Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Public schools offer tours, prepare for kindergarten registration, magnet applications

Posted January 5, 2015
Updated January 7, 2015

The next school year doesn't start for many months, but if you have a rising kindergartener, middle schooler or high schooler or are thinking about a change for your current public school student, now is the time to make your decisions.

All of the various public schools in the region present a sometimes dizzying host of options for parents - year-round, modified or traditional calendars, magnet or base. And then there are the various charter schools and private schools to consider that operate on their own. It's an exciting time as I prepare to register my younger daughter for kindergarten. (Cue the tears!).

Right now, many schools are offering tours for parents and families. Registration dates and application deadlines also are fast approaching for some systems for kindergarten and magnet schools.

A word on kindergarten registration: Children must be 5 years by Aug. 31, 2015 to register for kindergarten. Parents also can attempt the early admission process if you think your four-year-old is ready. You don't have to register your child as soon as registration opens, but it's in your best interest to do so. Schools and PTAs often hold special events for rising kindergartners and their families. The sooner you register your child, the sooner you'll find out about those.

Wake County: This is a busy time at Wake County schools. All schools - magnet and base - are offering tours this month and in February to prospective families. Those tours include special open houses at magnet elementary schools on Wednesday and others later this month. Even if you're certain that your student will attend his base school, a tour is a great opportunity to begin to meet the staff, understand how the school works and even connect with other parents who will send their kids there.

Registration for rising kindergartners begins Jan. 15. Parents must go to their child's base school to register even if you plan on applying for a magnet school. In fact, if you are planning to apply to a magnet school, you must register your child at your base school before you submit your magnet application. You'll need to bring some information with you in order to register your child. The magnet application process runs Jan. 26 to Feb. 5.

Durham Public Schools: Durham's magnet school application period runs Jan. 12 to Jan. 30. Magnet schools are holding tours now. Traditional schools also are offering tours. Contact your base school for details. Registration for kindergarten in Durham typically doesn't begin until March, but the system will have a kindergarten welcome night later this month. I'll update this post once I get the details for that.

Orange County: Kindergarten registration begins in April, but parents can call for appointments starting as early as Feb. 3, depending on the school.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools: Registration for the upcoming school year will begin Feb. 2 for all grade levels, including kindergarten. Starting on that date, parents can register their child online on the system's website.

Johnston County: The public school system, I'm told, hasn't set the date yet for kindergarten registration, but it has been in February or March in past years.



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  • Sarah Hall Jan 14, 2015
    user avatar

    Not at all @Delikid2. From what I understand, it's essentially just a matter of letting them know your child won't be there.


  • delikid2 Jan 8, 2015

    If I register my child at his base school, then get accepted at a charter, is it a difficult process to "un-register" from the base school?

  • Baybee Doll Jan 6, 2015

    Exploris is refusing to give tours of their elementary schools.

    Toured abt 5 of them and I must say, only 1 was a good one--Aversboro Rd Elementary. But they said their HVAC system has needed replacement for 5 years now. It was hot in there & this was in May. Um, no thanks.

    Private school is the way to go.

  • itsmebaby Jan 6, 2015

    Does anyone have any experience with Wilton Elementary?

  • Sarah Hall Jan 6, 2015
    user avatar

    It's so hard to believe, @newssaavy72! Very true, @Babbleon! And @ItsMeBaby and folks who live in counties outside the Triangle, it seems that kindergarten registration begins in the early spring for most other systems, according to my checking around.


  • newssaavy72 Jan 6, 2015

    Hi Sarah! I will be registering my youngest for kindergarten this year as well! I can't believe where the time has gone and Happy New Year to you! - Vickie

  • babbleon Jan 6, 2015

    For Wake Co: We love Wiley! Look into the magnet schools, they have a great variety for kids with all kinds of interests.

    One caveat: AB Combs is VERY popular, so if you're undecided between Combs and another one, put the other one as your first pick.

  • itsmebaby Jan 6, 2015

    For anyone in Granville, I called the school system and they said that their website will be updated in late February/March with registration information.