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


Emily Herndon - EC Teacher
Emily joins Mountain Discovery Charter School with over 10 years of experience as a classroom teacher and is looking forward to her new role in the Exceptional Children’s Department. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a concentration in History in 2007. Her love of the outdoors, nature, and philosophy of education match perfectly with MDCS. “I am eager to continue my teaching and learning career in such a warm and inviting environment.” In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, cooking and traveling. She has visited many different ...
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Tracy Wharton - Interim Assistant Director & EC Coordinator
Tracy Wharton joins Mountain Discovery Charter School with over 10 years of experience in education. Her career in education began as a middle school math teacher. Varied experiences have afforded her the opportunity to work in various settings and grade levels from kindergarten through twelfth grade. After several years teaching math, she had the opportunity to work in a Day Treatment setting providing instruction in all content areas to at-risk students in 6th - 12th grades. This experience guided her toward pursuing a career shift to Exceptional Children's Services. Tracy spent two years working as inclusion teacher with high school ...
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Lisa Murphy - EC Teacher
Lisa Murphy Lisa received her BS in Elementary Education in 2017. She loves guiding students through inquiry and investigations of science and social studies through the use of technology, games, and project-based learning. She would like every child to know that they have a purpose in life and can be successful in their quest to be responsible for their own learning. Lisa currently has four dogs, Harley, Jake, Bella, and Gihli (Cherokee for dog), her cat Smoky, four chickens, and one horse. In the near future, she hopes to open 3D’s Christian Youth Center and Family Campground and to care ...
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Lendy Ayers - EC Teacher
Lendy is from Graham County, NC where she has spent the majority of her life. She currently lives in Almond with her husband Andy and their German Shepherd Rush. Spending time with her family is her favorite thing to do. She also enjoys activities such as, hiking, mountain biking, camping and fishing.  Lendy is completing her 25th year in education. She received her bachelor's degree in education from Western Carolina University. Her career in education includes teaching Special Education at all grade levels, 7th grade math, 2nd grade and 3rd grade. Lendy is very thankful  to be a part of the MDCS family, ...
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Mountain Discovery School