Private Grade K-12 School Requirements

Each conventional private elementary/secondary school in North Carolina enrolling students of North Carolina compulsory attendance age (at least age 7 but not yet age 16) must in accordance with G.S. 115C- 547-562:

  1. Report its name, address, and names of its chief administrator and owner(s) to the Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE). It is suggested that this action be taken 30-60 days before the school begins initial operation.  Click here for a specific Notice of Intent form available for official use in providing this notification.
    *Do not use the following words in your school name:  Charter, college, elementary, grade, grammar, high, incorporated (or Inc.), junior, kindergarten, lower, middle, primary, public, residence, schooling, secondary, seminary, senior, the, university or upper. 
  2. Meet the state fire safety and sanitation standards established by state and local authorities.  All child care through grade 2 students must be housed on the ground floor.  Prior to initial school occupancy, the local building inspector must inspect the building(s) and issue to the school a certificate of occupancy for school usage.  Thereafter, he/she will need to inspect again only when structural changes are made to the building(s).  In addition, before initially beginning classes and annually thereafter, have the local Fire Marshal and Health Department inspect the school facility.  Allow up to possibly a month or more for the inspections to be completed.  Keep original inspector-completed forms on file at the school.  Click here for a Fire Inspection Preparation Checklist.  Click here for a Sanitation Inspection Preparation Checklist.   
  3. Follow certain requirements to insure that the school buildings meet the applicable asbestos regulations.  To obtain information about these requirements, please contact: 

    Health Hazards Control Unit 
    North Carolina DHHS/Public Health 
    1912 Mail Service Center 
    Raleigh, NC  27699-1912 
    (919) 707-5950  

  4. Operate for a school term of at least nine calendar months on a regular schedule excluding reasonable holidays and vacations.  (The NC public schools follow a school term of at least 180 school days.)
  5. Keep accurate student attendance records on file at its office.
  6. Maintain current and accurate disease immunization records on file at its office for each pupil enrolled.  All pupils must be properly immunized with the required vaccine minimum dosages before entering kindergarten and first grade.  For information about dosages required and the immunization laws, contact:

    Immunization Branch 
    North Carolina DHHS 
    1917 Mail Service Center 
    Raleigh, NC  27699-1917 
    (919) 707-5550

  7. Administer to all students in grades 3, 6 and 9 each school year, a nationally standardized achievement test in the subject areas of English grammar, reading, spelling and math.  Keep test results on file at the school for at least one calendar year for annual review by a DNPE representative.  
  8. Administer to all grade 11 students each school year, a nationally standardized test which measures competencies in the verbal and quantitative areas.  Keep test results on file at the school for at least one calendar year for annual review by a DNPE representative.  Establish a minimum score on the test for high school graduation.  
  9. Issue Driving Eligibility Certificates to its age 15-17 students who are making progress toward graduation, exhibiting exemplary behavior, and who request them in order to obtain their North Carolina Learner's Permit/Driver's License.  See the North Carolina Non-Public School Student Driving Eligibility Requirements publication for further specifics.
  10. Provide industrial quality eye protective devices free of charge to students and teachers participating in shop or laboratory classes involving hazardous materials as mandated by G.S. 115C-166 and 168 and require the students and teachers to wear the devices at all times when participating in such a program along with visitors to such shops and laboratories while such programs are in progress.
  11. Notify DNPE upon termination of the school.
  12. Satisfy child care requirements which may apply IF a nursery or pre-kindergarten program is also operated.  Child care requirements may be obtained from:

    Division of Child Development 
    North Carolina DHHS 
    2201 Mail Service Center 
    Raleigh, NC  27699-2201 
    (919) 814-6300

  13. Also, satisfy foster care requirements which may apply IF the school exists primarily to meet the special needs including the education of "dependent, neglected, abused, abandoned, destitute, orphaned, undisciplined or delinquent children or other children, who, due to similar problems of behavior or family conditions, are living apart from their parents, relatives or guardians in family foster homes or residential care facilities."  Foster care requirements may be obtained by contacting your county government social services office.