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 - Co-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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Micheal Crew - EC Assistant, Tech Support and Bus Driver
Micheal is a father to Aaliyah, a student at Mountain Discovery, and Ethan. He has been a Swain County resident for over 20 years and has been involved with MDCS in various aspects. In 2021, he joined MDCS team full time as a Title I teacher and Tech Support ...
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Mountain Discovery School