North Carolina has seen robust growth in private-school enrollment in recent years. Last year, 126,768 students attended N.C. private schools — a 10% jump from 2021-22*. In Mecklenburg County, more than 20,850 students were enrolled in 103 private schools last year.
Making the decision to send your child to private school is a personal, complex one. Determining which private school is the right fit for your child and your family takes thoughtful consideration and research. Start with basic facts like tuition, size and the school’s values. Private schools offer strong academics and creative approaches to curriculums and instructional models. Learn more about those and how students are supported along their educational journey, as well as socially and emotionally. Discover the vibrant arts, athletics and extracurricular programs available. Inquire about student life, community service opportunities and summer programs.
Finally, talk with parents and students at the schools you’re considering, schedule tours and have your child spend a day at each school. In this sponsored section, we’re giving you a head start on your search, showcasing several Charlotte private schools, asking what makes them different and what’s to come this school year.
*Source: The N.C. Department of Administration, July 2023
Questions to ask when visiting a private school
- How is the school’s mission applied in the classroom and the community?
- What’s a typical day like?
- What innovative programs and amenities differentiate the school?
- How do you help new students and parents transition to the school?
- How does the institution foster a sense of community and a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment?
- How does the school prepare students for the next chapter after they graduate?
- What tuition assistance is available and what is the fiscal health of the school?
- What are the school’s memberships and affiliations, and its accreditation status?
Mission: To provide an excellent education, built on biblical truth, which equips students to reflect Christ to the world.
What sets your school apart? Our emphasis is on intentional discipleship. Along with chapel, our middle and high school includes a small-group component. Groups, led by our staff, provide an opportunity to invest in our students spiritually and support social and emotional health and well-being. Elementary teachers disciple students through Bible class and intentional interactions that encourage and promote Christ-like actions and attitudes. Additionally, Christian service is a part of school life in all grade levels, including a high-school academic trip, mission trip or internship where students engage with communities locally, nationally and internationally.
What’s ahead: We will add our 14th AP class in high school this fall, offering a huge variety of AP courses that benefit high-school students. We had our first AP Capstone cohort in 2023 and will be among a select group of schools nationally to continue to participate in this elite program offered through the College Board. Students can earn a Capstone diploma by passing exams in AP Seminar, AP Research and four other AP courses. Additionally, in spring 2023 we enhanced our outdoor learning environment with the addition of a school garden, which will be incorporated into our curriculum in many ways.
What students say: “The Carmel family is my family. I love the memories and connections built with students and staff during my time at Carmel Christian. Thanks to Carmel and its family, I’ve grown in all areas of my life, including learning more about God and his plan for me!” – Jayce Shirley, Class of 2021
Mission: To encourage individual development and civility in our students by inspiring them to learn, by encouraging them to serve others and by offering them many growth-promoting opportunities.
What sets your school apart? We serve more than 1,500 students in transitional kindergarten to 12th grade. Located on 128 acres in south Charlotte, our campus is an ideal place to learn and grow. Charlotte Latin, the youngest school to be granted a Cum Laude charter, balances our college preparatory academic experience with rich co-curricular programs including our nationally recognized art programs, MIT-certified Fab Academy and successful athletics program. In addition to our signature leadership program and commitment to well-being, Latin believes students at all ages and stages can develop skills to be empathic, caring citizens of an ever-changing world.
What’s ahead: Charlotte Latin is excited to launch our most recent strategic plan, Latin Leads. Embracing the founders’ vision that all students should be leaders, the plan revolves around five goals: leadership, teaching and learning, wellness, purpose and belonging, and access and affordability.
What leadership says: “Our plan sets our priorities for the future and challenges us, as a mission-driven school, not to rest on our laurels (of which there are many!) but rather to extend and refine what we call excellence.” – Chuck Baldecchi, Head of School
Mission: Charlotte Preparatory School fosters lifelong learning and provides an exemplary educational experience founded on academic excellence, positive character and leadership development in a diverse, inclusive community. We bring our mission to life each day by providing an exceptional education for our students in a warm, nurturing environment that fosters intellectual, expressive, physical and ethical growth. We value character and integrity as the essential building blocks of a truly meaningful life, and we recognize the richness of what students can learn within a diverse student body.
What sets your school apart? We believe the K-8th grade model is the best for our students and allows children to develop in a supportive environment. Children learn and develop in distinct ways, and they benefit from a school designed to meet their unique needs, interests and potential. From the teaching professionals we hire, to the programs we offer, to the intentional design of our learning spaces, everything we do creates an environment where children can thrive. We are not distracted by the shadows cast by a high school, which means students grow up learning to be responsible leaders while maintaining age-appropriate playfulness.
What’s ahead: This is a very exciting time of growth and change! We are developing a campus master plan that includes a state-of-the-art, new lower-school building which will be constructed during the next two years.
What parents say: “In bigger schools, high schoolers are the focus. My daughter will be here through 8th grade because I don’t want middle school to be forgotten. I want it to be the time of real growth and joy Prep offers.” – Charlotte Prep parent
Mission: Palisades Episcopal School is a school honoring Christ and committed to providing a classical education challenging the mind, body and spirit.
What sets your school apart? PES students graduate knowing how to connect their heads to their hearts and are academically prepared for high school and beyond. We believe a JK-8th grade education best serves the educational, social and emotional needs of children, and we devote our resources to preparing this age group for high school and life. As a JK-8 school, PES middle-school students are senior members of the student body with many leadership responsibilities, resulting in greater confidence, self-esteem and a sense of belonging. Our students mentor younger students, have access to equestrian opportunities, learn two languages, lead school performances and athletic teams, participate in service projects, and much more.
What’s ahead: This year marks the launch of our Room to Bloom capital campaign. We will break ground on a new state-of- the-art academic building, creating learning space for our students and allowing PES to continue growing enrollment on our 9-acre campus in southwest Mecklenburg County.
What students say: “PES equipped me with the skills necessary to think critically, develop my own thoughts and opinions, and stand firm in what I believe. I can confidently say PES has set me up to be a well-rounded student – and person! … PES’s learning environment was my baseline and has greatly influenced my college and career decisions.” — PES alumnus
- Begin application
- Attend open houses, register for tours
- Schedule required tests. Most schools require standardized assessments or tests for younger and older students.
- Gather teacher/community recommendations and transcripts.
- Schedule interviews with faculty/admissions team.
- Stay on top of application deadlines — most are due in January or February.
Learn more: View a list of Charlotte-area private schools in Mecklenburg County with enrollments of 50 or more students here.