• Icy Road Force Closure of Area Schools; Snow Day Makeup Procedure Reminder from Watauga County Schools


    December 13, 2019. For the fourth time in the 2019-20 school year, Watauga County Schools were closed due to adverse weather and road conditions. According to the updated Watauga Schools Calendar, this is the third day missed in December, in addition to one day missed in November. Temperatures began to slowly warm up through late morning and mid-afternoon, however, roads were very slick in areas this morning, especially on side roads outside of Boone. As a reminder, North Carolina schools are required to complete 1,025 hours of instruction or a minimum of 185 student days in a school year covering at least nine calendar months. The 2019-20 school calendar for Watauga County started the school year with 180 student days, 10 annual leave days, 11 holidays, nine optional teacher workdays and five mandatory workdays. Weather is the biggest impact on the school calendar, sometimes requiring the use of the optional teacher workdays, holidays and other leave days to be used as makeup days, as well as the possibility of school on Saturday. Those calendar changes and makeup plans are left to Watauga County Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Appalachian State University Commencement Ceremonies Underway Today

    December 13, 2019. A new group of college graduates from Appalachian State University will celebrate earning their degrees today with commencement ceremonies. Over 1,300 students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree today. The first group of graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences, Hayes School of Music and Walker College of Business took the floor at 10 a.m. at the Holmes Convocation Center. The next group of graduates from Beaver College of Health Sciences, College of Fine and Applied Arts and Reich College of Education will have their ceremony at 2 p.m. inside the convocation center. Both ceremonies will feature a student speaker from the college that they are graduating from.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • No Decision on Valle Crucis School Property Until March of 2020

    December 9, 2019. The idea of a new Valle Crucis School will be put on hold until March 2020 at the earliest after the Watauga County Board of Education decided to extend the due diligence period on the property that the county has under contract. “The board voted to extend the due diligence period on the property until March to perform some additional testing. We are still waiting for those results at the moment,” said Garrett Price, the Director of Communications for Watauga County Schools. Citizens have voiced their opinion on the potential property, known locally as the Hodges Property on Broadstone Road, a 14.4-acre parcel of land that is roughly a quarter-mile from the current Valle Crucis School. While everyone agrees that Valle Crucis needs a new school, opinions have differed greatly on where that school should be located.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • The Powder Horn is Back in Print, WHS School Newspaper Relaunches Print Edition


    December 9, 2019. In a matter of weeks, we are set to turn our calendars to the second decade of the 21st century. Over the past twenty years, our society has become indelibly plugged-in. In the past two decades, the technology that first allowed us to make calls without being tethered to a cable between phones has supplied us with computers in our pockets and virtual assistants in our homes. In the modern world, everything from the refrigerator to the doorbell is connected, digitized and networked. But for a group of students at Watauga High School — digital natives who never lived in a pre-internet world — there is an appetite for renewing a long-familiar medium: a print newspaper. Over the past three months, journalism students at Watauga High School have worked to revitalize the school’s newspaper, The Powder Horn. The publication, whose print edition has existed in some form since Watauga High School’s foundation in 1965, has been online-only for several years. / Read more…



  • Mast Farm Inn Lawsuit Against School Board Completely Dismissed in Superior Court

    November 21, 2019. Superior Court Judge Susan E. Bray signed an order Nov. 14 completely dismissing the lawsuit filed by Deschamps Holdings, LLC and others against the Watauga County Board of Education that sought to prevent the school board from purchasing the Hodges Property in Valle Crucis for the construction of a new school. In her order, the judge rejected the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop the school board from completing its purchase of the property. Judge Bray determined the plaintiffs could not demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of their case if it went to trial. The Judge also found that the plaintiffs could not show that the use of the Hodges Property for a school would cause irreparable harm to the Mast Farm Inn and could not show how the inn’s legal rights were in jeopardy. In addition, the judge found that the plaintiffs’ did not have legal standing through any of their claims to permanently prevent the Watauga County Board of Education from purchasing the Hodges Property. The signing of the order follows an earlier hearing before Judge Bray on Oct. 29 in Boone. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Prepare for Winter Weather


    November 15, 2019. With another high country winter well underway, Watauga County Schools would like to remind families how the district makes and communicates decisions about the operation of school during inclement weather. Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott said during severe weather, he considers every possibility to keep school open and on a regular schedule, but certain conditions often force delays and cancellations. “Changes in the school schedule have a real impact on our families, so I don’t make the decision to delay or cancel school without serious consideration,” Elliott said. “But when it is necessary for us to make a change to the schedule, I want to be sure we do the best possible job to communicate those changes.” When bad weather begins overnight, the process for making decisions about the operation of school kicks off at 3 a.m. when Elliott and Transportation Director Jeff Lyons begin the process of gathering information about road conditions and the most current weather forecast. / Read more…



  • Board of Education Expects Court Decision Sometime This Week in Valle Crucis Lawsuit Case

    November 5, 2019. The Watauga County Board of Education could find out as soon as this week what the Watauga County Superior Court will rule on the lawsuit filed by the Mast Farm Inn. The pre-trial hearing took place last Friday and according to Garrett Price, the Director of Communications for Watauga County Schools, the final opinion of the court hasn’t yet been filed, but “we expect it to be completed sometime this week.” The lawsuit was filed on October 10 in Watauga County Superior Court and lists the plaintiffs as The Mast Farm Inn and owners Henri Deschamps, Marie-Henriette Deschamps and Danielle Deschamps as well as Deschamps Holdings, LLC and Deschamps Enterprises, LLC. Defendants in the cast are the Watauga County Board of Education, board chairman Ron Henries, vice-chair Brenda Reese, and board members Dr. Gary Childers, Steve Combs and Dr. Jay Fenwick.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Expands Agriculture Classes to Middle School


    November 4, 2019. At Mabel School, sixth-graders in Benjamin Brown’s agriculture class are stationed in the school’s vegetable patch. The field that plays host to the small garden shares duty as a playground for Mabel’s younger students, but the sprinting group of seven-year-olds in the distance are no distraction to Brown’s middle-schoolers, who are hard at work harvesting dried green beans to be replanted in the Spring. The students are among the first groups at Mabel and Cove Creek schools to take advantage of agriculture classes at the middle school level, which until this school year, were only available at Watauga High School. While WHS has a long tradition of strong agricultural education and one of the most successful FFA programs in the state, it’s Brown’s hope that by expanding the program to students in middle school, Watauga County Schools can improve ag education across the district and further connect younger students to their world. / Read more…



  • Election Security Forum Happening at Appalachian State on November 1

    October 31, 2019. A special forum will be taking place on Friday that will include information sharing and discussion about the worrisome issue of election security, particularly in North Carolina. The forum will take place from 3-5 p.m. at the Gordon Gathering Hall inside the Reich College of Education Building, located at 151 College Street. The event is co-sponsored by Appalachian State’s Department of Computer Science and the Department of Government and Justice Studies. 99 percent of the votes tallied across the country will be done either on computers or by using the paper ballot-scanning machines, meaning that making sure these computer systems are modern and secure. According to information provided by Dr. Ray Russell, who will moderate the forum, the federal government recently allocated $250 million to make these systems secure. There will be three speakers at the forum who have a vast amount of knowledge of the subject of elections and election security. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Mast Farm Inn Files Lawsuit Against Watauga County Board of Education to Stop Purchase of Land for New Valle Crucis School


    October 24, 2019. The ongoing dispute between Valle Crucis community members and the Watauga County Board of Education took another turn with a recent lawsuit filed by the Mast Farm Inn and its owners against the board of education to place an injunction on the property purchase for a new school. The lawsuit was filed on October 10 in Watauga County Superior Court and lists the plaintiffs as The Mast Farm Inn and owners Henri Deschamps, Marie-Henriette Deschamps and Danielle Deschamps as well as Deschamps Holdings, LLC and Deschamps Enterprises, LLC. Defendants in the cast are the Watauga County Board of Education, board chairman Ron Henries, vice-chair Brenda Reese, and board members Dr. Gary Childers, Steve Combs and Dr. Jay Fenwick. The plaintiffs in the case are represented by Four Eggers of Eggers, Eggers, Eggers and Eggers of Boone and Robert Hunter of Higgins Benjamin Law Firm in Greensboro. The defendants are represented by John Henning of Campbell Shatley PLLC of Asheville. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Hardin Park’s Clara Lappan Wins District Spelling Bee


    October 18, 2019. Hardin Park sixth-grader Clara Lappan correctly spelled “Marathon” and “Autumn” to secure victory in the Watauga County Schools district-wide spelling bee held Oct. 18. Green Valley’s Zeke Walker from Green Valley secured the runner-up spot in the contest. The top-speller in each school was invited to attend the competition held at the WCS central office. This year’s contestants were: Liliana Wyatt of Bethel, Iris Westerman of Blowing Rock, A.J. McAulay of Cove Creek, Zeke Walker of Green Valley, Clara Lappan of Hardin Park, Mark Spaulding of Mabel, Ben Baublitz of Parkway and Grant Painter of Valle Crucis. A single speller from each school secured a stop at the district-wide spelling bee final by winning a competition among fourth through eighth-grade students at her or his school. Meredith Jones, Watauga County Schools Director of Middle Grades Education, said regardless of the competition’s outcome, students had demonstrated hard work and dedication to make an appearance at the district bee. / Read more…



  • Appalachian Guarantees Admission to Qualifying High School Seniors in 11 NC GEAR UP School Districts


    October 18, 2019. Current seniors in 11 Western North Carolina high school districts who meet specific academic requirements and submit an application by Friday, Nov. 1, are guaranteed admission to Appalachian State University through a newly announced program called GEAR UP Guarantee. Appalachian’s GEAR UP Guarantee is a collaboration between the university and the region’s 11 Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) school districts to provide a seamless pathway for high school students to enroll at Appalachian. The 11 GEAR UP school districts are Ashe, Alleghany, Burke, Clay, Graham, Madison, Rutherford, Swain, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties. By Elisabeth Wall / Read more…



  • Avery High School Students Volunteer and Take College Tours with Mountain Alliance


    October 4, 2019. A select group of eight Avery County High School students recently had the opportunity to both prepare for their academic future and lend a helping hand. Through the non-profit organization Mountain Alliance, eight students from the high school toured N.C. State University, UNC-Wilmington and Campbell University, and spent time volunteering in Wilmington with the Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM). “We are proud to offer this trip to students as we feel that touring colleges allows students the opportunity to envision themselves on a college campus,” said Brittany Starbuck, the Program Director at Mountain Alliance. “We try to include colleges that have differences so students can compare and think about what type of college they would be most happy and successful at.”  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Named Accomplished District by National Board for Professional Teaching Standards


    September 30, 2019 Watauga County Schools has been named an Accomplished District by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a national non-profit organization that certifies teachers based on a rigorous set of evaluations and standards. The honor is given to school districts in which 20 percent or more of teachers have achieved National Board certification. Watauga County is one of just 81 school districts across the nation that were awarded the Accomplished District designation. To a achieve a National Board certification, teachers must prepare a series of essays, presentations and videos that demonstrate their content knowledge, differentiation in instruction, command of teaching practices and learning environment, and their abilities as an effective and reflective practitioner of teaching. / Read more…



  • Watauga High School Hosts Inaugural Senior Mini-Conference


    September 26, 2019 As high school seniors prepare to graduate, they are asked to make a series of difficult decisions. Choices that will affect their secondary education or career training — choices that, in short, that have the potential to alter the course of their entire lives. With these pivotal moments in mind, staff at Watauga High School set out to connect its senior class with the tools and skills it needs to tackle just those kinds of decisions with its inaugural Senior Mini-Conference. Laura Turner, WHS GEAR UP Coordinator, who helped to plan the event, said the goal was to host a session for seniors that looked and felt like a professional development conference their teachers might attend in the course of their ongoing career training. “The idea behind the Senior Mini-Conference was to help these students prepare for what’s next,” Turner said. “It was really geared towards helping students have a good start on the experiences and challenges they will face as they prepare to graduate high school.” / Read more…



  • Blowing Rock School is Awarded the NC Schools Go Outside Grant


    September 19, 2019. The NC Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council (OHAC) is pleased to award a North Carolina Schools Go Outside (GO) Grant to Blowing Rock School. “Seventh-grade students from Blowing Rock School will be given the opportunity to participate in an overnight outdoor experience at Buffalo Cove Outdoor Education Center. Students will engage in activities involving hiking, camping and learning essential survival skills including fire making and shelter building. A requirement by the state for all seventh graders is to learn about homeostasis. Students will be able to apply this concept to a real-life experience by learning how to maintain homeostasis in an outdoor setting,” said Blowing Rock School teacher Liz Tincher. The NC Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council established the NC Schools Go Outside (GO) Grants earlier this year. Go Grants are $250 to $2,500 grants that will be provided to access field study locations and assist with other expenditures that result from form taking students outdoors. / Read more…



  • Cove Creek Students Take Science Class into the Field Thanks to Donation


    September 18, 2019. Students at Cove Creek School are set to spend a little more time in the creek thanks to a donation from Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development, a non-profit that works to study and protect natural resources in Northwest North Carolina. The organization recently donated 35 pairs of water shoes to second graders at the school. Cove Creek sits on a plot of several acres on Vanderpool Road in Vilas. The school building, playground, track and gym are obvious features to passersby, but perhaps the school’s best-kept secret is a large tract of woods and creek access along the back of the property. Thanks to their surroundings, students at Cove Creek are uniquely situated to learn about their environment by taking their science classes out into the field and getting first-hand experience in their local ecosystem. / Read more…



  • Community Members Pack Valle Crucis School Gym for Meeting to Discuss New School Location


    September 5, 2019. Valle Crucis parents, teachers and community members, as well as elected officials, gathered for a special joint meeting between the Watauga County Commissioners and Watauga County Board of Education on Tuesday to speak their minds about the location of a new Valle Crucis School. The information session included data and comments from Watauga County Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott and Clark Nexsen architect Chad Roberson. Following that, the public was invited to comment and share their thoughts either in support of the proposed location for the school or against it. “After lots of talk and lots of consideration, the priority was given to first make every effort to keep a school in Valle Crucis, whether that be on-site or a different site,” said Dr. Elliott. “I believe that a school is a place where children and families come, live and exist and we certainly want to continue to be a positive member of the community.” Elliott added that the school system had “no intention of building what might be described as a large institutional structure.” By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Hosting Information Session for Valle Crucis School on September 3


    September 3, 2019. The general public will have a chance to learn about the potential location for the new Valle Crucis School at an information and input session set to take place at the current Valle Crucis School gymnasium on Tuesday, September 3 at 6 p.m. According to information from the Watauga County Board of education, both school board members and the Watauga County Board of Commissioners will hold this joint meeting to provide information on the proposed construction of a new school in the Valle Crucis community and hear public comment on the issue as well. Some in the Valle Crucis community have taken issue with where the proposed school will be constructed. The land, commonly known as the Hodges Property, is currently under contract by the Watauga County Schools and is a quarter of a mile from where the Valle Crucis School sits right now. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga High School Celebrates 2019 Senior Class


    June 20, 2019. A total of 343 graduating seniors from Watauga High School were honored last Friday night at the Holmes Convocation Center on Appalachian State’s campus. The 2019 senior class included 313 tradition graduates and 30 early graduates. These seniors accounted for over $4 million in college scholarship money and have already earned 667 college credits. A total of 29 graduates have already earned a community college degree along with their high school diplomas.  / Read more…



  • Geological and Environmental Sciences K-12 Science Education Strengthened by Community Partnership


    June 19, 2019. Vulcan Materials, the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates with a local office in Boone, N.C., has given over $61,000 to the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Appalachian State University, supporting the department in many ways for decades. “They have truly donated thousands of dollars in personnel and equipment time to make projects and growth become a reality at Appalachian,” said Dr. Andrew Heckert, a professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. In 2018-19, the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Appalachian reached over 5,000 school children through outreach events at over 34 schools and organizations with assistance from over 50 undergraduate students. The department has been awarded five outreach-specific grants ranging from $1500 – $62,000 with a predicted total of $100,000 for the year. Faculty and students from the department are committed to helping strengthen K-12 science education by fostering partnerships with schools, training teachers, involving students, highlighting faculty’s research and advertising program offerings.  / Read more…



  • One Hundred Thirty-Four Graduate From Avery County High School In 2019 Class

    June 13, 2019. Avery County High School held its annual commencement and graduation ceremony on June 7th in the school’s gymnasium, sending off the latest group of graduates into the next journey of their lives. There were 134 in the 2019 graduating class, which marks the 50th in the school’s history. The ceremony had to be moved indoors from the school’s MacDonald Stadium due to heavy rain. According to Avery Schools Superintendent Bryan Taylor, the 2019 graduating class received a half million dollars ($500,000.00) in scholarship awards to attend colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning. The Avery High Band and chorus were featured during graduation as “Pomp and Circumstance” was played as the graduates marched into the gymnasium in front of a capacity crowd of family, friends, special guests, teachers and school system officials.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Dr. Scott Elliott Named Regional Superintendent of the Year


    June 11, 2019. Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott was recently named Northwest North Carolina Superintendent of the Year by the Northwest Regional Educational Service Agency (NWRESA), an organization that provides professional services, staff development and support for public schools in the region. The Regional Superintendent of the Year Award winner is chosen by fellow superintendents from the 12 school districts in Northwest North Carolina. Award winners from each of the eight regions are eligible to go on to win statewide recognition for their work. NWRESA Executive Director Don Martin said Elliott was chosen for the award for his dedication to public education and commitment to Watauga County Schools. “Elliott was selected by his peer superintendents for this award because they recognize his hard work and leadership both in Watauga and the state and regional levels,” Martin said. “He is well known and highly respected across our state as a vocal champion for both Watauga County Schools and for public education.” / Read more…



  • Phil Norman Named the New Principal at Hardin Park School


    June 11, 2019. The Watauga County Board of Education voted unanimously Monday, June 10 to appoint Phil Norman Principal of Hardin Park School. Norman is set to take the job at Hardin Park after an extensive interview and vetting process led by Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott. The process is designed to evaluate candidates for administrative roles in the district. The hiring process began with a stakeholder survey in which teachers, parents, students and community members were given the opportunity to express traits they’d like to see in a leader at their school. Hardin Park’s survey received 416 public responses. Norman, who has served as Principal of Green Valley School for the past five years, was chosen after a four round interview process with an interview committee of 30 people and a one-on-one interview with Elliott. Elliott said Hardin Park, Watauga’s largest K-8 school, required a skilled and experienced candidate to lead effectively. / Read more…



  • Green Valley Students Raise $3,000 to Build Water Filters with Wine to Water


    May 23, 2019 Over the past several weeks, Green Valley School’s fifth grade students read Linda Sue Park’s “A Long Walk to Water,” a novel that tells the story of Nya, a fictional South Sudanese girl, who must walk several hours each day over great distances to supply her family with drinking water.In the book, the Nya’s life is changed dramatically when a well and school are constructed in her village. “A Long Walk to Water” ends with a message of hope, one Green Valley’s fifth-graders wanted to carry outside the realm of fiction and translate into real-world impact. After finishing the book, the students banded together to search for ways they could help those affected by the water crisis in Sudan. With the help of their teacher, Carly Mize, they found their way to Boone-based non-profit Wine to Water, an organization that works to provide access to clean drinking water across the world. / Read more…



  • Cove Creek School Installs Solar Array; Students Raised Over $14,000 in Support of the Project


    May 21, 2019  Last year, Cove Creek became Watauga County’s second school to be recognized for its dedication to sustainability, earning a designation as a North Carolina Green School of Excellence. This week, with the help of dozens of community members, students at Cove Creek ensured that legacy would reach far into the future, holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s newest addition — a 5-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array. Cove Creek worked to install the equipment with the help of NC GreenPower, a group that supports renewable energy carbon offset projects by providing grants for solar installations at K-12 schools across the state. With the help of the SECU Foundation, Climate Voices US, Mast General Store, Haircut 101 and dozens of community members, Cove Creek students raised more than $14,000 to support the solar array’s installation at the school. / Read more…



  • Mitchell Wright named Watauga County Schools Teacher of the Year


    May 10, 2019 Valle Crucis teacher Mitchell Wright was named Watauga County Schools district-wide Teacher of the Year in surprise ceremony held Friday morning at the school. Wright was presented the award by Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott, Wright’s family, school board members and North Carolina Teacher of the Year Freebird Mckinney. Each year, Watauga County Schools celebrates its Teacher of the Year winner with a surprise ceremony. Wright was presented his award in front of the school’s students and staff who were assembled in the gym. Valle Crucis Principal Preston Clarke said Wright had a great impact on the students and staff at his school. “One of the most important things a school principal can do is to hire good quality teachers,” Clarke said. “There is almost nothing else that has a greater impact on the culture and quality of a school. I can say for sure that hiring Mitchell Wright is one of the best things I’ve done for Valle Crucis in my time here.”  / Read more…



  • Watauga County High School Seniors Will Graduate on June 14


    March 28, 2019 Graduation for the Watauga High School Class of 2019 has been set for 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 14 at the Holmes Convocation Center on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone. Graduation is open to the public and ASU’s security measures will be in place. Families are encouraged to allow extra time to go through the Holmes Center’s bag checks. Times and dates for several other end-of-year events celebrating the graduating class — the Senior Awards Ceremony, baccalaureate service, and capping ceremony — are also listed below. Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott said he is looking forward to graduation and celebrating the Watauga High Class of 2019. / Read more…



  • Watauga Students Compete in Mathcounts at Appalachian State University


    March 6, 2019 Recently, 73 of Watauga’s best math students met at the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University to test their mettle against their peers in the annual Mathcounts competition — a contest that tasks young mathematicians to tackle challenging math problems in a timed tournament format. Teams from each school in Watauga practiced for several months leading up to the competition to hone their mathematics skills on multiple types of problems that include algebra, geometry, number sense, probability and statistics. The problems are designed to stretch students’ critical thinking and challenge them to learn advanced mathematics in middle school. Hardin Park eighth-grader Aria Arnholt took home the individual championship in the competition, followed closely by Parkway eighth-grader Anya Tu. Hardin Park School also performed well in the team competition, securing the top spot over all. The team was made up of Aria Arnholt, Sam Nystrom, Gwendolyn Anderson, and Ann Mellon. / Read more…



  • Construction Continues on Latest Appalachian State Student Housing and Parking Projects


    February 28, 2019 The west side of campus at Appalachian State is certainly looking a little different these days with construction equipment, site fencing and closed off parking spaces. Construction is underway on a pair of new student residence halls as well as a parking deck on the former location of Winkler Hal that will add to the amount of parking available on campus. Appalachian has started providing updates throughout each month on what is currently happening with construction and what is about to begin. Site fencing has sent up around what is currently being called Building 100 and Building 20 and fencing has also been put up around Duck Pond Field, continuing up Stadium Drive and Jack Branch Drive. Some parking spots are also being blocked off as part of the construction process. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga High School Principal Dr. Chris Blanton Named Principal of the Year


    February 25, 2019 Watauga High School Principal Dr. Chris Blanton has been named Watauga County Schools 2019-20 Principal of the Year. Blanton was presented the award by a delegation of family, peers and Watauga County Schools leadership in a surprise ceremony February 22. Blanton, who has served as the principal of Watauga High School for two years, said he was honored to have been recognized by his colleagues across the district. “It is a huge honor to work for Watauga County Schools and serve as the Principal at Watauga High School,” Blanton said. “It’s humbling to be chosen by such an accomplished group of administrators who I respect more than they will ever know. I’m constantly learning from them and I appreciate them helping me grow as an administrator.”  / Read more…



  • WCS Teacher Katie Matthews Named Finalist for State Award


    February 20, 2019 Valle Crucis first grade teacher Katie Matthews has been named a North Carolina finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Matthews was honored along with five other finalists at a recent State Board of Education Meeting. The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science teaching. The awards —  given to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science teachers from each of the 50 states — recognize teachers have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas. Two finalists from each state will be selected to be honored at the national level. State winners receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Recognize Several Students, Teachers and Staff Members at February Board Meeting


    February 13, 2019 WHS Principal Dr. Chris Blanton, art teacher Dacia Trethewey, Watauga County Hunger and Health Coalition Director Elizabeth Young and craft teacher Brett McDonough with WHS students Caroline Edwards, Sadye Franklin and Vann Small attended the board meeting to give information on Empty Bowls, a charity event that raises money for the local hunger coalition. Empty Bowls will be held March 30 at WHS from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The board recognized the work of school counselors. Board Chairman Ron Henries thanked the counselors for the tireless work — both in their assigned roles and countless other lesser known capacities in their schools. Left to right are Sandra Ruppert from Green Valley, Sheryl Little from Bethel and Lindsay Gough.  / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Named Second Best in North Carolina by Niche.com

    February 12, 2019 The Watauga County School System has something else to be proud of after it was named as the second best school system in the state by a project compiled at Niche.com. Watauga finished with an A- grade behind only Chapel Hill/Carrboro city schools that got an A+ grade. The rating system was based on different factors including student grades, teacher absenteeism and salary, parent surveys, per pupil spending, extracurricular activities, class size and diversity. According to the data provided, Watauga County’s 10 schools and 4,402 students received grades of A in Teachers and College Prep, A- in Academics, Clubs and Activities and Health and safety and a B- in Diversity. The student-teacher ratio of 13:1 earned some positive points for Watauga County. That is below the national level of 17:1. The data also took a look at the teachers serving Watauga County and they too got an exceptional rating. Watauga County was ranked at the third best place to teach in North Carolina and third out of 115 districts with the best teachers in North Carolina. The average teacher salary in the county came in at $41,642.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Beech Mountain and Edge of the World Bring the Ski Slopes to Cove Creek


    February 11, 2019 Watauga County Schools were lucky last week to end up in the middle of a bout of mid-winter warm weather, but that didn’t stop students at Cove Creek School from taking to the slopes as part of their physical education classes with the help of Beech Mountain Resort and Edge of the World Snowboard Shop. The ski resort and outfitter joined forces to bring snowboarding lessons to third through fifth grade PE classes at Cove Creek. Students learned to get the feel of a downhill slope as they were towed around the gym on boards pulled by volunteers from Edge of the World. Others worked on their balance and posture on a host of training tools the two companies brought down the mountain to prepare the students for a day at the slopes. Kelly Walker, Principal of Cove Creek, said the visit was an excellent opportunity for her students to learn about a recreation that was a such a big part of our community.  / Read more…



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