Discovery HS School Profile

Discovery High School was created through a partnership grant with the North Carolina New Schools Project, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Newton-Conover City Schools. The initial grant continued for 5 years. Discovery is now completely funded by Newton-Conover City Schools. The Newton-Conover School Board sees the school as an institution of choice for public high school students and their parents from across Catawba County as well as surrounding counties. Founded in 2005, as Newton-Conover Health Science High School, DHS is a “redesign high school” following a problem-based learning design. An academic magnet school, DHS requires all students to participate in 150 hours of community service and complete an intensive senior research project. With a focus on flexible scheduling, relevant internships, college credit classes, and a project-based curriculum, Discovery High School strives to ensure that every student is college-ready.

 Discovery High School is a fully accredited high school which enrolls about 170 students. Admission is competitive through an application process. Discovery (NCHSHS) was the recipient of the 2009 Innovator award by the New Schools Project and is a feature school of ASCD. For the 2015-2016 school year, DHS was designated a P21 Exemplar School. Discovery High School received a performance letter grade of “A” from N.C. Public Schools for the 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2021-22 school years. In the past few years, Discovery students have been awarded the Park Scholarship, the Levine Scholarship, and the Morehead-Cain Scholarship, and DHS students are admitted periodically into Ivy League universities.  In 2023, Discovery High School was ranked #11 for high schools in the state of North Carolina by U.S. News and World Report and #1 in the Hickory metro area high schools. Several DHS students have received perfect SAT and ACT scores. Our academic program is organized on a modified block course schedule with a combination of yearlong and semester classes. Eight credits per year is the normal student course load. 

Grading Scale




Please contact the school regarding course weights for GPA purposes.











Failing Grade


Colleges Discovery Students Have Been Accepted to in the Last Four Years

Appalachian State University

Colorado School of Mines

Dartmouth College

Davidson College

Duke University

Emory University

Georgetown University

Lenoir-Rhyne University

N.C. State University

Princeton University


University of Virginia

UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC School of the Arts

University of Pennsylvania

Vanderbilt University

Wake Forest University

Western Carolina University

81% of students in the class of 2023 attended a 4-year college, 17% attended a 2-year college, and 2% took a Gap Year

Classes Offered at Discovery High

Honors English I*, II*, III* IV*, AP English Literature** 

 Honors Math I*, Honors Math II*, Honors Math III*, Honors Math IV*, AP PreCalculus**, Honors Calculus*, AP AB & BC Calculus** 

 Honors Biology*, AP Biology**, AP Environmental Science**, Honors Chemistry*, AP Chemistry**, Honors Physics*, Honors Forensic Science*, Honors Anatomy*

 Founding Principles of the U.S.A & N.C: Civic Literacy*, Honors American History*, AP U.S. History**, Honors World History*, AP World History**, AP U.S. Government & Politics**, AP Psychology** AP European History**

 Spanish I, Spanish II, Spanish III*, Spanish IV*,Theater Arts I, Theater Arts II, Theater Arts III*

 Other AP courses can be accessed through North Carolina Virtual Public High School and Newton-Conover High School. 

 A multitude of Career and College Promise (CCP) college transfer classes may be taken through Catawba Valley Community College. 

 An Asterisk indicates weighted courses for ranking and is given an additional quality point(s).

*Honors level classes receive 1/2 quality point.

**AP level and community college classes receive one quality point.  All other classes are non-weighted.