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From the Desk of ACS Supt. David Burleson – Oct. 17: SCOTTIE – a Mobile Pre-Kindergarten Classroom

Oct. 17, 2013. October has been declared Principal Appreciation Month by our Congress in order to give schools and community a way to recognize leaders.  Our principals are a group of dedicated professionals who lead with passion, integrity and conviction.  I would like to express my utmost respect and appreciation for each one:  Jamie Johnson (Riverside), Ruth Shirley (Crossnore), Tammy Beach (Newland), Todd Griffin (Avery High), Monet Samuelson (Viking Academy-AHS), Ricky Ward (Avery Middle/Blue Ridge Academy), Brenda Reese (Freedom Trail), Tracy Grit (Banner Elk), and Matthew Bentley (Cranberry Middle), and assistant principals Justin Carver (Avery Middle) and Patti Franklin (Cranberry Middle).  Congratulations to Mr. Matthew Bentley Avery County Schools 2013-2014 Principal of the Year!  Mr. Bentley will be representing Avery County in regional competition in the next few months.  We appreciate Mr. Bentley’s Leadership and his commitment to Cranberry Middle School.

Supt. Burleson
Supt. Burleson

The Avery County School System is initiating an innovative system for early childhood educational opportunities to children not enrolled in a pre-k classroom or day care setting.  SCOTTIE (Supporting Children’s Opportunities through Technology, Innovation, and Education) is a mobile pre-kindergarten classroom housed in a renovated North Carolina school bus.  SCOTTIE will offer a state-endorsed pre-kindergarten literacy program to young children three and four years of age.  SCOTTIE will make scheduled stops daily at designated locations: Monday/Wednesday, Tuesday/Thursday and Friday.  This program is designed to allow parents and their children to have early childhood opportunities near their homes.

The primary goal for SCOTTIE is to provide a state-endorsed pre-k literacy system in an easily accessible setting, where young children and their parents will meet a highly qualified, teacher and credentialed assistant.  We believe that pro-active exposure to early educational opportunities will ensure a successful beginning for young children as they enroll in school for the first time.  This is a minimum expectation for Avery County Schools to ensure a 100% graduation rate for our district.

Children who are enrolled in SCOTTIE will receive access to technology-based learning skills through the use of iPads, center-based reading activities, and play-based learning centers aligned with the K-2 North Carolina State Curriculum.  Through this mobile classroom children will receive best-practice/research-based instruction in pre-academic/early reading, writing, math, social studies, science, art, and music instruction, as well as socialization skills needed for success in school. Children will participate in read-aloud story time, center-based reading activities, play-based learning centers featuring blocks, writing, art, housekeeping, math, music and science. Outdoor playtime will be afforded, weather permitting.  In addition, certified school nurses will provide educational information to families vital for healthy a lifestyle and will be available to consult with parents who have specific concerns regarding the health of their child. 

Children registering for the program will be screened with the DIAL (Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning), an assessment specifically designed for young children. Children will be re-assessed with the DIAL at the close of the school year to determine growth.  In addition, ongoing formative assessments included in research-based Creative Curriculum’s parent reporting system will provide teachers and parents with current updates on children’s learning progress.

Collaboration is the key to SCOTTIE’s success.  The Avery County Schools and Avery County Smart Start (Sara Yackey, director) will work closely together. Avery County Smart Start’s Raising-A-Reader program will continue to provide take-home books providing families opportunity to read and learn together. This resource offered through the Smart Start of Newland as well as through SCOTTIE.  Professional guest speakers/presenters from Avery County Cooperative Extension/4-H program, Avery YO! (Youth Opportunities), Morrison Library, Fire Departments, Newland Police Department, Avery County Sheriff’s Department and community service clubs will offer extended outreach.

As an extension to the Avery County Schools pre-kindergarten program and the Avery County Smart Start, SCOTTIE will leverage funds from various sources that include actual operating funding, as well as in-kind resources.  Blended funding from state and federal programs used to support the preschool outreach initiative include: Title 1, Exceptional Children’s, Program, NC Pre-Kindergarten Program and the allocation of funds from the North Carolina Partnership for Children.  A grant from the High Country United Way was a catalyst to get SCOTTIE on the road. 

SCOTTIE is scheduled to start his route in late October.  Interested parents may contact me, Angela Vitale, EC/Pre-K Director or Renee Banner, Administrative Assistant, at 733-6006 to register a child or for more information.  SCOTTIE is in need of new or gently used educational toys and books along with monetary contributions to fund continued operation. Donations may be given to Avery County Schools or Avery County Smart Start. 

We appreciate your support and welcome your input. 


David Burleson, Superintendent