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Admission Guidelines

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The Catamount School is designed for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students who live in Jackson County. Our teaching approach is designed particularly to serve students who may not be reaching their full academic potential in the traditional classroom.

As a lab school, we design innovative strategies to keep students fully engaged and interested in learning. Only 25 students are accepted for each grade level annually.

Application window opens March 1st.

All rising 6th, 7th and 8th grade students who reside in Jackson County are eligible to apply and attend The Catamount School. State guidelines provide admissions preference to students currently attending a school defined by G.S. 115C-105.37 as a low-performing school. Priority enrollment is given to students who did not meet expected grade level growth in the prior year.

  • Students intending to enroll in The Catamount School are required to meet certain standards. Students must be eligible to be enrolled in the 6th, 7th, or 8th grade and be a resident of Jackson County.
  • Any child who is residing in Jackson County and is enrolled in a low-performing school, as defined by G.S. 115C-105.37 at the time of the student's application, may be admitted to The Catamount School.
  • No student can be required to attend The Catamount School.
  • During each period of enrollment, The Catamount School shall enroll an eligible student who submits a timely application, with priority enrollment given in the order in which applications are received to a student who did not meet expected student growth in the prior school year based on any of the following: grades, observations, diagnostic and formative assessments, state assessments, or other factors, including reading on grade level.
  • Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, The Catamount School may refuse admission to any student who has been expelled or suspended from a public school under G.S. 115C-390.5 through G.S. 115C-390.11 until the period of suspension or expulsion has expired.
  • Students’ applications must be submitted online or be postmarked on or before the posted date for the upcoming school year, or have a postmark of that date, directly prior to the school year. Eligible students who apply after the posted date will be placed on a waiting list if the cap of 75 students has already been met. Students on the waiting list will be notified if there is an opening.
  • Once enrolled, students are not required to reapply in subsequent enrollment periods.

Unable to do an online application? Feel free to download an application (available March 1st) and mail or bring it to our offices at Smoky Mountain High School.
Academic Records Waiver (required with application)
Referral Letter (This form or a letter from a teacher, administrator, or another, non-related, involved adult is required)

Students enrolled in the Catamount School must reside in Jackson County, NC. Proof of residency must be turned into the Catamount offices prior to the first day of enrollment.

Proof of residency must be shown using one document from both Source 1 and Source 2:

  • Source 1: Deed, lease, closing, settlement statement or property tax statement showing the property is owned or rented by you and is within the county boundaries
  • Source 2: Current, original  gas, oil, water or electric bill in the name of the parent(s) or court-appointed guardian/custodian (telephone and cable television bills are not acceptable), W-2, current driver’s license, recent pay stubs


**required before enrollment 

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