Cardinal Charter Academy Set to Open in Cary

Cardinal Charter Academy is located at 1020 St. Charles Place near Downtown Cary

Cardinal Charter Academy is located at 1020 St. Charles Place near Downtown Cary

Cary, NC — Amidst all the controversy over public school teacher pay and our overcrowded schools, Cary will open a new public charter school in just a few weeks. Its called Cardinal Charter Academy and it will be located at the corner of NE Maynard Road and North Harrison Avenue. Crystal Scillitani, former principal of Efland Cheeks Elementary School in Orange County, will be the school’s founding principal.

Tuition Free

Cardinal Charter is a tuition-free, public charter school.

The location, within the Maynard Loop of older Cary, has many parents excited at being offered a choice. It’s one that they must apply for and be accepted, but never-the-less, a choice apart from the resident assigned schools; that’s different from the magnet application process.

Part of a Much Larger Organization

Cardinal Charter is part of Charter Schools USA umbrella (CSUSA), one of the largest providers of charter school management services in the nation. CSUSA manages private and municipal charters for grades Pre-K through 12 and has provided their own curriculum for their students.

For those who think opting for a charter school means eliminating the need for the “Common Core” think again: The company has a program called the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum which is aligned to specific Common Core State Standards and is the framework of what is taught at each grade level. By aligning to the Common Core State Standards, the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum ensures high expectations with a focus on college and career readiness from primary grades through high school.

The school also requires the parents to volunteer as part of the way to better link the parental involvement to student achievement. From their website:

We know that children enjoy greater success in school when the adults they admire most take an interest in their education. Our students’ parents are required to commit to 20 volunteer hours each year (30 for 2 or more children) for the school. These hours foster closer relationships and ensure a more secure learning environment.

Cardinal Charter Starting with Starting K-6

The school will start with about 661 students in grades K- 6, and each year enrollment will increase as the school adds additional grades.

Within seven years, it is predicted to teach through the twelfth grade with approximately 2300 total students.

Students Wear Uniforms

Although the school is a public school, all students will be required to purchase and wear uniforms every day to school. These must be purchased through Educational Outfitters located at 1331 Buck Jones Road.

Enrollment is open to all students in North Carolina , although no transportation is provided. A large carpool line has been installed at the St Charles Place circular road off of North Harrison and Maynard.

What’s the Difference

Charter schools are taxpayer-funded, tuition-free schools that are exempt from some of the regulations that traditional public schools must follow. In the application with the state, Cardinal board member E. Allen Taylor states the differentiating factor for the school will be their emphasis on technology in their teaching methods.

Teachers will be trained to integrate technology into the student learning environment to increase academic achievement for each student. The Academy has designed innovative reporting tools through the proprietary SIS, including the standards- focused eGrade Book and Narrative Report Card, all of which will assist the Academy in analyzing student assessment data and monitoring student progress to ensure academic improvement.

Cardinal Charter Academy plans to be ready in time for the start of classes in the fall.


Story by Lindsey Chester.


Education coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Hopewell Academy and by The Grove School.