UCA receives 10-year renewal

ASHEBORO — Uwharrie Charter Academy has further confirmation that its long-term future appears bright.

Randolph County’s only charter school was notified that the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has voted to recommend a 10-year renewal for the school, which has grades K-12.

“This is our first renewal, and the max you can get is 10 years,” said Sharon Castelli, the school’s superintendent. “Which means we’re going to be around a little longer.”

The final stamp of approval should come from the Charter Schools Advisory Board in the spring, something that’s considered just a formality at this point.

UCA is growing significantly, now at more than 1,800 students. The breakdown is 536 in elementary school (grades K-4), 647 in middle school (grades 5-8), and 661 in high school.

UCA opened in 2013 with 181 students in ninth and 10th. Once the high school was established, lower grades were added.

A new high school building and an adjacent career academy are on target to open in the summer, Castelli said. At that point, the elementary school will move into the current high school, putting all the students on the same campus. Eventually, a separate K-2 wing could be built at the elementary school, Castelli said.

The elementary school is located on Lewallen Road in a former Klaussner Home Furnishings building. That’s about 5 miles from the main campus.

Castelli, who has been in her position since October 2020, said the school had met many of its goals. 

“We’ve been on a good track,” she said. “We’ve been celebrating (the NC Department of Instruction’s decision) all week.”

The renewal process began in September. It involved interviews with parents, staff, and board members, along with an evaluation of the school’s financial status and other data.

UCA has had success in athletics, winning state championships in baseball and wrestling (as recently as this month) on the Class 1-A level. It’s the only high school in the county without a football program.

By Bob Sutton