traditional public school. However, charter schools are public schools, and are free to attend by any student residing in the state of North Carolina.
Charter schools provide parents with another choice in their children’s education. Just like private schools and homeschools, charter schools are schools of choice. This means that a child living outside of the school district where the charter school is located can still attend that charter school. Whereas, with traditional public schools children must attend the school located within their district.
As a school of choice, Lake Lure Classical Academy uses a lottery system to provide all students with an equal opportunity to attend the school. The lottery system operates from January through March, and prevents the school from over enrolling students. Only when a grade level has available space does LLCA allow students to enroll outside of the lottery dates. This is a different process from a traditional public school because at any time during the school year a parent can enroll their child regardless of the number of students attending.
The 2022-2023 school year marks 25 years since the first charter schools opened in North Carolina. LLCA first opened its doors to students in 2010. Today, LLCA enrolls approximately 450 students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade from five surrounding counties. As a charter school, LLCA must uphold the charter which was approved by the State Board of Education in 2010. The charter holds the school accountable for educating the whole child, outlines the curriculum that is taught, and determines the governance by a board of directors.
LLCA’s curriculum for students in Kindergarten through eighth grade is Core Knowledge, and should not be confused with Common Core. Core Knowledge is a knowledge-based curriculum that promotes a classical approach to learning including a focus on civic responsibility, character strengths, and justice and virtue. The ability to choose the curriculum that LLCA uses makes the school distinct from other public schools in the area. LLCA is also able to develop unique learning experiences for students such as experiential learning, outdoor education experiences, and elective courses in the upper grades only offered at LLCA. However, as a public school, LLCA must follow all state requirements for student achievement including administering state mandated end-of-grade, end-of-course, ACT, and other state tests. High school students attending LLCA must also abide by the state requirements for graduation. When it comes to following state requirements for education, LLCA commits to following them as written in state law. Our commitment to providing our students with a unique learning experience includes multiple field trips throughout the year that complement our Core Knowledge curriculum though the integration of history, geography, science, and language arts. Our classical approach provides students with courses in fine arts, theater, music and life skills. LLCA’s students engage in outside activities through our nature studies and outdoor education courses. The beautiful 34-acre campus also has several outdoor classrooms for students to use.
LLCA is a public school and provides a free education to all its students. It is a school that fosters creativity, critical thinking, and civic responsibility. LLCA is a K-12 school where all children in a family can attend together, thus eliminating the need to attend different schools in different areas of the county. To learn more about what makes LLCA unique, and to learn if this school of choice is the right one for your children, call the school at (828) 625-9292 to schedule a personal tour of our campus.