WCU sets June 5 information session about new Catamount School

Jackson County’s Smoky Mountain High School also will be the site of the Catamount School.

Western Carolina University will hold a public information session Monday, June 5, at Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva for parents interested in enrolling their children in the Catamount School, the new laboratory school being established for children in grades six, seven and eight in Jackson County.

The session is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the media center of the high school. Parents and students who already have applied or enrolled also are welcome to attend.

WCU is one of eight University of North Carolina system institutions identified as candidates to establish and operate laboratory schools, as required by a provision in the 2016-17 state budget enacted last July. WCU is slated to open the school in August.

The mission of the Catamount School is to provide a learning community in which all students are valued and that promotes health and wellness and a commitment to learning through experience in a caring, collaborative and inclusive environment, said Dale Carpenter, dean of WCU’s College of Education and Allied Professions.

Students attending the Catamount School will benefit from the combined expertise and resources of Jackson County Public Schools and WCU, Carpenter said. The university and public school partners will work toward best practices in an effort to offer students additional attention and support to succeed, he said.

The school, to be located at Smoky Mountain High School, will have the capacity to serve 25 students in each grade level. All Jackson County students in grades six, seven and eight are eligible to apply for enrollment in the school.

WCU recently appointed Robert Dinsdale, former assistant principal at Smoky Mountain High School, to serve as director of the Catamount School.

For more information, contact the dean’s office in the College of Education and Allied Professions at 828-227-7311.