FAQ / Request for Help Form

NEW! In-person and Virtual Application Support Appointments

Wake ThreeSchool will offer in-person and virtual application appointments to assist families with their application needs.

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. If you are in need of financial assistance for before and/or after care, please click here for more information regarding eligibility and how to apply.

How do I know if my family is income eligible?

Wake ThreeSchool is prioritized for families with low incomes. “Low income” is defined as the household gross income at or below 75% of the State Median Income (Table B).


Table B: 75% STATE MEDIAN INCOME Poverty Level

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

What is the size of the Wake ThreeSchool program? How many children are being served? 

The WTS program was first implemented in the 2022-2023 school year and was funded to serve 100 eligible children. Over 1,000 eligible applications were submitted for the 2022-2023 school year. 

For the 2023-2024 school year, the WTS program doubled in size and has been funded to serve 200 eligible children in Wake County. By October 2023, over 900 eligible applications have been submitted to be considered for placement in the WTS program 2023- 2024 school year.  

Our goal is to continue to expand the capacity of the WTS program consistent with the need for high-quality early childhood opportunities for three-year-old children in the county.  

When will I know if my child received a placement for SY 24–25?

Applications for the 2024–2025 school year will be accepted beginning of January 2024. Applications submitted and completed by May 31, 2024, will receive notification of placement or waitlist by the end of June 2024. All applications that are submitted or completed after 05/31/24 will be considered on a rolling basis. Rolling enrollment will occur from July – September 2024. After September, placement offers will be made on an individual basis as they become available through March 2025.

Please note that if your application has been submitted by 05/31/2024 but is incomplete/missing documents, your application will not be able to be considered for the first round of placement. Your application will be eligible to receive a placement offer at a later date; this is not guaranteed.

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  (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.

Can I find out where my child is on the waitlist?

No, you will not receive an update specific to your child’s spot on the waitlist. The WTS waitlist is a dynamic list, meaning that a child’s spot relative to another will constantly change as we continue to receive applications that are added to the waitlist. Our waitlist is updated regularly and is prioritized in the same manner in which eligible applications are prioritized. WTS is prioritized for families with low income and for other related priority groups. Applications are not processed on a first come first serve basis.

If my child is offered a placement at a non-preferred WTS site, can I transfer to a different one?

At this time, the Wake ThreeSchool (WTS) program does not have the capacity to allow for transfers requests. Please review the options listed below if your child is offered placement at a non-preferred WTS site:

  • Decline your placement offer:
    • If you choose to decline your slot to wait for an offer at a preferred WTS site, please be advised that, unless otherwise specified, your WTS application will return to the waitlist. You will not be eligible to receive a second placement offer until all eligible families have been offered placement.
    • You may choose to withdraw your WTS application from consideration; your application would not return to the waitlist and you would not be considered for another placement offer.
  • Accept your placement offer:
    • If you choose to accept your slot, your child will be enrolled for the applicable school year at the assigned WTS site.

Any decision made regarding your placement offer should be communicated directly to your assigned WTS Site Director. Please keep in mind that WTS Site Directors do not determine where children are offered placement and cannot offer/guarantee alternative placements.

What if my child is too young to apply for the current school year?

If your child is not age-eligible for the current school year, please click here to complete an interest form and request to be contacted for the appropriate school year for your child.

Please note that this is ONLY an interest form, not the official application.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact us at wtsapp@wakesmartstart.org.

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 2024 – May 2024 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 2024

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

Next Steps

If you have specific questions about Wake ThreeSchool, please contact: Emily Diaz, Wake ThreeSchool Program Assistant, at ediaz@wakesmartstart.org.