NC School of Science and Mathematics

Contact: Eric Hunsley

901 Burkemont Avenue
Morganton
NC
28655
United States

Tel: 8283479139

Email: eric.hunsley@ncssm.edu

About NC School of Science and Mathematics

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) challenges academically talented students from across the state with a comprehensive curriculum including highly specialized courses in science, technology, engineering/computer science, and mathematics. NCSSM opened in 1980 as something of an academic experiment: Would something excellent happen if we gathered together a highly motivated and diverse student body with a critical mass of equally motivated, accomplished, credentialed, and diverse faculty within a space dedicated to the power of the scientific method? Four decades later, NCSSM has built a firmly rooted reputation as an academic powerhouse, educating intellectually gifted students from every corner of the state, representing rural and urban communities, and all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Eleven states and several countries worldwide have since used NCSSM as the model for their own programs.

Today, as in 1980, the mission of NCSSM, an intellectually stimulating, diverse, inclusive, and collaborative community, is to:

  • educate and nurture academically talented students to become state, national, and global leaders,
  • increase access to high quality public education in North Carolina, and
  • cultivate engaged citizens who will work for the betterment of the world,

through challenging programs, with an emphasis on STEM, driven by the pursuit of excellence and innovation.

Altogether, nearly 1,500 North Carolina students from all 13 congressional districts and nearly all 100 counties are enrolled in one of our three signature programs: our residential diploma program, our online certificate program or our Open Enrollment Distance Education program. Our Open Enrollment courses, taught via interactive video conferencing, expand local offerings to include enrichments and advanced coursework otherwise unavailable in students’ home communities. NCSSM instructors teach live to classrooms statewide daily, broadcasting more synchronous video than any other public provider in the state.

By 2022, NCSSM will expand to an additional campus in Morganton, NC. Funded by the Connect NC Bond, legislative appropriations, and private philanthropic gifts, the campus will initially accommodate 300 additional residential diploma program students as well as increased distance education enrollment.

NCSSM has more than 11,000 alumni, nearly all of whom attended colleges and universities (a great majority within our own top NC public universities) and nearly three-quarters of whom have earned or are seeking a graduate degree. According to a 2019 survey of alumni who attended the school between 1980 and 2018, 64 percent of NCSSM college graduates earn a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field -- over three times the national average for high school graduates. And 58 percent of NCSSM underrepresented minority (URM) graduates earn an undergraduate degree in a STEM field -- nearly four times the national average for URM students. A 2020 economic impact study found that 54 percent of our alumni continue to live and work in North Carolina, catalyzing nearly $1.3 billion in economic activity and making priceless contributions to our quality of life as teachers, physicians, scientists, entrepreneurs and other community leaders. Many of our graduates, the oldest of whom are in their mid-50s, refer to their time at NCSSM as “life-changing” and continue to support their alma mater with charitable gifts, volunteerism, and other purposeful engagement.

Our school is a full constituent of the University of North Carolina System and is governed and supported by the UNC Board of Governors, NCSSM Board of Trustees, NCSSM Foundation, NCSSM Alumni Association, NCSSM Parent Association, NCSSM Faculty Senate, NCSSM Staff Senate, and NCSSM Student Government Association. Notably, a representative from each of our Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, and Student Government Association serve as ex-officio, non-voting members of our Board of Trustees.

NCSSM operates as a free public school open to qualified NC students, regardless of financial means. We generate more than 10 percent of our institutional budget from private donations, a ratio that will likely increase as we undertake a comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Consistent with our founding and governance, the institution is guided by a standing strategic plan. Though goals may shift from time to time, our core beliefs have remained fundamentally unchanged since our establishment:

  • Our greatest resource is the capability and creative capacity of the human mind.
  • Everyone is unique and has intrinsic value.
  • Diversity and inclusion enrich and strengthen lives and communities.
  • Embracing challenge inspires growth and the pursuit of excellence.
  • Individuals are responsible for their choices and actions.
  • With opportunity, support, and effort all people can realize their full potential.
  • A nurturing community develops the well-being of the whole person.
  • Service to others builds and strengthens our community.
  • Environmental stewardship and resource sustainability are a shared responsibility.
  • A passion for learning throughout life leads to success and fulfillment.
  • Collaboration fosters learning, ignites innovation, and cultivates community.
  • Adhering to high ethical standards is essential for a community to function and flourish.
  • Access to high quality public education is essential to a free, democratic society.

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