RALEIGH— A free event taking place on May 7 will offer information about a wide range of K-12 education options to Moore County parents.
The Moore County School Choice Expo and Education Summit will be an open house style event being held from 1-5 p.m. at the Pinehurst Village Hall located at 395 Magnolia Road in Pinehurst.
The expo’s description says it will “bring education providers and parents under one roof so that parents can learn about the variety of educational options in our county.”
One of the expo’s lead organizer is Caroline Kelly, who grew up in the United Kingdom but whose husband’s family is from Moore County. The couple decided to retire to Moore County in 2012. The Kelly’s have grandchildren who attend Wake County public schools.
“COVID was very detrimental for schools all over the U.S.,” said Kelly when asked what sparked her interest in organizing the expo. “I have spent my career in World Language education. I taught in both public and Christian schools, and I served in leadership for state and national professional teacher organizations where my goal was to support quality education for children everywhere.”
Kelly continued, “When I discovered that Moore County schools were not the quality that I would want for my own children, I felt sure there would be other families who would be similarly concerned. A chance conversation with a group of friends led us to put this event together.”
“Since we know that a number of parents are looking for alternatives in education, we thought it would be a service for families if we could bring representatives of all the alternatives together in one place,” said Kelly. “Parents will be able to think about the best fit for their children and education providers will have a chance to learn about the needs and hopes of local parents.”
Thirteen schools and vendors covering public school, private school, charter school and homeschooling have confirmed they will be at the expo with another six still undecided. Organizations that will be represented at the expo currently include:
• All Saints Academy
• Calvary Christian Schools
• Classical Conversations
• Covenant Preparatory Schools
• Fellowship Christian Academy
• Moore County Schools
• Pope John Paul II
• Thales Academy
• The Heritage Creative Arts Schools
• Weymouth Pines Classical Academy
• North Carolinians for Home Education
• NC Coalition for Charter Schools
Moore County School Board member Robert Levy tells North State Journal that “Moore County Schools supports not only traditional public schools, but school choice as well.”
“At the conference, we will feature Connect Academy, an online virtual school with an expected fall enrollment of about 600 students,” Levy said. “We recognize that most students benefit from traditional face-to- face classroom education. However, a significant number of students do better in a virtual environment. This is especially true for many of our military connected families whose travel and other scheduling benefit from the flexibility found in a virtual school.”
Levy also said Moore County Public Schools will feature its “Blend-Ed program” for home schooling.
“It allows home school families to engage in the partial use of our public school classes in order to enhance subject material like science and advanced math, subjects which a parent might not feel comfortable or able to teach,” Levy said of Blend-Ed. “Meanwhile, with Blend-Ed, the parent maintains the student in a home school environment with full parental control. This option also qualifies students to participate in sports, the arts and other extracurricular activities while remaining home schooled.”
NC Coalition for Charter Schools Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis told North State Journal her organization is “delighted to participate” in the Moore County event.
“Families in our state have the benefit of various educational options, but many parents have no idea,” Kakadelis said in an email. “The Coalition makes sure parents realize that charter schools are tuition free public schools.”
“It is extremely important for families to realize charter schools are as diverse as students. Parents need to ask questions and visit schools before enrolling their students,” said Kakadelis.
Looking into the future, Kelly said that her group intends to hold another event like this education summit that would be in partnership with next year’s National School Choice Week taking place in January of 2023.