WCU sets additional information session for Cashiers 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 forum in Cashiers 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 at Smoky Mountain High School.

The forum, part of a series of sessions at sites across Jackson County, will be held from 6 until 7 p.m. Monday, May 1, at the Cashiers Community Library.

Other sessions are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at Fairview School; 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at Scotts Creek School; 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 10, at Blue Ridge School; 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at the Jackson County Public Library; and 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at Cullowhee Valley School. A session already has been held at Smokey Mountain Elementary.

WCU is one of eight UNC system institutions identified as candidates to establish and operate laboratory schools serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade, 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, Carpenter said.

The school will have the capacity to serve 25 students in each of the eligible grade levels (six through eight). All Jackson County students in grades six, seven and eight will be eligible to apply for enrollment in the school.

WCU recently appointed Robert Dinsdale, former assistant principal at Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva, 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.