A Buyer's Guide to Wake County Schools

Schools are one of the top reasons why people want to live in the Triangle area. The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) is one of the best school districts in the nation, let alone in North Carolina, which is why our area consistently ranks among the best places to live. If you're relocating to the area or if you'd just like a quick overview of this school system, use this Wake County schools guide below to learn about the district's unique qualities.


students at a public school

A Wide Reach

The Wake County School System serves all of Wake County, which includes Raleigh, Cary, ApexHolly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, and Wendell. As North Carolina's largest school district, Wake County Schools enrolls close to 160,000 students per academic year. There are 110 elementary schools (grades K-5), 34 middle schools (grades 6-8), and 26 high schools (grades 9-12), as well as 4 alternative schools and 3 academies.

District Quick Facts

  • Superintendent: Dr. James Merrill
  • District Office Address: 5625 Dillard Drive, Cary NC 27518
  • District Phone Number: (919) 431-7400

high school building

Award-Winning Schools

Wake County's schools consistently rank among the schools in North Carolina and in the nation. US News & World Report has given several of its high schools bronze, silver, and gold medals because of high graduation rates and college readiness levels, and organizations such as Magnet Schools of America and the US Department of Education have recognized the high achievements of students in many Wake County schools.

Wake County Schools Accolades

  • #1 in the US for National Board Certified Teachers
  • EPA Energy Star Award (Top Performer) — 2013, Environmental Protection Agency
  • District of the Year for North Carolina — 2009, The NEED Project Youth Awards for Energy Achievement

children playing on playground

Year-Round School Calendars

Wake County Public School System has two different school year schedules: traditional and year-round. During traditional academic calendars, the school year starts in August and ends in June for summer break, with a few breaks in between for holidays. During year-round calendars, schools are in session all year long, with the exception of short holiday breaks in July and December. Students who attend year-round schools are enrolled in a "track" and attend school for 9 weeks, then take a "track-out" break for 3 weeks. The tracks overlap schedules so one of the four tracks is always on break.

Benefits of Year-Round Schools

  • 3-week breaks mean more time for vacations
  • Year-round schedules offer more flexibility
  • Schools can accommodate more students

parents walking child to school

Student Assignments

Wake County assigns students to their "base school" based on their home address. You have the option of requesting a transfer within 10 days of enrolling at your base school if you want to apply to a magnet school or calendar option (such as year-round if you're assigned to a school on traditional calendar).

Because this district is growing quickly, a few schools have enrollment caps. In that case, students will attend nearby overflow schools. From time to time, the school district looks at which schools are overcrowded and adjusts the school assignments slightly to fill in the gaps at new schools. If you have questions about current assignments, feel free to give me a call at 919-422-3794.

What You Need to Enroll

  • Find your base school and visit in person to enroll
  • Complete the required enrollment forms
  • Have student's birth certificate, proof of address, and immunization record


Fall in Love with the Triangle

Strong Wake County schools are just one of the many things you'll love about living here. If you're interested in buying a home in the Triangle, let me help you find the home you'll love. Call me at 919-422-3794 and let's talk about what you're looking for.

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