Guide: Durham County Schools

March 21, 2010 

The Durham Public Schools oversees most education in the county, with 50 different elementary, middle and high school programs. The district of 32,000 students offers both traditional and year-round schooling, with several magnet programs. City and county schools were separate until 1992, when the two systems merged.

The district is unique in that a majority of students belong to a racial or ethnic minority. Less than a quarter of the school population is white. More than half the students identify as black, and almost 16 percent of students are Hispanic.

Leadership The public schools are led by Superintendent Carl Harris, who took the job in the fall of 2006. Harris and his staff answer to the school board, which is composed of seven elected members. The superintendent serves as an ex-oficio member who does not vote. School Board Members and Contact Information Elected members of the school board are split into three committees: instructional services (i.e. curriculum), support services (i.e. security, transportation, etc.) and administrative services (i.e. capital needs, construction and finance) that meet once a month. The full board meets once a month, usually on the fourth Thursday. Board Policies, Frequently Asked Questions and Other Tidbits

Attendance Check student assignment maps to find out which school your child is supposed to attend. Not sure your assigned school is what you're looking for? Durham has an open transfer policy that allows parents to apply for a transfer, for example if another school offers a specific program that your child is seeking. Transfer Policy

Data and Statistics Detailed information on enrollment, for instance how many students receive free or reduced lunch, an organizational chart, and other miscellaneous reports and publications not including standardized tests. Test Scores The State Department of Public Instruction also has more databases on its Web site. See how a school in the district has met state Adequate Yearly Progress and federal No Child Left Behind standards. Enter "Durham County" in Quick Search. To get a "report card" of schools in the district, including student performance, safety records and teacher qualifications.

Need to Know Bell Schedules Daily Lunch Menus Before- and After-School Care Common Forms Whom to Call Stay in the loop. Durham officials release "Key Communicator" e-mails that can update you if there's a snow day or other breaking developments.

Charter Schools There are eight Charter Schools in Durham as of the 2006-07 school year. List of Schools and Contact Information

Private Schools There are more than two dozen religious and independent private schools in Durham, offering instruction for students in grades K-12.

Other links Just some of the organizations involved in the public schools The High Five Regional Partnership for High School Excellence A consortium of five corporations and five school districts committed to high-school reform Durham Association of Educators The local branch of the N.C. Association of Educators; represents teacher interests and issues Durham's Partnership for Children An organization focusing on early childhood development, parent education and family support Durham Public Education Network A group working with parents to prepare children under 5 to start school with adequate skills Communities in Schools Of Durham An organization striving to help students stay in school and curb dropout rates Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership A group working to boost achievement in seven schools near Duke University by providing resources and education for teachers and students Crayons2Calculators An organization that collects and donates school supplies to Durham's teachers A national group that allows donors to fund school projects. Hundreds of teachers in Durham use this Web site.

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