Durham (also known as the “City of Medicine” and the “Bull City”) is a fast-growing, vibrant, diverse community. Durham has a rich history, including the once booming tobacco industry and Black Wall Street, a prosperous group of black-owned businesses that flourished at the turn of the century. In recent years, old tobacco warehouses became American Tobacco Campus, filled with restaurants, office and living spaces and retail shops. Once named the “tastiest town in the south” by Southern Living, Durham boasts incredible culinary talent. Durham is home to both Duke University and North Carolina Central University, bringing not only higher education but sports, arts and visitors to the city. From the Sarah P. Duke Gardens to the Durham Performing Arts Center, there is never a lack of things to do in Durham!
Durham Public Schools (DPS) serves over 32,000 students and has options for all types of learners, including application schools for year-round calendar, arts, dual language immersion, humanities, Montessori and more. Your base school can be determined by typing in your address in the DPS address lookup tool. In addition there are Charter Schools and Independent schools that offer a variety of different options. Below are some resources to help families better explore all that Durham schools have to offer.
NOTICE: Beginning in the 2024-2025 school year through the Growing Together Initiative, elementary school boundaries will change and some of the application options will change. The county will be split into five regions, with program options within each region. There will be a few programs that will continue to be district wide. All schools will have access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as visual arts, global languages and music. That being said, everyone has, and will continue to have, an assigned base school that can be determined by typing in your address in the DPS address lookup tool. Be sure to follow along for more information on any changes in boundaries!
Just getting started? Download our Frequently Asked Questions
School Information Session
Join us on Friday Feb. 9th at 12pm for a free webinar! Emmy Renquist, Durham Consultant, and Jessica Summers of The Family Navigator will discuss what questions to ask when touring/deciding on a school for your child! They will cover general education questions in regard to academics, extracurriculars and school culture as well as how to navigate those aspects through the lens of special needs and neurodivergence.
Your first step is to enroll in Durham County Public Schools. You do this by enrolling online and you can find your assigned base school by looking up your address on the DPS lookup tool.
Durham also offers special programs through its magnet schools program. You can find out more about magnet schools and their themes, as well as how they will be changing in the next year, on the following tabs. A magnet school offers a specialized curriculum, program, or theme in an effort to encourage diversity. Magnet schools were actually started during desegregation as a way to integrate our schools!
If you are looking for performance data on schools I recommend the NC School Report Cards as an alternative to Great Schools. Here you will find performance and growth scores as well as other data for all public schools.
Families looking for high school data can use the following charts:
Need more help navigating schools?
Emmy Renquist, Durham Consultant
I'm a Durham local with a background in education and a passion for Montessori.
I was born and raised in Durham, attending both public and private schools in the county. I went on to complete my associates from Durham Technical Community College, bachelor’s from UNC-Chapel Hill and eventually my Master’s in Education. I want to learn more about what your family values in a school and how we can align those principles with what our schools have to offer. I look forward to working alongside you!
Social: @SchoolUpDurham Email: Emmy@schoolupwake.com