Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press
A Carolina Public Press analysis of 2010-2011 Adequate Yearly Progress reports -- the measurement of a school's success in meeting federal No Child Left Behind requirements -- revealed that nearly half of the region's evaluated schools failed to meet their education goals. Photo by Angie Newsome
Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press

Two new charter schools in Buncombe and Henderson counties have applied to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to open in the fall of 2016.

FernLeaf Community Charter School, to be located in Henderson County, proposes to open a K-7 school. By year five, according to its current application, it anticipates enrolling more than 360 students.

This is not the first time FernLeaf has applied to open a charter school in the county.

In FernLeaf’s application that was submitted in 2013, leaders stated that the school’s mission is “to foster a rich learning environment that embodies the essence of community, understanding and the human spirit.” According to that application, leaders expressed interest in providing a small community-based school for students in Henderson and Buncombe counties. It’s proposed location, according to the 2013 application, was in northern Henderson County.

Read the 2013 application below.

Asheville Math and Science Academy, to be located in Buncombe County, proposes to open a K-10 school. By year five, it anticipates enrolling more than 600 students.

Like FernLeaf, the Math and Science Academy also submitted an application in 2013. In it, leaders said the school’s focus would be to “partner with parents, educators and the community to have its students that attain educational excellence through a rigorous math and science-integrated program with an emphasis on sustainable technologies.”

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican who represents much of Western North Carolina, wrote a support letter then, saying: “There is a growing demand for STEM based education to meet the changing needs of the economy of our area. According to a report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the United Sates need to produce 1 million more STEM-degree graduates over the next decade.”

Read the 2013 application below.

The two WNC-based charter school proposals were among 40 submitted to the state’s charter school division in September.

According to the Department of Public Instruction, each charter school applicant was required to pay a $1,000 application fee and perform criminal background checks on proposed board members.

But that’s just the beginning of the process.

The Office of Charter Schools will review the applications, forward them to the Charter School Advisory Board for review and interviews. That board will, eventually, make recommendations to the State Board of Education for approval.

There are currently 148 public charter schools open in North Carolina, according to the department.

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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