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From the Desk of ACS Superintendent David Burleson: Looking Ahead To The New Year

A Message from the Superintendent 1/8/14

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Avery County School System:

Supt. Burleson
Supt. Burleson

As we return to school for the second semester, I would like to say thank you for the important role you play each day in helping us foster student success. There is evidence of your support and service in many venues and we want you to know that we greatly appreciate what each of you offers to our schools. Your interest and involvement in the Avery County Schools is truly a lasting gift and one that not only benefits our students and teachers, but the entire community.

As I reflect upon the fall semester, many special highlights come to mind. The following are just a few of those events: 

A record number of our students participated in our local and regional science fair (185 participants from elementary, middle and high school, entering 135 projects

The Avery High Marching Band completed one of its most successful seasons ever.

The Avery High JROTC and students from Cranberry Middle School supported the “Trees for Troops” program.

The Avery High Construction Classes supported Habitat for Humanity, assisting in the construction of new homes for our community.

The Avery High FFA attended the national convention and had a former student, Katie Stamey, named as an American Scholar.

Our students collected an unprecedented amount of food and toys for needy families.

We had one of the largest groups ever inducted into the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society at Avery High School.

For the first time ever, each of our schools inducted students into the Beta Club.

These areas of student participation and success can only be credited to our staff members, our parents, and the members of our community.

With continued teamwork and a dedicated ACS staff, we will exceed the level of past accomplishments and experience even greater growth and accomplishments in 2014.  Quality public schools are vital to the economic development of our county.  Therefore, our school system is dedicated to preparing our children for successful, productive citizenry.

There are many opportunities for this semester, and one of the most exciting will be offered to any family that has a three or four year old that is not currently enrolled in a Pre-K program.  Avery County Schools in partnership with Smart Start, would like to introduce SCOTTIE (Supporting Children’s Opportunities through Technology, Innovation, and Education), a mobile pre-kindergarten classroom that is housed in a renovated North Carolina school bus.  SCOTTIE, a state-endorsed program, will travel to designated locations in the county and offer an abbreviated schedule of educational activities for children enrolled. This program is designed to allow parents and their children to have early childhood educational opportunity near their homes.  Children who are accepted into the program will be met with a highly qualified, birth-kindergarten teacher and credentialed assistant. Wrap-around services will be offered as well as opportunity for parental participation.  We believe that a successful start to the school-age program must be an expectation for all children in order to ensure a 100% graduation rate in Avery County.   We believe that early exposure to literacy and other educational skills will foster students’ success as they journey through their educational pathway.

SCOTTIE is scheduled to start his route in January.  Interested parents may contact my office, Angela Vitale, EC/Pre-K Director or Renee Banner, Administrative Assistant at 733-6006 to register a child or for more information.

Lastly, I would like to mention one more exciting partnership with our local Williams YMCA.  ACS along with the YMCA is offering a Snow Camp to families that may need childcare on days when school is not in session due to inclement weather. Snow Camp, staffed by YMCA professionals, will be hosted at Newland Elementary School for students in kindergarten through sixth grade and will operate from 7:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Daily activities will consist of craft time, games, sports, indoor/outdoor activities, swimming and tutoring.  Transportation to Newland Elementary and a bag lunch must by provided by parents. Students will need to bring outside clothes, homework, bathing suit and towel to be used when travel to the YMCA is safe. The cost is as follows:

$15 per day (with $10 pre registration fee)

$20 daily drop in rate

For information contact Allison Philips at 828-737-5500 or www.ymcaavery.org.

I want to thank each individual in our school system that works so diligently each day to provide the best possible education to our students. My gratitude is extended to each parent who has provided support to his/her child and ours schools. It is imperative that we continue to work together as a community to reduce the number of students dropping out of school and to continue to emphasize the importance of education. We are very blessed to live in a community that conscientiously assumes its responsibility to educate children and to provide the necessary resources for their success. 

Again, thank you for all you do for education.  It is our mission to ensure that no child is left behind and with your continued support for public education more students will graduate from high school with direction, confidence and skills for the next stage of their lives.

May you have a joyous and prosperous 2014 “spring” semester!


ACS Supt. David Burleson