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Teaching Approach

Catamount school students

At the Catamount School, each area of the curriculum emphasizes a problem-centered approach that develops critical reasoning abilities and promotes a deeper understanding of the subject material. Teachers personalize instruction and guide students in processing what they are learning through discussion and reflection. Access to a wide range of digital learning opportunities enhance engagement and enable students to demonstrate academic progress in a variety of ways. Our school also utilizes the "Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child" model and brings in members of the community and WCU staff to ensure our students are getting a well-rounded education.

Individualized Learning

We recognize that students have different learning styles, and we will work to identify an individualized approach so that each student has the opportunity to succeed. Some of the many methods we use are:

  • Technology- We utilize one to one technology combined with learning platforms such as One Note and Canvas to allow us to reach students' different levels.
  • WCU Interns and students- We use our interns and staff to create small groups and one on one instructions and assistance. Easy access to WCU's Education students mean our students get a variety of approaches and perspectives. It also helps us prepare the teachers of tomorrow as they work under our full time staff.
  • Standards Based Grading- We believe that we should focus on the actual content taught and not a letter grade. Students are given a 1-4 on standards taught in the classroom and have opportunities to revisit standards that they have yet to master. This way, students, parents, and teachers know which particular areas are needed to focus on rather than just that a student is getting an "A" or a "C" in a subject.
  • Flexible seating- We don't keep students in rows of identical desks and chairs. Our students have opportunities to sit on wobble stools and regular chairs. We have cafe-style tables, dry erase tables, and other movable furniture.



Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child

By accessing resources and personnel at Western Carolina University, students have access to daily physical education, regular music and arts activities, leadership experiences, and mentorship from experts in a variety of academic fields. Some of the WCU academic programs that support these activities reach beyond our School of Teaching and Learning to include our parks and recreation program, our programs in music, theater and studio arts, our engineering programs, our business programs and our leadership programs. We dedicate time each day for interests outside of traditional academics. These enrichment activities will encourage students to learn more about themselves and others, as well as contribute to the school community. More information can be found on our Enrichment page.

Community of Care

At the Catamount School, we maintain a team of university and school personnel with expertise in teaching, psychology, physical health and more to support the academic, physical and emotional needs of all students. This team meets on a regular basis to address class-wide and individual needs at a variety of levels. The goal is to provide a "Community of Care" that ensures our class-wide and unique student needs are met.

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