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Long bus ride spurs formation of charter school

The Waters Edge Village School in Corolla in Currituck County isn’t your typical charter school. It wasn’t started because of dissatisfaction with public education. It was created out of necessity – place-based necessity. 

As you will see in the video, concerns over travel times to and from school were the impetus behind its creation. The kids from Corolla had to spend hours on the bus if they wanted to get to their nearest public school. By creating a local school, parents were able to avoid that. 

Driving times are door-to-door, not accounting for bus stops
Driving times are door-to-door, not accounting for bus stops

It’s a K-6 school with a small number of students. Next year it will have 26. There is one full-time teacher and one teacher assistant, but next year they will add a second teacher. They teach all the kids at once on a tiered model. All the students are exposed to the same general lessons, but they’re given individual work or personal attention based on their grade level. 

The school house is a throwback to the 19th and early-20th century one-room schoolhouses, except in this case it’s two rooms.

It’s largely volunteer driven. Meghan Agresto, the president of the board of directors, is a volunteer as are many of the citizens who come in to give supplementary lessons. 

When it comes to things like beginning-of-grade or end-of-grade tests, Agresto is philosophical. With such a small number of students, achievement scores can be skewed by the small sample size. 

The school got a C on the state A-F grades last year. But to put that in perspective, they also only had one student in fifth grade, and small numbers of students in other grades. Agresto said that any data person would tell you that’s an unusual sample size from which to draw conclusions. 

Agresto says this of her school and its mission. 

“In addition to making sure our students are learning the standardized goals that exist, we also value things like relationships, students finding their voice, and community involvement, which won’t ever be part of the state’s assessments. And we do think that we’re rigorous and thriving on those scales.”

Watch the video and find out about the creation of this unique charter school. 

Alex Granados

Alex Granados was the senior reporter for EducationNC from December 2014-March 2023.