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Discovery High School Named 21st Century Learning Exemplar by P21

Discovery High School at Newton-Conover Named 21st Century Learning Exemplar by P21

60 Exemplars nationwide feature how innovation makes learning possible for all students

DHS 2015 P21 Photo Release

DHS Students narrating and composing a project for a class. Photo Credit: Jamie Frye

Newton, NC — December 1, 2015 – The Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21), the leading organization advocating for 21st century learning for every student, has designated Newton-Conover City Schools’ own Discovery High School as an exemplar school, as part of a nationwide initiative identifying models of exemplary 21st century learning practices that are preparing students for success across the United States.

Now entering its 4th year, P21’s 21st Century Learning Exemplar Program shares case studies of schools and districts that have successfully transformed student learning through innovative and transformative practices that include collaborative teaching and learning, distributed leadership, student voice and choice, engaged community partnerships, a climate of achievement, and evidence-based practices into teacher practice, curriculum, assessment, and professional development.

DHS 2015 P21 Photo Release 2

Photo Credit: Jamie Frye

The 2016 21st Century Learning Exemplars, including Discovery High were selected along with 17 schools and 2 districts through a rigorous application process, and evaluated for educational excellence and 21st century learning implementation.  Discovery High was the only school in North Carolina among the 17 selected nationwide this year.

“We could not be more excited for the students and staff of Discovery High School. This school embraces each of the elements of the P21 framework and provides students with opportunities to learn the curriculum through a variety of real-world experiences and self-directed learning opportunities. Discovery is very deserving of this honor,” said Heather Mullins, Newton-Conover City Schools’ Chief Academic Officer.

DHS 2015 P21 Photo Release 3

Photo Credit: Jamie Frye

Discovery High pushes itself to align with many of the elements of the P21 Framework, from critical thinking and creativity in and out of its classrooms, to initiative and self-direction among its student body.

“This recognition is a byproduct of the cutting-edge, real-world learning experiences Discovery affords its students.  Students at Discovery High take learning to new heights because they pursue their passions and are bothered by issues of inequity in our society.  Choosing to be bothered by issues and using what you learn to do something about them embodies 21st century learning.  That’s what Discovery High is,” said Jamie Frye, Newton-Conover City Schools spokesman.

Principal John Robinson also feels that this achievement was earned through the dedication of students and staff alike.  

P21 Framework

Image Credit: Jessica Garner, NCDPI

“This recognition is well-deserved by a teaching staff at Discovery High School who personally work diligently to prepare our students for the 21st century. I am so proud of our staff and our students,” said Robinson.

“Every student deserves to experience authentic 21st century learning,” said Dr. Helen Soulé, P21 Executive Director. “P21 is proud to highlight the hard work exhibited by all P21 Exemplars as they redefine what teaching and learning means for students and educators in a world where learning doesn’t stop.”

A case study on Discovery High will be unveiled in 2016.  Visit for a list of current Exemplars, case studies, powerful learning stories, podcasts, videos, and more.


P21 media contact:
Tatyana Warrick ( / 202-312-6430) 

Newton-Conover City Schools media contact:
Jamie Frye ( / 828-464-3191)
Public Information Officer


About James Frye

James Frye (@mrjamesfrye) serves as Instructional Technology Facilitator and Public Information Officer for Newton-Conover City Schools. Formerly, he was an English and Journalism Teacher at Newton-Conover High School and a Blended/Virtual English Teacher. He is a NC Teaching Fellow and studied education abroad at the Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal in Germany. James holds a Post-Masters Certificate in Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction with a Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology from Michigan State University, and a B.A. in English/Education from Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he serves as an Adjunct Professor. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law with The University of Kentucky. In addition to modeling technological and leadership innovation and leading various professional learning, Jamie also serves statewide on the NC Digital Learning Initiative Advisory Board/Home Base Design Team, the NC Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Board of Directors, the #NCed Leadership Team, and is co-founder of Edcamp WNC. He is a member of the NC Digital Leadership Coaches’ Network, and was named an international Emerging Leader by ASCD in 2015. He resides in Hickory with his wife and their baby girl.

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