Join the Community Music School online this Spring!

Online Group Classes for ages 5-18

  • Let’s Play Piano!
  • Let’s Play Guitar!
  • Let’s Play Ukulele! 
  • Let’s Play Drums!
  • Hit Maker! (Songwriting and Production)
  • Appalachian Youth Chorale
  • Appalachian Vocal Academy
  • Appalachian Youth Orchestra

Tuition assistance is available for group classes through the “Pay What You Can” options. 

Register now through January 30! Classes start the week of February 15.

Online Private Lessons for All Ages

  • We offer private lessons in piano, voice, guitar, violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, trombone, trumpet, drum set/snare, and yoga.
  • Registration for semester packages is open until January 30
  • Tuition assistance is available for semester packages (register by Jan. 30). New students can join anytime – email!

Workshops included with your registration: This Spring, registrants for any program will receive access to live classes about Music Theory and Creative Music-Making (held over ZOOM) and a series of pre-recorded classes on Mind-Body Connections for the Performing Artist.

Contact Us

  • Learn more at and register here.
  • All our lessons and classes are online for Spring 2021.
  • To see what we’re up to, you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram at @appcommunitymusic.
  • For registration questions, feel free to email Lisl Doughton, Program Manager, and Cody Arington, Administrative Coordinator, can help answer your questions or introduce you to a teacher.

Deals on Snow Days at Area Ski Resorts for Students and Teachers

When school closes and you have the proper transportation, you may want to take advantage of the great deals at the area ski resorts.

Appalachian Ski Mountain

Appalachian Ski Mtn. offers special Snow Day rates to students, teachers and staff of all public and private preschools, elementary schools, and high schools when schools are canceled or released early due to snow or inclement weather. Snow Day rates apply to schools in Watauga County and the following adjacent counties: Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Johnson (TN), and Wilkes.

Use code SNOWDAY2020 to activate this special rate for a Flex Ticket, or LOCALSNOW2020 to activate the 9am-5pm ticket on our Online Reservations Platform. Pricing will be reflected on final cart review page of checkout.

 Ski Ticket (9am – 5pm) — $8
8-Hour Flex Ticket  – $10
Ski Rental Package*  — $6
Shape Ski Rental Package*— $10
Standard Snowboard Rental Package*— $15
Burton Learn-To-Ride Snowboard Package*— $18
Ice Skating Package*— $10

If school is rescheduled for Saturday attendance or rescheduled on a Holiday, and canceled due to snow, Snow Day rates do not apply. Snow Day rates apply to tickets and equipment rental sold between 8:30am and 4:00pm. Snow Day rates are not sold for night sessions.

College students are only eligible for the Regional Snow Day Flex Ticket when classes are cancelled for winter weather. Regular rental rates apply to college students.

Students should present a report card or other school ID from one of the listed counties. Teachers and Staff should present a pay stub or other employment identification. Home-school students may present a home-school authorization letter from the NC Department of Non-Public Education along with a parent’s driver’s license confirming the specific county residency. Home-school teachers do not qualify for Snow Day rates.

*Package includes helmet

Sugar Mountain Resort 

Special pricing available to K-12 students and teachers on days that school is cancelled due to winter weather. Pricing available to Ashe, Avery, Mitchell & Watauga counties in North Carolina and Carter & Johnson counties in Tennessee.

College students do not qualify for this special pricing but should refer to the College Discounts page for applicable discounts that may be available for them.

K-12 Student and Teacher Snow Day Pricing
Full Day or Half Slope/Lift Ticket 17
Ski Rentals 10
Snowboard Rentals 21 (deposit required)
Sugar Bear Ski School 58 (Full Day) or 45 (Half Day)
Polar Bear Snowboard School 96 (Full Day) or 58 (Half Day)
Ice Skating 10

Remote learning to allow for snow day flexibility

With winter quickly approaching, Watauga County Schools would like to remind families how the district makes and communicates decisions about the operation of school during inclement weather.

This year, thanks to additional equipment and student laptops purchased in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district plans to utilize remote learning on certain school days that would have otherwise been cancelled and later made up due to inclement weather.

Superintendent Scott Elliott said the districts’ period of remote learning in the fall had prepared WCS with the equipment and experience it needed to operate school remotely on snow days this winter.

“Our experience with remote learning has given us the opportunity for the first time to hold school remotely on days that winter weather would have ordinarily forced us to close our doors,” Elliott said. “While remote learning can’t fully replace what our students experience in our classrooms in person, it will give us much needed flexibility to mitigate the impact missing 15 to 20 days a year because of inclement weather can have on instruction.”

Elliott said that using remote learning to replace snow days this year would eliminate the need for Saturday school, protect Christmas and Spring break and help ensure that the school year would not need to be extended into late June to make-up for snow days. However, remote days will not completely eliminate the need to make up all the days Watauga Schools typically miss each year.

This year, the North Carolina General Assembly mandated that school districts build five remote learning days into their calendars. Watauga County Schools used the first of those required days to close school buildings for students on Election Day. Elliott said the remaining four would be used to cover snow days — especially before Christmas break so that exams could be given at the high school before students went home for the holidays.

“If we find that these remote learning days are successful, we have the option to use more if we need to,” Elliott said. “We’ve had a very productive experience with remote learning in the past, and if we see those high levels of participation and good use of time continue going forward, it’s my hope we will be able to use remote learning even further to limit the number of days missed.”
However, Elliott warned that if the days are not used effectively, then remote learning on snow days will be limited moving forward.

While WCS has been able to provide take home devices to many students over the course of this year — along with more than 200 wifi hotspots provided to homes with no landline internet access — Elliott said there were still pockets the community for whom high speed internet access was simply not available.

“Remote learning this year has made it more clear than ever that a number of families across our county face significant challenges accessing high speed internet,” Elliott said. “Teachers will work with students who won’t be able to access the internet at home to prepare materials to supplement their remote learning days. It’s not necessarily an ideal solution, but until high speed internet infrastructure is extended into rural communities across Watauga, our staff will do everything possible to ensure our students have equal access to the materials they need to learn.”

Elliott said that, while remote learning days provided much needed flexibility in long and often severe winters, it was still his priority to get students into school buildings in person when it is safe to do so. The district will still continue with it’s long implemented standards for early morning road checks and close contact with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va. on days with inclement weather.

When bad weather begins overnight, the process for making decisions about the operation of school kicks off at 3 a.m. when Elliott and Transportation Director Jeff Lyons begin the process of gathering information about road conditions and the most current weather forecast.

By 3:30 a.m., a road check team consisting of Elliott, Lyons, and other staff members begins driving assigned routes to check road conditions throughout Watauga County. Lyons and Elliott both routinely participate in a morning live conference call with National Weather Service meteorologists in Blacksburg, VA at 4:30 a.m.

In an average winter, crews are on the road approximately 40 mornings.

The final decision about school schedules and bus routes is based on information gathered from the road check team, NCDOT, local law enforcement and the latest weather forecasts.

That decision is normally made before the first school bus departs at 5:25 a.m. and is announced in several ways: a statement at the top of all pages of school websites at; via local media outlets; by automated phone messages, email, and text messages to parents; via Twitter at @WataugaSchools; and through a recorded snow line message at (828) 264-0200.

If you have questions about the limited bus routes for your school, you can get more information at, or by contacting the WCS Transportation Department at (828) 264-6391.

Watauga County Schools are closed an average of approximately 15 days per year for snow and ice, with wide variation around that average. The number of days missed has ranged from a low of four days in 1990-91 to a peak of 39 days in 1977-78. The system missed 20 days for weather last school year.

Elliott said as winter weather approaches, it’s important that parents update their contact information with their school’s front office, as that information will be used to announce closing, delay and emergency information.

WCS – Returning to in-person instruction

A message from Watauga County Schools, Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott, regarding the opening of schools for K-3 Students. You can find more information at

Community Music School Launches New Pay What You Can Model

Appalachian State’s Community Music School is excited to offer a new Pay What You Can model for its group classes, and financial assistance is available for private lessons. They are committed to making music accessible for ALL!

Course Offerings (Visit the website for more details):
Guitar (private and group classes)
Ukulele (private and group classes)
Discover Music (Infant to age 3)
Let’s Play Piano! (group piano class separated by age group)
Vocal Academy (high school program for motivated high school vocalists)
Youth Orchestra
Appalachian Youth Chorale
Hit Maker (middle and high school program for those interested in composing their own music on-line)

Registration is Now Open! For more information please go to our website: or contact Dr. Nicole Sonbert:

The Community Music School is a non-profit organization that proudly serves Boone and the surrounding communities by making the musical arts accessible for people of all ages and backgrounds. We offer private music lessons, classes, ensembles, and community events. We invite you to learn more about our programs and events!

High Country Rendezvous

Your family will not want to miss the High Country Rendezvous this Saturday, September 12th!

You may ask, what is a rendezvous? A Rendezvous was an annual gathering in which mountain men replenished their supplies. They were lively, joyous places where all were allowed. Join the Hickory Ridge History Museum for its own historical Rendezvous.

Home School Physical Education Program 2020-2021 academic year

The Appalachian State University Physical Education (PE) Program is pleased to continue its commitment to offering the Home School Physical Education Program for the 2020-21 academic year.  

Appalachian Home School PE Program (5 – 12 year olds)

Dates: September 8 – November 13 (online)

Meets: Tuesdays synchronously via Zoom from 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.; Thursdays asynchronously via a Fundamental Motor Skill & Family Physical Activity Challenge

Annual Cost: Fall 2020 $0 per child; Spring 2021 $30 per child (includes t-shirt)

The Appalachian Home School PE Program is a part of the Appalachian Health and Physical Education (HPE) Program.  Dr. Brooke Towner will oversee the program.  Dr. Towner is an assistant professor in the Appalachian HPE program, is a Certified Physical Education Teacher, and has physical education experience in both public school and recreational settings. 

We use the innovative SPARK physical education curriculum in our PE program. For more information on the SPARK curriculum, check out their website at  

The Fall 2020 Appalachian Home School PE Program Plan: 

  • The Appalachian Homeschool PE Program will be held in an online format. 
  • On Tuesdays, all age groups will meet on Zoom (an online video conferencing tool) for a 20 – 25 minute lesson instructed by an Appalachian student or teaching pair. 
    • Dr. Towner will attend all Zoom lessons.
  • On Thursdays, the Appalachian student or teaching pair will post an optional online Fundamental Motor Skill and Family Challenge PE activity using FlipGrid (an online tool for posting video responses). 
    • The Appalachian student or partner pair will provide feedback to the students that chose to participate. The FlipGrid will be moderated so only Dr. Towner and the Appalachian student or teach pair have access to the FlipGrid. Dr. Towner will monitor all Flipgrids.

For Fall 2020 the Home School PE Program will not offer the Play Pen or Parent Walking Group 


Go to:

Or visit:  and select the REGISTER ONLINE NOW! 

Registration DEADLINE: September 7th, 2020 (late registrations will be accepted as long as slots are still available) 

For more information, go to or contact Dr. Brooke Towner at 828-262-8558, email

School and sports physicals: Important whether learning in-person or remotely

We appreciate Dr. Kyle Wilson from AppFamily Medicine sharing this information with us.

Now more than ever, it is important that all school-aged children and adolescents obtain a school or sports physical. One of the primary benefits of this visit is to help students and their families better understand how they can stay well as our nation continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

A school physical is designed to cover many different components that make up a student’s overall health and wellbeing.

  • screening students for heart related problems
  • assessing vaccination status
  • addressing conditions that could require a treatment plan prior to returning to school
  • vision and hearing screening
  • addressing potential developmental and behavioral concerns
  • other factors that affect a student’s well-being and educational success.

Getting ready for the school/sports physical visit

Prior to the visit, it will be helpful to think through your student’s past medical history and existing medical problems. Filling out any patient paperwork for your provider will help guide you on what type of information to include.

An important part of a student’s medical history includes family history of any potential heart-related problems as well as specific pediatric diseases. It will be helpful if parents or guardians are able to tell the provider if the patient has any family members who have passed away at a young age due to a heart-related condition. This will help the provider assess the student’s risk of heart-related issues.

Setting students up for success

Another important part of a school physical involves addressing the student’s exercise tolerance. Does the student become mildly short of breath upon exercising only for a few minutes? Can the student participate in exercise activities similar to other students in his or her class? Questions like these can help the provider assess many different things such as screening the patient for asthma and musculoskeletal disorders.

The school physical also provides the opportunity for parents or guardians to discuss potential concerns regarding the student’s behavior or development. Learning disorders often go unidentified through adolescence. It is important that each student is empowered with the opportunity to perform at his or her best level. The doctor can help identify, manage and make any assessment referrals for possible conditions such as hearing and vision loss, ADHD, learning disabilities, and more.

Occasionally, accommodations are needed so that students can meet their academic potential. Earlier identification gives opportunities for earlier interventions, if needed. A school physical is an excellent opportunity to better understand how the student can ultimately be given the best chance to meet his or her aspirations.

We can help

At AppFamily Medicine, Baker Center for Primary Care, and Davant Medical Clinic*, we desire to be a medical home for the entire family – infant, pediatric, adolescent and adult (*Davant Medical Clinic sees patients 6 years and older). This includes helping students and their families get ready for the coming academic school year and have confidence that students’ medical needs are addressed. We look forward to serving you and your family as the coming academic year approaches with its own particular challenges.

Call your child’s primary care provider or one of the following practices to schedule a school physical. You can also request an appointment online.

Holston Camp Announces School Day Camp for K-5

Holston Presbytery Camp and Retreat Center announces a STUDENT DAY CAMP. The camp will meet from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday for 9 weeks. This program coincides with the Avery and Watauga County school system’s 9-week virtual learning schedule from Monday, August 17 to Friday, October 16, 2020.

HPCRC will provide adult supervision for students to accomplish their class assignments on their own computer devices. Holston Camp will enroll at least 24 elementary-age students (K-5) which will be divided into two groups according to grade, in two separate buildings. Both buildings will have Wi-Fi, bathroom access, and classroom furnishings.

The STUDENT DAY CAMP will serve local Avery and Watauga parents of elementary school children (K-5) who either have work responsibilities or would prefer a small class size with the benefit of outdoor recreation. Face covers are required along with observing proper social distance, hygiene, and sanitation. Students must provide their own computer and face covering.

Supervision is provided by adult staff with at least a bachelor’s degree conferred by a college or university. They are trained and experienced in various aspects of care and management of children, including but not limited to first aid, safety, behavior issues, and recreation.

HPCRC will provide shuttle (pickup only) located at Lowes Foods (4000 NC Highway 105 S) and Avery County Morrison Library in Newland for an additional fee.  

“Our emphasis is to provide children a safe space to learn while enjoying the benefits of outdoor activities at campus by Wildcat Lake,” says Jim Austin, Director of HPCRC. “We understand some parents must work and need a full-time daycare, and others may prefer a smaller class size for their children to mitigate risk of exposure to COVID-19.”

HPCRC will provided guided outdoor actives such as nature play, field games, archery, hiking, swimming, biking, boating, rock climbing, and zip-lines. Arts and crafts will also be available.

HPCRC will serve breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack to student campers.

Austin said, “Holston has successfully completed a summer of overnight and day camps for children despite the COVID pandemic. Children quickly adapted to masks, social distancing, and hand-washing. Mostly, they just want to be with each other and play outside. Now, we offer parents an alternative to in-class issues by providing a full day of supervised care.”

STUDENT DAY CAMP registration is now open for children in grades K-5. The cost is $1,575 for 9 weeks. Payments by check or cash for the total tuition made before August 14, receive a 10% discount. Enrollment is limited. See for details and registration.

Learning Pods in the High Country for the 2020-2021 School Year

We all know that the new school year will bring many adjustments for families. We are putting together a list of learning pods in the area to give families options to help with daily schedules.

The Big Blue Center for Expressive Arts opened registration for their remote learning center. Please note that assistants will be available to keep kids on task and to help with remote learning. Space is very limited to keep kids physically distanced. The location for the center is 174 Old East King St, Boone, NC 28607.

-WiFi available
-Extra precautions and cleaning to provide as safe a space as possible (temperature checks, masks when not 6 feet apart, extra hand washing, no shared supplies, etc.)

Example of Daily Routine (with a lot of flexibility to meet children’s needs):
Remote Learning 8-8:30
Stretch and Bathroom Break 8:30-8:40
Remote Learning 8:40-9:10
Activity and Bathroom Break 9:10-9:40
Remote Learning 9:40-10:10
Snack and Bathroom Break 10:10-10:30
Remote Learning 10:30-11
Activity and Bathroom Break 11-11:30
Remote Learning/Quiet Freetime 11:30-12

What to bring each day:
Laptop and/or school work for the day (including all supplies needed)
Snack (I will let you know closer to time if there are any allergies we need to be aware of)
Water Bottle (no sugary drinks)

Please register here! Questions can be directed to their Facebook page.


Northwest Studios has two options.

1 – Remote Learning Center:

$50/day $95/week: Drop in Rate

Register for the month and get 5% discount!!

Learning Center opens August 24th

With high-speed internet and individual as well as family work stations, we will be working to give your child(ren) a flexible schedule to meet their scholastic needs. Further details will be emailed to you upon registration. The Learning Assistants Team will be led by Gabby Godwin, MA.

2 – Sublease from Northwest Studios – A great open space that they would like to offer to the community for use. They are keeping their hourly rate as low as they can, hoping to simply support parents and the community while covering some of their base costs that have been accumulating through having to stay shut down under the guidelines of Phase 2.

There are two studio spaces that are available. The upper studio is 60’x40’ with marley flooring, and the lower studio is 50’x30’ with hardwood floors. Upper studio will fit a group of 10-15 and lower will fit a group of 6-10; depending on the nature of the group. You may also rent both spaces if you would like to utilize the whole studio.

Studio space is priced as follows:

  • Upper studio: $35/half day (8am-1pm), $20/hour (+$5/additional hour)
  • Lower studio: $30/half day (8am-1pm), $15/hour (+$5/additional hour)
  • Both studios: $50/half day (8am-1pm), $25/hour (+$10/additional hour)

Add ons:

You can choose to drop your children off! These are additional costs to the studio use fee. The idea is that a group of parents work together to hire the space and then we provide the adult(s) that will be with your children. This was you know who will be there. Please contact us to personalize your experience.

Hire a dance instructor: $50/hour – additional hours possible and at a discounted rate.

Teaching assistant: $35/hour per four children – additional hours possible and at a discounted rate.

Childcare professional: $20/hour per 4 children – additional hours possible and at a discounted rate.