North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) is a two-year, public residential high school with two physical campuses located in Durham, North Carolina and Morganton, North Carolina that focuses on the intensive study of science, mathematics and technology. It accepts rising juniors from across North Carolina and enrolls them through senior year. Although NCSSM is a public school, enrollment is extremely selective, and applicants undergo a competitive review process for admission. NCSSM is a founding member of the National Consortium of Secondary Stem Schools (NCSSS)[2] and a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina system.

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Current logo debuted April 2015.
1219 Broad Street


United States
Coordinates36°01′08″N 78°55′14″W / 36.0189°N 78.9206°W / 36.0189; -78.9206
TypePublic boarding school
MottoMaius Opus Moveo
(Accept the Greater Challenge)
Established1980 (44 years ago) (1980)
Parent institutionUNC System
CEEB code341077
ChancellorTodd Roberts
EnrollmentDurham Campus: 680 Morganton Campus: 300
Campus typeSuburban
Color(s)Blue and grey
Athletics conferenceNCHSAA, Mid-State 2A
MascotUnicorn (Durham) and Dragon (Morganton)
NicknameUnis, Narwhals (swim)
NewspaperThe Stentorian
Communities servedState of North Carolina
University of North Carolina

History edit

Watts building, which houses humanities classrooms and offices, business offices, and the math department

Since its inception in 1980, NCSSM has been fully funded by the state, allowing students to attend without paying any tuition, room, board, or other student fees. This funding is supplemented by the NCSSM Foundation's private funding, which supports NCSSM's academic, residential, and outreach programs as well as providing funds for some capital improvements. Within the past 25 years[when?], the Foundation has raised over $25 million in private support from corporations, foundations, alumni, parents and friends of NCSSM. A tuition fee was considered for the 2002–03 school year in the midst of a state budgetary crisis, but it was never implemented. In 2003, the NC Legislature approved a bill granting tuition costs for any university in the University of North Carolina System to all graduates of NCSSM, starting with the class of 2004, as an incentive to encourage NCSSM's talented students to stay in North Carolina. That bill was amended in 2005 to allow students to use additional tuition monies awarded to cover "costs of attendance." However, the tuition waiver was phased out in the Appropriations Act of 2009 in the North Carolina Senate in order to balance the budget. The bill states that "No new recipients shall be funded after June 30, 2009."[3] The tuition grant was renewed retroactive for 2021 graduates in November 2021 in the Current Appropriations Act of 2021.[4]

NCSSM served as a model for 18 similar schools, many of which are now members of the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS).

NCSSM has opened a second campus in Morganton, North Carolina opening for the 2022-23 school year. This campus houses approximately 300 students.[5]

Academics edit

Cupola atop the 1908 Watts building, used in the school's logo until 2015.

NCSSM students are not given a class rank and are encouraged to strive for their best rather than competing against other students. Although students previously were not given grade point averages (GPAs), the school has since changed their ways to provide GPAs on transcripts and simplify the college application process.

The school has done well in the national rankings for many years, including being listed as the 4th best public high school in the United States and the second best in North Carolina by Newsweek[6] and being listed among The Washington Post's 2014 "top-performing schools with elite students.".[7] In 2022, Niche deemed NCSSM the best public high school in the United States.[8] Teachers at NCSSM have also won awards, with music instructor Phillip Riggs winning the Grammy Music Educator Award in 2016.[9]

Demographics edit

During the 2013–2014 school year, NCSSM housed approximately 680 students. There were 346 seniors enrolled in the class of 2013. Currently, there are more females than males due to the larger number of female dormitory spaces. Approximately 56% of students are Caucasian, 26.6% are Asian American, 8.1% are African American, 5.5% are Hispanic, and 0.3% are Native American.[10] The student population of NCSSM is designed to be a demographic reflection of the population of North Carolina as a whole; additionally, a certain number of slots are reserved for each congressional district.

Academic achievement edit

In 2018 the average SAT score was 1439 of 1600, the second highest in North Carolina.[11] In 2019 it was also second highest in NC, with 1437 of 1600.[12]

External programs edit

NCSSM also offers a variety of external programs focused on educating teachers and students outside of the school across North Carolina. The school offers workshops for strengthening K–12 math and science education, focusing on "teaching the teacher."[13] These workshops focus particularly in science and mathematics education.

Extracurricular activities edit

NCSSM has a large variety of clubs and varsity sports, ranging from arts, academic, and ethnic culture clubs to intramural and varsity athletic programs. Students at NCSSM regularly excel in club competitions, academic events, and sports.

Awards and recognition edit

The school is known to place upwards of ten students a year in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology. In 2006, Nicholas Tang and Sagar Indurkhya became national finalists in that year's Siemens Competition. NCSSM also regularly produces semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search and Intel Science and Engineering Fair.

In 2008, the NCSSM team won first place in the WorldQuest geography competition at the national level.

In 2010, NCSSM won first place at the 2010 National DOE Science Bowl Competition,[14] and the students on the team met Michelle Obama.

In 2015, the NCSSM Robotics Team, FIRST Robotics Team 900, The Zebracorns, came in 3rd place at the FIRST World Championship in Saint Louis.[15]

In 2019, Navami Jain was selected as a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition

Athletics edit

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics offers 21 varsity sports to its students, including baseball, volleyball, basketball, and wrestling.


In 2011, for the first time in this school's history, all of the NCSSM varsity sports in the fall season won regional championships. Men's cross-country and men's soccer were state champions, while women's tennis and women's volleyball were state runners-up and a member of the women's diving team placed second at the 1A/2A state meet. The NCSSM men's cross-country team has won three straight state championships.

In the 2018–2019 season, NCSSM teams received nine Mid-State 2A conference titles. The school's athletes were awarded 98 All-Conference titles in the 2018–2019 season, at least one in every sport offered by the school.[16]

Robotics edit

NCSSM has a FIRST Robotics Competition team, Team 900, The Zebracorns. Awards won by this team include[17]

  • 2014 North Carolina Regional Winners
  • 2015 North Carolina Regional Winners
  • 2015 FIRST Championship Curie Division Winners
  • 2017 North Carolina District – Raleigh Event District Chairman's Award
  • 2017 FIRST North Carolina State Championship Winners
  • 2018 North Carolina District – Forsyth County Event District Chairman's Award

They also presented at ROSCon 2018 in Madrid, Spain.[18]

Notable alumni edit

Morganton Campus edit

In 2006, the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) began planning to expand the Durham Campus to allow for greater enrollment and new curriculum opportunities. In 2013, the plan was expanded to look at other locations, and a study concluded that Morganton would be the new campus. The new campus made use of property at the North Carolina School for the Deaf (NCSD), where the student population had been declining and no longer needed the property or its buildings. The land and 4 buildings were transferred in September 2017. Renovation of the buildings and construction of 2 new buildings began on June 21, 2019.[30]

The campus opened for the first class of residential students on August 10, 2022.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Institution Summary, AdvancED, Retrieved 2012-07-11
  2. ^ "NCSSS History and Founders".
  3. ^ "Appropriations Bill of 2009, 2009" (PDF).
  4. ^ "NC Senate Bill 105-2021" (PDF).
  5. ^ "The Residential Program".
  6. ^ "America's Top High Schools 2014". Newsweek. Newsweek Company LLC. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  7. ^ Mathews, Jay. "Top-performing schools with elite students". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  8. ^ "2023 Best Public High Schools in America". Niche. Retrieved December 3, 2022.
  9. ^ "Phillip Riggs To Receive Music Educator Award". February 10, 2016.
  10. ^ " -NCSSM Residential Program Profile, 2013–2014" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 9, 2014.
  11. ^ Hui, T. Keung (October 30, 2018). "See the latest SAT scores for every high school in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill". News & Observer. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  12. ^ Hui, T. Keung (September 24, 2019). "See the 2019 SAT scores for every high school in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and NC". The News & Observer. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  13. ^ "NCSSM External Programs – Workshops & Special Programs". Archived from the original on February 20, 2007. Retrieved January 18, 2007.
  14. ^ DOE National Science Bowl Archived May 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Einstein Field 2015". April 25, 2015.
  16. ^ "2019 NCSSM Spring and Winter All Conference Awards". May 17, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  17. ^ "Team 900 – The Zebracorns".
  18. ^ OSRF (October 4, 2018), ROSCon 2018 Madrid: Bringing ROS to the Largest High School Robotics Competition, retrieved May 16, 2019
  19. ^ "Adam Falk '83 named president of Williams". July 14, 2011. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  20. ^ Office of the President Archived January 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. (2013-06-20). Retrieved on 2013-07-29.
  21. ^ News - North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  22. ^ Meet Erica Smith | Erica For Us. Retrieved Aug 24, 2020.
  23. ^ Why I Give: Steven Alrich '87. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  24. ^ McBrayer, Sharon. (Aug 31, 2018). Video shows latest layout of NCSSM campus. The News Herald. Retrieved Aug 31, 2020.
  25. ^ A Modern Take On A Traditional Sound. Carolina Chocolate Drops. Retrieved on 2013-07-29.
  26. ^ "NASA announces eight new astronauts, half are women". May 11, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  27. ^ Kowal, Mary Robinette (February 6, 2020). "Christina Koch Lands on Earth, and Crosses a Threshold for Women in Space". The New York Times.
  28. ^ NCSSM - Rubik's Cube Competition - Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  29. ^ Forbes 30 under 30 for Law and Policy. Retrieved September 27th, 2023.
  30. ^ "North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics – Launching Our Morganton Campus". Retrieved September 21, 2023.

External links edit