North Sand Mountain High School (a public Pre K-12 school) is located in the unincorporated community of Higdon in the northeast corner of Jackson County and of the state of Alabama. In addition to students from the Higdon community, the school also serves high school students from the adjoining communities of Bryant and Flat Rock. The first school in the Higdon community was a one-room elementary school built in 1880. It was replaced by a large wood frame structure in 1936, which later grew in enrollment to become Mount Olive Junior High. A modern brick building consisting of seven classrooms, an office area, and a gymnasium was constructed in 1962 to replace the older structure. Also in 1962, the Jackson County Board of Education voted to add grades 10-12 to the school and to change the name of the name of the school to North Sand Mountain High School. The new name, which reflects the school’s geographic location, was chosen to build support for the school in the other communities served by the school. As a result, the first senior class graduated in 1965. Later, North Sand Mountain received accreditation from the Alabama State Department of Education during the 1974-75 school year and it was accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges in 1986.
The school’s enrollment grew from 362 in 1965 to a high of 744 in 1995. During that time period several additions were added to the school plant. A high school wing and a new lunchroom were built in the 1970s. Also a new library was constructed in 1985, a second gymnasium in 1988, and an office / computer lab in 1996. In the fall of 2001, the upper elementary grades moved into the school’s newest wing. A new lunchroom and administrative office area was completed in the Spring of 2006. North Sand Mountain's pursuit of excellence was recognized in 2007 and 2012. U.S. News & World Report named North Sand Mountain a Bronze Medal School. One of only 31 schools selected in the state of Alabama.
During the last five years, two other construction projects were completed. The first involved adding additional classrooms to the end of both the elementary and middle school wings. The three-room kindergarten addition, with restrooms nearby, also provides quick access to the afternoon student pick-up area. This project was finished in 2008. The final project was an extensive renovation of the building which was originally constructed as a computer lab. This project was carried out in 2011 after new computer labs were set up in both the middle school and high school wings. The renovation resulted in one of the most beautiful and impressive state-of–the-art science labs in the state of Alabama. An unusual feature of the new facility is a creative ceiling which displays the entire periodic table.
North Sand Mountain High School currently has an enrollment of 690 students in PreK-12. The school’s faculty consists of forty-two classroom teachers, one and one-half counselors, three aides, eight bus drivers, six cafeteria employees, three custodians, plus a bookkeeper and a nurse. These numbers substantiate the fact that NSM is the largest school in the Jackson County School system, in terms of the number of students and school personnel at a single campus.