The Catamount School, a collaborative effort of Western Carolina University and Jackson County Public Schools, held an orientation for students and parents Tuesday, Aug. 15, in anticipation of opening Tuesday, Aug. 22.

The new, innovative laboratory school is designed to help enrolled students in sixth through eighth grades transition into high school through implementation of a “whole school, whole community, whole child” approach. The school’s principal and its teachers are employees of WCU, while the public school system provides transportation and lunch for students.

Located on the campus of Smoky Mountain High School, the school can serve up to 25 students in each of the eligible grade levels. All Jackson County students in those grades are eligible to enroll in the Catamount School. Enrollment prior to opening was more than 50 students.

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Originally published August 16, 2017.