School and community leaders declare Mountain Ed's Cherokee location officially open
Note: more photos from the event can be viewed in the photo gallery.
School and community leaders celebrated the official opening of Mountain Education Charter High School's Cherokee County location Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce. Mountain Ed's Cherokee satellite, located in the Etowah East building on the Etowah HS campus, currently has 144 students enrolled in the alternative evening program.
The Cherokee County School District kicked off its partnership with Mountain Education Charter High School earlier this year when the School Board unanimously approved an agreement for Mountain Ed to take over CCSD’s evening high school program, which was known as Polaris Evening Program. Mountain Ed runs the evening school program at the Etowah East building on the Etowah HS campus, expanding services using the same successful model already in place in counties across north Georgia. Just as with Polaris, there is no charge to students to enroll in evening classes with Mountain Ed; classes are open to students ages 15-21, and to age 22 for special education students.
“Mountain Ed will offer our high school students the continued opportunity to earn their high school diploma in the evenings, and will provide them with new services including a mentor to coach them onto graduation and nightly dinners catered by local restaurants,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said, noting that an evening high school has been a valuable academic choice in CCSD for many years. “We’re excited about this partnership and the benefits it will provide to our students.”
Like CCSD, Mountain Ed, which was founded in 1993, is accredited by AdvancEd, and students earn credits toward the same high school diploma as they would at any other Georgia public high school. Mountain Ed also is accredited by NCAA. Students will complete self-paced course work online using computers at the school, with one-on-one support from teachers; classes have a 14:1 student-teacher ratio. Students will meet weekly with their mentors for coaching and support.
Classes will be offered at the Etowah East campus from 4 to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays beginning in June, with flexible class scheduling within those operating hours. In addition to offering full-time programs for students who enroll with Mountain Ed, it also offers students the opportunity to retake individual classes to transfer credit back to their full-time school. Students also can dual enroll at Mountain Ed and a college or university.
Dr. Hightower said the transition will be even more seamless with the announcement by Mountain Ed of its administrators for the new campus: Trey Olson, CCSD’s retired Chief Operations Officer, and Beth Long, CCSD’s retired executive director for administrative leadership for elementary schools. Both will work part-time in the shared leadership role for Mountain Ed’s new campus.
“Trey and Beth are longtime leaders in our school district, and I know they will serve our community well in this new role,” Dr. Hightower said, noting work already is underway by Mountain Ed staff to provide information to CCSD high school counselors and administrators, so they can best advise students and parents about its program.
The Mountain Ed system of 18 campuses is led by Superintendent Dr. Wayne Lovell, who is working with his staff of education leaders to prepare for the expansion into Cherokee.
“With over 27 years of experience, Mountain Ed has a unique perspective with regard to supporting student success,” Dr. Lovell said. “We are so excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Cherokee County School District in providing an enhanced evening high school option for the students of Cherokee County. This opening will represent the 18th collaborative partnership school we have in North Georgia.”
More information about Mountain Ed is online at http://www.mymec.org/