The merger in 1992 of the former Durham County School System and former Durham City School System created Durham Public Schools, which serves approximately 33,000 students. Within Durham Public Schools there are twelve high schools that range in size from 140 to approximately 2,000 students:
- Jordan High School, Northern High School, Riverside High School, and Southern High School are all comprehensive high schools.
- Hillside High School, renowned before integration as the Southeast’s most outstanding high school for African-American students, is the site of Durham’s International Baccalaureate Programme.
- Durham School of the Arts and the School for Creative Studies magnet are 6-12 school focusing on the arts.
- Specialty schools include: Hillside New Tech High School, City of Medicine Academy, Middle College High School at Durham Tech Community College, Southern School of Energy and Sustainability, J.D. Clement Early College High School, and Durham Performance Learning Center.
Durham is also home to the nation's first state supported residential high school. The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) is designed for students with strong potential in science and mathematics and is located within walking distance of Duke's East Campus. As part of its mission, NCSSM develops innovative teaching strategies and shares those strategies with other schools and departments of public instruction throughout the nation. Although no MAT candidates are placed at NCSSM for the teaching internship, faculty from NCSSM frequently assist MAT students with pedagogical issues.