K-10 Grade Tuition-Free Public Charter School

Founded in 1997, Durham Charter School (formerly Healthy Start Academy) is a K-10 grade, tuition-free, public charter school. We are growing with nearly 650 current students between two campuses near downtown Durham. 93% of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch, as certified by our annual income verification process.

In addition to Academics, we offer the following:

  • Athletics
  • Art
  • Orchestra
  • Chess

In 2020, the North Carolina State Board of Education awarded Durham Charter (formerly Healthy Start Academy) a 10-year charter – the longest term possible for NC charter schools. 

Mission and Goal

Our Mission is

 “To deliver services through a coordinated, comprehensive, forward-looking approach to educate our diverse student body by developing skills and talents in order to help them make a positive contribution in our global society.” 

Our Goal is 

“To prepare our students for success in college or career.” 

Our Vision

Upon earning a 10-year charter in the spring of 2020, the school launched an ambitious plan to expand to high school and grow to over 1200 students by 2030. The school officially changed its name from Healthy Start Academy to Durham Charter in August of 2022. This step signaled the school’s desire to not only start students on their education journey, but we will guide them all the way to college and career.  Furthermore, the new name more directly reflects our commitment to the Durham community, which we have served for over 25 years.

Board of Directors

The Healthy Start Academy Board of Directors meets monthly in the school’s library. Generally, these meetings occur on the 4th Thursday of each month at 5:00 p.m. Board Meeting dates and times are posted on the school’s master calendar which is visible on this website. Click here to view the school master calendar. 


Board Chair

Gwendolyn Wicker

Vice Chair

Matt Lesesky
Ernesto Lembert
Gerald McNair
Richard Ford
Preston Edwards
Michael Page
Cary Cain
John DeBerry

 2023-2024 School Calendar

Click here to view our 2023-2023 School Calendar

 2022-2023 School Calendar

Click here to view our 2022-2023 School Calendar