Humble Beginnings... To Higher Heights!
Charleston Development Academy originated as a vision of a concerned and committed congregation of Ebenezer AME Church in 1999. Ebenezer is located at 44 Nassau Street on the East-side of Charleston, South Carolina. The Church embarked on a multi-million dollar expansion and fundraising campaign which included a proposal for educational facilities to serve the primary needs of the community's most vulnerable youth.
Through Ebenezer's Social Action and Community Development Enterprise, the church began to assess the academic needs and research the data to support establishing a school and to determine the appropriate grades. Dr. Charles E. Young, President of Allen University, then Pastor of Ebenezer, formed an Education Commission which developed into the school's Planning Committee. The Committee was charged with preparing an application to meet the criteria of the South Carolina Department of Education and the Charleston County School Board. For more than eighteen months the Planning Committee brainstormed, collaborated, and established relationships with community partners with similar beliefs in early interventions to upgrade and enhance the educational needs of young children and to create a true inner-city community school.
January 28, 2003, the Charleston County School Board approved the Charleston Development Academy's application for a charter school. And during the next seven months, the Planning Committee along with the generous contributions of knowledge from a diverse group of community partners secured and renovated 3/4 of the Septima P. Clark building, hired faculty and staff, and recruited students from the Gadsden Green Housing Complex, Charleston's largest Public Housing Community. The school successfully opened the doors of Charleston Development Academy on Monday, August 11, 2003 in the midst of the Gadsden Green Public Housing Community for grades K5 through Third. In August of that year, the center opened its doors to 65 students.
Now serving 202 kids in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, CDA has earned some of the highest awards in the state, including the South Carolina Department of Education’s Palmetto Gold Achievement Award and recognitions for state charter Administrator of the Year.