FAQ / Request for Help Form

NEW! In-person Application Events

Wake ThreeSchool will hold walk-in application events to assist families with their application needs.
WHEN: Every other Tuesday, 2pm-4:30 (Feb. 14 & 28; March 24 & 28, April 11& 25, May 9 & 23)
WHERE: Wake County Smart Start, 4901 Waters Edge Drive #101, Raleigh, NC 27606

To request an in-person or virtual application appointment, please click here to submit a request form. Wake ThreeSchool program staff will reach out to you via your preferred contact method to confirm your application appointment within 2-3 business days.

For additional questions, please contact wtsapp@wakesmartstart.org.

How old does my child need to be to participate?

Children must be age three by August 31st of the current school year to be eligible to apply.

Is there a cost for attendance?

ThreeSchool is free to income eligible families, representing $10,000 in tuition support.

Is Before and After Care offered?

Before and After is offered as an additional cost. Only select sites in the Wake ThreeSchool program provide Before and After Care.

How do I know if my family is income eligible?

Wake ThreeSchool is prioritized for families with low incomes. For SY22-23, “low income” is defined as the gross household income falling below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (Table A). For SY23-24, “low income” is defined as the household gross income at or below 75% of the State Median Income (Table B).


Table A: 200% Federal Poverty Level (SY 2022 – 2023)

Family Size Poverty Guideline
1 $25,760
2 $34,840
3 $43,920
4 $53,000
5 $62,080
6 $71,160
7 $80,240
8 $89,320
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,540 for each additional person.

Table B: 75% STATE MEDIAN INCOME Poverty Level (SY 2023 – 2024)

Family Size 75 Percent State Median Income
1 $38,684
2 $50,587
3 $62,490
4 $74,393
5 $86,295
6 $98,198
7 $100,430
8 $102,662
9 $104,893
10 $107,125
11 $109,357
12 $111,589
Effective: October 1, 2022
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce (Census Bureau) Communities Survey (ACS) 1-year Estimates- Released September 15, 2022

When will I know if my child received a placement for SY22-23?

Applications for the 2022-2023 school year will be accepted beginning January of 2022. Applications received by June 15th will receive notification of placement or wait list by the end of July. Applications received after June 15th will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

When will I know if my child received a placement for SY 23-24?

Applications for the 2023-2024 school year will be accepted beginning January of 2023. Applications submitted and completed by May 31, 2023 will receive notification of placement or waitlist by the end of June 2023. Applications received after May 31, 2023 will be placed on the waiting list and reviewed on an ongoing basis. 

Please note that if your application has been submitted by 05/31/23 but is incomplete/missing documents, your application will not be able to be considered for the first round of placement.

Are applications processed first come, first serve?

Applications are not processed on a first come, first serve basis. Wake ThreeSchool is prioritized for families with low incomes (SY 2022-2023: below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level)/ (SY 2023-2024: at or below 75% State Median Income) and for other related priority groups such as children with documented health or learning issues, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and/or have parents who are active-duty members of the armed forces or speak a language other than English at home. Applications will be reviewed for these priority groups.

How do I find out about the status of my child’s Wake ThreeSchool application?You can expect to receive communication from Wake ThreeSchool staff at the following stages of the application process:

  • Your application has been received
  • Your application has reached the first stage of review
  • If any additional information, verification, or documentation is needed
  • Your application has reached the final stage of review
  • Monthly Communication
  • Once your application has reached the final review stage, the Wake ThreeSchool team will send email updates once per month between the months of January 2023 – May 2023 with general information
  • Once placement decision has been made
    • May be placed in a Wake ThreeSchool classroom or on the waitlist
    • Placement information will not be made available before June 2023

What does the community think about the Wake ThreeSchool program?

From a parent of two Wake ThreeSchool children: “[My children’s teachers] are so knowledgeable, so dedicated, so committed to the kids, the curriculum, and the day-to-day activity planning…having been a parent for almost sixteen years with seven kids, it’s rare. I just want to extend my absolute appreciation because it’s really helping both of them… [they] have improved leaps and bounds and it has rolled over to home. It’s been so powerful, and I just want you to know that. It [Wake ThreeSchool] is so essential to our community and these kiddos. It’s been absolutely such a positive experience in our lives and I can’t thank you enough.”

From a Wake County Parent: “I do appreciate this program. You are stepping out and reaching out to us parents and trying to be like the guinea pig of the group seeing what it could be like. It would be very beneficial to many 3-year-olds, even if my 3-year-old doesn’t make the cut. I believe that it would help a lot of kids… so, I’m just grateful.”

From a Wake ThreeSchool Site Administrator: “Wake ThreeSchool is what I call *chef’s kiss*… Having the ability to share my experiences and help shape this program has been wonderful. As they [Wake ThreeSchool staff] develop the program, I feel like we are partners in this and that the students will ultimately benefit from how they [Wake ThreeSchool staff] are leading the way.”

From a Wake ThreeSchool Lead Teacher: “My favorite part of being a Wake ThreeSchool teacher is being able to be the childrens’ first experience with childcare and early childhood education, and knowing that they will be supported and given awesome foundational skills to help them long before they even realize! This program has been fun and full of different learning experiences that have proven to be a challenge, but the growing pains have only made me a stronger and more impactful teacher!”

Why is Wake ThreeSchool needed?

Wake ThreeSchool will expand publicly funded services for three-year-olds – an identified need. Currently low-wealth families who need help accessing early learning programs can seek Child Care Subsidy assistance. However, Child Care Subsidy does not support all the families with three-year-olds who need it, and the early learning programs families are linked to are not part of an integrated system of Pre-K preparation for Kindergarten. Wake ThreeSchool will use an intensive model, specific curriculum and shared measures for success. The program bridges the gap in publicly funded services for children that have aged out of the State’s infant-toddler services and not yet eligible for NC Pre-K and in turn improves the outcome for children’s learning.

(919) 851-9550
4901 Waters Edge Dr.
Suite 101
Raleigh, NC 27606

Monday – Friday 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Contact us online HERE.

Next Steps

If you have specific questions about Wake ThreeSchool, please contact Melissa Radice-Peguero, Wake ThreeSchool Program Assistant, at wtsapp@wakesmartstart.org.