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Education and technical training continue to be high priorities for Catawba County.  This commitment is evidenced by the presence of three public school systems — Catawba County Schools, Hickory Public Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools — in addition to 12 private schools.  In 2015, Newton-Conover City Schools achieved the highest graduation rate in the history of North Carolina at 97.1% and has ranked among the top five highest graduation rates in the State of North Carolina for the past three years.  Catawba County Schools' St. Stephens High School won the National Beta Convention senior division Quiz Bowl championship in 2017. In May 2018, Newton-Conover City School's Discovery High School in Newton received a silver medal from U.S. News & World Report in their ranking of the top U.S. public high schools, finishing in the top 10% across the nation.

High School Seniors - Post-Graduate Plans



Finding the right child care or preschool is an important decision, and the Hickory Metro offers many different options to fit a variety of needs.

The NC Division of Child Development and Early Education sets the standards for child care and using a Star Rated License to rate child care programs in the state of North Carolina. Click here to learn more about the Star Rated License and the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education.  

Directories and resources for child care:



K-64 focuses on educational quality instead of quantity. It is an undisputed fact that in order to function in today’s workplace, you must be a life-long learner.  However, time in class does not correlate with talent or skills development.  Evidence suggests that the quality of education, measured by the knowledge that students gain as depicted in tests of cognitive skills, is substantially more important for economic growth than the mere quantity of schooling.  Extensive evidence on knowledge development and cognitive skills indicates that a variety of factors outside of school – family, peers, workplace and others – have a direct and powerful influence on employability and skills development.

Six Focus Areas

  • 1-to-World Technology

Connecting every student with the technology he or she needs to optimize learning inside and outside the classroom.

  • Character & Soft Skills Development

Teaching critical soft skills, such as goal setting, interpersonal communication and team building, to ensure students are well prepared to engage in work and in life.

  • Tech Savvy Educators

Continually equipping teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to incorporate leading-edge technologies into lesson plans and classroom environments.

  • Work-based Learning

Facilitating job shadowing, internships, co-ops, work-study programs and apprenticeships to connect students with global career opportunities and local employers.

  • Employer Engagement

Cultivating collaborative partnerships with businesses to invest in the development of a we/I-prepared and highly engaged workforce of tomorrow.

  • Career Adaptability

Ensuring access to relevant educational services and training opportunities to help adults develop nimble skill sets and assure career longevity.

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