Carteret County Public Schools NC Pre-K Selection Process  

The Carteret County Pre-K program serves those students that demonstrate a need to come to school a year early so they are better prepared to enter Kindergarten the following year. It is NOT a first come, first serve or lottery program.


Online Application

In order for an application to be complete and the student considered for placement, the following items must be provided:

  • Certified Birth Certificate (applicants must turn four years old by August 31st of the upcoming school year)
  • Proof of income (tax form-W2 or 1040 from previous year, 4 consecutive pay stubs that prove average monthly income for parents or statement from employer, LES for military, child support, unemployment benefits, SSI, worker’s compensation for ALL parents in the household )
  • Any legal documents regarding custody or guardianship


Frequently Asked Questions 

Where are the NC Pre-Kindergarten programs? At this time, we have the following locations:

Atlantic Elementary Beaufort Elementary

Bogue Sound Elementary Morehead City Primary

Smyrna Elementary Carteret Preschool Center

White Oak Elementary Excel Learning Center

How are children selected?

Once the above items are complete, the family will be contacted about bringing your child in for a screening. This screens pre-academic readiness, fine motor, gross motor, and self-help skills.  A parent must also answer questions.  

After this part of the process is complete, the applications are entered into the system.  Classes will be set up when the majority of applicants have completed the process, usually mid June.  Students are prioritized  first based on academic need, income, developmental need, and whether they are already in a program.  After that, other factors may be considered.  

If a parent does not have a COMPLETE APPLICATION, will the child be considered for a “slot”?  No.  If a parent fails to provide any of the above required documents, the application is not processed and not considered for placement. Once all paperwork is in, the child will be considered for a slot, if the slots are still available.

What happens if any of my information changes? It is the parent’s responsibility to keep all information current.  If a phone number is not working when assignments are being made, all numbers on the application will be called. Two attempts will be made before moving on to the next child on the list.  When completing the online application, each family will have their own “portal of information.” You may go in to edit the information at any time including uploading additional documents.  

What are the program hours?  The program is 6.5 hours a day, 5 days a week.  We follow the regular public school calendar with the exception of 5 additional workdays.  

Can I be guaranteed a placement in my home school district?  No.  Placement depends on the number of points a child has and how quickly the home site fills up. If the home school site is not available, other options will be presented as long as there are slots available.

Are children of military parents guaranteed a slot? Children of active duty and disabled military parents qualify for NC Pre K regardless of income.  However, placement into the program and location is NOT guaranteed.  

How many children are accepted?  At this point, Carteret County is assigned 275 slots by the State of North Carolina. These slots are placed at the sites listed above.

What happens if there is no availability at my 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice site?  A parent has the right to accept a slot at another location or place a child on the “Wait List.” A child’s name cannot be assigned in two places.  In other words, a parent who accepts an alternate location cannot also ask to have their child on a “Wait List.”

How are students on a “Wait List” notified of an opening?  A “Wait List” is maintained and updated as new students apply.  Open slots are always offered to the students with the highest need and not necessarily when paperwork was completed. For example, a student moving to the area in September with 25 points would be offered a slot over any child with 24 points, no matter when the child’s paperwork was completed. 

Is transportation provided?  If a child is selected for a school site, the child can ride a bus assigned to that school IF, the child lives in that school district.  Other NC Pre-K sites, not on a school campus, may have some transportation options.  

Are all children required to attend Pre-K?  No.  Pre-K is not mandated in the State of North Carolina.  A parent can enroll a child in a private program or choose to keep their child home.  Research does show that students who participate in a quality 4-year old program, are prepared for the routines and instruction that will take place in Kindergarten.

What is the cost of NC Pre-K? Nothing, there is only a cost for children who need after school care in the places where this service is offered.

What if I know someone who has a child who will be 4 by August 31st, who did not register? Share this information and have them contact Kimberly Hughes at at or 252-223-4574.