In Aug. 2020, UNC Charlotte will open a new public elementary school, Niner University Elementary at Amay James (NUE). This school was established by and will be operated by some of UNC Charlotte’s education experts.
NUE is located at the former Amay James Pre-K Center and will be the sixth North Carolina school established under the North Carolina General Assembly’s UNC Laboratory School Initiative. The program’s website states, “The UNC Laboratory School Initiative aims to provide enhanced educational programming to students in low-performing schools and to plan demonstration sites for the preparation of future teachers and school administrators.”
During its first year, NUE will serve 150 students from grades K-2 and add an additional grade level each year until 2024 when it will serve grades K-5 for a total of 500 students.
“When I think about an elementary school being established by a college I think that elementary school will be amazing, especially thinking about how much farther along they will be in the practices puts them above the rest,” said Madeline Hays, sophomore in the Dual Program in Special Education and Elementary Education.
While UNC Charlotte will be operating NUE, the school will still receive support services such as meals and transportation from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system.
One of NUE’s primary focuses will be literacy and ensuring that it is incorporated into all subjects. This will also include helping to ensure that students are able to proficiently read by an important benchmark, 3rd grade.
In addition to its focus on literacy, NUE is also creating a school-based mental health program. This program will include resources such as play therapy. Among NUE’s staff will be a licensed counselor and other health care professionals who, working with interns and faculty from the University, intend to promote wellness for all students.
“I think that commitment is a great goal for NUE and something that needs to be the goal of many other schools in the area,” Hays said. “I think mental health is something that is often overlooked in schools when it should be a main focus.”
UNC Charlotte’s Cato College of Education is being provided opportunities from NUE to train teachers, counselors and school leaders. In particular, for teachers in training, NUE will offer multiple semesters of clinicals.
Also, selected juniors in Cato College of Education will be able to spend their junior year at NUE where they will gain valuable experience of being able to observe and learn more within a classroom setting.
“I would love to be a part of NUE by doing observations. I think it should be required by every Niner who seeks a future in education,” Hays said.
On NUE’s website, parents and caregivers can find more information on the school as well as apply for their students.
“The generation of teachers that will be graduating from UNCC in the next few years will be above the rest because of the modern practices we are learning and the exposure we get,” Hays said. “For an elementary school to be filled with all of these young educators will give the students more opportunities to excel because we will be using the latest teaching tactics.