Highland School of Technology – Gastonia, NC

Award Year 2017

Exemplary High Performing Schools

Highland School of Technology

1600 North Morris Street
Gastonia, NC, 28052-1739

(704) 810-8816

Ms. Denise B McLean, Principal at time of Nomination

Magnet School

Gaston County School District

School Website

School FaceBook



Student Demographics

  • Black/African American: 10%
  • White: 70%
  • Hispanic: 11%
  • Asian: 4%
  • Two or more races: 5%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: 27%


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Highland School of Technology students are making a presentation to their classmates.

Highland School of Technology students are making a presentation to their classmates.


Highland School of Technology is a career and technical education magnet high school with grades 9-12. Opened in 2000, as a smaller learning community, Highland is a renovated public school with three academies and seven pathway options including: Allied Health Science, Medical Science, Dental Science, Computer Engineering, Business and Legal Studies, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, and Graphics. Admission is through an application and lottery process that results in a student population mirroring the demographics of Gaston County.

Highland's diverse student population is connected through a common interest in academia. With collaborative learning, students engage in authentic conversations about classroom content and project based learning. Students hold each other accountable and draw upon their strengths and passions. While academics are emphasized, students are encouraged to participate in arts, athletics, and extracurricular activities.

The school's success is based on their integration model and rigorous academics including Advanced Placement, college, and online courses. All students take application-based career and technical education courses that offer critical-thinking, science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. In addition, all students complete an internship that prepares them for college and a career.

Stakeholders refuse to settle for mediocrity and they create an atmosphere of excellence and achievement. Having one of the highest cohort graduation rates in North Carolina and with a Performance Grade of A+ NG (No Gap), teachers, students, parents and community members take great pride in the work of the students at Highland School of Technology.