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The Institute for the Development of Young Leaders
A STEM approach to Project Based Learning 

Engaging, Educating, and Empowering Future Leaders      

Children in early elementary grades start with direct personal experiences with time, space, and roles in society as they begin to construct knowledge of social studies, science, math, art and language. This begins with their classroom interactions.

They take walks around the neighborhood, go on field trips around the city, invite guests with varied occupations into their classrooms, act out adult roles in their dramatic play, and map out their community. Science based STEM- focused  activities will allow children the freedom to explore the connections between school, community, work, and global issues.

At The Institute For The Development Of Young Leaders, Children undertake many cooperative projects and have frequent interactions with peers. These situations provide opportunities to practice group problem-solving, democratic decision-making, consensus building, conflict resolution, and respect for others. Emphasis is placed on building understanding and appreciation of diverse ideas and backgrounds. 

It progresses into service projects geared towards a deeper understanding and the development of critical thinking skills and ultimately higher-level thinking.  Students are called upon to actively engage in learning by application of the material into a real life real time project.

Five principles inform our focus and speak to our educational philosophy:
  1. Comprehensive educational services- addressing all barriers to academic achievement
  2. Learners are leaders-Service learning gives them context in which to apply academic skills, at the same time developing their initiative, their habits of inquiry, and their ability to collaborate
  3. STEM focused Project based- active learning is an essential tool for developing global leaders.
  4. Teacher as coach-individual coaching supports academic achievement
  5. Collaboration is necessary to the valuing and developing of an educational system and all of its stakeholders.
  6. Improve STEM instruction
  7. Better serve groups historically under-represented in STEM fields.


The Institute For The Development Of Young Leaders fosters in students an ongoing commitment to themselves and others and:

  • Provide opportunities for students to experience different types of community service;
  •  Help students gain a deeper understanding of and provide opportunities to develop their unique interests, talents, and skills;
  • Strengthen every student's commitment to the global community
  • Enhance students’ understanding of the ways community systems work, empowering them to act as advocates and leaders 
  • Support systematic instruction, in which teachers plan activities to help students acquire leadership skills and academic competency
  • Integrates project work with a STEM focus; in which students conduct in-depth investigations of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and apply skills and strategies to solve real world problems, as part of the academic instruction.


IDYL School News
  • The IDYL charter school combines knowledge and application, to support increased ability to communicate ideas clearly, engage in research and synthesize information. The curriculum will challenge students to think critically, and analyze complex, and diverse concepts, and use reasoning judgment and imagination to create opportunities for themselves and community. The project-based, STEM approach to learning will accommodate varied learning styles.  Within the context of the project, students solidify learning and practice the knowledge through integrating Literacy, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Arts, and leadership.
  • The curriculum’s goal is: that each student masters essential skills and areas of knowledge. While these skills and areas reflect the traditional academic disciplines, the curriculum’s design incorporates the needs of the community and the individual needs of the students to successfully participate and have a stake in their community. The curriculum will combine several school subjects into one active project and is organized to cut across subject-matter lines, bringing together various aspects of the curriculum into meaningful association.  It focuses on broad areas of study since that is how children encounter subjects in the real world—combined in one activity.  Students will examine multiple disciplines for common skills, concepts, and ideas. Students will apply the reading, writing, Science, Technology, Engineering Mathematics and critical thinking across the disciplines. Students will make connections, pose questions, explore solutions as a means to engage in real-world scenarios and application transfer, and apply knowledge to different contexts and scenarios. Students will use multiple materials and resources, including professional experts, businesses, and networks.
  • The curriculum will inspire learning through helping students draw connections from their academic lessons to real life leadership opportunities. The students will experience an extended day (8:00a.m – 6:00p.m.), and weekend and summer programming will also be provided.  
  • Class sizes will be limited to 15 students to 1 teacher. Each student will be required to participate in student governance, and conflict resolution committee as part of their course of study. 

  • The Institute For The Development Of Young Leaders views academic skills and knowledge as essential tools for communicating ideas, solving problems and achieving goals, rather than as ends in themselves. Therefore The Institute For The Development Of Young Leaders’ curriculum will build skills and knowledge but will focus on higher-level thinking skills and the development of individual talent, character, and ambition. 

For more information about IDYL Email

1305 West Club Blvd, Durham, NC 27705

1305 West Club Blvd.

Durham, North Carolina 27705

March 18, 2015

Dear Parent/Guardian,

One of the benefits North Carolina public schools offer parents is transparency. Public school accountability is a standard practice for North Carolina going back to the early 1990s, and the North Carolina School Report Cards provide parents with information on such key issues as student performance, teacher experience, and school safety. Data are provided at the school, district, and state levels to enable parents to compare the performance of their student’s schools with others across the district and state.

Legislation (G.S. §115C-83.15) passed during the 2013 long session of the North Carolina General Assembly provides an additional measure of school performance in the form of School Performance Grades. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, the annual North Carolina School Report Cards display a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F for each school in the state.

The School Performance Grades are based 80 percent on our school’s achievement score (student proficiency) and 20 percent on students’ academic growth. At The Institute for the Development of Young Leaders, our students scored 12 in Reading, <5 in Math and 7 in Science.

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that The Institute for The Development of Young Leaders received a School Performance Grade of F for the 2013–14 school year. Although we are committed to improving this score, it is important to remember that just as no one single score or grade tells the whole story of a student, neither does it tell you everything about the performance of a school or the opportunities that our school provides. Our teachers are working to differentiate learning by using Project Based Learning as our primary instructional delivery model. However, since research also support more individualized approaches, teachers this year have received training on using small group instruction. They are using strategies like guided reading and peer-to-peer instruction to provide intensive instruction on a daily basis in all core subjects to promote the development of the various components of reading proficiency to students that show minimal progress.  


One of our top priorities for 2014-2015 is to improve our School Performance Grade. Therefore, we have purchased a reading program named Lexia. This program provide differentiated instruction for students using immediate corrective feedback, multiple levels of scaffolding, and explicit instruction both online and through direct instruction with the teacher. Students work independently to develop reading skills in a structured, sequential manner with a focus on foundational skills to develop automaticity and fluency, listening and reading comprehension, and vocabulary.

We have also focused on building a stronger foundation in reading by training all teachers on Mclass Assessment which is a foundation skills assessment, where teachers record observations with a running record to quickly analyze reading comprehension. Using this program teachers can assign reading levels and monitor progress to support mastery of increasingly complex text.     

We hope you will closely follow your student’s academic progress and work with his or her teacher(s) to help ensure they stay on track academically. Working together as a team, we can improve not only how well our students are performing individually, but how our school is performing as a whole. There is nothing more important to administrators and teachers at The Institute for the Development of Young Leaders than ensuring that your student is ready for the next step in their academic career. I look forward to working with you to make sure your student is on track for success.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding our School Performance Grade and how we plan to improve, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Charlotte Wilson at charlotte.wilson@theidylschool,org (919 )973-417


 Charlotte D. Wilson, M.Ed.


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