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Score an Excellent Education in Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem schools earn high marks for college and career readiness and students enjoy a diverse array of academic and extracurricular options here.

By Livability on January 3, 2023

Atkins Magnet High School students in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

A major advantage for the Winston-Salem region is its wealth of high-quality educational options, all of which work to ensure students are prepared for the next generation workforce. 

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools serves more than 50,000 students in 81 schools. The district offers robust Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming in its middle and high schools, including eight CTE program areas and 16 Career Academy options where students can earn industry-recognized credentials.

Students who home in on their interests by concentrating on a CTE cluster excel in high school and beyond. CTE concentrators have a 100% high school graduation rate, and 98% go on to colleges, technical schools or the military.

“That’s why choice is important because it provides them something that they are connected to, and when our learners are connected and when they feel capable, they are more likely to excel,” Superintendent Tricia McManus says. “When they are interested in the content, it keeps them on track to learn the basic skills that they will need beyond high school, in their careers and for life.”

North Forsyth High School offers a four-year health science magnet school track that prepares students to enter the medical field. Courses include innovative programming, community partnerships and hands-on experiences. 

At Atkins High School, a STEM-focused curriculum introduces students to careers in high-tech fields. Students are able to choose from a series of “majors,” such as biotechnology, digital design and animation, or engineering — just one of the reasons the school was named the best in the district by U.S. News & World Report.

“It really is about finding students’ interests and then exposing them to as many career pathways as possible,” McManus says. “We also help them explore those careers through internships or apprenticeships, and we guide them so that they know what skills or credentials they need to be successful in that career.”

Atkins Magnet High School students in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Endless Exploration

With a focus on design and technology, media arts and entrepreneurship, Summit School is one of the many independent private school options in Winston-Salem, taking an innovative approach to education. The school welcomes students from pre-K to ninth grade.

“Summit’s unique curriculum provides the foundation that leads to lifelong learning and endless exploration,” says Sarah McAuley, director of communications and parent engagement for Summit School. “Each student has a voice that matters, and that voice is nurtured and cultivated. Future leaders of any workforce must have a desire to expand and learn, and they must have curiosity, which we know to be the vital fuel for learning and growing at any age.”

McAuley says Winston-Salem boasts a thriving arts community and is quickly becoming a leader in the fields of biomedical research, technology, manufacturing, aviation and aerospace.

“For 90 years, we have created, and we will continue to create ever-evolving learning environments in which our children develop the mindsets and skill sets for their future — one we can scarcely imagine and yet one in which they will lead with jobs that likely don’t yet exist,” she says.

If you’d like to learn more about the Winston-Salem, NC, area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Greater Winston-Salem

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