School Information

Northern High School Profile
A Rich Tradition of Academic, Artistic, and Athletic Excellence!

Address: 117 Tom Wilkinson Rd. Durham, NC 27712

Phone: 919.560.3956 Fax: 919.479.3001

Principal: Danny Gilfort

Enrollment: 1560

School Year Calendar Type: Traditional calendar on 4×4 Block Schedule

School Hours: 9:00am-3:55pm

Office Hours: 8:30am-4:30pm

Summer Office Hours: Monday-Thursday. Closed Fridays

Points of Pride

2010 recipient of UNC-Chapel Hill Morehead-Cain scholarship – Cecelia Polanco
2007 recipient of NCSU Park Scholarship – Brian Parham
Voted in the top 5% of the nation’s best high schools by Newsweek for 2004-2010
2009 DPS Teacher of the Year – Matthew Hunt
2010 and 2011 DPS Teacher of the Year finalists
13 National Board Certified Teachers
First Habitat for Humanity high school chapter in the nation
Home of the Polaris yearbook and school newspaper, The Round Table. Both have been nationally recognized
2010 State Champion Boys Cross Country – Blake Williams
2010 State Champion 1600m Boys Track – Blake Williams
2010 State Champions Men’s Doubles Tennis – Pierce Hoover and Robert Jenkins
NHS Golf Team – 2009 Regional Title Runners-Up, State Final Four
1993 State Champions in Football
State Champions in Track
Girls Basketball – Regional Title Champions 2005, Final Four 2006.
Two award winning choirs in National Competitions with Superior ratings:
Knight Sounds & Blues in the Knight.

The NHS Concert Band consistently scores Superior ratings at competition concerts.
2010-11 DPS Awards

ABCs – Highest Growth (High Schools)

Clean School Award

Limited English Proficient Growth

Most Improved Attendance

Washington Post Top 7%

Advanced Placement Classes



Calculus AB

Calculus BC


Comparative Government

Computer Science

English Language

English Literature

Environmental Science

European History



Government & Politics

Human Geography

Latin: Vergil

Music Theory




Studio Art

US Government

US History

Specialty Course Offerings

Along with a rigorous list of comprehensive high school courses, including over 20 Advanced Placement class selections, Northern also offers these specialty courses. Not all courses are available at all grade levels. Some require a pre-requisite course. Please contact our Guidance Office for more information.

Career and Technical Education

–Culinary Arts

–Agriculture Science and Sustainability

–Environmental and Natural Resources

–Automotive Technology

–Business Marketing

–Sports and Entertainment Marketing


–Personal Finance

Science Education


–Forensic Science

Mathematics/Computer Education

–Computer Programming

–Computer Gaming and Gaming Design

Health and Physical Education

–Outdoor Education

–Sports Medicine

–Anatomy and Physiology

English and Literature


–Creative Writing

–Mass Communication

Social Studies

–Law and Justice


–International Relations

World Languages



Visual and Performing Arts

–Intensive Beginning Art

–Studio Art

–Jazz and Percussion Ensembles

–Separate Ladies’ and Men’s Chorus

–Technical Theater

The School

Northern High School is located in northern Durham at 117 Tom Wilkinson Road. Northern opened in 1955. 225 certified teachers facilitate the learning of approximately 1500 students who reside in the northern rural area of Durham County, as well as northern suburban and urban sections of the city. Northern not only serves a diverse population ethnically, but also academically and with special needs. Students can earn college credit in Advanced Placement courses, challenge their intellect in Honors classes, and can also be accomodated for an exceptionality, such as autism, Learning Disabled, Behaviorally Educationally Disabled, Educable Mentally Disabled, Students with English as a Second Language or Limited English Proficiency, and physically challenged.

As in all North Carolina public schools, students design a four-year education plan prior to entering high school and then enroll in the college/university preparatory, college technical preparatory, or career preparatory programs. The average class size for the five core content areas is 23.7 students per class. The student-to-teacher ratio for the entire school is 15:1.

Northern’s goal is to set high expectations for all students and to prepare them to learn and think in a rapidly changing world. Northern employs a wide variety of academic learning strategies to address a variety of learning styles and needs. Northern High School was voted in the top 5% of the nation’s best high schools by Newsweek for 2004 and 2005, which is based on number of AP test taken.

System and Location

Durham County lies at the center of the Triangle, between Chapel Hill (Orange County) to the west, and Raleigh (Wake County) to the southeast. The district, Durham Public Schools, encompasses all public schools in Durham County, North Carolina. It serves 32,000 students in 46 schools including 28 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, and 7 high schools. Student may choose to attend both magnet and year-round schools. At the high school level, the system provides a variety of career pathway options for students who have specific career interests.

The Community

Durham is a diverse and dynamic community. The Research Triangle area is undergoing a period of significant economic and demographic growth and change. From a small number just a decade ago, Latinos now make up 15.7% of Durham Public Schools’ students. The Triangle boasts one of the best job markets in the country, and Durham has been cited in numerous publications as one of the best places to live and work in the United States.Durham County is home to around 243,000 residents. From north to south, the county includes rural, suburban, and urban areas. Duke University, North Carolina Central University, and Durham Technical Community College reside in Durham, and it is just a short trip to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The area is also home to a major international airport, and two medical research institutions.