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.

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.

If you're trying to find the best high schools in Charlotte, NC and surrounding towns, CarolinaSchoolHub is a good place to begin your search. We've given each Charlotte-area high school a ranking on a scale of 1 to 10 stars, based on a combination end-of-course tests, SAT results and graduation rates. Because of variation in which of these data points are reported by each high school, we have not ranked the 119 schools from 1 through 119. Instead, we've grouped the schools into ten groups, according to their star rankings.

You can click a school name below to get more information on the school including test scores, teacher and student data.


Best High Schools in Charlotte, NC Area

Top High Schools in the Charlotte Area

10 Stars out of 10 (in alphabetical order)

Rank School Name City
School
Type
 
Grades
Served
10 Ardrey Kell High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
10 Cabarrus-Kanapolis Early College High School Concord Regular 9-13
10 Cato Middle College High School Charlotte Regular 11-12
10 Central Academy of Technology Monroe Regular 9-12
10 Challenger Early College High School Hickory Regular 9-13
10 Collaborative College for Technology & Leadership Statesville Regular 9-13
10 Community School of Davidson Davidson Charter K-10
10 Cuthbertson High School Waxhaw Regular 9-12
10 Gray Stone Day Misenheimer Charter 9-12
10 Highland School of Technology Gastonia Magnet 9-12
10 Lake Norman Charter School Huntersville Charter 5-13
10 Lake Norman High School Mooresville Regular 9-12
10 Lincoln Charter School Denver Charter K-12
10 Marvin Ridge High School Waxhaw Regular 9-12
10 Providence High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
10 Stanly Early College High School Albemarle Regular 9-13
10 Union County Early College Monroe Regular 9-13
10 Weddington High School Matthews Regular 9-12
10 William Amos Hough High School Cornelius Regular 9-12

9 Stars out of 10 (in alphabetical order)

Rank School Name City
School
Type
 
Grades
Served
9 Bandys High School Catawba Regular 9-12
9 Cox Mill High School Concord Regular 9-12
9 Hickory Ridge High School Harrisburg Regular 9-12
9 Performance Learning Center Charlotte Regular 9-12
9 Pine Lake Preparatory School Mooresville Charter K-12
9 Rowan County Early College Salisbury Regular 9-12
9 The Visual and Performing Arts Center Statesville Regular 9-13
9 Union Academy Monroe Charter K-12

8 Stars out of 10 (in alphabetical order)

Rank School Name City
School
Type
 
Grades
Served
8 Butler High School Matthews Regular 9-12
8 Carolina International School Harrisburg Charter K-10
8 East Rowan High School Salisbury Regular 9-12
8 Fred T Foard High School Newton Regular 9-12
8 Math, Engineering, Technology & Science at Olympic High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
8 Mooresville Senior High School Mooresville Regular 9-12
8 Newton-Conover Health Science High School Newton Regular 9-12
8 North Iredell High School Olin Regular 9-12
8 North Lincoln High School Lincolnton Regular 9-12
8 Northwest School of the Arts Charlotte Magnet 6-12
8 Phillip O Berry Academy of Technology Charlotte Magnet 9-12
8 Piedmont High School Monroe Regular 9-12
8 Porter Ridge High School Indian Trail Regular 9-12
8 South Mecklenburg High School Charlotte Regular 9-12

7 Stars out of 10 (in alphabetical order)

Rank School Name City
School
Type
 
Grades
Served
7 Bessemer City Early College High School Dallas Regular 9-12
7 Carson High School China Grove Regular 9-12
7 Cherryville High School Cherryville Regular 9-12
7 East Lincoln High School Denver Regular 9-12
7 Forestview High School Gastonia Regular 9-12
7 Maiden High School Maiden Regular 9-12
7 Mallard Creek High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
7 Mount Pleasant High School Mount Pleasant Regular 9-12
7 Myers Park High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
7 Northwest Cabarrus High School Concord Regular 9-12
7 Saint Stephens High School Hickory Regular 9-12
7 South Iredell High School Statesville Regular 9-12
7 South Point High School Belmont Regular 9-12
7 South Stanly High School Norwood Regular 9-12
7 West Iredell High School Statesville Regular 9-12
7 West Lincoln High School Lincolnton Regular 9-12
7 West Stanly High School Oakboro Regular 9-12

6 Stars out of 10 (in alphabetical order)

Rank School Name City
School
Type
 
Grades
Served
6 Biotech, Health & Public Administration at Olympic High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
6 Central Cabarrus High School Concord Regular 9-12
6 East Mecklenburg High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
6 Independence High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
6 Jay M Robinson High School Concord Regular 9-12
6 North Gaston High School Dallas Regular 9-12
6 Parkwood High School Monroe Regular 9-12
6 Piedmont Community Charter School Gastonia Charter K-12
6 Queen's Grant Community School Mint Hill Charter K-12
6 Renaissance High School at Olympic High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
6 Rocky River High School Mint Hill Regular 9-12
6 Sun Valley High School Monroe Regular 9-12

5 Stars out of 10 (in alphabetical order)

Rank School Name City
School
Type
 
Grades
Served
5 Ashbrook High School Gastonia Regular 9-12
5 Bunker Hill High School Claremont Regular 9-12
5 Concord High School Concord Regular 9-12
5 East Gaston High School Mount Holly Regular 9-12
5 Hickory High School Hickory Regular 9-12
5 Hopewell High School Huntersville Regular 9-12
5 International Studies & Global Economics at Olympic High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
5 Lincolnton High School Lincolnton Regular 9-12
5 Newton-Conover High School Newton Regular 9-12
5 North Mecklenburg High School Huntersville Regular 9-12
5 North Stanly High School New London Regular 9-12
5 Salisbury High School Salisbury Regular 9-12

4 Stars out of 10 (in alphabetical order)

Rank School Name City
School
Type
 
Grades
Served
4 A L Brown High School Kannapolis Regular 9-12
4 Harding University High School Charlotte Magnet 9-12
4 International Business & Communications Studies at Olympic High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
4 Performance Learning Center Concord Regular 9-12
4 South Rowan High School China Grove Regular 9-12
4 Statesville High School Statesville Regular 9-12
4 Vance High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
4 West Rowan High School Mount Ulla Regular 9-12

3 Stars out of 10 (in alphabetical order)

Rank School Name City
School
Type
 
Grades
Served
3 Albemarle High School Albemarle Regular 9-12
3 Bessemer City High School Bessemer City Regular 9-12
3 Business & Finance at Garinger High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
3 Catawba Rosenwald Education Center Catawba Regular 5-12
3 Forest Hills High School Marshville Regular 9-12
3 Garinger High-Leadership & Public Service Charlotte Regular 9-12
3 Garinger High-Math & Science Charlotte Regular 9-12
3 Hunter Huss High School Gastonia Regular 9-12
3 International Studies at Garinger High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
3 Marie G Davis Military & Global Leadership Academy Charlotte Magnet K-12
3 Monroe High School Monroe Regular 9-12
3 North Rowan High School Spencer Regular 9-12
3 Pressly School Statesville Alternative K-12
3 West Mecklenburg High School Charlotte Regular 9-12

2 Stars out of 10 (in alphabetical order)

Rank School Name City
School
Type
 
Grades
Served
2 Cochrane Collegiate Academy Charlotte Regular 6-9
2 Hawthorne High School Charlotte Alternative 6-12
2 Hickory Career & Arts Magnet High School Hickory Regular 6-12
2 Kennedy Charter School Charlotte Charter K-12
2 Monticello School Statesville Alternative K-12
2 New Technology at Garinger High School Charlotte Regular 9-12
2 South Providence School Waxhaw Alternative 6-12
2 West Charlotte High School Charlotte Regular 9-12

1 Stars out of 10 (in alphabetical order)

Rank School Name City
School
Type
 
Grades
Served
1 Asbury School Lincolnton Alternative 7-12
1 Cabarrus County Opportunity School Concord Alternative 6-12
1 Crossroads Charter High School Charlotte Charter 9-12
1 Henderson High School Salisbury Alternative 8-12
1 Stanly Academy Learning Center Albemarle Alternative 6-12
1 Turning Point Academy Charlotte Alternative 4-12
1 Warlick Academy Gastonia Alternative 6-12

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

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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