A group of families first proposed the idea for Hickory Day School in 1991. A steering committee was formed to guide the establishment of a school that combined a nurturing environment with a curriculum enriched by hands-on learning experiences. In the fall of 1993, Hickory Day School opened. 

Hickory Day School is an independent, non-sectarian, college-preparatory, co-educational school in the greater Hickory area that offers instruction to students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

In its tenth year, Hickory Day School applied for candidate status with the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). Having successfully completed the candidate phase, the school first hosted the visiting IBO authorization team in April 2005. In July of that year, the school received notification of the committee's decision, and Hickory Day School became the fourth school in the state to become an authorized International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. Teachers and administrators continue to receive training and professional development to support the IBO mission of the school.

In the fall of 2015, Hickory Day School applied for membership with the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), an accrediting agency that is part of the AdvancED system.  After a rigorous two-year process, SAIS accreditation was earned in December, 2017.  SAIS is recognized throughout the world as a symbol of quality in education for students and teachers.  To earn accreditation, Hickory Day School complied with quality standards, was evaluated by an outside group of peer professionals, and implemented a school plan focused on strategic improvement and student performance in accordance with the school’s mission. The visiting committee unanimously recommended that the school receive this prestigious accreditation.  In the words of the committee (from the official SAIS report): “Hickory Day School is in a great position. It is delivering on its mission in a powerful and transformative manner and has re-established its sustainability as an institution moving forward.  With great leadership from the board, the head, and the team in place, the school can move forward with confidence and a clear sense of self. The HDS community should celebrate its excellence in developing wonderful young people who are thoughtful learners of high character.”

Many opportunities exist for individualized instruction to ensure that students remain engaged in our academically rigorous interdisciplinary program. Appropriate student-to-teacher ratio by grade level is a strong emphasis within our program.