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2020 Back to School Message

Welcome to the 2019/20 school year.  We are very excited about what’s on the horizon this year for all our stakeholders.  The strength of Ashe County Schools lies in the willingness of staff, students, parents and communities working together to promote the well-being of the school district.  This school year will be filled with golden opportunities for all students as we strive to be better than we were before.

Open House was a huge success again this year.  I believe it was the largest turnout I’ve witnessed—attendance county-wide ran from 83 to 92 percent.  There were certainly lots of smiling faces and positive comments.  Your support and partnership play a vital role in the academic success of your child.  You probably saw many new faces in our schools and Central Support Services.  We are excited to have all of them join our team.  I hope you had the opportunity to tour our clean well-kept grounds and facilities.  I want to give a big shout-out to all our custodians—they work hard and do a phenomenal job.  Let’s not forget our folks in Child Nutrition who prepare well-balanced meals for students and staff; and of course, our bus drivers who safely transport your child to and from school.  When you see these folks, please say “thank you” for all they do.

Communication is a vital component driving the success of students.  Our district website has been updated, is user friendly and provides lots of information for all stakeholders.  Be sure to follow our schools on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and School Messenger (Connect5) accounts.  Visit your child’s school website for the latest information, news and announcements.  I encourage you to utilize every avenue we provide to maintain a positive level of communication, especially with your child’s teacher.  We value the input and suggestions of parents, students and community members.  The phone app known as Remind has been purchased so that teachers can easily communicate with parents.

School safety is a top priority for Ashe County Schools.  Our fifty member county-wide School Security Committee is comprised of school administrators, parents, students and county agencies.  The Committee, formed in March 2018, continues to work on this important initiative.  More cameras have been installed and equipment has been checked to make sure everything is working properly.  Please contact your principal if you have any concerns or specific questions.  In November 2019, Ashe County will implement a new app for cell phones or computers that allows for anonymous safety tips.  This app will allow students the security of reporting anything they feel is threatening to themselves or someone else.  They can do so without any repercussions.

Lots of facility projects were completed this summer.  At the high school, the tennis courts were totally reconstructed, a new roof and windows were installed and the gym floor was refinished.  A safety wall was installed at the Early Learning Center, the stage and steps were refinished at Mountain View, new auditorium seating was installed at Blue Ridge, new classroom furniture for grades K-2 was purchased at Westwood, and a cafeteria serving line and ice maker was installed at Ashe Early College.  The middle school project is still underway.  Bids are now being received for erosion and sediment control and rough grading.  This work will be completed this Fall, and construction of the building should begin in the Spring.

Our academic initiatives this year will stimulate innovative thinking and will provide students with the skills they need to tackle real-world problems.  All schools are committed to high academic standards and improved student achievement.  Our high-quality instructional practices are enhanced through equitable access to technology thanks to our County Commissioners.  Counselors will become more involved with students to help them select the right path for their future.    Effective this school year, Ashe County High School will use the Latin Honors system to celebrate its graduates at graduation.  Students will be recognized in the following categories: Summa Cum Laude –with highest praise (GPA 4.3 or above), Magna Cum Laude—with great praise (GPA 4.111-4.299) and Laude—with praise (GPA 4.0-4.1).  Student speakers will be selected from within the graduating class.  Ashe Early College completed its inaugural year, and according to student Sophia Kiser, “students had the opportunity to achieve extraordinary accomplishments.”

The Ashe County Board of Education remains committed to ensuring our students are college and career ready and equipped for life.  School officials are in the process of completing our Strategic Plan for 2019-25 which aligns current successful policies and practices with the needed changes and innovations.  This allows us to accomplish our goals and realize our vision and mission.  Our five-year strategic plan will help us to focus and unify our efforts so that we don’t lose sight of our purpose to be a school system of excellence. 

Thank you for the opportunity to serve your student and this community.  I certainly understand the important role that our school system plays in the future and well-being of our students.  Teaching is an honorable profession, and we will assure each student is treated fairly, challenged academically and guided toward the goal of graduation.  



Phyllis Yates