Charlotte, NC

Upward Enrollment Trends Continue at Charlotte's Largest Private Schools

Shannon Cuthrell

Charlotte's top private schools say they're seeing a boost in enrollment ahead of the upcoming school year, following a steady growth trend over the past several years.

NewsBreak reached out to the city's largest private schools, as ranked by enrollment on Niche.com, about their preliminary enrollment figures for the 2021-22 school year. We asked whether they saw a rise or drop in the number of new applications coming in compared to previous years, how many current students/families committed for the next school year, how many new students were added, and whether they're seeing families leaving in favor of public schools.

Providence Day School, Charlotte's largest private school with more than 1,780 students spanning transitional kindergarten to 12th grade, says its enrollment has grown slightly at about 2% to 3% over the past several years—and this year is no exception.

Lisa Knight, Providence Day School's director of admissions and enrollment management, says the school saw more new applications over the last enrollment season than in previous seasons, consistent with peer schools.

"We also had an extremely high re-enrollment rate among current families," she added.

Still, Knight says it's too early to give a final enrollment count for the upcoming school year, as it tends to change during the summer.

After seeing increased enrollment in performing arts disciplines, Providence Day School recently announced it would add a 28,000-square-foot expansion to its arts and dining facilities. The building is slated to open in August 2022.

Charlotte Country Day School also saw modest growth over this year's enrollment season, growing from 1,700 students last year to 1,725 for the upcoming school year.

Shannon Drosky, the school's director of marketing and communications, said the number of inquiries and applications has continued to increase over the last several years, and the school sees that trend continuing over this past year. The school's average re-enrollment rate is typically 95%, but it increased by over one percentage point this year.

The two-campus school has space for about 175 to 200 new students every year, and it's currently in the process of adding new athletic facilities, including a 30,000-foot natatorium with two pools. Last August, it opened a new learning center for its upper school grades (pictured below).

Asked whether Charlotte Country Day School is seeing any families leaving in favor of public schools, or the opposite effect, Drosky said the primary reason families leave is because they move out of the city.

"The other withdrawals are for a variety of reasons from students going to boarding schools or public schools, but we only lose a small percentage of our population each year as evidenced by our high re-enrollment," she adds.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1MkwEY_0aePsVgf00
An overhead shot of Charlotte Latin School's campus.Charlotte Latin School, via Twitter

Charlotte Latin School, the city's third-largest private school according to Niche.com enrollment data, has over 1,400 students spanning transitional kindergarten through 12th grade.

Charlotte Latin School Director of Marketing and Communications Susan Carpenter declined to share specific details about enrollment figures for the upcoming school year but stated that the school saw a significant uptick in applications in the first through fifth grade levels. All other grades experienced an expected pattern of steady and predictable growth.

The school has been increasing its physical capacity through its Vision2020 capital campaign, which added a new leadership center, an athletic facility, tennis courts and more.

Charlotte Christian School, which has over 1,100 students according to its website, hit record enrollment in the 2021-22 school year, totaling 1,148 students spanning junior kindergarten through 12th grade. Along with that, the school saw a new record in the number of applications coming in.

Laura Goodyear, Charlotte Christian School's director of communications, says these new applications "are comprised of families desiring a Christian education, relocating to Charlotte and choosing an alternative experience to public school."

She added that families have the opportunity to evaluate whether to remain at the school during the re-enrollment period. Over the past five years, 96% of families have confidentially chosen to stay.

Goodyear also said that the school isn't seeing a significant number of families leaving for public school options, adding, "We continue to receive inquiries from local families and families making a move or anticipating a move to Charlotte in the near future."

Charlotte Christian School is undergoing a multi-phase master plan to expand its campus. Phase two wrapped up last fall, with a new competition field, a tennis court, and additional parking and road infrastructure. The school plans to move forward with a pair of two-story middle and upper school buildings, an expanded dining hall, a new athletic center and practice field, and more.

Charlotte Catholic High School, the fourth largest local private school by enrollment numbers, could not be reached for comment on this story.

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Shannon Cuthrell is a Charlotte-based freelance journalist with a background covering business, technology and economic development. She has written for Business North Carolina magazine, WRAL TechWire and EE Power, among other publications.

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