UNC Charlotte to Operate New Public Elementary School

Niner University Elementary
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A new public elementary school developed and operated by education experts at UNC Charlotte will open at the former Amay James Pre-K Center starting in August 2020. 

Niner University Elementary at Amay James (NUE) is the sixth school across the state created in response to the North Carolina General Assembly’s UNC Laboratory School Initiative, a program created to provide enhanced educational programming to students in low-performing schools. 

NUE will strive to create lifelong learners and responsible, caring citizens through an authentic and meaningful curriculum. 

“We’ve spent the last year refining an already strong academic program and plan of support for our students and families. We are thrilled to open Niner University Elementary at Amay James and look forward to working with and in this historic Charlotte community,” said Pamela Broome, principal of NUE.

In its first year of operation, NUE will serve 150 students in grades K-2, adding an additional grade level each year through 2024. At capacity, the school will serve 300 students in grades K-5. NUE will be operated by UNC Charlotte, but will receive support services from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, including transportation and meals for students. 

Dozens of UNC Charlotte faculty and staff from across campus contributed to the school’s development.

“We have a few important priorities including training the teachers of tomorrow and serving our community. We don’t just study theory, we bring it to life through practice and Niner University Elementary is a great example of this model in action,” said Teresa Petty, interim dean of the Cato College of Education.

NUE’s rich learning environment will incorporate literacy across all subject areas. Teachers will engage classes creatively, including question and project-based instruction, and students will work together to explore complex, real-world tasks. Early curriculum will include a focus on helping students read proficiently by third grade, a crucial benchmark for future academic success.

In addition to academic rigor, the school will have a “whole child” focus and support achievement by engaging students outside the classroom. A committee of UNC Charlotte’s Cato College of Education faculty has identified a social emotional learning curriculum that focuses on creating a supportive community and teaches skills in areas like self-awareness and responsible decision making.

NUE is developing a school-based mental health program, too, and plans to offer resources, including play therapy. The school will staff a licensed counselor, as well as other health care professionals who will work in coordination with university faculty and interns to support total wellness for students.

NUE will also provide the Cato College of Education the opportunity to train and support the growth of teachers, counselors and school leaders. Teacher preparation and development at NUE will be centered on embedded, multi-semester clinicals for teachers in training. Selected candidates from the Cato College of Education will spend  their junior year at the school, which will offer extensive opportunities to observe and practice what they have learned.

Parents and caregivers can learn more about NUE and apply for their young learner to attend at the school’s website