State of the schools: JCPS studies health of schools as it plans for the future

A facilities study for Jackson County Schools that will help inform capital improvements for years to come found several schools in the county are overcrowded, something administration and school board members hope a traditional middle school will help alleviate.  

Two grants help Haywood students

Haywood County Schools recently received two grants from Dogwood Health Trust. One will benefit students at the Haywood Community Learning Center, and another will help fund mental health support services in elementary and middle grades. 

Another step toward a middle school

Jackson County Schools recently approved an agreement to undergo a master planning process that will move the school system one step closer to securing a middle school. 

Bethel students win state hunting skills tournament

A team from Bethel Middle School in Haywood County took top honors at the 2023 Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament.

The Bethel Middle team won the overall junior division with a total score of 3,499. Students competed in rifle, shotgun and archery marksmanship, orienteering and a hunter responsibility exam. The team rose to the top of 28 teams competing at the state level.

Championship competitors advanced from district events held in March to showcase shooting and outdoor skills, as well as knowledge learned through the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Hunter Education Program. The teams were made up of participants from public and private schools, as well as homeschool associations and 4-H clubs.  

Jackson makes the case for a middle school

There has long been talk of creating a traditional middle school in Jackson County, but now the conversation appears to be picking up steam. In a January joint meeting with the Jackson County Commission, the school board listed a traditional middle school as one of its top budget priorities.

Middle School renovations incoming

Whether it is routine maintenance, renovation, expansion or new construction, Macon County Schools has a long list of needed capital improvements. One of those projects is a step closer to completion after county commissioners approved a contract for architectural services earlier this month.

Macon moves forward with middle school renovations

At the 11th hour, Macon County Commissioners called a special meeting to discuss whether to move forward with an $8 million renovation project at Macon Middle School or to take a step back and reevaluate the county’s school infrastructure needs. 

Schooled in ag: School gives students a hands-on education

With a new school year just begun, the 300 students who participate in Waynesville Middle School’s robust agriculture program now have an array of new woodshop equipment at their disposal. 

“In two weeks this will be like Santa’s little helper’s woodshop,” Noal Castater, agriculture teacher at WMS since 2010, said in an interview the Friday before the first day of school. 

Opinion split on middle school

A public input session on the question of whether Jackson County should form a middle school drew split opinion during a public hearing Tuesday, Aug. 7.

Jackson mulls middle school

Jackson County stands alone among the western counties for not having a separate middle school, but a group of parents is hoping to change that. 

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.