Types of Public Schools in North Carolina

Explanation of Types of Public Schools in North Carolina

Note: All of the school types below are public schools, in that they are funded primarily through public tax dollars.

  • Regular School: a public school that students are assigned to attend because they live in the school's attendance area or attendance zone. Such schools are sometimes called “zoned schools,” “neighborhood schools” or “ZIP code schools,” and are normally only open for enrollment to students from a predetermined set of neighborhoods or ZIP codes. Regular schools are by far the most common type of school in the Charlotte area.
  • Magnet School: a public school that provides unique or specialized curriculum. Magnet schools differ from regular public schools in that they offer specialized academic themes, such as math & science, the arts, foreign languages and so on. Magnet schools are usually open to students well outside of their immediate geographic location. Unlike charter schools, magnet schools are normally not completely independent, and receive their funding from the school system in the city or county in which they operate.
  • Alternative School: a school that serves students at any level, serves suspended or expelled students, serves students whose learning styles are better served in an alternative program, or a school that provides individualized programs outside of a standard classroom setting.
  • Charter School: a tuition-free, public school created on the basis of a license or “charter” made with the State Board of Education. Charter schools typically have greater freedom than traditional public schools in personnel policies, curriculum and teaching philosophy. In return, they must make a commitment to meet state standards of accountability. Charter schools are also normally open to students from counties and towns outside of where they are located. Enrollment decisions at charter schools are often lottery-based, with special consideration given to siblings of currently enrolled students.
Student Growth Index Explained

Student Growth Index Explained

The Student Growth Index of a school is meant to measure how well the school has been growing student learning over time (i.e., years). North Carolina's public schools receive web-based reporting through the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS). EVAAS is meant to offer an objective way to measure student progress and the value schools add to students' educational attainment. EVAAS is a statistical analysis of North Carolina state assessment data, and the system provides NC schools with growth data to consider, in addition to achievement data.

If a school has a Student Growth Index of between -2.0 and 2.0, the school is deemed to have "met growth", (i.e., met its average projected growth target). A school with a Student Growth Index of less than -2.0 is considered to have "not met growth". Finally, a school with an index of greater than 2.0 is deemed to have "exceeded growth".

Best High Schools in Charlotte NC & Suburbs

Are you looking for information on top public high schools in the Charlotte area? Below you'll find rankings on some of the best Charlotte-area high schools including Ardrey Kell High School, Providence High School, Lake Norman High School, Weddington High School, Marvin Ridge High School, and Hough High.

The list below is not meant be used as a definitive guide to which Charlotte-area middle school would be best for any individual child. For schools that are close to one another in rankings, differences in available data are in most cases very small.


Best High Schools in Charlotte, NC Area

Top High Schools in the Charlotte Area

Rank School Name City
School
Type
 
Grades
Served
1 Marvin Ridge High School Waxhaw Regular 9-12
2 Cato Middle College High School Charlotte Regular 11-12
3 Union County Early College Monroe Regular 9-13
4 Ardrey Kell High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
5 Highland School of Technology Gastonia Magnet 9-12
6 Lake Norman Charter School Huntersville Charter 5-12
7 Community School of Davidson Davidson Charter K-11
8 Providence High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
9 Collaborative College for Technology & Leadership Statesville Regular 9-13
10 Challenger Early College High School Hickory Regular 9-13
11 Central Academy of Technology Monroe Regular 9-12
12 Weddington High School Matthews Regular 9-12
13 Cuthbertson High School Waxhaw Regular 9-12
14 Pine Lake Preparatory School Mooresville Charter K-12
15 Gray Stone Day Misenheimer Charter 9-12
16 Cabarrus-Kanapolis Early College High School Concord Regular 9-13
17 Lake Norman High School Mooresville Regular 9-12
18 Hickory Ridge High School Harrisburg Regular 9-12
19 William Amos Hough High School Cornelius Regular 9-12
20 Cox Mill High School Concord Regular 9-12
21 Newton-Conover Health Science High School Newton Regular 9-12
22 Stanly Early College High School Albemarle Regular 9-13
23 South Mecklenburg High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
24 Myers Park High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
25 Butler High School Matthews Regular 9-12
26 Lincoln Charter School Denver Charter K-12
27 Rowan County Early College Salisbury Regular 9-12
28 North Lincoln High School Lincolnton Regular 9-12
29 Piedmont High School Monroe Regular 9-12
30 Mooresville Senior High School Mooresville Regular 9-12
31 Jay M Robinson High School Concord Regular 9-12
32 Queen's Grant Community School Matthews Charter K-12
33 South Point High School Belmont Regular 9-12
34 South Iredell High School Statesville Regular 9-12
35 The Visual and Performing Arts Center Statesville Regular 9-13
36 Bandys High School Catawba Regular 9-12
37 Saint Stephens High School Hickory Regular 9-12
38 Math, Engineering, Technology & Science at Olympic High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
39 Union Academy Monroe Charter K-12
40 East Rowan High School Salisbury Regular 9-12
41 Northwest Cabarrus High School Concord Regular 9-12
42 Fred T Foard High School Newton Regular 9-12
43 Phillip O Berry Academy of Technology Charlotte Magnet 9-12
44 Mallard Creek High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
45 Parkwood High School Monroe Regular 9-12
46 Porter Ridge High School Indian Trail Regular 9-12
47 Concord High School Concord Regular 9-12
48 East Mecklenburg High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
49 Northwest School of the Arts Charlotte Magnet 6-12
50 Carolina International School Harrisburg Charter K-10
51 Forestview High School Gastonia Regular 9-12
52 Central Cabarrus High School Concord Regular 9-12
53 Bessemer City Early College High School Dallas Regular 9-13
54 East Lincoln High School Denver Regular 9-12
55 North Mecklenburg High School Huntersville Regular 9-12
56 Carson High School China Grove Regular 9-12
57 Newton-Conover High School Newton Regular 9-12
58 Mount Pleasant High School Mount Pleasant Regular 9-12
59 Biotech, Health & Public Administration at Olympic High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
60 Maiden High School Maiden Regular 9-12
61 North Gaston High School Dallas Regular 9-12
62 Sun Valley High School Monroe Regular 9-12
63 Hickory High School Hickory Regular 9-12
64 East Gaston High School Mount Holly Regular 9-12
65 West Iredell High School Statesville Regular 9-12
66 Piedmont Community Charter School Gastonia Charter K-12
67 North Iredell High School Olin Regular 9-12
68 Independence High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
69 West Stanly High School Oakboro Regular 9-12
70 Renaissance High School at Olympic High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
71 Marie G Davis Military & Global Leadership Academy Charlotte Magnet K-12
72 Lincolnton High School Lincolnton Regular 9-12
73 South Stanly High School Norwood Regular 9-12
74 West Lincoln High School Lincolnton Regular 9-12
75 Bunker Hill High School Claremont Regular 9-12
76 Cherryville High School Cherryville Regular 9-12
77 Performance Learning Center Charlotte Regular 9-12
78 North Stanly High School New London Regular 9-12
79 Rocky River High School Mint Hill Regular 9-12
80 International Studies & Global Economics at Olympic High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
81 Salisbury High School Salisbury Regular 9-12
82 South Rowan High School China Grove Regular 9-12
83 West Rowan High School Mount Ulla Regular 9-12
84 A L Brown High School Kannapolis Regular 9-12
85 Ashbrook High School Gastonia Regular 9-12
86 Statesville High School Statesville Regular 9-12
87 West Mecklenburg High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
88 Hopewell High School Huntersville Regular 9-12
89 Cochrane Collegiate Academy Charlotte Regular 6-10
90 Pressly School Statesville Alternative K-12
91 Harding University High School Charlotte Magnet 9-12
92 Bessemer City High School Bessemer City Regular 9-12
93 Garinger High Charlotte Regular 9-12
94 Albemarle High School Albemarle Regular 9-12
95 International Business & Communications Studies at Olympic High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
96 Performance Learning Center Concord Regular 9-12
97 Forest Hills High School Marshville Regular 9-12
98 Monroe High School Monroe Regular 9-12
99 Hunter Huss High School Gastonia Regular 9-12
100 Vance High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
101 West Charlotte High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
102 Catawba Rosenwald Education Center Catawba Regular 5-12
103 North Rowan High School Spencer Regular 9-12
104 Kennedy Charter School Charlotte Charter K-12
105 Henderson High School Salisbury Alternative 8-12
106 Warlick Academy Gastonia Alternative 6-12
107 Stanly Academy Learning Center Albemarle Alternative 9-12
108 Cabarrus County Opportunity School Concord Alternative 6-12
109 Monticello School Statesville Alternative K-12
110 Hickory Career & Arts Magnet High School Hickory Regular 6-12
111 Turning Point Academy Charlotte Alternative 4-12
112 Hawthorne High School Charlotte Alternative 6-12
113 Crossroads Charter High School Charlotte Charter 9-12

Rankings of the best high schools in the Charlotte area were developed by CarolinaSchoolHub.

You can click on a specific school name above for more information on test scores, student data and more.

Deciding on a High School

Deciding which Charlotte-area high school is best for your child requires consideration of a number of factors. Most area high schools offer a well-rounded curriculum, without an area of true specialization. Others - such as magnet schools and certain charter schools - tend to offer a curriculum that is focused on a specialized area such as the arts, math & science or foreign languages.

In addition, some high schools in Charlotte and its North Carolina suburbs offer a wide range of sports and other extracurricular activities, while others offer a more limited set of opportunities. One size does not fit all when it comes to choosing a high school in the Charlotte area.



 
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