Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools offers growing array of options

As the second largest school district in North Carolina, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools posts some pretty impressive numbers:

▪ 147,000 students in grades K-12 - about three-fourths of all Mecklenburg school-age children

▪ 170 schools

▪ More than 18,000 teachers, support staff, and administration personnel

▪ 90,000 mentors and volunteers

CMS is composed of a combination of “home” schools, schools close to home where students are automatically guaranteed a seat based on their address, and magnet schools, specialized programs where seats are assigned through application and lottery.

While home and magnet schools both teach North Carolina’s state-mandated curriculum, magnet schools present the information in unique ways, offering theme-based programs to promote students’ interests, abilities and talents.

For instance, there are magnet schools that concentrate on visual and performing arts, world languages and language immersion, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), Montessori and more.

CMS is expanding magnet offerings for next year, offering 22,444 seats for 2017-2018 in 56 full and partial magnet schools. Magnet representatives will be present at both Charlotte Observer Regional School Fairs Dec. 3 and 4.

The system is currently undergoing a student reassignment study, and the magnet expansion is an important part of Phase 1. In addition to adding seats and programs, it reconfigures transportation zones to increase access to certain schools and to advance socioeconomic diversity. A new lottery process will further promote socioeconomic diversity in magnet schools.

Entrance requirements vary depending on the magnet. Visit the school’s website for details. Families new to CMS who wish to participate in the 2017-2018 lottery must enroll their children with the CMS Student Placement Office by Jan. 24. Round one of the magnet lottery will run Jan. 6-Feb. 14. Round two runs March 1–29.

Visit for more information on home schools, magnet schools, student reassignment and other CMS questions.