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A Brief History

Millennium Charter Academy is an independent public school serving grades kindergarten through twelve. It is structured to move forward thoughtfully, purposefully, and quickly, fueled by its Mission and Vision as embodied by its leadership, staff, and parent body. As a charter school, MCA is an independent public school of choice, freed from many governmental rules but accountable for results. The school is open to all who wish to attend. Since tax dollars pay for education, there is no tuition charged. The school is accountable to its governing body, the Board of Directors of Millennium Education Foundation, its parent body, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and specific federal departments.

What sets MCA apart? MCA offers a curriculum and culture in the classical, liberal arts tradition, integrating the humanities, the arts, and the sciences. It is a whole curriculum for the entire person. We hold a high view of humanity, believing that each student comes endowed with worth and value and deserves to be taught in healthy, authentic relationships with parents and teachers. We believe that the world makes sense and is understandable. Therefore, we seek to discover our place in it and pursue and promote all that is good, true, and beautiful. We believe that the ultimate goal of education is the formation of the individual’s character toward wisdom, virtue, and human flourishing. Our teaching focuses on the overarching ideas that all humans must ponder. We reach toward those big ideas while carefully building skills and delivering solid content through quality literature, history, and the arts and sciences.

Core Knowledge Recognition and a Brief History

1974       Ray Budde, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, originates the idea of charter schools.

1988        President of American Federation of Teachers Albert Shanker embraces the idea of calling for public school reform

1991        Minnesota passes the first charter school law.

1996        North Carolina passed with bi-partisan support the charter school law sponsored by Senator  Gulley (D-Durham) and Representative Wood (R-Guilford), capping the number of the charter school at one hundred and realigning the relationship between the family and the state with the family having more autonomy.

1998        Four families in Mount Airy begin discussing the idea of “a better choice in education.”

2000        Millennium Charter Academy (MCA) opens its doors with about 100 kindergarten – fourth grades students and thirteen staff members, renting unused space from the Mount Airy City Schools.

2001        MCA adds the fifth grade, completing the grammar grades kindergarten – five.

2002        MCA builds the lower school gym

In 2003, Millennium Charter Academy became a Core Knowledge school, fully implementing the Core Knowledge Sequence into its curriculum. Since then, the Core Knowledge Foundation has recognized MCA as an official visitation site, opening its doors to schools across the nation interested in this curriculum. Please refer to the curriculum section of this website for additional information, or visit the Core Knowledge Schools website.

2006        MCA adds wings 3 and 4 and grade six, with the seventh and the eighth grades to follow in the two subsequent years (completing the dialectic school or steps six-eight).

2010        MCA publishes its Vision Statement, clearly delineating a classical education model.

2011        North Carolina Senate Bill 8 removes the cap of 100 charter schools, and the number of North Carolina charter schools begins proliferating.

In 2014, Hillsdale College awarded Millennium Charter Academy its Salvatori Prize for Excellence in Teaching. This prize is awarded annually to one classical charter school whose teaching is exceptional.

2014        MCA adds wing 4, which includes the commons, along with the high school’s ninth grade with grades ten, eleven, and twelve to follow in the three subsequent years.

2017        MCA adds wing 5, which includes the atrium, upper school gymnasium, accommodating grades nine-twelve and completing the rhetoric school, i.e., the high school.

2018        MCA graduates its first senior class.

2022        MCA emerges from the COVID pandemic, having offered both face-to-face and remote learning and now seeing its first MCA graduated college graduates.