Exceptional Children


Helping Exceptional Children Reach Their Potential in the Least Restrictive Environment

At Mountain Discovery, we strive to create an environment that celebrates inclusion and diversity and that allows each child to discover their own unique potential. We pride ourselves on serving the whole child along the full continuum. We collaborate as an integrated team with teachers, parents, related services professionals, support staff, and the students to develop effective Individual Special Education Plans for each student.

The E.C. Department’s goals are to provide innovative research-based strategies and interventions to support all of our students’ academic, social, and functional growth. By utilizing a least restrictive inclusion model of services, exceptional students are in the regular classrooms with their peers as much as possible. This allows all students to participate as active classroom community members. We are here to provide the support and tools they need to successfully access and navigate the North Carolina Curriculum for their grade. Extra support, small group and one on one instruction are offered as needed and on a regular basis. Each student is provided the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and insight to lead productive lives.



If you are new to Mountain Discovery and have questions about special education, please contact Tracy Wharton, Coordinator for EC Services via email at twharton@mountaindiscovery.org. 

In order to make your student’s transition into Mountain Discovery go smoothly, it is very important to provide  copies of the following information during registration:

  • Most recent psychoeducational report, eligibility, evaluation, and/or reevaluation report;
  • Current individualized education program (IEP);  
  • Contact information for your student’s previous school and school district.

Parent Rights & Responsibilities in Special Education: NC Notice of Procedural Safeguards

NCDPI Exceptional Children Division

The mission of the Exceptional Children Division is to ensure that students with disabilities develop intellectually, physically, emotionally, and vocationally through the provision of an appropriate individualized program in the least restrictive environment.

This handbook is designed to support families with the understanding of the rights and responsibilities specific to the special education process. Acronyms and terms often used in special education and resources can be found in the appendices. 

If at any time, you suspect your student may have a disability and is in need of special education and/or related services, you may request an evaluation, in writing, to your student’s school principal, teacher, or MDCS EC Department.

Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) for Families

MTSS For Families 


Weblinks for parents:

National Center For Learning Disabilities
Learning Disabilities and ADHD
504 Grievance Procedure


Jessica Ray - Self Contained Classroom EC Teacher
Jessica grew up in Morganton N.C. She is the youngest of three siblings and the only girl. Jessica moved away to attend college at Western Carolina University and ended up falling in love with the Western North Carolina area. She is a recent graduate with a degree in inclusive education. Jessica is able to teach general education, special education, as well as severe and profound disabilities. Jessica will be teaching EC students in the self contained classroom. Her senior year at Western, Jessica did her internship at Mountain Discovery Charter School. She split her time in half with the EC ...
Brittany Morgan - Self Contained Classroom EC Assistant
"I grew up in these mountains and I love these mountains. We are all extremely lucky to live here together. My passion is kids, it's as simple as that. This school is definitely something special and you can feel that when you're here. As the Assistant EC teacher, I have had the privilege of working with some pretty extraordinary kids. My number one goal as a teacher is to promote key life skills to our students such as kindness, independence, empathy, communication, and making connections. I strive for our students to feel safe, comfortable, and engaged in our classroom." Brittany has many years of ...
Tammy Powers - EC Teacher
I am Tammy Powers and I teach Exceptional Children.  I am so excited to be back at MDCS. I have taught since 1988. I have taught Band, Chorus, and Exceptional Children. I began teaching in Buncombe County and moved back home to Bryson City in 2011 with my son and daughter. I have a 28 year old daughter and a 23 year old son. My son attended school here at MDCS and graduated from Swain High School in 2018. My daughter attended and graduated from Swain as well in 2014.  I graduated from Swain High School in 1984 and Mars ...
Chloe Plesset - EC Teacher
Hi, my name is Chloe Plesset. I was born in LA, California, but was pretty much raised outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my 3-legged mutt named Roo. We go on long hikes, take trips to the dog park, and chase sunsets! Dogs have always been a great part of my life and I started volunteering/fostering dogs when I was about 12 years old and to this day continue to help where I can. My goal is to contact animal shelters in the area in order to set up teen volunteers for ...
Mountain Discovery School