Parents of rising kindergarteners have choices when it comes to where to send their kids for school next fall. In addition to quality neighborhood schools, Mint Hill also offers families magnet and charter options.
Queen’s Grant Community School is a free public charter school serving 755 students in grades kindergarten through eight. Queen’s Grant was founded in 2002 by a voluntary local school board in partnership with National Heritage Academies. Its founders designed the school with an eye toward academic excellence.
In kindergarten, Queen’s Grant students focus on acquiring fundamental reading and math skills as well as learning the school’s structure. As early as kindergarten, instructors begin to teach both college readiness and morals.
In addition to an academically challenging curriculum, Queen’s Grant offers a character-based education that integrates moral focus lessons into everyday instruction. Each month, the entire school focuses on a new “virtue of the month.” Focusing on characteristics like respect, integrity, and compassion help students learn the importance of making good choices as they grow and mature.
Queen’s Grant’s academic rigor in combination with its moral focus is part of its appeal for many local families. “We felt confident she would have strong academics,” says Mint Hill resident Ellee, parent of a second grader at Queen’s Grant, “but QGCS also promotes a moral focus for students. This teaches students, age-appropriate monthly lessons related to integrity, compassion, and perseverance.” The school’s dress code also made it an appealing choice for Ellee. “It made it simple for a 5-year-old to get dress and lowered in class distractions from clothing,” she adds.
In order to be successful, Queen’s Grant relies on parents, students and teachers to work together. Parents are always welcome to join students and teachers in the classroom and are encouraged to address their child’s progress frequently with teachers. Communication with staff and teachers is one of the things Ellee has loved about Queen’s Grant. “The teachers themselves, especially the music and art for the elementary, have been wonderful,” says Ellee. “Mr. Bruce Becker challenges the students with a variety of songs for small school concerts and assemblies. Ms. Toni Thomas has a yearly spring art show where all students have their work matted and displayed in the halls.”
The age criteria for attending Queen’s Grant is the same as that of entering kindergarten at a neighborhood school (five years old by August 31). However, Queen’s Grant draws its population from a much wider geographic area than a neighborhood school. Every school-aged child in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County is assigned a home school based on his or her residential address; to apply to Queen’s Grant, families must only reside in the state of North Carolina.
Just like neighborhood schools, Queen’s Grant offers a free and reduced lunch program and a variety of extracurricular activities. However, there are a few key differences between Queen’s Grant and a neighborhood school. Because a smaller number of students are drawn from a wider geographic area, there is no bus transportation available to Queen’s Grant. Parents are expected to provide their children with transportation to and from school each day. Queen’s Grant also does not offer before and after school care; however, they do have relationships with several local daycare providers who are able to provide transportation to and from the school.
Families interested in attending Queen’s Grant should plan to apply during the open enrollment period, which ends at 5:00 pm on the last day of February. Families can apply online or call or stop by the school office for an application. All applications received during the open enrollment period receive equal consideration. Applications received earlier are not prioritized, and applications received later are not penalized.
If the number of applications received during open enrollment exceeds the number of seats available at Queen’s Grant, seats are allotted by a random selection lottery. This year’s lottery is scheduled for March 29 from 9:00 am – 11:00 am. It is open to the public; all applicants are welcome to attend. When all available seats are filled, names continue to be drawn. Applicants who are not accepted are placed on a waiting list in the order in which their names were selected.
Although the prospect of facing a lottery and potential wait list can be daunting, Queen’s Grant encourages those placed on the waiting list to remain hopeful. Students on waiting lists continue to receive school information as it is not unusual for a small percentage of accepted students to select other options prior to the start of school. Openings can and do become available, and these openings are filled by those on waiting lists.
Mint Hill families can apply to any charter school in North Carolina, keeping in mind that most charter schools do not provide bus transportation. To explore charter school options in North Carolina, visit http://www.ncpublicschools.org/charterschools/schools/. For more information about Queen’s Grant, including information on upcoming kindergarten information meetings, visit www.nhaschools.com/schools/queensgrant.