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About MYS


About Mountain Youth School              New Student to MYS? Click here.
 Cherokee County’s only alternative middle/high school, Mountain Youth School offers students a 


Mountain Youth School accepts new students on a referral basis only. 

Referrals are initiated by the administration at one of Cherokee County’s middle or high schools. Referrals are considered by a referral committee.

When enrolled, each student’s progress is reviewed regularly to assess the best way to meet his/her overall needs.
unique learning experience and tailored support network that equips them to succeed – both in school and in life. Now, our students will be among the first to engage in outcomes-based learning tailored to their unique learning styles.
    Centrally located between the Andrews, 
Murphy, and Hiwassee Dam communities, our campus in Martins Creek serves middle and high school students from all over the county who benefit from personalized education, and have been unsuccessful in the traditional school setting. Founded in 1997, the campus is home to an average of 75-100 students per year, with 30-50 students at any given time.

Many parents are not aware that Mountain Youth School provides an excellent opportunity for all students who benefit from personalized, goal-oriented classroom instruction. While in previous years, we have had the misfortune of a reputation as a disciplinary school for students with behavior issues, most students are referred for academic and 
and attendance support above what conventional schools can provide. Our students describe the school as a privilege.
    Our goal is for every student to have an opportunity to learn through individualized attention, and graduate with a high school diploma prepared for success in adult life. This was evidenced in the Class of 2013, which included 33 graduates – including four former dropouts – the largest class in school history. For the 2012-2013 school year, Mountain Youth School enjoyed an unprecedented 81% graduation rate, elevating Cherokee County Schools to its third year in the top 10 school districts in the state for graduation.
    Small class sizes and caring staff ensure that each child receives the attention he or she needs to thrive. Led by Principal William Gaither, dedicated teachers work hard daily to put students in position to achieve success in the classroom, demanding quality work, attentiveness, and good behavior. Faculty and staff members help students recognize and utilize strengths, overcome obstacles, and strive for their personal best.

In 2013, Mountain Youth School will be among the first in the region to utilize outcomes-based learning. With targeted goals, learning becomes specific and achievable, helping students to focus on a skill or concept they must learn to be successful, rather than completing standardized worksheets. While all curriculum still adheres to the N.C. Standard Course of Study, and there are still standardized 
tests, students will have unique opportunities to “show what they know” in a variety of formats that let them communicate that they grasp the material. By the end of the course, students will understand why they are proficient in a subject area; hence “real-life education that makes sense” is our motto for the 2013-2014 school year.
    Mountain Youth School students study under the Future-Ready Core Course of Study as identified by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, meaning they must earn 21 high school credits to graduate. Although we are governed by special state alternative school policies, all county policies apply to our school.
    If they are willing to attend school daily and put forth genuine effort, students attending Mountain Youth School have many incentives to succeed. Students have opportunities to receive one-on-one attention and tutoring, access to a counselor and graduation coach, and hands-on learning in every classroom.
State priority school grant funding made it possible last year to equip Mountain Youth School with all-new personal computers, student desks and seating. This year, the funding will provide each
high school student with an Apple iPad. In addition, we are proud to be the first 100% LED energy-efficient lighting school in the state.

We offer a variety of extracurricular activities to supplement classroom instruction, including:
  • First school in the county to offer the “Stacked Deck” problem gambling prevention curriculum;
  • A Student Leadership Council comprised of stellar students who voluntarily improve our school and community through service projects, mentoring and citizenship;
  • Model school for Western Carolina Pacesetters’ teen leadership and team-building program;
  • Contrived the unique two-day “Careers in Creativity” artists in schools program in cooperation with the Cherokee County Arts Council and John C. Campbell Folk School;
  • Host an annual Thanksgiving Dinner and Veteran’s Day Celebration for community veterans;
  • Student-led vegetable and flower greenhouse offers community outreach and school fund-raising;
  • Career preparedness offered to all high school students via “Career Cruising” interest/skills assessments and assistance with résumé preparation, job and college applications and financial aid.
    For details on our classroom environment and specific classes, please visit the classroom pages at left. Our staff currently consists of Principal William "Bill" Gaither, Counselor Susan Maxey, Secretary Diane Parker, School Resource Officer Libby Thigpen, six core curriculum teachers -- Sonya Crouch (math), Dr. John Crosby (social studies), Debra England (English), Steve Bias (science), Frank Crisp and Greg Elliot (middle grades) -- as well as a vocational teacher, Nathan Davenport (construction/trades); an exceptional children's teacher, Revonda Simonds (EC); a teaching assistant, Cristen Cameron; school nurse, Heather Watson, and custodian, Lisa Loudermilk.
    We invite you to visit our campus at 4533 Martins Creek Road any time. Classes are in session from 8:10 AM-2:30 PM, with four class periods. Please sign in at our main office, and we will be happy to give you a tour. You may also call (828) 837-6775 for details.
Subpages (1): New students
Sep 10, 2013, 7:37 AM
Sep 10, 2013, 7:37 AM
Aug 20, 2012, 10:41 AM