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 Charter Schools in Charlotte NC & Suburbs

Best Charter Schools in Charlotte, NC Area

The greater Charlotte metro area does not have many charter schools relative to the number of public and private schools. Recently the North Carolina state legislature eliminated the 100-school cap on charter schools that may operate in the state. So in years to come, we can likely expect more growth in the number of charter schools in Charlotte and its suburbs.

North Carolina Charter schools are funded through taxpayer revenue. Typically charter school enrollment is open to children outside of the town and county in which the school is located. At many schools, admission is decided by a lottery.

Below are rankings of some of the top charter schools for various grade levels. You can click on a specific school for more information on test scores, student data and more:

Top Charter Schools - Charlotte NC & Suburbs

Rank School Name City Student Growth Index Grades
1 Metrolina Regional Scholars' Academy Charlotte 4.1 K-8
2 Community School of Davidson Davidson 3.1 K-11
3 Lake Norman Charter School Huntersville 6.5 5-12
4 Socrates Academy Matthews 1.2 K-8
5 Pine Lake Preparatory School Mooresville 0.8 K-12
6 Gray Stone Day Misenheimer -2.5 9-12
7 Lincoln Charter School Denver -0.9 K-12
8 Union Academy Monroe -1.6 K-12
9 Mountain Island Charter School Mount Holly -1.5 K-9
10 Queen's Grant Community School Matthews 2.5 K-12
11 Carolina International School Harrisburg -8.4 K-10
12 Sugar Creek Charter School Charlotte 4.7 K-8
13 Corvian Community School Charlotte N/A K-4
14 Piedmont Community Charter School Gastonia -1.2 K-12
15 Charlotte Secondary School Charlotte 0.8 6-8
16 KIPP Charlotte Charlotte 5.4 5-8
17 American Renaissance School Statesville -3.7 K-8
18 Success Charter School Statesville 0.8 K-8
19 Community Charter School Charlotte -3.3 K-5
20 Kennedy Charter School Charlotte -0.7 K-12
21 Crossroads Charter High School Charlotte -2.8 9-12

Best Charlotte Area Charter Schools

Because educational philosophies can differ greatly from one charter school to the next, further investigation should be undertaken to determine which charters schools in Charlotte and surrounding towns would be best for your child.

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