Dr. Mike Smith spoke to the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce about Queen’s Grant High School. Photo by Amanda Waters.
Queen’s Grant High School principal, Dr. Mike Smith, presented a talk to the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce last Thursday entitled “Queen’s Grant High School: Our legacy, past, present, and future.” Queen’s Grant is a local public charter school founded in 2006. Its doors opened to students in the fall of 2007, and it moved from the Garr Christian Academy to its current location on Idlewild Road in 2009.
Smith clarified that a charter school is a school of choice, and it does not raise taxes. Charter schools exist on the same money allocated to other public schools, and Queen’s Grant does not receive money for buildings.
Before coming to Mint Hill, Smith was the founding principal of the Greensboro Academy. Mayor Ted Biggers and a group of about 25 parents visited Greensboro to learn more about building a school for Mint Hill. What resulted was a partnership with National Heritage Academies and the founding of Queen’s Grant Community School, offering kindergarten through eighth grade. The success of that institution inspired the establishment of Queen’s Grant High School. Smith joined the staff as principal last fall.
Presently, Queen’s Grant proudly offers 10 advanced placement courses. It is a no-nonsense campus that holds students accountable.
“If you can remember what school was like in the late ‘50s, early ‘60s, that’s what ours is like. We don’t tolerate anything,” said Smith. “Expectations are extremely high.”
In the next few years, Smith wants to see 18 AP courses offered. He wants an enrollment of 750 students and another campus.
“Sports are not our focus,” he said, but he does want sports to be available to students. Volunteers are assisting with athletic fields. The school is adding soccer, baseball, and lacrosse.
As Queen’s Grant looks to the future, it will continue to hold students accountable and prepare them for college.
“We will not lower the bar. You have to rise to our expectations,” said Smith.
A large majority of last year’s graduating class of 88 students said they intended to further their academic careers – 95 percent. As a whole, the class had been accepted to over 50 colleges, including William and Mary, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, the Citadel, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Baylor.