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Grand Opening of North Buncombe Preschool
Grand Opening of North Buncombe Preschool
Posted on 02/12/2020
A new preschool at North Buncombe High provides excellence in early childhood education while training future professionals.Article/Photography By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications

Student-intern Emerald Neill works with two of the preschools new young students.As the first day of North Buncombe High’s brand new preschool came to a close Monday, a young student approached Preschool Director Ms. Anita King with something on his mind.

“I had no idea…” the boy said, according to King.

“You had no idea about what?” Ms. King asked him with concern.

“I had no idea that preschool would be this fantastic!” he replied with a smile.

King said the interaction gave her chills and that it made all of the hard work of opening the preschool worth it. Like her, Career & Technical Education (CTE) Director Taylor Baldwin is thrilled for the opportunities the center will provide for area families, as well as for CTE student-interns studying early childhood education.

“In our schools, parents can access a five-star childcare center for a fraction of the price,” Baldwin said. "This preschool not only meets an immediate need for parents requiring childcare services, it also trains the next generation of childcare experts."

Cutting the Ribbon

With Buncombe County Schools' focus on college- and career-readiness for graduates, preschools located in established high schools provide opportunities for hands-on student training, while also helping to meet childcare needs in the surrounding community. At the Wednesday, February 12, ribbon cutting event for North Buncombe High's new preschool, school and community leaders expressed their support for the expansion of BCS early childhood education programs.

“How exciting is this for the North Buncombe district?” asked BCS Supt. Dr. Tony Baldwin from the podium.

Dr. Tony Baldwin reads to preschoolers before nap time.Gathered at North Buncombe High in Weaverville were Buncombe County commissioners, BCS administrators, BCS Career & Technical Education staff, Board of Education representatives, maintenance and communications staff, and community members. After a brief welcome by Dr. Samantha Sircey, North Buncombe’s principal, others spoke to the group, including BCS Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin, Associate Superintendent Ms. Susanne Swanger, CTE Director Taylor Baldwin, and County Commissioner Ms. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara.

“As our graduates walk across that stage, they walk across with - at a minimum - a licensure or certification that allows them, immediately, a post-secondary career,” Dr. Baldwin said.

After touring the new facility, the group gathered on the playground's soft turf, giving two young preschoolers the honor of cutting the ribbon. Afterwards, the Superintendent led the pre-nap story time, and enthusiastically read aloud as the children sat in a semi-circle.

Reach for the Stars

King’s team will not only help children reach academic goals, they’ll also teach life skills important for success in elementary school.

Preschool Director Anita King talks to visitors during the preschool tour.“Can they stand up for themselves? Can they speak up when they need something? Can they join a group of kids who are playing?” she said. “We want to make sure that we’re meeting each child where they are, and help them be ready for kindergarten.”

According to Ms. King, the preschool will operate on a temporary six-month license, per state standards. During this time, she’ll work to apply for their permanent license, which includes the star-rating-system familiar to parents. Existing preschools at Clyde A. Erwin High, T.C. Roberson High, and A.C. Reynolds High are all five-star facilities, the highest rating possible.

“We’re aiming for five stars,” King said. “Five stars lets the community know that we’re a quality center and that we focus on the child as a whole.”

While laws require a minimum of one adult per nine children, North Buncombe’s preschool will have four or five caregivers for 14 kids. This includes about 20 responsible North Buncombe student-interns that work with King and the children at different times throughout the day. King looks forward to the impact her graduates will have on the surrounding community- a community with a critical need for quality childcare.

“Quality is the key,” she said. “These high schoolers will learn what quality education is. Hopefully, they will take the skills they learn here and have a huge impact on our community, making other local centers even better.”

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View coverage by WLOS news and Buncombe County Government, and our full event photo gallery on Facebook.

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin, shanon.martin@bcsemail.org, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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