Wondering if you should apply to a Wake magnet school? 36 just got national awards.

Three dozen Wake County magnet schools have received national awards, school officials announced Tuesday, at a time when parents are making decisions about where to send their children this fall.

Farmington Woods, Fox Road, Joyner and Wiley elementary schools; Daniels, Martin, Moore Square and Reedy Creek middle schools; Athens Drive and Millbrook high schools and Wake STEM Early College received the School of Excellence Award from Magnet Schools of America.

Those 11 schools are now in the running to win the national trade organization’s top awards.

In addition, Brooks, Brentwood, Combs, Conn, Douglas, Fuller, Green, Hunter, Kingswood, Powell, Smith, Washington and Wendell elementary schools; Carnage, Carroll, Centennial Campus, East Garner, East Millbrook, Ligon and Zebulon middle schools; Broughton, Enloe and Garner high schools; Vernon Malone College and Career Academy and Wake Early College of Health and Sciences High received the School of Distinction Award. (An earlier version of the story incorrectly listed Zebulon Elementary instead of Zebulon Middle as having been named a School of Distinction.)

Wake County annually does well in the national competition, with 31 schools being recognized in 2018. Last year, Farmington Woods was named the top magnet elementary school in the United States, and April Guenzler, a kindergarten teacher at Brooks Elementary, was named National Teacher of the Year.

Since 1982, Wake has used the magnet program to diversify school enrollments, fill under-enrolled schools and provide additional educational opportunities. Magnet schools offer programs typically not found at regular schools, such as advanced arts and foreign language courses.

Wake’s application period to get into magnet schools and year-round schools for the 2019-20 school year ends Jan. 30. Go to https://www.wcpss.net/domain/90 for more information.

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T. Keung Hui has covered K-12 education for the News & Observer since 1999, helping parents, students, school employees and the community understand the vital role education plays in North Carolina. His primary focus is Wake County, but he also covers statewide education issues.