On August 27, 2015, Southern Wake Academy students in Grades 7-12 opened the 2015-2016 school year in a brand new school facility! The 44,000+ square foot building more than doubled the existing school facility space in use by students and staff previously for SWA. The facility has 23 teaching spaces including a collegiate-sized gymnasium, a multi-purpose room, regular and resource classrooms, and offices. SWA will continue to use existing modular classroom and office space for students in Grade 6 and for future growth as the school considers future expansion of classroom space for the middle school as a separate facility.
The new building is the result of a three-year planning and construction process and is located on the same site where the school has been since 2010 when SWA purchased a site used previously by a private school. Since the initial opening of the campus with 77 students, SWA added a second modular building in 2012, and now with the newest addition can accommodate over 400 students. The current membership is 370 with anticipated growth next year to take the school to approximately 450 students.
SWA serves students in the southern region of Wake County as the only operating charter school in the southern half of the county, although other approved schools will be opening soon. Growth has been continuous since moving to the current location, as growth of the entire southern Wake County area continues at a rather rapid rate. Within the 5-year period since 2010, SWA has grown over 500% with obvious growing pains in accommodating students’ needs in Exceptional Children’s program area, staffing for the entire school, and outdoor facilities for physical education and athletics. Some of these are areas of ongoing needs as in many or most charter schools and other public schools in high growth areas.
Academically, SWA had an excellent year in 2014-2015, with a new ten-year charter approved by the State Board of Education with the support of the Charter Advisory Board and the school MET growth in state testing and increased the performance rate from the last several years. The greatest challenge academically has been in middle grades due to the high number of students entering public school and/or middle school for the first time with little or no experience with or exposure to the state testing program. Thus, one of the focus areas for the current year is middle school mathematics support through a new technology-based remediation program specifically for middle school students and additional staffing to support the middle school program.
Challenges for SWA include space for athletic teams and for physical education classes outside the gymnasium. With required physical education for middle school students each year plus the high school graduation and elective requirements, space indoors and outdoors is a continuous challenge. One of the photos included reflects students using a parking lot segment for physical activity. The school hopes to expand land acquisition efforts within the current school year to accommodate some of these growing needs.
For information on our building program or other areas, please contact us via information available from our website.
Carroll Reed, Senior Advisor
Dave Thomas, Principal
Winnie Lameck, Dean of Students