Learning & Activities


The 10 Worst Schools In Charlotte Today

The 10 Worst Schools In Charlotte Today

From its well-known sports teams to the historic neighborhoods and Victorian homes, there are plenty of reasons you might love living in Charlotte, North Carolina. If you’re a parent of school-age children, the school system is also something to consider when you move to a new city. While there are numerous highly-rated schools in Charlotte, some of the worst schools in Charlotte miss the mark when it comes to helping students achieve academic success.

There are many school rating systems for public and charter schools across the country. This list of the worst schools in Charlotte is based on overall test scores, proficiency levels in the core subjects, and graduation rates. Even though many students at these schools are currently falling behind, there are still many opportunities for them to catch up with the right support and interventions.

Keep reading to find out which schools may be considered the worst schools in Charlotte and how they compare to other schools in the area. 

student girl holding a test paper with a failing grade
The test scores at a school can say a lot about how well students are learning and how they're progressing year to year.

©Lucky Business/Shutterstock.com

University Park Creative Arts

2400 Hildebrand Street, Charlotte, NC, 28216

University Park Creative Arts is a public elementary school in Charlotte that serves 339 students in K-5th grade. This magnet school has a dedicated visual and performing arts program and was recognized as a Magnet School of Distinction in 2008. The student:teacher ratio at this elementary school is 14:1.

Compared to the state average, the test scores at University Park show students are falling behind in their core subjects. Only 19% of students are proficient in reading, 20% are proficient in math, and 30% are proficient in science. Even though science is the strongest subject at this school, the proficiency rate still falls below the state average of 68%. 

Statesville Road Elementary

5521 Milhaven Lane, Charlotte, NC, 28269

Statesville Road Elementary is a public elementary school in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. They serve 449 students in grades K-5. The goal of this school is to develop students who are knowledgeable, responsible, and internationally minded. Their academic program includes an elementary IB program. 

When it comes to the test scores at Statesville Road Elementary, 22% of students are proficient in reading, 18% of students are proficient in math, and 21% of students are proficient in science. As far as academic progress from year to year, students are making low progress and not keeping up with their peers from other schools.

Piney Grove Elementary

8801 Eaglewind Drive, Charlotte, NC, 28212

Piney Grove Elementary is a public elementary school in Charlotte, North Carolina. This school serves about 762 elementary students and is a Title 1 school. The staff at Piney Grove Elementary are committed to learning, adapting, and growing together each year. Additionally, they’ve built intentional support systems within the framework of the school.

According to test scores at Piney Grove Elementary, students are behind the grade-level standards. About 23% of students are proficient in reading, 29% of students are proficient in math, and 40% of students are proficient in science.

Nations Ford Elementary

7050 Nations Ford Road, Charlotte, NC, 28217

Nations Ford Elementary is a public elementary school within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. This school focuses on preparing students for the future and has a facility that was redesigned in 2016. The staff at Nations Ford Elementary is highly qualified and they aim to help children meet and exceed the educational standards.

The test scores of students at Nations Ford Elementary fall below the state average when it comes to math, reading, and science. 14% of students are proficient in reading, 35% are proficient in math, and 45% are proficient in science.

Joseph W Grier Academy

8330 Grier Rd, Charlotte, NC 28215

Joseph W Grier Academy is a public school in Charlotte with 693 students in grades PK-5. Joseph W Grier Academy is a diverse school with a student-to-teacher ratio of 15 to 1. The staff aims to create a collaborative learning environment so that all students can achieve academic success.

Despite their high expectations for students, many are still falling behind. The school falls below the state average when it comes to test scores, academic progress, and equity. Math is the lowest subject at the school with only 31% of students showing proficiency, compared to the state average of 49%.

Renaissance West STEAM Academy

3241 New Renaissance Way, Charlotte, NC, 28208

Renaissance West STEAM Academy is a public school with over 600 students in grades Pre-K-8th grade. This school has a focus on STEAM or science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. They aim to help every student excel academically and exceed the standards set by the school district.

Compared to the state average for test scores, students at Renaissance West STEAM Academy are falling behind. 45% are proficient in science, 17% are proficient in reading, and 18% are proficient in math.

James Martin Middle School

6301 University Pointe Boulevard, Charlotte, NC, 28262

James Martin Middle School is a public middle school in Charlotte with 690 students. At James Martin Middle School, the instructional staff aims to deliver high-quality instruction to prepare students for academic and personal success. They also integrate character education into the classroom and use differentiated practices to meet the needs of each student.

Science is the strongest subject at James Martin Middle School. Although their proficiency levels are still below the state average, 52% are proficient in science. However, the students struggle with reading and math. 29% are proficient in reading and only 12% are proficient in math. 

Graduation Caps Thrown in the Air
For high schools, low graduation rates can indicate that students aren't being prepared for the future.

©Anel Alijagic/Shutterstock.com

Harding University High School

2001 Alleghany St, Charlotte, NC 28208

Harding University High School is a public high school in Charlotte that serves 1,619 students. They aim to offer a challenging academic program that prepares students in grades 9-12 for life after high school. They also try to prepare students to be active citizens, leaders, and scholars in their community.

Overall, Harding University High School scores far below the state average when it comes to test scores, equity, and college readiness. While the 4-year graduation rate is 69%, students are graduating without the skills necessary to succeed in higher education or a career. Only 23% of the students are pursuing college or a vocational program after high school and only 8% of students participate in the SAT.

West Mecklenburg High School

7400 Tuckaseegee Road, Charlotte, NC, 28214

West Mecklenburg High School is a public school in Charlotte with 1,211 students in grades 9-12. They serve a diverse population of students at this school and their campus features numerous amenities including athletic fields and stadiums for their sports teams. West Mecklenburg High School provides opportunities for students to participate in Career and Technical Education and is a Cambridge International School.

While there are numerous support systems in place for students at West Mecklenburg High School, students are still missing the mark when it comes to test scores and college readiness. The graduation rate is 71%, which falls below the state average of 86%. Additionally, only 30% of students are planning on pursuing a college degree or vocational program after high school.

Central Piedmont Community College

1201 Elizabeth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204

Central Piedmont Community College is a public community college located in Charlotte, NC. It’s the second-largest community college in the state with over 40,000 students enrolled. At this school, students can earn their associate degree, work toward their four-year degree, or participate in a vocational program. They offer degrees and programs in 12 different career fields.

Compared to other colleges, the retention rate and graduation rate at Central Piedmont Community College fall below the national average. While tracking completion rates at community colleges can be tricky, only 21.5% of students graduate from this school with a degree.

Comparing the Worst Schools in Charlotte

Some of the worst schools in Charlotte have low test scores compared to other elementary, middle, and high schools in the area. While teachers at these schools may be doing everything they can to help students achieve success, there may be additional barriers when it comes to student achievement.

With the right interventions and support, there is still a chance for students who are falling behind to receive the help they need to succeed.

To top