ACE’s mission is to equip students from all backgrounds to succeed in the college and career of their choice by driving academic excellence, developing strong character, and instilling an entrepreneurial mindset.

A.C.E. Academy was developed by Laila Minott, Shawn Smalls, and Shannon Martin who have been providing educational services throughout Cabarrus County and other school districts for ten years. Because of that experience, Smalls, Minott, and Martin understand, appreciate, and respect the value of education. Developing a charter school in Cabarrus County has been a passion for all three. Smalls, Minott, and Martin are the founding members of the charter and have recruited all members of the Board by matching their skills, interests, experience, knowledge, and commitment based on the needs of the Board. The three members sought out a diverse Board that included individuals that have community affiliations, education experience, and ability to create business partnerships that will lead to the schools operational success and sustainability. By networking and asking colleagues for referrals, Smalls, Minott, and Martin pursued thought-provoking individuals that bring prestige and advocacy to the mission of the school. The programs emphasis will be school culture, entrepreneurship integration, low student to teacher ratios (20:1 on average), flexible and supportive structural systems, project-based learning, and increased student talk.

A.C.E. Academy will use a research-based curriculum that aligns with the North Carolina standards to best meet the needs of the targeted population. The curriculum is consistent with college preparedness expectations of the North Carolina Department of Education to allow for a smooth transition from A.C.E. Academy to high school and will include Fountas and Pinnell for Language Arts and Houghton Mifflin for Math, Science, and Social Studies in grades K-8.

A.C.E. Academy believes there is a business aspect involved in every career pathway. A.C.E. teachers will work to connect business concepts within the core curriculum. Activities, simulation, and projects will give students an applied hands-on experience that ensures students have a solid grounding in economic, personal finance, and entrepreneurship concepts. This instructional program is designed to enhance the core curriculum and to give teachers, curriculum directors, and trainers the tools needed to effectively teach entrepreneurial concepts. Teachers will integrate business skills, ethics, and business practice into the core curriculum by focusing on four areas of business: Management and Leadership, Sales and Marketing, finance, and Economy, and Social Entrepreneurship. These four areas will give A.C.E. Academy a foundation for integration but will not limit curricular adaptation and integration as the business world changes in our global economy. It is never too early to teach a child about the business world around them or to instill in them an entrepreneurial spirit that will help them excel in future careers. A.C.E. Academy is not a business school; rather, it is a school with a business culture and emphasis.

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