High School Curriculum Overview

Upon completion of their 8th grade year, all Buncombe County Schools students develop a four-year educational plan to fulfill the requirements for graduation from high school. Each student must select one of the following courses of study to follow: Future Ready Core Course of Study (FRCCS)

  • Occupational Course Study (OCS)

  • This high school curriculum is offered through a variety of instructional settings:

Comprehensive high schools in each district Buncombe County Early College Buncombe County Middle College Nesbitt Discovery Academy Community High School Online NCVPS, AB Tech & NCSSM Virtual High School courses 

English/Language Arts

In High School English Language Arts classes students continue to develop language use in different contexts and for different audiences and purposes. They engage in the formal study of literature, write more complex compositions, engage in research, and develop skill in evaluating professional authors' as well as their own language use. They develop sophisticated media productions to showcase their learning.

During grades 9-12, students are guided through a sequence of studies that move from emphasizing relatively familiar, concrete experience to focusing on more general and abstract ideas. The curriculum seeks to give all students at all levels as full an experience as possible with the most rewarding uses of language.


Writing has become a valuable tool in the high school classroom for engaging students in thinking, showing understanding, creating, communicating, and learning. When we blend two purposes for writing, writing to demonstrate learning with writing to help facilitate learning, we open the content area classroom to the many ways diverse writing can benefit both students and teachers. Throughout the high school years, writing is integrated in all classrooms, as well as focused on in English classes. At the end of 10th grade, students participate in the North Carolina Writing Assessment, responding to a prompt which requires an extended informational response.


The basic high school mathematics program includes courses from Introductory Mathematics through Advanced Placement Calculus. Additional elective courses are intended to offer opportunities that address the needs of individual schools.

The North Carolina Standard Course of Study for high school mathematics includes options with the following courses:

  • - Foundation to Math 1

  • - Math 1 - Standard and Honors

  • - Math 2 - Standard and Honors - Math 3 - Standard and Honors

  • - Essentials of College Math (ECM)

  • - Discrete Math - Standard and Honors

  • - Pre Calculus Honors

  • - AP Stats

  • - AP Calculus   


The goal of the high school science program is for students to achieve scientific literacy, defined as the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for scientific decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs and economic productivity.

By the end of 12th grade, all students should have learned the following concepts, theories, and universal laws as required by the N.C. Standard Course of Study:

  • - The Cell - Molecular basis of heredity

  • - Biological evolution of organisms

  • - Interdependence

  • - Energy in earth systems

  • - Geological cycles

  • - Structure of atoms

  • - Structure of the properties of matter

  • - Chemical Reactions

  • - Motion and forces

  • - Origin and evolution of the earth system

  • - Origin and evolution of the universe

  • - Conservation of energy and increase in disorder

  • - Interaction of energy and matter

Computer/Technology Skills

The strength of technology is that it provides an excellent platform where students can collect information in multiple formats and then organize, link, and discover relationships between facts and events. An array of tools for acquiring information and for thinking and expression allows more students more ways to enter the learning enterprise successfully and to live productive lives in the global, digital, and information-based future they all face.

Prior to the completion of grade 12, students will: 1. Identify capabilities and limitations of contemporary and emerging technology resources and assess the potential of these systems and services to address personal, lifelong learning, and workplace needs. 2. Make informed choices among technology systems, resources, and services. 3. Analyze advantages and disadvantages of widespread use and reliance on technology in the workplace and in society as a whole. 4. Demonstrate and advocate for legal and ethical behaviors among peers, family, and community regarding the use of technology and information. 5. Use technology tools and resources for managing and communicating personal/professional information (e.g., finances, schedules, addresses, purchases, correspondence). 6. Evaluate technology-based options, including distance and distributed education, for lifelong learning. 7. Routinely and efficiently use online information resources to meet needs for collaboration, research, publications, communications, and productivity. 8. Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis, problem-solving, and decision-making in content learning. 9. Investigate and apply expert systems, intelligent agents, and simulations in real-world situations 10. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others to contribute to a content-related knowledge base by using technology to compile, synthesize, produce, and disseminate information, models, and other creative works.

Social Studies

The North Carolina Social Studies curriculum is designed to ensure that our state prepares students to become productive citizens. This implies an understanding of history, geography and the social sciences, social studies skills, and the processes needed for personal decision-making, participation in civic affairs, and economic productivity.

Expectations of the state of North Carolina testing program and the semester schedule result in a tightly structured high school social studies program. 


Buncombe County High Schools offer a wide range of electives to our students, including cultural arts, career and technical education (CTE), world languages, health and physical education and ROTC. These electives allow students to explore a variety of educational opportunities and enrich their overall education.