• Avery County High School to Hold 2021 Graduation Ceremonies at Grandfather Mountain’s McRae Meadows on May 27

    May 18, 2021 For the second consecutive year, Avery County High School will not hold graduation ceremonies on campus.  In 2020, they were held off-campus because of the State of North Carolina’s social distancing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This year, they will be held at a neutral site due to a lack of parking and related problems because of the ongoing construction facilities and renovations at the high school. This is only the second time in the school’s 52-year history that graduation is not being held either in its football stadium or gymnasium. Avery High’s 2021 graduation ceremonies will be held the evening of Thursday, May 27 with a rain date for Friday, May 28 at picturesque McRae Meadows near Grandfather Mountain.  Graduation will commence at 5:00 p.m.  Seniors are asked to arrive at McRae Meadows no later than 3:30 p.m. on May 27. Gates will open for families of those graduating at 4:00 p.m.  Families and other guests are asked to bring their own lawn chairs to sit in during the graduation.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Watauga High School Graduation on May 28 to Move to Holmes Convocation Center

    May 18, 2021 Watauga High School will hold a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021 at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 28 at the Holmes Convocation Center on the campus of Appalachian State University. The school system previously announced that graduation ceremonies would be held in the high school stadium. Recent loosening of statewide restrictions on large gatherings allowed the school to move the ceremony to its traditional venue at the convocation center and will not require a limited number of guests for each student. Watauga County Schools and Appalachian State University request that guests follow NCDHSS guidelines on masks and large gatherings that can be found online at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/information/individuals-families-and-communities/face-coverings-and-masks.  / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools to Hold School-Based Vaccine Clinics Beginning May 18

    May 14, 2021 In light of the recent CDC approval of the Pfizer vaccine for anyone ages 12 and older, Watauga County Schools will hold four school-based vaccination clinics over the next two weeks for students in that age range and their parents. WCS Superintendent Scott Elliott said the shots are available to anyone in the community regardless of school enrollment. Children under the age of age 18 will require written parental consent to receive a shot. The Pfizer vaccine will be provided free of charge by Boone Drugs. / Read more…



  • Hardin Park Second Grade Teacher Misty Hyler Named Watauga County Teacher of the Year


    May 7, 2021 Hardin Park Second Grade Teacher Misty Hyler was named Watauga County Schools district-wide Teacher of the Year May 7 during a surprise visit to her classroom from her family, peers and Watauga County Schools Staff. Hyler was presented the award by Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott, who was joined by several members of the Watauga County Schools central office staff and outgoing WCS Teacher of the Year and Northwest North Carolina Teacher of the Year Erin Ellington. Each year, Watauga County Schools celebrates its Teacher of the Year winner with a surprise ceremony. WCS Staff works to coordinate visits from family and friends to surprise the winning teacher in their classroom. Elliott thanked Hyler for her hard work and what she means to the school district.  / Read more…



  • Lampe, Schaefer, Cook and Chesson Appointed to App State’s Board of Trustees

    May 4, 2021  In its April 22 meeting, the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors re-appointed two members and appointed two new individuals to serve on Appalachian State University’s Board of Trustees. The re-appointees are Chair Scott Lampe ’94, of Davidson, and Bonnie Schaefer, of Boca Raton, Florida, and Blowing Rock. New appointees are Fairley Bell Cook ’81, of Raleigh, and Joseph Jeffries Chesson ’77, of Wilson. All begin their terms July 1 and will serve four years. / Read more…



  • Shannon Campbell Named Dean of App State’s College of Fine and Applied Arts


    May 4, 2021  After a national search, Dr. Shannon Campbell has been named dean of Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts effective July 1, 2021. Campbell is currently inaugural Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies and full professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has been a professor of strategic communication for more than 20 years. She has a successful record as a higher education administrator who mentored faculty, students and staff, managed diverse staffs and large complex budgets, and developed and implemented policies, operations and procedures at all university levels. “Shannon believes deeply in the power of access to education for all,” said Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Heather Norris. “She has a strong appreciation for and understanding of the vision, mission and values of App State, and I am confident she will continue to build upon the legacy of strong leadership within the College of Fine & Applied Arts.” / Read more…



  • Watauga High School Names Bryson Payne Head Basketball Coach


    April 26, 2021 Watauga County Schools has named Bryson Payne as Watauga High School’s next Men’s Basketball Coach. Payne is set to take on the role after serving as head coach of the schools’ junior varsity and associate head coach to the varsity basketball team over the past four years. Payne will take on the coaching position in addition to his current classroom role teaching American History and Civics at WHS. Since coming on board with Watauga County Schools in 2016, Payne has worked in various capacities in the WHS basketball program. In his time at the school, he has coached at the Freshman and junior varsity levels and recently served as Associate Head Coach under former men’s coach Laura Barry. Watauga High School Principal Dr. Chris Blanton said Payne’s experience and commitment to his community made him the best candidate for taking the lead role in the WHS Basketball Program.  / Read more…



  • Audrey Jones Named Watauga County Schools Rookie Teacher of the Year


    April 23, 2021 Audrey Jones, seventh-grade science and social studies teacher at Parkway School, has been named Watauga County Schools Rookie Teacher of the Year. The newest addition to WCS’ yearly teacher recognitions, Rookie Teacher of the Year is awarded to a teacher in his or her first year teaching full time. Candidates are nominated by Principals, Assistant Principals, Central Office Directors, and first-year teacher mentors for their outstanding work ethic, dedication and skill. Jones graduated from Appalachian State University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education. Before beginning her teaching career, Jones worked at App State on a project to develop sustainability curriculum for middle grades students and as a tutor at a local church. Parkway Principal Patty Buckner said Jones is a skilled and talented teacher who has already made an impact at her school. / Read more…



  • School Board Hears Presentation from Architect on Construction of New Valle Crucis School


    April 20, 2021 At their regular monthly meeting on April 12, the Watauga County Board of Education had a chance to view a presentation put together by architects from Clark Nexsen on how the new Valle Crucis School could look. “They brainstormed their vision for the school by submitting ideas of things they’d like to keep, toss and create in the constrictions of a new school in Valle Crucis,” said Garrett Price, the Director of Communications for Watauga County Schools. “The team will now go on to establish more detailed plans and designs and present them to the board in the next few months.” Price said that the faculty and staff at Valle Crucis also got to participate in a similar brainstorming function at the school to get their opinions on what to include and not include at the new site, which has a completion date set for the spring of 2024. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Davidson-Davie Partners with Lees-McRae to Offer Seamless Transfer, Scholarship Opportunities


    April 19, 2021 Davidson-Davie Community College is giving its students yet another way to advance their education by transfer to Lees-McRae College, a four-year school located in Banner Elk, North Carolina. The agreement was formalized in a signing ceremony that included both colleges’ presidents on Friday. “We are thrilled to announce our new partnership with Lees-McRae College,” said Darrin Hartness, Davidson-Davie president. “Knowing that we can offer our students another path to an affordable, four-year education, through guaranteed admission to a school with so many program opportunities, is very important to us.” Called a comprehensive articulation agreement, the partnership between Davidson-Davie and Lees-McRae includes guaranteed admission for those who earn their associate degrees at Davidson-Davie. Students who transfer also will receive merit scholarships that discount tuition by up to 60 percent. Other discounts are available for those who choose online programs. / Read more…



  • Watauga High School to Offer Student, Parent Vaccine Clinic on Wednesday, April 21


    April 16, 2021 Watauga High School will hold a vaccine clinic for students and parents from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21 in the high school gym. The clinic will offer vaccinations to all Watauga High School students ages 16 and older and their parents. Held in partnership with AppHealthCare and Boone Drug, the clinic will offer doses of the Pfizer vaccine — currently the only shot approved for people ages 16-17. Parents and students who are interested in receiving a vaccine may sign up through the Boone Drug website at www.boonedrug.com/covid-vaccine. Eligible Watauga High School families will receive further instructions on how to sign up for the vaccine from the school. Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott encouraged students and parents to sign up for the vaccine at the high school. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Students Compete in Mathcounts Competition; Six Students Advance to Next Level


    April 13, 2021 Recently, 23 of Watauga’s best math students met virtually 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. The High Country MathCounts Chapter competition is usually held in person on the campus of Appalachian State University at the Reich College of Education, but was moved to a virtual platform this year because of the pandemic. The competition typically consists of both individual and team events, but because of the online format, no team-level events took place this year. Teams across 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. Six students from the High Country competition advanced to the next level of the contest.  / Read more…



  • Watauga High School to Hold Graduation Ceremony at Jack Groce Stadium on May 28


    April 5, 2021 Watauga High School will hold a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021 at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 28. So the school can allow students to have as many guests as safely possible while adhering to state restrictions on large gatherings, the ceremony will be held outdoors at the Jack Groce Stadium on the campus of Watauga High School. With the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, students will be allowed to have up to four guests attend the ceremony. Students will receive information from the high school on how guests can be registered soon. Every effort will be made to hold the ceremony on Friday evening weather permitting, but if inclement weather cannot be avoided, a rain date is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 29.  / Read more…



  • Valle Crucis, Parkway Teams Win Battle of the Books Competition


    March 24, 2021. For the first time in an online format, Watauga County School’s best readers met earlier this month to test their skills at the district-wide Battle of the Books competition. Valle Crucis took home the win in the elementary contest, while Parkway edged out the competition at the middle school event. Parkway’s team was coached by School Librarian Owen Gray and Jess Palmer. The Valle Crucis group was led by Valle Crucis librarian Jane Brown. A long-standing tradition in Watauga County Schools, each year Battle of the Books tasks teams from each school in the district to a competition that tests students ability to recall specific details and answer questions on books from a state promoted list they’ve read over the past year. Each team plays every other team once in the competition and each round consists of 12 questions — six posed to each team.  / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Bringing All Grade Levels Back Into the Classroom by April 12

    March 18, 2021 During a special meeting that took place on Monday, the Watauga County Board of Education voted to allow students in grades 6-12 to return to the classroom, beginning on Monday, April 12. Students in Pre-kindergarten through second grade returned to the classroom on March 8 and students in grades three through five will return to the classroom on Monday, March 22. Students will attend class in person on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday’s will continue to be a remote learning day for everyone while the custodial staff sanitizes school buildings. All students will continue to have the option of attending school remotely through the Watauga Virtual Academy. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • North Carolina Legislature and Governor Roy Cooper Reach Compromise to Send K-5 Students Back to School Full-Time

    March 12, 2021 After weeks of what appeared to be a stalemate between Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Legislature, the two sides finally came together on an agreement that will allow K-5 students to be back in the classroom full-time while also allowing for flexibility for grades 6-12 between in-person learning and remote learning. Under Senate Bill 220, schools opening under Plan A for Grades 6-12 will be required to detail their plans to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), but the Department will not have the authority to veto a local district’s decision. Gov. Cooper will also maintain the power to close certain schools or districts should COVID-19 cases increase in certain areas. Remote learning will be available for all students K-12 should students and their families feel more comfortable remaining at home. Gov. Cooper officially signed the bill into law on Thursday. “Getting students back into the classroom safely is a shared priority, and this agreement will move more students to in-person instruction while retaining the ability to respond to local emergencies,” Cooper said in a statement. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Parkway School Principal Patty Buckner Named Watauga County Schools’ Principal of the Year


    March 5, 2021. Parkway School Principal Patty Buckner has been named Watauga County Schools 2020-21 Principal of the Year. Buckner was presented the award by a group of family, peers and Watauga County Schools staff in a surprise visit to her school on March 5. Buckner, who has served as the principal of Parkway since 2017, said she was honored to have been recognized by her fellow principals across Watauga County Schools for the award. “I’m truly honored to be named Principal of the Year, but getting this award isn’t just about me,” Buckner said. “This is thanks to the assistance and constant support of my teachers, staff and colleagues across the district. I always have somewhere to turn when I need guidance — it’s really a group effort.” Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott, who presented the award along with Buckner’s family and members of the Watauga County Schools Central Services team, said Bucker’s leadership was a great asset to Parkway, especially in a particularly challenging year. / Read more…



  • Lees-McRae College Partners with Cape Fear Community College to Create New Admission Pathway

    March 5, 2021 Lees-McRae President Lee King and Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) President Jim Morton met March 3 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding creating a new Guaranteed Admission Program between the two institutions. Students who receive an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, or Associate of Fine Arts degree and meet the requisite GPA requirements will receive guaranteed admission to all Lees-McRae academic programs. “This is an incredible opportunity for students who would like to continue their studies after CFCC,” said Morton. “Students who participate in this program will not only receive guaranteed admission to Lees-McRae College, but they will be eligible for significant scholarship funding.  This partnership will enable students to move seamlessly to Lees-McRae and to earn their baccalaureate degree without incurring exorbitant debt.” / Read more…



  • Appalachian State University Receives Additional $4.1 Million Increase to General Fund; 2020 Audit Shows Four Percent Revenue Decrease

    February 26, 2021 The UNC Board of Governors approved an increase of $4.1 million to the university’s general fund to help offset some of the revenue shortcomings that can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year. An audit in June of 2020 by the state showed a decrease of four percent in total revenue for the school compared to 2019 numbers. That total ended up being $19.1 million. The audit states that prorated housing and dining refunds, as well as revenue losses at the University Bookstore, New River Light and Power and additional losses from not being able to hold camps and conferences on campus, were the key areas that resulted in revenue decreases. Appalachian State’s total operating expenses increased by $6.5 million, which is a change of 1.6 percent from 2019. The audit shows that most of the operating increases came from salary increases for faculty and staff and additional funds for scholarships and fellowships. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Remote Learning Through Watauga Virtual Academy Will Continue as Schools Plan Return to the Classroom

    February 24, 2021 After Monday’s unanimous school board vote that will send kindergarten through fifth grade students back to the classroom four days a week starting in March, families wanting to keep their kids enrolled in remote learning will have that opportunity for the foreseeable future. Students in kindergarten, first and second grade will return to in-person learning four days a week beginning on March 8. Third, fourth and fifth graders will return to in-person learning four days a week beginning on March 22. All students will continue remote learning on Wednesdays each week. No changes have been made for middle school and high school students as they will continue operating on the 2×3 Flex Plan with two days in school and three days of remote learning. For the parents and guardians that feel safer with their students learning from home, the Watauga Virtual Academy will keep operating to provide the best education possible. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga County School Board Unanimously Approves Four Days of In-Person Classroom Instruction for K-5 Students Beginning March 8

    February 22, 2021 In a step closer to a full-time return to the classroom for all students in Watauga County, the school board voted to approve a measure to send K-2 students back to the classroom four days a week, beginning March 8 and third grade through fifth grade students back into the classroom four days a week beginning on March 22. The county will still continue to offer remote learning for children and families who feel more comfortable with that instead. The motion was supported unanimously by all five board members. If all goes well with the four-day school week without any major increases in COVID-19 cases, the next step would be returning all K-5 students to the classroom five days a week. “I anticipate that if we have the success with our mitigation efforts that we have had all year long that once we have made this transition, I would be prepared at that point to recommend a five day a week schedule,” said superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott. Students in grades 6-12 will continue on 2×3 Flex Plan with two days in school and three days of remote learning. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Federal and State Governments Continue Push to Reopen Schools; Watauga County School Board to Meet Monday Afternoon to Continue Discussion


    February 19, 2021 North Carolina is much like every other state across the country, and even the federal government, in pushing for reopening public schools to try and bring a little more normalcy to the lives of children throughout the country. In Watauga County, the schools are still operating under the state’s Plan B guidelines where schools are open at half capacity where half of the students attend school on Monday and Tuesday and the other half attend on Thursday and Friday. Monday’s school board meeting could change how that process works for the rest of the spring semester. “The board will discuss COVID-19 metrics and what, if any, changes need to be made to that current schedule,” said Garrett Price, the Director of Communications for Watauga County Schools. “The meeting will be open to the public, but limited to 10 people in person because of statewide restrictions.” The meeting will also be streamed on the Watauga County Schools YouTube channel at 1 p.m. and the general public can submit their comments for the board by emailing them to superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott at [email protected] By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga High School to Hold Virtual Parent Nights for Rising Ninth Graders Starting February 8

    January 29, 2021 Watauga High School will be hosting VIRTUAL Q&A parent sessions about high school registration. Prior to the sessions, counselors in the K-8 schools will share a virtual presentation with parents with important information regarding the registration process, course options, graduation requirements, the Watauga Innovation Academy, and more! A specific Google meet link will also be sent to the parents to give them the optional opportunity to ask specific questions of high school representatives, including teachers who will be available to answer questions about 9th grade required courses. The links are specific to each school, so parents will need to attend the session for their particular school’s assigned evening. There will also be an additional offering on February 10th for any parents who are not able to attend their evening session.  / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Survey Parent Interest for New Virtual Academy for K-8 Students for 2021-22

    January 27, 2021 Watauga County Schools has launched a survey to gauge community interest in participation in an online virtual public school for K-8 students in the 2021-22 school year. You can take the survey at http://bit.ly/WVAinterest or on the homepage of the district website www.wataugaschools.org. Currently, the district operates an online school called the Watauga Virtual Academy for students who are unable to attend school in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The district is now seeking feedback from parents across the community to determine interest in establishing the WVA as an ongoing institution in the coming school year. Next year, Watauga County Schools plans to operate the Watauga Virtual Academy as its own school as an opportunity for families who wish to participate in virtual education on an ongoing basis. Families will be able to apply for the new online school and acceptance would be limited to those who demonstrate that they can be successful in the highly digital/virtual setting. / Read more…



  • Watauga High School Foreign Language Teachers Recognized for Awards


    January 13, 2021 Two Watauga High School foreign language teachers were recognized at the January meeting of the Watauga County Board of Education after being awarded with statewide and national honors for prowess in their area of expertise. WHS Spanish Teacher, Carmen Scoggins, was awarded the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education K- 12. The award is presented yearly to an educator who has demonstrated excellence in the world language classroom and has been a leader at the local, regional, state and national levels. Scoggins was recognized for her leadership and contributions to teaching foreign languages at both Watauga High School and Appalachian State University. She also provides professional development for teachers across the entire United States and has served as president of FLANC (Foreign Language Association of North Carolina) and SCOLT (Southern Conference on Language Teaching).  / Read more…



  • Remote Learning Continues to be a Helpful Tool Dealing with Inclement Weather and COVID-19

    January 13, 2021 The Watauga County School System would like things to be “back to normal” like years past, but for the time being, the addition of remote learning has given the county a useful option for dealing with both COVID-19 infections and days of snowfall in the High Country. So far this year, Watauga County Schools have had just one traditional snow day. Three other inclement weather days became fully remote learning days for students and Election Day was used as a fully remote learning day since voters were using numerous school gymnasiums as voting precincts. “Typically, on inclement weather remote learning days, as we are calling them, teachers and staff who are able to work from home can choose to do so, though many choose to travel to work if conditions allow,” said Garrett Price, the Director of Communications for Watauga County Schools. “Just like a regular snow day, our primary concern is the safety of our students, teachers and staff as they travel, so remote learning has given us a much higher degree of flexibility on days with bad weather.”By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Santa Sighted in Banner Elk on December 18 Visiting Students at Banner Elk Elementary


    December 21, 2020 It was a Santa parade!  Er, or a parade for Santa?  Or, a parade Santa came to? It was an eager group of kids hanging out of car doors and windows, as their pajama-clad parents and costumed teachers grinned and Santa passed out Christmas goodies.  Instead of a traditional before-Christmas “blowout” at Banner Elk Elementary School, with PJs at breakfast and a holiday movie, COVID-19 prompted Mr. Claus to do an about-face and come to the school early—a “fantastic experience,” according to the old gent himself. “TODAY was one of the best days,” Principal Justin Carver, enthused, “and a new tradition at Banner Elk Elementary School.”  / Read more…



  • Erin Ellington Named Northwest North Carolina Regional Teacher of the Year


    December 7, 2020 Mabel and Parkway school music teacher Erin Ellington has been named Northwest North Carolina’s Regional Teacher of the Year. The award is presented each year to a teacher from a group of educators in eight regions across North Carolina who’ve been named their school district’s Teacher of the Year. Ellington was named Watauga County Schools Teacher of the Year in March. With her latest accolade, Ellington will now be eligible to be named the Teacher of the Year for the state of North Carolina. Watauga County Schools Superintendent Scott Elliott said he was honored to have Ellington represent Watauga County Schools for the regional award. “Mrs. Ellington’s many years of experience in multiple school communities gives her a unique perspective on the challenges and the many strengths of our wonderful public education system,” Elliott said. / Read more…



  • Remote Learning to Allow for Snow Day Flexibility for Watauga County Schools


    November 23, 2020 With winter quickly approaching, Watauga County Schools would like to remind families how the district makes and communicates decisions about the operation of school during inclement weather. This year, thanks to additional equipment and student laptops purchased in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district plans to utilize remote learning on certain school days that would have otherwise been cancelled and later made up due to inclement weather. Superintendent Scott Elliott said the districts’ period of remote learning in the fall had prepared WCS with the equipment and experience it needed to operate school remotely on snow days this winter. “Our experience with remote learning has given us the opportunity for the first time to hold school remotely on days that winter weather would have ordinarily forced us to close our doors,” Elliott said.  / Read more…



  • School Nurses at the Center of WCS COVID-19 Precautions


    November 3, 2020  For public school employees, the COVID-19 pandemic introduced significant change into every role in education. From the people who are responsible for providing meals to students, to those who drive buses or teach in classrooms, this year, all the work associated with our public schools has been adapted, restructured and in many ways, complicated. While everyone who enters a school building in the morning has a unique and important role to play in the ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, perhaps no single job has been impacted more than that of the school nurse. In schools across Watauga County, nurses are now situated at the center of the district’s COVID-19 response and prevention efforts. / Read more…



  • Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk Shares Their Terrific Kids Pictures from Riverside Elementary School


    October 23, 2020  The Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk would like to recognize August and September’s group of Terrific Kids from Riverside Elementary School. Terrific Kids for the month of August – Front row (L to R): Mason Thomas, Nehemiah Honeycutt, Maddux Vance, Becca Woody. Back row (L to R): Bentley Burleson, Nevaeh Honeycutt, Benjamin Carpenter, Dakota Laws, Tessa Ingram. Terrific Kids for the month of September – Front row (L to R): Madi-Rose Stafford, Samara Ekard, James Clark, Silas Thomas. Back row (L to R): Tycen McClellan, Charlee Willams, Sylas Fisher, Bentley Hoilman, Gracie Honeycutt / Read more…



  • Additional Watauga County Students Return to School Under 3×2 Flex Plan

    October 21, 2020 Students in grades four up through high school seniors are back in the classroom this week as part of Watauga County’s 3×2 Flex Plan returning students to something a little closer to a normal school week. Initially, students in kindergarten through third grade started back to school during the first full week of October. Now, the additional grades are back in school buildings. “We are so glad to be able to welcome the rest of our students back to in-person learning. There’s definitely a lot of energy and positivity among our staff and teachers,” said Garrett Price, the Director of Communications for Watauga County Schools. “It’s been great to see how seriously everyone in our school communities has been taking the appropriate safety precautions that have allowed us to return to schools.” By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools to Serve Free Meals for Remainder of School Year

    October 16, 2020 This week, the USDA further extended funding and flexibility that will allow Watauga County Schools to serve free meals to all children in the county regardless of income or school enrollment for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. Meal distribution will continue to operate in the same way the district served meals over the summer, but each school in the county will be open as a meal distribution site. Each school in Watauga will serve lunch and a packed breakfast for the next day from 1-1:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Wednesday’s meal pickup will be curbside only at Watauga High School. There will be no meal service on November 3.  According to the USDA, the program will be funded through June 2021.  / Read more…



  • Watauga County Elementary Schools Reopen for K-3 Students with 2×3 Flex Schedule

    October 5, 2020 School buses were back on the roads and picking up children Monday morning for the first time since March as Watauga County Schools returned kindergarten through third grade students to the classroom in a limited capacity. “It was certainly nice to see students in schools this morning! Our schools handled our screening and check-in procedures very well. It was good to see the planning we’ve done over the past several weeks put into practice,” said Garrett Price, the Director of Communication for Watauga County Schools. “In-person instruction is most important to our youngest students, so we were very happy to be able to get them back into school safely on our 2×3 Flex Schedule.” The “2×3 Flex Plan” will see half of the students in classrooms on Mondays and Tuesdays, the other half will be in school on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays will be used as remote instruction time for all students and will also be used as a day where each school goes through a deep cleaning process. Each day that the students are not in the classroom, they will have remote instruction activities to work on from home. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk Shares Their Terrific Kids Pictures from Newland Elementary and Freedom Trail Elementary


    October 5, 2020  The Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk would like to recognize September’s group of Terrific Kids from Newland Elementary and Freedom Trail Elementary. The students from Newland Elementary are: Back Row (left to right): Ollie Blevins (3rd), Henry Ferrell (4th), Herlindo Barajas (5th), Trenten Brown (4th), Ivan Magallan (5th), Jaime Leon-Pahuamba (3rd), Adalyn Dellinger (1st). Front Row (left to right): Jasper Blake (K), Aron Robles Jimenez (1st), Maggie Carver (PreK), Brandon Enriquez (2nd). Not Pictured: Hayes Patience (5th). The students from Freedom Trail Elementary are: Back Row Left to Right: Jace Townsend, Amelia Grindstaff, Katie Lewis, Liliana Osorio, Jose Velazquez. Middle Row Left to Right: Sadie Franklin, Lindy Manis, Camryn Jarrett. Front Row Left to Right: Brynn Benfield, Walter Franklin, Darla Smith.  / Read more…



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