Department Information

International Center
Smith Family Center
1600 Tyvola Road
Charlotte, NC 28210

Phone: 980-343-3784
Fax: 980-343-3785

Courier Number: 670

Email: ic

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the International Center?
The International Center (IC) is an office established by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) to address the needs of the growing international and language minority student population in our district.

What services are available at the IC?

  • ELL Program Counselors available for transcript evaulation and recommendations for grade placement
  • Support for families needing resources related to language assistance
  • Other information, as needed. Please call us at 980-343-3784 or email ic@cms.k12.nc.us to learn more.

Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Where are you located?

Smith Family Center, Room C-0

1600 Tyvola Road

Charlotte, North Carolina 28210 (click here for driving directions)

My child does not speak English.  What is available to help my child to learn English?
CMS offers the English as a Second Language Program (ESL) which provides English language support for those students who qualify for services.
For more information, click on the link "English as a Second Language" in the 'Related Links' section above.

My child was born in the United States. Do I still need to bring my child to the International Center?
Maybe, if your child has a language at home other than English, then (Yes) he or she will need to be assessed with the English proficieny test given by the staff at the International Center. 
If your child only speaks English, then (No), the child will not need to be brought to the International Center.

How old does my child have to be to enroll in school?
In compliance with North Carolina law, starting in the 2009-2010 school year students must be 5 years of age on or before August 31st to be considered for Kindergarten. Students applying for the Montessori schools Pre-K program must be 4 years of age on or before August 31st in order to be considered.

School attendance is mandatory between the ages of 7 and 16 years of age.

Are there programs available for 3 or 4 year olds?
Yes, CMS offers a pre-kindergarten program called Bright Beginnings. This program is available for children who will be 4 years old on or before August 31st. To see if your child qualifies for this program, you must contact the Bright Beginnings office at (980) 343-5950. In addition, for 3 or 4 year olds, there is a program called Headstart. Please call (980) 371-7420 for additional information.

My niece wants to come to America to live with me and go to school. What is the procedure?
This is a special circumstance that has several options. Please contact the International Center for more information.

My child has graduated from high school in my country, but wants to attend American high school to learn English. What is the procedure?
Unfortunately there are no programs that will allow your child to attend public school under those circumstances. Public school education is for the procurement of a high school diploma, which your child already has. If your only interest is to have your child learn English, please contact the local community college for information regarding English language classes, see the link "Central Piedmont Community College" in the 'Related Links' section above.

Who decides grade placement for my child?
The age and prior educational background of your child determines grade placement. The International Center will take all the information available into account and make a recommendation to the school principal regarding grade placement; however, by North Carolina Public School Law, principals make the final decision regarding grade placement.

My child is transferring from another school system within the United States and speaks English as well as my native language. Do I still need to contact the International Center?
Yes, our school system must identify all children who have a first or primary language other than English in their background. Unfortunately, transfer information from other school systems does not always identify these students.
When you contact our office, we will ask you questions to confirm whether you will need to make an appointment with us to register your child for school.

P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website (www.cms.k12.nc.us) is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any website accessibility concerns may be brought via the following, Email the Web Accessibility Team at WebAccessibility or Call: 980.343.0115. In compliance with Federal Law, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the District's Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.