3 new Charlotte charter schools approved to open this fall

Three new charter schools in Mecklenburg County have been given the go-ahead to open this fall.

The three Charlotte schools were among 11 to be approved statewide at this week’s meeting of the state board of education. They’ll still have to submit a “ready to open” report in May.

The new schools will enter an increasingly crowded charter school landscape. More than 50 new charter schools have opened in North Carolina since the state legislature eliminated the 100-school cap in 2011. Some have since closed. Many new schools have struggled to meet their projected enrollment.

Here’s a look at what the three new local schools hope to accomplish.

Charlotte Lab School: This school hopes to be an incubator of new ideas to “rethink schooling,” according its application. There will be a longer school day than in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, with fewer days of instruction. The school will have an emphasis on foreign language, particularly Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Charlotte Lab School plans to open with about 280 students in kindergarten through fourth grade. It is slated to ultimately serve grades K-8 and be located uptown.

Queen City STEM School: This school will join the growing number of schools with a science, technology, engineering and math focus, according to its application. It hopes to model itself after two current charter schools – Triad Math and Science Academy and the Triangle Math and Science Academy. Queen City STEM will also offer free after-school tutoring to help attract disadvantaged students, school leaders say. The school plans to have 292 students in grades K-6 in its first year, and ultimately expand to have a full middle and high school.

VERITAS Community School: This school will emphasize health and wellness and a “peaceful classroom” in addition to academics, according to the application. Founders want a small, diverse school serving the Villa Heights, Belmont, Optimist Park, Plaza Midwood and NoDa neighborhoods. The school plans to open with 200 students in kindergarten through third grade and ultimately serve K-5. It recently secured a location on Shamrock Drive.