The 2018-2019 school year at Uwharrie Charter Academy will be a year of expansion.


This year will include the addition of our new elementary school that will serve kindergarten-fourth grade. The new elementary school will be located at 301 Lewallen Road (former location of our middle school).


Our elementary program will use North Carolina’s current Essential Standards to guide classroom teaching. Using classrooms themed by a town concept in the early grades that transition to North Carolina-centered themes in our upper grades, this innovative model immerses students in the concepts through experiential learning and contextual environments.


Similar to our middle and high school programs, the elementary program will incorporate hands-on learning and will center around making the connection between coursework and the “real world” using its themed classrooms. Families are brimming with excitement for their students to experience such a unique approach to learning for their children. The elementary school will increase the UCA system-wide enrollment by 500 students.


UCA will also be unveiling its new middle school serving 650 students in grades 5-8, along with a central office building and gymnasium located at 2177 Pisgah Covered Bridge Road.


The middle school will focus on experimental learning, character building and preparation for the next phase in education. Faculty will place emphasis on helping students find their future path by offering exposure to a variety of disciplines and curriculum. As a result of this expansion, UCA will be adding 60 new teaching and administrative positions while purchasing three buses.


Our high school, with an enrollment of 550 students and a 97 percent graduation rate, continues to serve our community by offering a rigorous academic program that ensures each student has the opportunity to grow. Our high school curriculum is designed to provide a variety of options for both college and career readiness, including an early college program through Randolph Community College that allows students to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree.


UCA has developed its own version of STEM education. Known as STE3AM, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Empathy, Arts and Math), this hands-on approach has a different look at each of the schools.


At the elementary school, STE3AM will be taught through creating opportunities for students to create, tinker, build and play. At the middle school level, STE3AM will be taught through an immersive hands-on class built into the daily schedule. In grades 9-12, STE3AM will be integrated into electives and future pathway development opportunities.


Growth of UCA extends beyond the classroom wall and into our athletic program and facilities as well. This fall UCA will add men’s and women’s tennis as a Varsity sport joining nine other Varsity teams that will compete in the Yadkin Valley 1A conference.


UCA will also begin construction on an addition to its athletic facilities located at 843 Ludlum Lane. The new addition will focus on a new softball field and a multi-function building adjacent to the existing baseball field. The new building will house men’s and women’s locker rooms, an indoor hitting facility, a concession area and public restrooms.


At UCA we strongly believe in our mission to prepare students for meaningful and successful lives. UCA develops students into critical-thinking, problem-solving, responsible citizens.


Whether one’s path after graduation is college or entry directly into a career, UCA graduates leave with a well-balanced education and a desire to be productive members of our community.


* Heather Vuncannon is superintendent of Uwharrie Charter Academy.