Unlocking the Secrets of Raleigh and Wake County Schools: A Comprehensive Guide for Prospective Homebuyers

Dated: September 4 2023

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Embarking on the journey of finding the ideal home extends beyond the physical space—it also involves discovering the educational avenues available for your family. In Wake County, the realm of educational possibilities is as expansive as the Triangle itself. From specialized programs to Leadership Academies, Wake County Public Schools offer a plethora of exciting opportunities for students to explore and nurture their passions. As a Realtor® who is frequently asked about school choices, I understand the importance of finding not only the right house but also the right educational environment for your family.

Local private schools offer personalized approaches to education, while charter schools provide unique curriculum options. In the Triangle, renowned institutions like NC State, UNC Chapel Hill, and Duke University stand alongside exceptional K-12 schools, creating a tapestry of educational opportunities in the region. Wake County encompasses many towns, such as Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Wake Forest and more. Join me as we delve into the diverse educational options available in Wake County, focusing on schools that cater to a broad range of interests, learning styles, and aspirations.



Base and Year Round Schools

Wake County is home to 32 public year-round schools. They serve students from kindergarten to 8th grade before transitioning to a traditional schedule for high school.

In Wake County, North Carolina, a year-round school is a type of academic calendar where the traditional long summer break is replaced with several shorter breaks throughout the year. Instead of a single extended summer vacation, students attend school in rotating tracks or "tracks-out" periods. The year-round calendar is designed to distribute instructional days more evenly across the entire year, helping to minimize learning loss during extended breaks and providing more opportunities for intersession and enrichment programs. Year-round schools in Wake County have four tracks, with each track having its own designated track-out periods, allowing for a continuous flow of students throughout the year. 

If you have multiple children, you may find your children’s schedule conflicting. Principals work together to keep siblings on the same tracks but as your older children transition to a traditional schedule during high school, it may be harder to schedule time together as a family, because all high schools operate on a traditional calendar year. 

Wake County students are assigned to a base school and have the option to apply for additional school options including traditional and year round calendars, magnet schools, and more. Due to the growth of the Triangle, schools may be at capacity and are considered ‘capped’ in certain grades. schools are capped to make sure that there’s an appropriate teacher to student ratio. Your child may be assigned to an overflow school. You can contact the data manager at your base school to confirm how the school assignment applies to you.  

Each year, each county may reassign some students for various reasons, including the opening of new schools. Please check with the county school system to verify current assignments. Some neighborhoods might feed into multiple middle or high schools. Enter your address here to see the base school for your area. 

Traditional schools AP course offerings may vary from school to school. Wake County’s 31 traditional high schools offer a variety of honors and AP classes.

Diving into Specialty Public Schools:

If you're in search of specialized educational opportunities beyond the traditional public school experience, Wake County boasts a vibrant array of specialty public schools that cater to diverse interests and aspirations. From magnet schools to themed academies and even early colleges, these institutions offer unique pathways for students to explore and excel in their chosen fields.

Career Academies: Discover immersive learning at its best. Career academies are smaller learning communities focused on specific career themes. Students engage in hands-on education, blending core courses with career-related experiences. From biomedical sciences to game design, these academies offer a unique approach to education, preparing students for success in their chosen fields.

Early Colleges: For those seeking an early start on their higher education journey, Wake County's early colleges present an exciting opportunity. These programs integrate career and technical education components into the high school curriculum, allowing students to earn high school graduation credits while also pursuing specialized tracks like Biopharmaceutical Technology, Cosmetology, Nursing, Game Design, Simulation and Game Development, and Welding.

Early colleges allow students the opportunity credits that can be applied toward Wake Tech Community College or a four-year university. In some cases, students can complete their high school diploma alongside an Associate degree, college transfer credits, prerequisite courses for health sciences degrees, or certificates—all tuition-free. The first two years involve a rigorous high school program of honors classes, followed by dual enrollment in Wake Tech courses for the remaining years. Applying to these schools opens doors to an accelerated and comprehensive educational experience.

Our public high schools with early colleges/academies are:

Wake Early College of Health and Sciences (9-12+) is a four to five year program that lets students learn about the health and sciences field. Students will take classes at Wake Tech Community College for the last two years of their schooling and can graduate with a high school diploma and associate's degree. All college credits transfer to every public school in NC. Learn more on their website.

Wake Early College of Information and Biotechnologies (9-12+): Students take a blend of high school classes and Wake Tech classes with a focus on IT and biotechnology. They graduate with both a high school diploma and credits towards an associates degree in Applied Sciences. Programs offered include Network Management, Computer Programming, Cybersecurity and Biotechnology. Learn more at their website.

Wake STEM Early College High School (9-12+) is a joint program between WCPSS and NC State University. Students take college courses at NC State as well as their required high school courses over 5 years. This school doesn’t guarantee admission at NC State but this program makes them highly competitive applicants. Learn more at their website.

Wake Young Men's / Wake Young Women's Leadership Academies (6-12+) offers rigorous education that emphasizes leadership, development, entrepreneurship and community services. Learn more at their website.

North Wake College and Career Academy (9-12) is a collaborative venture between Wake Tech and Wake County. Students will be able to take specialized classes in Culinary, Business Administration, IT/Tech Support, Early Childhood Education and Emergency Medical Science. Learn more on their website.

Vernon Malone College and Career Academy (9-12) offers instruction in six unique programs: Biopharmaceutical Technology, Cosmetology, Facility Maintenance Technology, Nurse Aide, Simulation and Game Development and Welding. Find more information on their website.  

Learn more here.

Private Schools:

If you’re seeking an alternative to public schooling, Wake County and its neighboring areas offer a range of distinguished private educational institutions. These schools provide diverse academic approaches, allowing families to tailor their children's education to their unique needs and preferences. From Montessori-based learning environments to renowned Catholic high schools in Raleigh, NC, there are exceptional options available. Below, we've compiled a selection of notable private schools in Raleigh, NC and its surroundings. Explore these institutions to discover the enriching educational pathways they offer for your child's growth and development.

Charter Schools

The Raleigh area has 26 public charter schools, including 7 public charter high schools. Those charter schools include some specialized areas like arts, math and science, Montessori programs and dual language programs. Similar programs are offered by magnet schools and speciality high schools, listed above. 

Charter schools are not required to be accredited and do not have to follow the state standard course of study. You can learn more about applying to charter schools on the website of the school you apply to. 

As you navigate the rich educational opportunities of the Triangle, NextHome Triangle Properties is here to guide you in making informed decisions. Contact us today to embark on a personalized real estate experience that puts your needs first. Together, let's find the perfect home within the vibrant tapestry of Raleigh's educational landscape.

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Mary Ann Wilson

Mary Ann Wilson started her passion for real estate as a young girl living in Kansas City. Instead of reading the comics, she found herself turning to the real estate section of the newspaper and that....

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