Mountain Discovery Charter School (MDCS) is a high-performing, public school of choice serving the rural counties of western North Carolina. MDCS operates independently of the local board of education and is governed by a board of directors comprised of parents, local business people, and other community members. The board is accountable to students, parents, and the state for student achievement and fiscal priorities. Unlike many charter schools, MDCS operates without the benefit of a charter school network or foundation. All school acquisitions are financed out of the school operating budget, grants, or donations.
We are proud that MDCS reflects the true intention of the charter school model. The school was founded by a group of parents who sought a different learning environment for their children. Their hope, and eventual creation is a school that considers individual learning styles, offers smaller class sizes, fosters creative and critical thinking skills, and encompasses a closely knit community of teachers, parents and students.
The hallmark of the MDCS instructional approach is “a hands-on course of study designed to maximize each child’s potential.” The strategies we employ to achieve this lofty goal are field trips (over 90 per year), the Education Outdoors Program, Writing, Reading, and Science Buddies, our Middle School Structure and Art and Music Education.
No discussion of a school’s accomplishments is complete without mentioning test results. MDCS has been in the top 10% of all North Carolina public schools serving grades K-8 two of the last three years. MDCS has achieved high growth (academic) status four times in the last six years while meeting state growth expectations the other two times. MDCS has outperformed the other state elementary and middle schools by an average of 15.4 percentage points. In short, we’re establishing ourselves as one of the best public schools in the state.
The physical campus of MDCS consists of 12 modular classroom buildings that were delivered and installed at the current school site thirteen years ago. Based on the efforts of the CFO, the Plant-a-Seed committee, PEP, and countless others, we now have a beautiful new gymnasium and lunchroom, which also serves as an assembly space for the school. While we’ve made progress with the new gym, the current facilities are still not adequate to completely implement our educational mission and fully challenge the capabilities of our students. For the sake of education excellence, and basic safety and comfort, MDCS needs to continue to develop a permanent and lasting infrastructure.