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About This School

Irwin Academic Center is a public elementary school in Charlotte. The principal of Irwin Academic Center is Jo Shirley and can be contacted at p571@cms.k12.nc.us. 605 students attend Irwin Academic Center and are mostly Black, non-Hispanic; Hispanic; and Multiracial. 26% of the 605 students here have subsidized lunches. The student to teacher ratio at Irwin Academic Center is 15:1. Highland Mill Montessori Elementary is one of the nearest elementary schools.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Arts

    • Chorus
    • Drawing painting
  • Languages Taught

    • Spanish
  • Sports

    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • P.E. classes
    • Soccer

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
Black, non-Hispanic 61% 42%
Hispanic 4% 18%
Multiracial 3% 3%
White, non-Hispanic 22% 32%
Asian/Pacific Islander 13% 5%
Asian 10% 5%
American Indian/Alaskan Native 0.5% 0.5%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.3% 0.5%
Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0% %

Student Subgroups

Subgroup School District
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 26% 57%

Community Rating & Reviews

  • (4 months ago)

    We have been at Irwin a couple years now and I've always enjoyed how wonderfully engaged concerned and welcoming the administrative staff had been in the past. However with the change in leadership to the new principal all that has changed for the worst. The current principal Jo Shirley is significantly lacking in social skills. She fails to meet/greet parents when she sees someone new as others have done. Afterall she's the one that's new - not the parents that have been with Irwin. She has an elitist attitude which has resulted in unhappiness with the teachers staff and parents. This doesn't appear to be the right school for Jo Shirley. She is perhaps better suited to manage high risk schools as her background would suggest. I only hope that this principal's reign will not undo all the hard work that was put forth to make Irwin a school of excellence from an academic AND social standpoint.

  • (4 months ago)

    Much better off out of the school system. We have attended four years. Bullying is a big issue in fifth grade. There is a racial divide. Administration is really bad right now. Some good teachers. Before and after school is what it is unsupervised daycare.

  • (8 months ago)

    As a parent of children at Irwin Academic Center I was drawn to this school for its reputation for excellence as well as the positive and welcoming atmosphere for parents and students. The teachers are wonderful and really care about the success of my children as well as the other students. However I do agree with the other parents in that the administrative leadership of the school has lost sight of the mission of the school as a whole and how to facilitate a caring creative and innovative school culture for learning. It is apparent in the unhappiness of the staff and the hostility of the new leadership that the positive qualities of Irwin are in jeopardy. I do hope that Irwin maintains its excellent reputation and school culture and retains the high quality teachers that are currently there.

  • (9 months ago)

    My son has been with this school (and Villa Heights as its previous location) since Kindergarten and he is now in 5th grade. Overall he has had an excellent educational experience due to the awesome and dedicated teachers. If he'd been in a typical elementary school he would have been bored to tears and probably disruptive. However I am concerned about the new leadership (principal and vice principal). I'm not sure they really "get it" in terms of what the school is. So far my concerns have been met with complete disinterest by the new leaders. I had honestly hoped for better than Mr. LeGrand but Shirley and Matthews are actually making him look very good by comparison. These two need to be more in touch with the parents and their concerns or I fear this wonderful school will lose its glory in the future. For the sake of the kids I really hope not.

  • (1 year ago)

    Irwin Academic Center is a great place for gifted children. My third-grade daughter is kept challenged without getting overwhelmed or burned out. The teachers and school keep parents constantly informed about their children's progress and school happenings. The teachers seem to get alot of support from administraion and truely seem to love teaching. The school allows students to bring their own technology to class and use the school's wi-fi for class projects and research. My daughter's teacher mixes in fun activities after stressful activities (like tests) to keep the kids in a good mood. My only complaint would be the after-school care coordinator who seems to be sick of her job and being around children. Luckily her support staff compensate for this. If you have a child that is bored and not challenged at their current school I would definitely recommend trying to get into this magnet school.

  • (1 year ago)

    I have a Kindergartner 3rd grader in the TD program and a 5th grader in the TD program at Irwin. All of the teachers my children have had have all been amazing. The curriculum is rigorous and our extra curricular activities have suffered because of the additional 45 minutes CMS added to the school day as well as the long commute to and from school. Over all IAC is wonderful and we feel very fortunate to be part of this school community.

  • (1 year ago)

    Irwin Academic Center (IAC) is by far one of the best magnet schools in greater Charlotte and surrounding counties. No wonder it is ranked at 99th percentile by NC dept of Education compared to other Charter and private schools in & around Charlotte. Our child was earlier attending a private school and we feel we have wasted thousands of $$ in comparison to IAC. Teachers are very knowledgeable and EXTRA talented. The curriculum is quite challenging and the leadership qualities of the principal PTA & school staff is worth applauding. They make learning so much fun and interesting with field trips hands on experience with science math arts even at elementary school level and our child enjoys this school very very much. The extra curricular clubs like chess language puzzles Lego clubs science math clubs/Olympiads girls on the run etc are just a few to mention of the many activities that make this school's learning environment extra ordinary and well above PAR. We are very pleased with the results we have been noticing in our child. My child LOVES LOVES school. We as parents cannot emphasize more on how great this school is! We definitely recommend this school to any parent!

  • (2 years ago)

    The new school building is located in the heart of Charlotte (Uptown) and is one of the BEST schools in the city for various reasons.This school is absolutely fantastic with challenging curriculum and strong leadership qualities that every parent envisions for their children. The school environment is very well disciplined and the teachers are so talented. Homework and projects even in kindergarten are quite creative & challenging for the kids and bring the best out of their abilities. The assignments/projects and even day to day homework make the children think and understand the subject or concept as an entity. I have seen a tremendous improvement in my child's academics. We as parents are absolutely happy and truly thankful to all those staff members for their exquisite teamwork and the principal & teachers who make this school as one of the Top notch schools in Charlotte metropolitan area. I would HIGHLY recommend this school to any one parent wants to send their kids to a challenging and stimulating environment. This school and its outstanding curriculum is going to turn your average kid into one of the smartest ones and you will NOT be disappointed.

  • (2 years ago)

    While not a school for every child it is an outstanding environment for the high-achieving child. The pace is fast the curriculum is engaging the teachers are well-trained enthusiastic and kind. The administrative and PTA leadership are all you could hope for- highly competent and motivated. We love this school.

  • (2 years ago)

    This school has doubled in size this year and with all of the changes that have taken place I feel that the rigorous program has still continued. The parent and teacher involvement in this school is incomparable to any other school I have seen. They offer a very fast paced curriculum for high achieving students. If you child is not a fast learner or gifted they may seriously struggle in this environment. I've seen it happen to many. Gifted children really excel at this school!

  • (2 years ago)

    The staff at this school are top notch. The kids at this school are top notch. The parents at this school are top notch. Most have said that this school is a private education at a public school cost. One of the best performing schools in all of North Carolina have led this school to many accolades and awards. The school provides an extensive amount of extracurricular before during and after school that enhances it's model of gifted education. If you have a kid that needs a challenging and rigorous education this is the place.

  • (7 years ago)

    Absolutely wonderful school! I could not ask for more. Parent Teacher Student involvement is top notch.

  • (7 years ago)

    A great school. Teachers are well educated. The children bring homework everyday- a must if you want your child to be smart!

  • (9 years ago)

    My child is in kindergarten and so far we love this school. I searched long and hard for a school like this and the test scores and curriculum were a big factor in choosing this school. It seems to me that the kids are learning so well here because of the wonderful teaching staff awesome principal small size (only two classes per grade) and great parents who choose this school because they want their kids to get the best education they can.

  • (11 years ago)

    This is the best public elementary school in the state! The small school atmosphere enhances the teamwork that is easily apparent between teachers staff and parents. I would highly recommend this school for all who are interested in a challenging and rewarding curriculum for their child.

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