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From Desk of ACS Supt. Burleson: Back To School Bash Aug. 1, Facts To Stay in School

I hope you are having a great summer and have been able to enjoy some family time. As the summer begins to wind down, the Avery County Schools are working very hard to prepare for a new school year and to meet the needs of all our students.


I want to remind you of the second annual Back to School Bash sponsored by the Avery County Schools, Land Harbor of Linville and other community supporters. This event brings together community partners to offer FREE school supplies and information vital for a safe, successful school year. The Back to School Bash will feature law enforcement, fire/safety demonstrations, required forms to complete, information about student health and insurance, various activities, FREE haircuts, clothing, backpacks, school supplies and food! The day once again promises back-to-school assistance for families, as well as a time to celebrate the start of another new school year.

Through our Back to School Bash we can work diligently together to ensure that each student has the necessary tools to manage their school day. As you have witnessed, much can be accomplished when we work together. We also ask that you help us spread the word for our Back to School Bash that will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. (In case of rain, the event location will be changed to Avery High School.)

The 2015-2016 school year begins for our students on Monday, August 17. The schedule for each school will remain the same as last year, which allows us to “bank” instructional time that assists us in making up days missed due to inclement weather. Our freshmen will have the opportunity to participate in Freshmen Orientation on Friday, Aug. 14. Orientation will begin for all freshmen at 8:30 a.m. Buses will run for freshmen for this event, and calls will be made to determine if a bus ride is needed. A meeting for parents will be held at 1 p.m. in the gym. There is one change to the calendar: Homecoming for Avery High School is now September 25, and this is also an early dismissal day for the homecoming parade.

We would like to take this opportunity to give a checklist of all the required student paperwork that will be coming home with our students on the first day of school. This checklist will help explain what each form means and is used for. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school if you should have any questions pertaining to your beginning of the school year packets.

Student Verification Form: This form is generated from our student information database, PowerSchool. Please review the information on the sheet and make any corrections in the space provided. Sign the form and send back to school with your child. If all the information is correct and no changes need to be made, you do not have to return this to your child’s teacher.

Student Health Information Form: This form must be filled out each year. If your child has a medical condition, it is extremely important that our Student Health Team has all the information so a health plan can be developed to fit the medical needs of your child. This form must be returned to your child’s teacher.

Free and Reduced Lunch Form: This form will need to be completed and returned to the school as soon as possible. These applications have to be renewed every year.  This is not only a benefit to your family if you qualify, but it is also a benefit to your child’s school in being able to qualify for grants and teacher funding. School lunch prices for 2015-2016 school year are: full price breakfast $1.25; full price lunch $2.15 for grades K-5, and $2.35 for grades 6-12.  Reduced prices, if you qualify, are: breakfast is FREE, and lunch is 40¢.  If your child has special dietary needs, a diet order form must be filled out and signed by your physician in order to modify school meals.  You can find this form on the Avery County Schools’ website under Child Nutrition (www.averyschools.net).

Photo Opt Out Form: The only students who will have this form in their packet will be 6th grade middle school students. All students were asked to complete this form last year, and it remains in effect while your student is enrolled at their school. Once a student transitions to another school, you will need to complete a new form. This form does not need to be completed if you will allow your child to be photographed for publicity purposes.

Please be aware that you may receive other forms form your specific school that you may need to complete and return to your child’s teacher. If you should have any questions regarding forms, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school.

As another school year begins, let’s be aware of the importance of watching out for school buses. Be extra alert when you are driving and see a school bus. Please know that there are no roads in Avery County where you do not stop when the school bus red stop sign is out. It is also very important that our students be very cautious when entering and exiting the bus.

Through the High Country United Way, the 211 website is now available to provide information on resources available in a time of emergency or need. The website is www.nc211.org, or just call 211.

It is very important that all our children receive the best education possible. Here are a few facts concerning the importance of education:

Median Weekly Income

  • Some High School, No Diploma       $451.00
  • High School Graduation                     $635.00
  • Associate Degree                               $768.00
  • Bachelor’s Degree                               $1,053.00


Dropouts are twice as likely to be in worse health at age 45 than the average 65-year-old high school graduate and also have lower life expectancy.

An educated population is in a better position to make decisions about health care, lifestyle, and to navigate the current health care system.


High school graduates historically have been more civic-minded, meaning they participate in voting, volunteer activities, and the labor force.

Graduates are also more inclined to serve in the military, thus positively impacting our national defense.


Although not all dropouts go to prison, a large percentage do.

Dropouts make up about 20% of our nation’s population but about 80% of our prison inmates and juveniles in court.

In our country, nearly 75% of state prison inmates, almost 59% of federal inmates, and 69% of jail inmates are high school dropouts.

Thank you for your support of the Avery County Schools and BEST WISHES for a WONDERFUL 2015-16 school year.