Charter school brings “Joy” to NECD

By Chanel Coley
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE


What used to stand as Y.E. Smith School on Driver Street in NECD will be the new location of Maureen Joy Charter School beginning in August.

The school, currently located on Garrett Road in Durham, has 350 students enrolled and will be able to grow to approximately 375 students next year in its new location.

Renovations are under way for at the Driver Street location that will house the Maureen Joy Charter School beginning next August. (Staff photo by Matt Phillips)

Alex Quigley, current principal of the school explains that this is not a second campus for the school.

“We no longer will operate in our current site, so all Maureen Joy Charter School students will attend school on Driver Street,” said Quigley.

A 2011 article in the News and Observer stated that TROSA bought the building in 1998 and rezoned it for conversion for elderly housing. They later agreed to sell the building to Self-Help Credit Union.

The Self-Help Credit Union describes itself as a non-profit organization that reaches out to female, low-income, low-wealth, rural and minority communities to provide financing and other support for organizations and people often left out of the economic mainstream.

“Demolition and construction/renovations are well underway and progress reports are excellent,” said Quigley. “Everything is on track for us to open school next August in the new facility.”

The principal also explained that Maureen Joy Charter School is meant to serve low-income children and moving into the new location will allow expansion for students who from Northeast Central Durham.

For instance, the majority of the students live closer to where the new facility is located.  From a geographical standpoint, the move puts them in a much better location for access to the community of the students.

“We believe we can be part of the ongoing revitalization efforts in East Durham and become truly part of that community,” said Quigley.

Quigley says that he and the school will be proud to work alongside so many people committed to further expanding all that East Durham has to offer.

The school is a uniform-based school and is also tuition free. Students are selected by lottery when the number of applicants exceeds the number of slots. Maureen Joy provides busing for most locations in the Durham area.

”We will also be in a site that has a city bus stop nearby,” said Quigley. This is something that has not been true of their current location.

Having a bus stop at the new location will allow many parents without cars to benefit from the public transportation.

Quigley also believes the new location will better position the school to meet the needs of the families since the new school will be closer.

The school’s size and facilities will allow them to expand their programmatic offerings to the scholars and enable the teachers to become more specialized in their content areas.

Other things that are planned for Maureen Joy Charter School will a gymnasium that will expand their athletic offerings and also a local middle school.

“Maureen Joy goes from K-8,” said Quigley. “We expect many parents will be excited about having a middle school option right around the corner.”

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