That long summer break is coming to an end for staff and students in area schools, starting classes next week.  Teachers are back at work this week, preparing for the school year which, for Avery and Ashe students, starts Monday. The Watauga County Schools’ first day of classes for 2014-15 will be Tuesday , August 19th—the same day ASU students return to class for their fall semester.  The first days for the areas’ public schools will be a full-length school day, school buses will running their full routes, breakfast and lunch will be served. Watauga reminds parents that the afterschool program will be open to students registered for the program.   For Watauga, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students begin school on a staggered schedule over several days, with parents being notified of the date their child will start school.
So, the next few days—and especially this weekend—will be busy at area stores, with supply lists for students already posted at most schools and available on school websites.  And with move-in starting Friday at ASU and Lees-McRae, it might be a good weekend for the rest of us to avoid the big box stores. Some App students—band and orientation staff, and students who are doing late orientation, are already hitting campus.
For freshmen and new students at Watauga High School, along with their parents, orientation at the high school is Thursday, August 14th.  Parents and students can choose between a morning orientation at 9-11 a.m. and an afternoon session from 12-2:00 p.m.  There are also required orientations for eighth graders and their parents at each K-8 school. These orientation dates and times have been provided to families by their school.  
Student fees for 2014-15 are $7 in kindergarten through fifth grade, $8 for sixth and seventh grade, and $25 for eighth grade.  School fees are not charged for pre-kindergarten students.  General fees for high school students are $50, with additional fees depending on the student’s classes.  
Regular lunch prices will be $2.30 for prekindergarten through eighth grade and $2.50 for grades 9-12.  Reduced price lunches are 40 cents for eligible students in all grades. Breakfast is available for a regular price of $1.50 for all grades.  All students eligible for free or reduced price meals will receive free breakfast.  Cafeteria prices and menus are available on the parent links page of the WCS website.
Applications for free and reduced price meals will be provided to all parents on the first day of school and are available in schools throughout the year.  Applications are also available on the parent links page of the WCS website and on request from Watauga County Schools Child Nutrition at 828 264-7190.   
Students must be registered for afterschool before they can attend.  Parents can speed up the process by filling out and submitting the registration form online before coming to school.  The form is available by going to, clicking on the first heading under parent links, and then choosing the link for afterschool program registration.  State licensing standards require that parents meet with afterschool personnel to officially complete registration.  The available dates and times for parents to complete afterschool registration are posted on the afterschool page of the WCS website.  The WCS afterschool program serves children in kindergarten through fifth grade.
An afterschool program for students in grades 6-8 is offered by Western Youth Network (WYN) at Western Watauga Community Center and at Boone United Methodist Church.   Information and registration forms for WYN’s afterschool program are available online at and will also be available in schools on opening day.  Contact Heather Canipe at WYN (828 264-5174) for more information about the WYN afterschool program.
Then Friday, a special event for all WCS employees on Friday at Watauga High School. The day will include professional development sessions for employees, an employee benefits fair, and a convocation featuring remarks from State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson and new Watauga Schools  Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott.