The program uses academic-based opportunities to enhance the student’s intellectual growth, civic responsibility and career exploration. The staff focuses their instruction on meeting the requirements for high school graduation and the transition from junior high into the high school environment. Particular attention is given to the development of inherent skills and interests as the student determines a career. As part of the career focus, students are required to become involved in a service-learning project. These projects assist the students in better understanding themselves and their community.
Attendance is a requirement. Missing one day of accelerated instruction will cause a student to be several days behind. Absences for sickness are excused with a parent or doctors note. Parents are contacted by phone each time a student is absent. Students are required to stay after school to make up for each absence.
Inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated and the discipline policy of McDowell County Schools will be strictly followed.. Alternative Learning Center
The Accelerated Learning Center (ALC) serves McDowell County Schools’students in grades 9 –12 who have dropped out of school or who have been identified as potential dropouts. There is no typical student at the ALC. These students have a wide variety of issues that put them at risk for dropping out of high school.
The ALC offers an opportunity for students to move at an appropriate pace toward completion of their high school diploma. The flexible environment at the ALC takes into account the student’s personality, talents and learning style. This allows students, who are unsuccessful in a traditional learning environment, to be successful. Other advantages, such as, a small student population, a staff dedicated to high academic standards, and a strong technology component succeed in helping students stay in school and improve their academic performance. For those that qualify, special educational services are available.
The ALC offers a wide variety of courses designed to allow the students to successfully complete high school and pass the North Carolina required End of Course tests.
Secondary students who have been suspended for one or more semesters are placed at the ALC. Suspended students attend therapeutic groups at lunch. These groups are focused on issues that resulted in the student’s suspension to the ALC. Suspended students are not allowed to participate in the extracurricular activities, such as dances or sporting events, at McDowell High School. Placement at the ALC allows suspended students to access an education without receiving the unique privileges that come with attending McDowell High School. Phoenix Academy
The Phoenix Academy is the junior high portion of the AEC. The Phoenix Academy serves McDowell County Schools’ students, grades 7-8, who have been suspended from school on a long-term basis and it serves students who are not experiencing academic and/or behavioral success in the traditional school setting. Providing small class sizes and caring hearts, we seek to guide students through the ashes of life's difficulties and watch as they soar above circumstances. Students come from a variety of backgrounds but all with the same shared goal, "To make wise life decisions and attain a quality education complete with meeting our fullest academic potential." "Pay-As-You-Go" Building Fund
In 1987, the McDowell County Board of Education and the McDowell County Board of Commissioners entered into a visionary agreement. Both Boards signed a joint agreement to establish and maintain a Local Capital Building Fund. This compact led to our "Pay-As-You-Go" building program. The money from this Local Capital Building Program, plus $3.2 million in State Critical Needs money and $10.8 million in State School Bond Funds enabled McDowell County to have over $32 million in school construction with no interest. This phase of our building program has seen the completion of several projects including the completion of Phase I and II at Pleasant Gardens Elementary School.
The McDowell County Board of Education and the McDowell County Commissioners have again embarked on a joint venture to provide an additional 29,810 sq. ft. of space at Glenwood Elementary and a completely new 63,700 sq. ft. school for North Cove Elementary. Because of the current low interest rates all this can be accomplished with no increase in property taxes!
With the completion of these projects, McDowell County should have school facilities which are among the finest in the state, and the result of a visionary building program.History
Sometimes called the 'Gateway to the Mountains,' McDowell County, found in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, is approximately 30 minutes east of Asheville and 35 minutes west of Hickory via Interstate 40. It is one of the fastest growing communities in Western North Carolina. With a rich heritage and a progressive outlook, it is no wonder that McDowell County has adopted the slogan "Great History, Exciting Future".
This area was once the site of the western most outpost of the United States and North Carolina until 1776, the county also beckoned the first railroad access to Asheville in the 1870's. McDowell County was formed in 1843 from Rutherford and Burke. It was named in honor of Colonel Joseph McDowell, an officer of the Revolution. The organizers met in the historic Carson House, a stagecoach inn whose famous visitors included Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston. Marion, named after Sir Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox", serves as the county seat. It is in the west central section of the State and is bounded by Burke, Rutherford, Henderson, Buncombe, Yancey, Mitchell and Avery counties. Tourism
McDowell County is close to skiing and tourist attractions, including the Biltmore House, Little Switzerland, Linville Gorge and Caverns, Lake James, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Pisgah National Forest. With elevations in the county ranging from 900-5,665 ft., McDowell County is a great destination for outdoor enthusiast from fishermen to photographers, to hikers, to mountain bikers.
To learn more about travel and tourism in McDowell County visit the McDowell Tourism Development Association website. Education
With a total population of approximately forty-two thousand, and a school population of over six thousand students, McDowell County offers students plenty in terms of educational opportunities.
Smart Start, Smart Start, the Partnership for Children of the Foothills is a non-profit organization led by local volunteers, designed to provide programs and services for young children and families in McDowell, Rutherford, and Polk counties.
McDowell Technical Community College, telephone 828-652-6021, offers two-year associate degree programs; as well as continuing adult education courses and a transfer program to four-year schools.
Colleges and universities within 1.5 hours of Marion include:
•State universities: University of N.C - Asheville; Western Carolina Univ. -Cullowhee; Appalachian State Univ. -Boone.
•Private colleges (4-yr.): Brevard College - Brevard; Gardner-Webb University - Boiling Springs; Lees-McRae College- Banner Elk; Lenoir-Rhyne College -Hickory; Mars Hill College -Mars Hill; Montreat College -Montreat Attractions
Lake James State Park The 565-acre park offers picnicking, swimming, canoe rentals, and hiking along picturesque Lake James. Ranger office, concession stand, bathrooms. Located on NC 126 east of Marion. 828-652-5047
Linville Caverns "See inside a mountain" at the only caverns in the Carolinas open to the public. Natural limestone caverns feature spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations, underground stream, and cave wildlife such as bats, blind crayfish, cave crickets, and large trout. Enjoy a creek side picnic in their beautiful glade or shop for crafts, gifts, and souvenirs in their gift shop. 800-419-0540 or 828-756-4171
Linville Gorge Wilderness Area "Grand Canyon of the East." Steep walls of Gorge, as high as 3400 feet, enclose Linville River for 12 miles. Primitive recreation includes strenuous hiking, back packing, rock climbing, and fishing for native trout. Due to wild and isolated topography, Gorge shelters stretches of virgin forest, rare and endangered plant species, and an assortment of wild game and non-game species. Located in Pisgah National Forest, alongside Kistler Memorial Highway (NC 1238), near Linville Falls. 828-652-2144
The Orchard at Altapass Century-old working apple orchard on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Old-time heritage apples, Monarch butterflies, apple butter, clogging, bluegrass bands, crafts, fine mountain cooking, apple and pumpkin fudge, Revolutionary War reenactments, storytelling, hayrides, and more. Picnic tables, snack bar, and gift shop. Open mid-May through October. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 328.3. 888-765-9531 or 828-765-9531
Grandfather Mountain Just north of McDowell County is the entrance to the tallest mountain in the Blue Ridge chain and the only privately-owned International Biosphere Reserve designated by the United Nations. Mile-High Swinging Bridge, spectacular hiking trails, natural habitat wildlife exhibits, and Nature Museum. More than 47 rare and endangered plant and animal species thrive there, 11 of global significance. Located on US 221, two miles north of Linville. 800-468-7325
Historic Ledbetter House Built in 1826, the two story, gable sided house of post and beam construction remains one of McDowell County's few intact dwellings from the early 1800s. Recently restored and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house features hand painted walls and doors, and a rare antique quilt collection. Tours of the home are offered every Saturday by appointment only. Call for further information. Located in the community of Montford Cove, between Marion and Lake Lure. 828-738-9798
Historic Carson House Built as a walnut log cabin in the early 1800s, the home once served as a stagecoach inn and seat of the county government until the courthouse was constructed. The Carson House entertained the likes of Davey Crockett, Sam Houston, and Andrew Jackson, who lost money gambling on horses that raced there. This historic home and private, non-profit museum is currently filled with unusual household and plantation artifacts. Open May through October, Tuesday through Saturday. All other times open by appointment. Located in Pleasant Gardens on US Highway 70, west of Marion. 828-724-4948 or 828-724-4640
Mount Mitchell State Park The East's highest peak and home of North Carolina's first state park. The highest peak is at 6684 ft.
Blue Ridge Parkway is ranked "America's most scenic drive" by leading travel writers. Following mountains crest from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee, the Parkway is the gateway to an Appalachian empire where man can escaped the speed and crowding of modern life.
To learn more about McDowell County visit the
McDowell Chamber and Visitor's Center website.Industry
Ten Largest Employers (January 2012)
Baxter Healthcare Corp.
McDowell County Schools
International Automotive Components
Marion Correctional Facility
Coats North Amercia
Columbia Forest Products
To learn more about major industries in McDowell County visit the McDowell Economic Development Association website.LinksCity of MarionMountain Glory FestivalCorpening Memorial YMCAMcDowell County Public LibraryMcDowell News
Information/Photos are courtesy of the
McDowell County Chamber of Commerce
& Visitors Center
In compliance with Federal Law, McDowell County Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age or disability.