Our School


A NC Public School


What is a Charter School?

In North Carolina, a charter school is a public school of choice that has been approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education to operate according to its charter application.

MDCS operates independently of the local Board of Education, 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.

Charter schools provide parents a choice for their children’s education. Public tax dollars are the primary funding sources for charter schools. Local, state, and federal dollars follow the child to a charter school. The schools have open enrollment with no discrimination, no religious associations, and no tuition.


The School Environment


Challenging Educational Environment


We approach the North Carolina Standard Course of Study through the use of an experiential learning model. Students are engaged in a hands-on course of study to build a solid foundation and life-long love of learning.

Communication between parents and teachers


Parents are encouraged and expected to be closely involved in their child’s education. This is achieved through classroom volunteerism and communication with teachers.


Close knit community

The students, teachers, staff, parents, and board of MDCS work together for school events, exhibition nights, work days at school, and community service. Small class sizes allow for personalized instruction.

Nestled into the mountains of western North Carolina, Mountain Discovery Charter School is located in Bryson City. The school serves children in kindergarten through eighth grade from Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties. Class sizes at MDCS are small, and there is equal emphasis on all subjects, including science, music, and art. Students not only learn by listening, counting, reading and writing, but also by building, drawing, singing and moving.

The instructional approach at Mountain Discovery emphasizes hands-on learning, team teaching, and reinforcing school skills with real world experiences. Please see the family handbook for further details.


Educational and Extracurricular Activities


Education Outdoors

This program is one of the cornerstones of our experiential approach to learning. Go to our Education Outdoors home page to read about our trips for 5th-8th grade students.



Middle school students also take electives. Students choose two electives each quarter. Past offerings include art, sports, drama, archery, leather working, gardening, wilderness first aid, outdoor skills, and academic support electives. Electives occur four days a week.



The Buddy program incorporates the Outward Bound Design Principles of  Empathy and Caring, and Service and Compassion.  Older students are paired with younger students throughout the school year to encourage responsibility and kindness between grades.  Buddies will read with each other and play together.  The “Littles” look forward to time with their “Buddies” and the older students learn to look out and care for the younger students.


Our sports program is based on the Outward Bound principle of Collaboration and Competition.  The emphasis is on self improvement and collaboration with others.  We offer Cross Country, Basketball, and soon, Indoor Archery.


JAM is an afterschool program which encourages the growth of young musicians.

Visit the JAM website for more information.

Morning and After School Care Available

Morning care is available from 7:30-8:00 and afterschool is offered until 5:30.

Mission and Vision Statements

Our mission is to inspire students to enjoy and lead their own learning.

All students are actively engaged in learning that has value and consequence beyond the classroom.

The students of Mountain Discovery Charter School are engaged in an experientially rich, hands-on course of study developed to maximize each child’s potential to become a responsible citizen of the local and global communities.

Parents, students, teachers, and staff are dedicated to:

  • Fostering individual learning styles.
  • Nurturing and facilitating our children’s natural abilities to think creatively and critically.
  • Promoting self-confidence through respect for self, others and the environment.

Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound Design Principles


To learn more about the school and get some guidance on the way we’ve structured the site, visit the directors’ page.

Mountain Discovery School