If you are about to move to Durham, NC, and have kids, you are probably looking at apartments in the Durham Public School District, the eighth largest district in the state. The district has a total of 46 schools, ranging from elementary to high schools. While which school a student attends is largely determined by geographic location, there are also a few magnet schools, such the Durham School of the Arts and the School for Creative Studies, both of which accept students in Grades 6-12 on a lottery basis.
Southwest Elementary School
Southwest Elementary School, for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, has a student body of just under 600 and a small classroom size to help students learn on a more individualized basis. There's a focus on small group and one on one study in classes. While there is some focus placed on the North Carolina End of Grade tests students take, education at the school is much more comprehensive and goes beyond teaching to the test. Students are encouraged to learn through games and through experience.
One highlight of the curriculum at the school is the two way language immersion program, in which students are taught in English and Spanish at the same time. The program is designed for students who are either native English or native Spanish speakers, and hopes to increase proficiency in both languages.
Sherwood Githens Middle School
Sherwood Githens Middle School has slightly less than 1,000 students in Grades 6-8. The school does fairly well on tests, with 83 percent of students receiving a score of proficient or better on the end of course math exam in 2014. In 2015, Tonya Williams, the school's principal, received the principal of the year award for the entire district.
A number of resources are available to students, including a media center and library. Students learn to conduct research in the media center and gain a better understanding of technology from using it.
Students who are interested in sports and athletics can participate in a variety of different activities at the school. There are 18 teams, nine for girls and nine for boys. Options include cheerleading, basketball, and lacrosse.
Hillside High School
With a student body of around 1,300 in Grades 9-12, Hillside High School is one of seven high schools in the district. Students in the high school have a variety of opportunities, based on their interests and abilities. Workforce Development classes let students study childcare, electronics, and business in depth, while a connection between the school's science department and research facilities operating in the Research Triangle lets students enjoy a hands-on science education. About 20 percent of the school's students are enrolled in advanced placement courses, giving them a leg up when it comes to college preparedness.
The school has several highly regarded performing arts programs, too, such as the Hillside Dance program, and its marching band and theater department. The dance program includes classes that any student can enroll in, and an after-school program that involves putting on several performances each school year.