Watauga County Schools Adds New Programs For Fall, Drops Out-of-County Tuition

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Watauga County Schools has announced plans to expand its arts, agriculture and academically gifted program offerings in the coming school year. The system is also expanding options for students currently enrolled in home school, or those who live out of county, to attend Watauga County Schools.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott said the expanded offerings were part of an effort to increase options and choices for students in Watauga County.

“We are proud of the consistent high rankings we receive as a system, but we don’t settle for them. We are constantly evaluating our programs and looking for new ways to expand flexibility for our students,” Elliott said.

Next year, students in Watauga County Schools will have the ability to take horticulture courses from middle school through the high school level. Tierra Stark, Watauga High School Career and Technical Education Coordinator said the new classes will fill a gap in the school’s CTE program.

“Our new push into agriculture education has its roots in the culture of our community,” Stark said. “Many students still live and work on active farms. Our new courses will also focus on exciting advances in agricultural research.”

Access to offerings like the new horticulture program aren’t limited only to students currently enrolled in the school system. Students who are currently enrolled in home school have a variety of dual enrollment options that allow them to take advantage of several opportunities at Watauga High Schools.

Home school students can elect to take a variety of courses at WHS — from CTE courses like automotive or computer technology to cosmetology, welding and mechanical engineering.

Home schoolers may also elect to spend part of their day at WHS taking part in advanced science and math classes or visual or performing arts. Dual enrolled students are even eligible to take free college level courses through the Watauga Innovation Academy and Caldwell Community College on campus at WHS, and some are able to take part in team sports at the school.

Students currently being home schooled are also able to access courses online through the North Carolina Virtual Public School once enrolled in the school system.

“We want to be the best place to learn and work in North Carolina,” Elliott said. “That means we have to continually evaluate and evolve with the changing needs of our students and our entire community.”

To allow better access for any student interested in taking part in opportunities offered by Watauga County Schools, the school system will no longer charge a fee to students who reside outside Watauga County.

The school board will continue to follow the existing application process for considering admission of students from families who wish to attend the school system from outside the county.

For more information on the expanded offerings in Watauga County Schools, or to get more information on dual enrollment for home school students, contact WCS Communications Director Garrett Price by calling (828) 264-7190 or emailing priceg@wataugaschools.org.

Cove Creek students Emma Raymon and Rylee Mitchell collect earthworms as part of the schools recent ‘Blooms and Buzz Day.’ Photo: Marta Toran
Students recently worked to install 14 raised garden beds at Cove Creek School. Photo: Marta Toran
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