About Charlotte Area Schools…
Few parenting decisions loom larger for your child’s future, than finding the right school for your child or children. I’ve tried to assemble the tools you’ll need to help you start that search with confidence. My wife and I have 4 children and they grew up here. They all attended private school for primary (K-8) and public high school. All four graduated from college, and two have masters degrees. Public, private, or parochial your school choice will go a long way toward determining where you want to live.
Your “Greater Charlotte” public school choices are:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools, (CMS) Mecklenburg County,
Union County for cities like Waxhaw, Weddington, Indian Trail, and Marvin
Iredell County- northern cities like Mooresville
Cabarrus County– Concord, Harrisburg and Kannapolis
Fort Mill- South Carolina schools in nearby FT Mill
But by far the giant in the room is CMS… and budgets are the biggest challenge! Here is the 2014-15 CMS School Calender
You will find 4 Mecklenburg County High Schools in the Top 200 of the Top 1000 High Schools in America list by Newsweek. And if you want to look at the lowest performing schools, you will see that Charlotte outperform 19 of 20 similar city districts in the NAEP (pronounced Nape- National Assessment of Educational Progress) sometimes called the Nation’s Report Card, a math and reading test given to the nations 4th and 8th graders. (2012)
The State of North Carolina publishes a excellent data driven site where you can check the results of student testing at every public K-12 school in the state. Get full information and test results at www.ncreportcards.org I like to use the summary’s, found at the top, and take a quick glance at the graphs to see how many of the students are testing on grade level. Then you can study the report in detail if it meets your minimum criteria.
Once you find a particular school of interest, I recommend you visit it to get your first hand view. Once you’ve found some schools of interest, just ask us and we’ll set you a home search in your price range by school district. Statewide and count wide, North Carolina K-12 education is a mixed bag. There are many good schools in the mix, you just need to find them.
Like many areas around the country, the school quality is often linked to the higher income zip codes, just a fact.
Check out the test scores and summary information in the link beneath each school. Of course test scores are not everything- my wife and I always viewed them as a starting point, look carefully and you’ll see teacher turnover rate– and indication of the relative happiness there- class size, etc… I ‘d recommend you visit the “contenders” when you visit Charlotte. There is more on CMS below.
Background Information on our area schools are below. Here are some of the highlights if you want an overview of the best of the best: http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/discover/wow.pdf
Families new to the area will find a wealth of educational opportunities here. The Charlotte region’s public school systems offer solid, broad programs that meet the needs of a wide range of students, from special needs to academically gifted, college prep to technical. North Carolina has traditionally encouraged consolidation of public systems so that many counties have a single school system. While many systems have consolidated, some remain fiercely independent, such as Mooresville Graded School District in southern Iredell County. York County, S.C., also has four public school systems, each with its own distinct qualities.
The largest public school system in the Carolinas is Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). This system was ranked 21rd largest in the nation in 2012, with over 125,000 students enrolled in 148 schools.
In Mecklenburg County, if you live here you are guaranteed a seat at your local school. Plus, you have the option of applying to about two dozen Mecklenburg County Magnet Programs- these are special schools for special interests including STEM schools, language immersions programs, the Arts, and IB programs for the academically gifted. Most of these provide some transportation too and start in the elementary years, i.e Park Rd Montessori. Many have no space or only some space, here is the latest space availability, after the first lottery. Here is the total list, and full details
There are many issues confronting CMS: overcrowding in certain suburban schools, continuing inequity between “have” and “have not” schools, and Charter schools are here as well competing for funds. As an FYI , there is no teacher union in North Carolina, and no school taxes either. But budget shortfalls have created teacher pay issues, and there is lots of news here as an election comes near. Here is a good discussion.
The issue of pupil assignment is a large one in the CMS system. From the early 1970s to spring 2002, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools operated under a federal court desegregation order that placed emphasis on assigning pupils to schools to achieve a balanced racial mix. That court order has now ended and Charlotte-Mecklenburg has launched a new assignment plan that offers a K-12 feeder system, choice opportunities, stability, guaranteed school assignment and diversity through choice by letting parents decide which school is right for their child. For complete details on the current assignment plan, check the CMS website at www.cms.k12.nc.us.
Elementary School County Map: http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/studentassignment04-05/adopted/map2.asp?Courier=es_bdys
Middle School County Map: http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/studentassignment04-05/adopted/map2.asp?Courier=ms_bdys
High School County Map: http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/studentassignment04-05/adopted/map2.asp?Courier=hs_bdys
A common theme among all Charlotte-region schools is growth. The tremendous increase in population is causing a surge in school enrollment, often putting classroom space, money and resources at a premium. Throughout this area, public and private schools are studying projections for growth and considering options to meet the demand for school services. As you check out the schools you’re considering, you’ll certainly see plenty of new construction and expansion projects under way, as well as plenty of modular units (mobile classrooms).
The Charlotte region also has a wealth of independent secular and religious private schools. Some large, well-established schools have huge campuses; others are small and new. There’s even a parochial school system, Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools, which encompasses the county’s seven parochial schools (but not the Catholic schools in Gastonia and Rock Hill). You’ll find a range of educational offerings, including innovative programs, special classes for students with learning disabilities, religious training and character-building. Because each private school has its own distinct philosophy and approach to learning, you’ll want to research schools, talk to parents and take a tour. Check here for that list.
The N.C. Board of Education must approve charter schools before they can begin operation. In addition, these schools must undergo periodic reviews to determine that they’re meeting regulations and standards. There are a bunch of charter schools in Mecklenburg County, two in Gaston County, three in Iredell County and one in Union County. In the north, the Lake Norman area, Charters seem to dominate. See a full list here
Union County has long been a popular destination for families moving to Charlotte. Nearby Union County Schools- first Weddington’s cluster, (Weddington Elementary, Weddington Middle and Weddington High) and now the Marvin Ridge cluster, have excelled in academics, sports and student participation. This has fueled the growth ( Union was the fastest growing County in NC for almost 10 years) of the county and led to more modern problems.
They now face some of the same student assignment and growth issues CMS had to face in the late 1990’s. They are working through the process, meanwhile the kids are doing well there. Union County does not offer magnet schools similar to CMS.
Generally highly regarded, I always have difficulty talking about SC schools because home buyers are NOT guaranteed seats in their local schools, and most of the most popular are oversubscribed. It really is a neighborhood by neighborhood situation, and you have to do double the homework there.
Public School Entrance Requirements
North Carolina: A child entering kindergarten must be
5 years old on or before Oct. 16.
A child entering the first grade must be
6 years old on or before the same date.
A copy of the child’s birth certificate and proof of residency must be taken to the school in order to register the child.
The following basic immunizations are required:
5 or more DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus). 3 doses by age seven months and two booster doses, one dose between 12 and 19 months and the second dose on or after the fourth birthday and before enrolling in school (K-1) for the first time. If the fourth dose was administered on or after the fourth birthday, the fifth dose is not required.
3 or more oral polio vaccines. Two doses by age five months, a third dose by 19 months of age and a booster dose on or after the fourth birthday and before enrolling in school (K-1) for the first time. If the third dose was administered on or after the 4th birthday, the 4th dose is not required. Two doses of enhanced-potency inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine (IPV) may be substituted for two doses of OPV.
4 MMR (2 measles, 1 mumps, 1 rubella) for children enrolling in K-1. A child must have two measles vaccines with one dose on or after the first birthday, but before 16 months of age. The second dose must be after the fourth birthday, but before enrolling in school (K-1) for the first time. In addition, a child must have one rubella vaccine and one mumps vaccine occurring on or after the first birthday, but before 16 months of age.
4 HiB (not required after fifth birthday) Three doses of HbOC or two doses of PRP-OMP by seven months old and a final dose of any type on or after the first birthday, but before 16 months old. Children who receive the first dose of HiB on or after their first birthday and before 15 months old are required to have only two doses with one dose being after 15 months of age. Children who receive the first dose of HiB vaccine on or after 15 months old are required to have one dose.
3 Hepatitis B vaccines with one occurring prior to three months old, a second dose by five months old and a third dose by 19 months old. Persons born before July 1, 1994 are not required to receive the hepatitis B vaccine.
A certificate of immunization must include the following:
- Name of child and date of birth.
- Name of the parent(s) or guardian.
- Address of the parent(s) or guardian.
- Sex of the child.
Kindergarten students must have a health assessment before entering school.
Transfer students should bring their most recent report card or transfer slip to verify grade.
Beginner’s days are held each spring at school to help parents prepare children for entry in the fall.
Parent(s)/guardians should contact their child’s school for more information, or visit www.cms.k12.nc.us/resources/kinderhandbook/index.asp
S.C. law requires that children between ages 5 and 17 enroll in school. Schools operate for 180 days each year.
S.C. law requires that all children to be enrolled in kindergarten and first grade present a birth certificate issued by the state of birth and be 6 years of age by Sept. 1 of the current school year. An exception is made for children who have completed first grade in another state that has a different age requirement. To enter kindergarten, children must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1.
All children entering S.C. schools for the first time must be immunized prior to enrolling and obtain an S.C. Certificate of Immunization form. Certificates may be obtained from the S.C. Health Department or other sources of medical care.
South Carolina requires the following immunizations: measles, rubella, DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) and polio.
www.cms.k12.nc.usAll CMS numbers use the 980 area code as of June 30, 2003.Education Center
switchboard – 980-343-6220
Exceptional children – 980-343-6960
International center – 980-343-3784
Magnet schools – 980-343-5030
Public information – 980-343-7450
Student placement – 980-343-5335
Superintendent – 980-343-6270
Talent development – 980-343-6955
Transportation – 980-343-6715Cabarrus County Schools
www.cabarrus.k12.nc.usGaston County Schools
www.iss.k12.nc.usMooresville Graded School District
www.mgsd.k12.nc.usUnion County Schools
www.ucps.k12.nc.usFor more information on N.C. public schools, check the state Department
of Public Instruction’s Web site (www.ncpublicschools.org) or call
the department at 919-807-3300.SOUTH CAROLINA
York County District 1 (York)
www.york.k12.sc.usYork County District 2 (Clover)
www.clover.k12.sc.usYork County District 3 (Rock Hill)
www.rock-hill.k12.sc.usYork County District 4 (Fort Mill)
www.fort-mill.k12.sc.usFor more information on S.C. public schools, visit the state Department of Education’s Web site, www.myscschools.com or call public information at 803-734-8815.
Private and Independent Schools
Back Creek Christian Academy
Believers Faith Center Christian Academy
Bible Baptist Christian School
Blessed Sacrament Academy
Calvary Christian School
Carmel Christian School
Cathedral of the Cross Christian School
Charlotte Christian School
Charlotte Country Day School
Charlotte Islamic School
Charlotte Jewish Day School
Charlotte Latin School
Charlotte Lutheran School
Charlotte Preparatory School
Countryside Montessori School
Covenant Classical School
Covenant Day School
Cramerton Christian Academy
First Assembly Christian Academy
First Assembly Christian School
First Assembly Christian School
First Wesleyan Christian School
The Fletcher School
Garr Christian Academy
Gaston Christian Schools
Gaston Day School
Hickory Grove Baptist Christian School
Lake Norman Day School
Northside Christian Academy
Omni Montessori Center
Paw Creek Christian Academy
Providence Christian School
Providence Day School
Resurrection Christian School
Rock Hill Christian Academy
St. Anne School
St. Michael’s Catholic School
SouthLake Christian Academy
Trinity Episcopal School
Trinity Christian School
United Faith Christian Academy
Victory Christian Academy
Westminster Catawba Christian School
Woodlawn Christian School
Magnet Schools within CMS (43 in 2014)
Magnet School Programs
Center for Leadership and Global Economics (K-12)
Communication Arts (K-8)
Early College and Professional Development (9-12)
Foreign Language Schools (K-12)
International Baccalaureate (K-12)
Math/Science and Environmental Studies (K-12)
Pre-Advanced Placement (6-8)
Visual and Performing Arts (K-12)
Note: List does not include schools in the Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools system (www.charlottediocese.org/catholic schools), which require application through the MACS central office, or many smaller independent schools.Catholic Schools
All Saints, Our Lady of the Assumption,
St. Ann, St. Gabriel, St. Mark and St. Patrick elementary schools, Holy Trinity Middle School and Charlotte Catholic High School. All are accredited by state and regional organizations.
The system has a volunteer school board and a full-time superintendent. To accommodate the growing demand for Catholic education, MACS is studying expansion needs, with particular attention to providing service in the city’s hot residential areas – south Charlotte, University City and north Mecklenburg.
Admission to MACS schools is handled by the school system’s central office, not by individual schools. Students are admitted year-round as seats are available. Applications for the following fall are submitted by January and students who are accepted are notified in March. Non-Catholics and nonparticipating parishioners can attend MACS on a space-available basis but at a higher tuition rate.
For more information on Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools, call the MACS office, 704-370-0405, or visit www.charlottediocese.org.