Updated April 17,2021
Needham B. Broughton High School, shown above, is Inside-the-Beltline at St. Mary’s and Peace Streets.
Raleigh is the seat of Wake County and is combined with the County and its other municipalities as The Wake County School District. It is the 15th largest in the country with over 157,000 students and 173 schools. Wake County historically adds around 3000 students per year although it is possible this is slowing down. For each of the past two years the county has added 1000 less students per year, down to around 2000 annually. Growth in the real estate market is stronger than ever so the enrollment reduction may be because many more students are enrolling in Charter Schools and home schooling.
Are Raleigh Schools Good?
Generally, the Raleigh schools are very good. A couple of years ago the school board went back to a neighborhood model for the schools and to continue using magnet schools to attract higher performing students to lower performing areas. The current board is discussing ways to increase income diversity and improve the performance of some of the schools with the lower grade score. NC has a grading system for it’s schools giving grades of A-F. The scores are based on test scores (80%) and improvement (20%).
NC has a site with lots of information about the schools including test scored and demographic data and a tool to compare schools.
The Best Wake County Schools – These schools have an “A”
Mills Park Middle-Cary
Mills Park Elementary-Cary
Green Hope Elementary-Cary
Davis Drive Elementary-Cary
Wake STEM Early College High School-Raleigh
Jones Dairy Elementary -Wake Forest
Wake Early College of Health and Science-Raleigh
Davis Drive Middle-Cary
Panther Creek High-Cary
Sycamore Creek Elementary-Raleigh
Green Hope High-Cary
Apex Friendship High-Apex
Heritage Middle-Wake Forest
If you want to find out about any Raleigh/Wake County schools visit the NC Report Card information by clicking the link. There are very detailed data about school enrollment, scores, teachers, tests, etc.
Raleigh and Wake County Private Schools
DIRECTORY OF NON-PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Conventional Schools Edition
Information from the 2019-2020
Magnet Schools in Raleigh
43 of Wake Counties 173 schools are magnet schools. Magnet schools were introduced in the late 70’s and became one of the most popular ways to increase racial diversity from the 80’s on. The Wake County Schools web site has lots of information about magnet schools. About half of the students applying to magnet schools get in. Acceptance is based on test scores and the income level of the area the student is transferring from. Transferring from an overcrowded school also increases the chances of acceptance. Applications need to be in by a date in January so if you are moving in the Spring or Summer you won’t be able to apply for the next school year.
Wendell Elementary School was named the top elementary magnet school in the country by Magnet Schools Of America. I think this is interesting because a new planned neighborhood, Wendell Falls is only 3.5 miles from the school. A new elementary school is also in the neighborhood.
Charter schools are different from magnet schools because they are started by parents seeking an alternative to the traditional public school and they aren’t associated with any school system. Any child in NC can go to any charter school (if they can get in). Usually acceptance is by lottery. Raleigh has the best high school in NC and it’s a charter school. Raleigh Charter High School Charter schools have to meet state accountability measures.
Raleigh has been a highly rated destination for relocation of families for many years. The quality of life, weather and great schools are very attractive. With growth comes new school bonds, new school openings, and redistricting. Every year we see iterations of the the same news headlines “Parents oppose redistricting plan”. Much of the 1990’s growth was in North Raleigh so most of the school reassignments were in that area. As North Raleigh became more fully developed, Cary, Holly Springs and Apex had land for continued growth, and redistricting became more widespread there.
With a change in the composition of the school board in 2009 more of a focus was placed on neighborhood schools. That seems to the the pattern today, and redistricting tends to be primarily in the neighborhoods around the new schools being built. Most of the redistricting is happening because of the 5 new schools opening in 2016-2017. Beaverdam Elementary, Pleasant Grove Elementary, Pine Hollow Middle School, Oakview Elementary and White Oak Elementary.
Capped Schools in Raleigh
When a school is full, enrollment caps may be placed on the school. According to the Wake County School Board this happens when the school has reached the maximum number of students they can effectively teach. When a school is capped all incoming students to that base school are assigned to an overflow school. If a space opens up at the base school or a cap is lifted students can go back to the base school or stay at the overflow school, but with no transportation provided.
Elementary Capped Schools
Abbotts Creek, Alston Ridge, Beaverdam, Cedar Fork, Combs, Highcroft Drive, Holly Grove, Hortons Creek, Lead Mine, Mills Park, Northwoods, Oakview, Olive Chapel, Rogers Lane, Scotts Ridge, Sycamore Creek, White Oak, Weatherstone
Middle Capped Schools
Apex Friendship, Mills Park
High Schools Capped
Apex Friendship, Heritage, Panther Creek
Contact me if you want to learn more about the neighborhoods with the best schools in Raleigh. Marianne Howell Wright 919-274-4365