Corvian Community School has opened on Eastfield Road as a new private-school option convenient to residents in and around suburban north Charlotte.
Although the school is private, founder and Director Stacey Haskell hopes to see it become a public charter school, possibly as early as the 2012-13 school year.
The school's kindergarten and first-grade programs are modeled after those at Community School of Davidson, a public charter school.
"It gives parents another choice," Haskell said. "If they're not happy with their home school, there's nothing wrong with having more choices."
Haskell's background is as an accountant and financial analyst, she said. She decided to open Corvian after her oldest daughter wasn't selected in the Davidson school's annual lottery in February.
Haskell's daughter was placed on the school's waiting list - as number 503. This year, the school's waiting list is 2,000.
"I was floored and shocked" by the number of children on the waiting list, Haskell said. "I truly believe in the philosophy of the school. It felt like a home away from home."
Haskell hired teachers from the Davidson school as educational consultants for Corvian, named for Haskell's two daughters, Cora and Vivian.
Corvian's programs will focus on academic, social, emotional and physical development, she said. Classroom sizes will be limited to 18-20 students. She started with one kindergarten and one first-grade class this year and plans to add a grade level each year until the school is K-12.
Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis and not based on the results of assessment tests. Haskell recently said she was near full enrollment. A lead teacher and an assistant will work in each room.
Community School of Davidson Director Joy Warner said population growth is creating demand in many local schools.
"I do believe that this area is growing fast and all the schools, public and private, are doing everything they can to keep up," Warner said. "Parents are trying to find schools that feel right."
Corvian will operate temporarily in two Sunday school rooms at Greater Vision United Methodist Church.
Mobile classrooms should be in place outside the church in a few weeks.
School hours are 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., with no option for before- or after-school care. Tuition is $3,750 for kindergarten and $4,000 for first grade.
Haskell believes Corvian's rates will make it a more affordable option for parents considering private schools.
"We've had such an overwhelming response," she said. "Considering the recession that we're in, I think a lot of families are trying to make it work for their budget."