About » Us



Welcome to Maureen Joy Charter School, your community's K-8 public charter school in the heart of Durham, North Carolina! As a tuition-free institution, our doors are open to all children in the state, with admission determined through a fair, annual lottery system.
At Maureen Joy Charter School, we do more than just educate; we empower. Our commitment goes beyond academics; we focus on nurturing the complete well-being of every student. Through innovative, high-quality instruction, collaborative school-community relationships, and fostering a sense of positive self-identity, we create a supportive learning environment where every child can flourish.
about us

History of Joy 

Located in the historic heart of East Durham, North Carolina, Maureen Joy Charter School has been a beacon of educational innovation and community empowerment since its inception in 1997. Originally established as Durham Community Charter School by a visionary group of community activists, our school was founded on the principle of providing an unparalleled educational experience to every student. These founders were driven by a clear mission to transform public education in Durham through a pioneering approach that welcomed all students, especially those underserved by traditional systems.

Starting with just 50 young scholars in grades K-5, Maureen Joy has grown significantly over the years, both in academic achievements and popularity. This growth has continually driven an increase in enrollment requests, reflecting our reputation as a leading educational institution in North Carolina.

In July 2013, responding to the growing needs of our community and to accommodate our expanding student body, we relocated to a beautifully renovated historic building in East Durham. This move not only enhanced our learning environment but also brought us closer to the majority of the families we serve, deepening our roots in the community we are dedicated to uplifting.

During the 2023-2024 academic year, Maureen Joy Charter School welcomed over 645 scholars, with more than 70% coming from low-income households. Our student body is vibrantly diverse, primarily comprising Latino and African American students, and we proudly serve the third-highest ESL population among charter schools in the state. Our school remains committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community, led by a dedicated staff and an exceptional board of directors. Together, we strive to ensure that our students not only reach but exceed their bold ambitions through a supportive and empowering school experience.

Looking ahead, Maureen Joy is excited to introduce and pilot new student experiences in the 2024-2025 academic year. We are reimagining the student experience by employing the human-centered design model. This innovative approach involves designing with students and families to create tailored educational pathways that leverage the latest science of learning and insights from the future of work. Our goal is to build a more equitable school environment that truly reflects the needs and aspirations of our community. Through this collaborative process, we aim to redefine how young people learn and prepare them for a successful future in an ever-evolving world.

About our Building:

Nestled within a community undergoing significant revitalization, Maureen Joy Charter School breathes new life into the oldest existing school building in Durham, North Carolina. Located at 107 South Driver Street, this historic site has witnessed profound transformations—from its early 20th-century origins as the East Durham Graded School, serving the local white, cotton mill worker population, to its present role as a vibrant educational hub for a diverse group of students.

Founded originally to serve a homogeneous community, the building has evolved alongside the neighborhood. After closing in 1967 and changing its role several times, the structure stood as a testament to the area's fluctuating economic fortunes. By the 1980s, East Durham had transitioned into a predominantly African American, lower-income neighborhood with high rental occupancy and scarce employment opportunities.

In July 2013, Maureen Joy Charter School relocated to this storied site after a substantial renovation spearheaded by Self-Help, a non-profit community development lender. The renovation was a monumental effort, requiring over $10 million and three years of dedicated work by a skilled team including Durham architect Eddie Belk, known for his expertise in historic renovations. This project, Tucker Bartlett's favorite due to its extensive community impact, not only saved the building but ensured that much of the investment remained within Durham.

Today, Maureen Joy Charter School offers a beacon of hope and progress. With a student body of over 650, the school stands at the forefront of education innovation and community engagement. It's not just a place of learning but a center of community interaction and pride, greatly affecting the local economy and social fabric.

The school's opening and the ongoing local revitalization efforts, such as the nearly $4 million streetscape project at Angier and South Driver, aim to bring more business and safety to the area. Joseph Bushfan, owner of Joe’s Diner and local community advocate, highlights the school's role in enhancing neighborhood vibrancy and safety, emphasizing the protection and nurturing of the community's future leaders from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Maureen Joy Charter School is more than just an academic institution; it is a cornerstone of community revitalization and a symbol of the enduring spirit of East Durham. As the neighborhood continues to develop, the school remains committed to providing an unparalleled educational experience, fostering a nurturing environment for its diverse student body, and contributing positively to the community's transformation.




Which grades do you serve?
  • We serve students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Click here (add link to the lottery information). Follow the steps to enroll your child. 
How many students do you have?
  • Approximately 645 students are enrolled for the 2023-2024 school year.
Do you provide busing?
  • Yes, we provide busing for most locations in the Durham area. If you have questions about bus transportation, you can contact our Director of Transportation via the front office - (919) 908-1600 - for specifics. Reference our Resources page for additional information.
What enrichment activities do you offer?
  • Our elementary students participate in music, art, technology, and physical education during their Enrichment rotation. Middle school students select their enrichment class each semester from this list of options.
What is your SEL (Social Emotional Learning) Curriculum?
  • Our K-4 students participate in the Toolbox SEL curriculum, focused on developing 11 foundational tools for social and emotional health. Our middle school students (grades 5-8) participate in a the WIN at Social Curriculum. The "Win at Social" Advisory curriculum is designed to equip middle school students with social-emotional skills, digital citizenship, and interpersonal tools for navigating various social scenarios. Through activities, discussions, and real-world applications, the program aims to foster emotional intelligence and responsible behavior in both online and offline environments.
What after school activities do you offer?
  • Afterschool elective options include KidzNotes, StudentU, STEP Team, Science Academy, Girls on the Run, and Art Club. Sports include Cross Country, Soccer, Basketball, Wrestling, Cheerleading, Girls Volleyball and Track and Field.
After-School Care Program Available
  • Maureen Joy Charter School is pleased to offer an on-site after-care program for our students. The program runs from 3:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., providing a safe and enriching environment for children until parents or guardians can pick them up.
Want to Learn More?
  • For more information about our after-school care program, including details on activities, supervision, and costs, please call our front office at (919) 908-1600 
Does Maureen Joy have a discrimination policy?
  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, gender (male or female), gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or if all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited basis will apply to all programs and/or employment activities). Under the Federal School Nutrition Program and USDA policy, discrimination is prohibited under the basis of race, color, national origin, gender (male or female), age or disability.
What is your average class size?
  • Our Kindergarten classes average 16:1 and our 1st-8th grade classes average 24:1.
Do your students wear uniforms?
  • Here are our uniform policies for our Elementary School and Middle School 
Is there morning and after school care?
  • At Maureen Joy Charter School, we understand the diverse needs of our families. That's why we offer both morning and after-school care programs to provide a secure and engaging environment for your child.
Before Care
  • Our Before Care program opens its doors at 6:30 a.m. and accommodates drop-ins at a rate of $3 per day, per student.
Aftercare Options
  • We provide flexible aftercare solutions with daily, weekly, and monthly care options to suit your family's schedule.
  • For More Details Click here to learn more about before care and after care costs
What are the school’s hours?
  • The school day begins at 8:00 AM (Drop-off begins at 7:35) and ends at 3:45 (Pick-up begins at 3:25) Monday-Friday.
Is this an alternative school?
  • No. Our school is a state funded tuition-free public charter school. We accept ALL children and believe ALL children can be scholars at Maureen Joy. We provide transportation and free lunch so there are no barriers to attending Maureen Joy. Additionally, we do have Exceptional Children, Speech, and English as a Second Language services for scholars who qualify.
How can I report a discrimination complaint?
  • If you wish to file a Civil Rights complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online here, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or click here to email. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.