McDowell County Public Schools Home Page
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Upcoming Events
GEN - Vision Training
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Repeating EventGEN - Cabinet Meeting
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
GEN - School Nurses Meeting
8:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Welcome to McDowell County Schools
INSPIRING SUCCESS: Student-centered, Mission-driven

The McDowell County School System is located in the foothills of beautiful Western North Carolina, about 30 miles east of Asheville. McDowell County Schools consist of 13 schools (one high school, one early college, one alternative education center, two middle/junior high schools, eight elementary schools) and nine pre-school sites. The school system has approximately 6,500 students, nearly 1,000 employees, and around a $55 million budget.

Mission Statement
The mission of McDowell County Schools is to deliver excellence in education where all are engaged in collaboration, communication, and innovation so that every student graduates ready to achieve success and positively shape the future.

Upcoming Adjustments in Transportation for McDowell High, East Middle, and West Middle to Begin on Monday, 8 September
School leaders and local law enforcement leaders met earlier this week to discuss the afternoon traffic flow at McDowell High School and West McDowell Middle School. Both agencies agreed to some changes that will help increase efficiency, reduce congestion, and enhance student safety during the afternoon pick-up and bus departure process at each of the three campuses.

Beginning Monday, 8 September, McDowell High School will release students at 3:05. Buses will depart from MHS at approximately 3:15 en route to West Middle and East Middle. Shuttle buses from McDowell Early College and the Alternative Education Center will depart in time to arrive at MHS prior to theá3:15ádeparture.

Student drivers at MHS will be allowed to depart once all buses have exited the parking lot. Car riders at the high school will continue to be picked up in the same manner. Parents who have car riders at both MHS and West Middle should enter from US 70 and pick up the high school students first. This will eliminate the need for cross-traffic left turns.

Buses reporting to West Middle will be staged in the rear parking lot in the order of departure. Car riders at West will be picked up in the front lot nearest to the main entry. All buses and cars will execute a right turn in order to exit West Middle.

Car riders and walkers at East Middle will be dismissed at 3 :20. Bus riders will be dismissed once buses have arrived.

Buses will depart from both East and West and immediately begin the afternoon routes. This will shorten the actual time on the bus for all of our middle school students.

Again, these changes Will take effect on Monday afternoon. We appreciate your support and patience as we continue the transition from junior highs to the middle school model.
Congressman Mark Meadows visits McDowell High School
McDowell County Schools was proud to have Congressman Meadows visit McDowell High School to see the great things going on in the classrooms.​ áMr. Meadowsávisited several classrooms and even took a
selfie with Andy, anáMHS senior.á

Read to Achieve Results
Linked below you will find McDowell County's Read to Achieve results for the 2013-14 school year. áThe Read to Achieve legislation (G.S. 115C-83.10) requires local school boards to annually publish their district wide Read to Achieve results by September 1. áSome information on Read to Achieve:
  • The 2013-14 school year was the first year for Read to Achieve
  • Results are only for students who were in the 3rd grade during the 2013-14 school year
  • District results are based on student performance on the following: Beginning of Grade 3 test, the End of Grade reading test, and the Read to Achieve test.
We are going to use this data to streamline and improve our instructional programs in all of our schools with the hope that all students show successful reading development and proficiency. áIf you have questions about Read to Achieve, please contact your child's school.

Link to Results in a PDF
16th Annual Operation Backpack
School supplies may be picked up at the Alternative Education Center (AEC) located at 176 Lukin Street, Marion NC (828-652-1040), July 28- August 13, 2014; Monday -Thursday 10am - 4pm.  Picture ID is required.

Supplies Available
Notebook Paper
3 Ring Binders
#2 & Colored Pencils
24 Count Crayons
Safety Scissors
Post-it Notes 
Glue: Bottles & Sticks
Spiral Notebooks
Pocket Folders 
Ballpoint Pens
Composition Books
Pencils Boxes / Pouches

Donations of supplies are accepted year-round at the Board of Education on Main Street.  Monetary donations maybe made payable to "The Endowment Fund" marked for "Operation Backpack".

Operation Backpack
McDowell County Schools
334 South Main Street, PO Box 130
Marion NC 28752

For more information:
Melanie Dunham 828-652-4535 x106 or
Sandra Walker 828-652-1081

THANK YOU for helping us help students!
Flyer Link
Statement for Parents on State Test Scores
On November 7, the North Carolina State Board of Education will release student test data from the 2012-2013 school year. These test results are from testing completed in May and June of 2013. This release is almost six months after students in McDowell County and across the state completed testing. This test data reflects a major change in North Carolina’s accountability measures. The data is based on the new North Carolina Standard Course of Study in Reading and Math. The tests were developed by the state to be used for just two years until the planned transition to the Smarter Balanced assessments, which will be given by multiple states beginning in 2014-15. The results are also reflective of new achievement standards that are much higher than on prior EOG and EOC exams, as well as different item-types and questions that included higher order thinking skills. As a result, scores across North Carolina have fallen tremendously from those in previous years. Depending on the grade level, the percentage of students scoring as proficient dropped 16-25 percent in reading, 27-44 percent in math, and 9-33 percent in science statewide.

Some points to consider when examining this year’s test scores:
• North Carolina public school students are now required to meet a higher standard of proficiency on their End-of-Grade (EOG) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests.

• In the past, proficiency standards only addressed what students needed for success at the next grade level. The new proficiency standards address how ready students are for college and careers, and whether students are on track to be ready by high school graduation.

• Whenever new standards are set, test score results indicate a drop at first.

• It is important to note that students continued to grow academically in 2012-13, even though the tougher achievement standards will show fewer students meeting the standard. These new scores simply mean that we are expecting students to reach higher levels of learning than ever before.

• North Carolina has experienced decreases in proficiency levels when new standards have been set, at least twice before in the last two decades.

• Just as in the high jump, when an athlete clears the bar, it must be raised. The athlete will miss the bar the first few tries, but will eventually clear the higher bar, and it will be raised again.

• Properly aligned assessments give everyone a clearer picture of how well students are prepared to enter college and the work force. We must have this picture in order to support student learning and improvement and to support teachers.

• It is extremely important to note that in this transition year, these scores will NOT affect students’ grades or current placement. The 2012-13 scores are a baseline for the new assessments and the state’s new accountability model.

• It is ineffectual to compare this year’s scores with last year’s scores as apples to apples. The tests administered in 2012-13 were different. They measured NEW content standards. These new scores have established a new baseline for proficiency.

• North Carolina is not alone in this transition. New York and Kentucky were the first two states to go through this, as they implemented their new assessments in 2011-12 and experienced similarly
dramatic drops last fall. Many states across the country will report similar results this fall, reflecting the adoption of more rigorous standards in many states.

For McDowell County, test results show students grew at rates comparable to state averages or slightly above state averages in reading and math in most grade levels, while science growth tends to be slightly above the state average in both 5th and 8th grade. Additional data shows that all across North Carolina and McDowell County student performance tends to reflect lower test scores. However, student growth from the 2011- 12 school year to the 2012-13 school year was consistent. Student growth is the result of the dedication and hard work taking place in every school. McDowell County Schools will remain focused on this growth to ensure students are prepared to move forward with success, regardless of what they choose to pursue.

As the Interim Superintendent, I understand the importance of providing a quality education for every student. This district is not satisfied with the current status and stands committed to improve all aspects of McDowell County Schools. This can be accomplished by partnering together with students, their families, the community, and our staff. If all work together with a common focus, students will benefit.

Thank you for supporting McDowell County Schools.

Mark R. Garrett
Interim Superintendent
Parent Letters from the Office of State Superintendent
 You will find the parent letters from the North Carolina State Superintendent June Atkinson at the following links:

Parent Letter in English

Parent Letter in Spanish
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