Cullowhee Valley School is a K-8 rural school located in Jackson County a mile from Western Carolina University. We believe that every child has unique qualities that make him or her an important part of a bigger story. Therefore, our mission is to provide a learning environment that celebrates and supports the individual, grows an awareness of connections between self and others, and provides skills that open and expand visions of future opportunities.
The climate of the school is warm and friendly, and Positive Behavior Support Systems are used to develop social skills in students. We have an active PTA and encourage volunteering by both parents and WCU faculty and students. We provide opportunities for parents and community members to participate in school activities, including a Fall Festival, Family Curriculum Night, and Musical Performances.
Our proximity to the university allows many opportunities for collaboration with WCU faculty, some of which have created afterschool programs of Reading Camp for first graders and Experiences for English Language Learners.
We work to build enthusiasm for reading through a vibrant media program, which has included author visits, Battle of the Books teams, monthly games, and reading incentives.
Cullowhee Valley has made commitments to improve student health and to improve science education through STEM activities. We are a model school for the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s “Farm to School” program. Students in grades K through 5 participate in monthly taste tests of local produce. Kindergarten through second grade classes plant gardens, prepare and cook healthy foods, visit farms, and link literature with science. All students participate in our spring “Get in the Action Day,” made possible through a grant from “Action for Healthy Kids.” To expand experiences with “Farm to School,” upper grade teacher have taught Chemistry in a Food Science format and sixth graders have engaged in a plant study.
Cullowhee Valley’s middle school Career Technology Education program focuses on STEM activities, engaging students in basic computer programming, engineering problem-solving, and practical applications for math. A 3-D printer has also been purchased. And, through a grant from Trout Unlimited, we are raising trout to be released into Cullowhee Creek.
Cullowhee Valley faculty and staff believe that every student has something to contribute and strive to provide opportunities for them to develop leadership skills. Students are involved in a variety of service projects, including SAND, recycling, grounds clean-up, Hoops for Heart, Breakfast Buddies, Safety Patrol, and Jump Rope for Heart. Middle school students can choose to serve as peer helpers to support the learning of younger children. Students can participate in Dulcimer Club, Chorus, and Junior Appalachian Musicians, made possible through community grants.
Our commitment to nurturing the whole child through relationships and experiences is evidenced by our low numbers of discipline referrals, the positive interactions throughout the school, and the learning opportunities students engage in daily.