Student Services Shout-Outs

Junior/Senior College Information Night at MHS

MHS Student Services along with Gear UP hosted a Junior/Senior Information Night on September 14th. Around 300 parents and students attended this event. Supper was also provided.

Sessions offered for students and parents included:
Paying for College, Applying to College, College Transfer Process, Military options, NCAA requirements and more.

It was a great success! A huge applause goes to our Student Services and Gear Up for their efforts!


Newspaper article

On Friday, March 3, 2017, McDowell County high school students, teachers, staff, and community members participated in Chain Reaction, the next phase of Rachel's Challenge.  This program was generously funded by Nebo Crossing and sponsors from the Christmas Community Event. McDowell County resident Micah Greene and his family and friends have helped to support the FOR Club, which is a direct result of Rachel's Challenge.  Facilities at McDowell Tech's Universal Building were graciously provided by Dr. John Gossett and Dr. Penny Cross  Over 80 students and 25 adults spent the day participating in teaching and processing activities, physical activities, and small and large group sharing.  Although part of the day was spent in games designed to help participants get to know each other, the majority of time was spent in activities designed to help students and adults see how they are connected.  Some activities asked participants to share their own personal stories, no matter how difficult it might be to open up.  What everyone discovered was that all people have unique experiences and stories.  Sometimes those stories go untold or create fear, shame, or uncertainty in the individual.  Being able to share stories was powerful for everyone in the room.  Sophomore Roger Moomaw enjoyed the training and stated:  "It really opened up my view of the world and humbled me."   Maalik Elliott added:  "I learned that it doesn't matter what someone looks like.  They could have gone through anything."

When asked what they got from spending the day in Chain Reaction, students and adults were quick to mention how their perspective changed and how they realized the importance of not judging others.  Junior Carlos Lopez, one of the original members of McDowell Believe and Achieve said, "It's important to look deeper before making assumptions."  Carla Kiser also felt the impact of the day and commented on sharing it with other students:  "I think we should do these activities with more students in our school."  Rose Vang, another original member of McDowell Believe and Achieve also feels strongly about sharing this experience:  "Everyone in our school, including faculty and staff, should come together and engage in activities that allow us to get to know one another to create better relationships between students and adults."

Despite the intensity of emotions toward the end of the day, participants stated that the day spent in Chain Reaction was a positive experience.  In a survey that followed the event, students and adult participants were given the opportunity to express how they would use what they learned at school and in life.  West McDowell Middle School counselor Lora Atkins believes "I have more compassion after the time I spent in this training." MHS teacher Myra Morgan summed up what many participants felt:  "I will use this day to remember the importance of perspective.  Culture, race, gender, and experience are all part of everyone's unique story.  We must LISTEN."   


  • Take Off Your Labels...Be Who You Really Are
  • Appropriate Affection
  • Our Words Have the Power…to Hurt or Heal
  • You are Not Alone…We Have Shared Experiences
  • Today is YOUR Chain Reaction Moment


Participants understand their personal identity, power, and uniqueness. They learn that they are not personally defined by their circumstances and experiences. Participants also come to understand that despite their personal uniqueness they share experiences with many others in the room. Barriers among the participants are broken down by the realization that through these shared experiences they are not alone.

BOOST Appreciation Luncheon

BOOST Appreciation Luncheon was held at Central Office Boardroom on
May 16, 2017. Worksites who were able to attend the luncheon were:
Old Fort Elementary, West Marion Elementary, Christian Clothing Closet, Rusty's Legacy, Marion Elementary and Glenwood Elementary.
Turner Kincaid, BOOST Supervisor said, "The BOOST worksites impact and their hands-on approach with our kids made a big difference, one that I did not anticipate. From the beginning, we decided that we were going to make a difference; not by humiliation or intimidation, but by giving kids a sense of community and belonging. We found that having a person outside of the school and family environment, holding the kids accountable gave positive leverage. Kids are starting to see school as something they want to do instead of something they have to do. "
BOOST-Business Outreach Opportunities for Suspended Teens
Total number of students served-113
Total Community Service hours completed-3,103


The McDowell County Schools BOOST program seeks to offer opportunities for 6th-12th grade students to connect with their community through meaningful community service as an alternative to out of school suspension (OSS) and to increase a sense of duty to the community in our youth.


The goal is to prevent/decrease future suspensions/prevent repeat offenders and/or the student dropping out. Being suspended or expelled rises to the top as a significant predictor of dropping out of school.

BOOST Benefits

The academic process is not interrupted because students receive homework assignments and spend a portion of the day completing assignments as directed by the BOOST Supervisor. Participants are not counted absent from school because a portion of the day is spent on academics.
Appreciation for community agencies and the services they provide is developed in the student. Students often receive personal satisfaction from giving back to the community.
Consultation with community agencies is established to assist students and families.
Services are coordinated with schools, families, community agencies, and businesses in order to best meet the needs of each student.

  • Turner Kincaid, BOOST Supervisor
  • Natalie Gouge, Director of Student Services
Services are coordinated

Peer Group Connection 2016-2017

Ensuring that 9th graders Make a Successful Transition into High School
Peer Group Connection(PGC) is an evidence-based and school-based leadership program that supports the transition from middle school to high school. PGC taps into the power of older students to create a nurturing supportive environment for incoming freshmen. This program is supported through the Center for Supportive Schools. The US Department of Health and Human Services has awarded the Center for Supportive Schools a five-year grant to partner with up to 12 high schools to implement and evaluate PGC.
Natalie Gouge-Director of Student Services and Edwin Spivey-MHS Principal applied for this grant.
MHS was chosen. The funding from the grant will cover: Comprehensive training for two faculty advisors, a stakeholder team coordinator, and up to two additional stakeholders(includes eleven days of training, meals, overnight accommodations and training materials), On-site coaching and technical assistance support throughout the first two years of implementation, PGC curriculum and other programmatic resources, Program evaluation, and Up to a $26,000 stipend to cover in school program implementation costs across three school years.
PGC Student Leaders participate in a three-day retreat in the summer to begin their leadership training by participating in team and relationship building activities.
PGC includes a parent involvement component in which the peer leaders organize, plan and facilitate Family Night events for freshmen and their parents. The goal of the family nights are to engage parents in hands-on activities and discussion related to improving parent-student communication, exploring family influence and attitudes on education, involvement and celebrating accomplishments.  
On behalf of the Center for Supportive Schools (CSS), I am pleased to notify you that McDowell High School is the First Place Winner of the 2016-17 Family and Community Impact Challenge!  Our review team was so impressed by the scope and reach of your service learning project.  The project was thoughtfully and effectively executed and you demonstrated authentic community impact through your quotes and pictures.  Thank you for sharing your good work with us.
Your PGC program has won $500 to use toward program expenses.  We will work with you directly in the coming weeks to present this award.
PGC leaders were recognized at the McDowell Rotary. The PGC leaders led the Rotarians in activities that they had done with their Freshmen.