Whether you’re looking into schools for your children or are thinking of going back to school yourself, Henderson County and the surrounding area offer a variety of educational opportunities.
Parents with small children will find numerous choices when it comes to child care and preschools. Many churches offer weekday programs and many private and publicly funded child care centers operate throughout the county. For more information and a current list of child care options in Henderson County, contact Mountain Child Care Connections at 877-752-5955 or visit the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education at ncchildcare.ncdhhs.gov.
Henderson County Public Schools
For children five years of age to 18, Henderson County Public Schools has23 schools—four high, four middle, 13 elementary, the Henderson County Career Academy and the Henderson County Early College. All are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Career Academy and theEarly College (together, the Innovative High Schools) are housed in the Molly A. Parkhill Building on the Blue Ridge Community College campus.The Career Academy offers Art, Automotive, Business & Finance, Fire Fighting, Food Service and Mechatronics academies to high school students pursuing direct, specific career goals unavailable in a traditional high school setting. The Early College gives many first-generation college students the opportunity to complete high school and college coursework through Blue Ridge Community College in five years and graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.
The system is the second largest in the Western North Carolina region and 27th largest in the state, serving more than 13,500 children with a staff of more than 3,000 instructional and non-instructional employees.
Twenty-one of the schools operate on a traditional schedule off our nine-week grading periods. Bruce Drysdale Elementary and Hendersonville Elementary operate on a flex schedule of four nine-week grading periods with three-week inter-sessions. North Carolina legislation requires that schools begin no sooner than the Monday closest to Aug.26 and end no later than the Friday closest to June 11.
HCPS is consistently rated among the best in the state for academic excellence. In 2017, HCPS ranked sixth out of 115 public school districts in North Carolina for its overall proficiency. The system has a total of 191 National Board Certified Teachers. The mean Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) score of Henderson County students for 2018was 1124 – 75points above the US average. HCPS had a 2018 four-year cohort graduation rate of 91.4percent, exceeding the state’s rate by 5.1 percentage points. All four middle schools are designated as “Schools to Watch” by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, and eight schools (seven elementary and one high)implement Franklin Covey’s The Leader in Me school-wide model.
Public Charter Schools
Henderson County also has two public, tuition-free charter schools – FernLeaf Community Charter School in Fletcher and The Mountain Community School in Hendersonville.
FernLeaf Community Charter School in Fletcher moves beyond traditional classroom based instruction by employing a rich and varied project-based experiential learning model that brings the curriculum to life for students, teachers and the community. Founded by area educators, the school seeks to foster a rich learning environment that engages students and helps them develop into compassionate, thoughtful human beings as they grow and achieve academically. For more information, call 828-684-3645or visit fernleafccs.org.
The Mountain Community School in Hendersonville defines its mission as fostering respect for all while instilling a lifelong love of learning. The Mountain Community School is a charter school that offers a rigorous curricular experience based on an expeditionary model of learning in grades K-8. For more information, call 828-696-8480 or visit themountaincommunityschool.com.
In addition to fine public schools, Henderson County has several private schools.
Captain Gilmer ChristianSchool in Fletcher offers instruction for grades pre-K through 8th grade and serves as the primary school for Fletcher Academy. The Academy provides a general college preparatory work/study program for day students and boarding students in grades 9 to 12. Both schools are Seventh-day Adventist. For more information, call Captain Gilmer Christian School at 828-684-8221 or visit captaingilmer.com, or call Fletcher Academy at 828-209-6800 or visit fletcheracademy.com.
Imago Dei Classical Academy is a classical Christian school in Mills River that seeks to glorify God by teaching students, parents and staff to think clearly, listen with discernment and understanding, reason persuasively and articulate precisely. For more information, call 828-513-4966 or visit idcanc.org.
Immaculata Catholic School in Hendersonville provides academic and religious instruction for preschool through 8th grade, integrating Roman Catholic tradition into a comprehensive instructional program. For more information, call 828-693-3277 or visit immac.org.
Veritas Christian Academy in Fletcher is an independent, co-educational, PreK-12, college preparatory school with an educational culture built on the classical Trivium and Christianity. Veritas also offers a program called “School Within a School” that provides support to students with high-functioning autism and learning differences. Veritas’ academic program is enhanced by a new Center for Nature Studies, a fine arts program, an athletics department and an assortment of electives and extracurricular activities.For more information about Veritas, call 828-681-0546 or visit veritasnc.org.
Homeschooling is also an option for North Carolina parents and children. Resources include the NC Division of Non-Public Education at ncadmin.nc.gov/citizens/home-school-information, North Carolinians for Home Education at nche.com, the Henderson County Homeschool Association at homeschool-life.com/nc/hcha and Classical Scholars at classicalscholarshomeschool.com.
Blue Ridge Community College
Blue Ridge Community College is a two-year, post-secondary institution that elevates the educational experience to prepare students for 21st-century success in the workforce or at four-year colleges and universities. With campuses in Henderson and Transylvania Counties, the college offers more than 100 degrees, diplomas and certificates; more than 200 online courses; and fast-tracked job training in five semesters or less. Blue Ridge’s faculty develop and teach programs that provide real-life practice, meet the needs of employers and lead to well-paying careers. Blue Ridge graduates are also eligible to transfer to any of North Carolina’s 18 public colleges and universities.
Blue Ridge helps students overcome financial obstacles by offering more than 800 scholarship opportunities through the College’s Educational Foundation.
Additionally, Blue Ridge Community College provides robust and flexible continuing education programs that provide pathways to success for students of all ages to further their education, start a new career or enrich their skill set.
Blue Ridge strives to connect students with area employers through services such as the Small Business Center and NCWorks Career Center.
Wingate University’s Hendersonville campus offers fully accredited Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) and Masters of Physician Assistant (PA) programs. Both programs emphasize small classes, a student-centered environment, service to the community, and real-life experiences in problem-solving and application of skills.
Wingate University’s School of Pharmacy offers both state-of-the-art facilities and a caring faculty. The Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum is designed so what is learned inside the classroom complements what happens in rotations and later in practice outside the classroom. Many courses are case-based and include practical experience.
The Physician Assistant Studies Program is dedicated to developing skilled, productive and ethical physician assistants to serve the healthcare needs of the communities in which they practice. Students benefit from comprehensive didactic instruction aligned with the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants blueprint for each semester, as well as a culture of learning through sharing information gained through practice among clinical year students. The PA studies program is integrated with local hospitals and healthcare providers.
The school’s health-education facility, located next to Pardee UNC Health Care, is a joint venture of Wingate, Henderson County, the City of Hendersonville, Blue Ridge Community College and Pardee UNC Health Care.
Mars Hill University
With its main campus just north of Asheville, Mars Hill University also has an educational center on the Henderson/Buncombe County line at 303-B Airport Road in Arden.Classes at this location are scheduled in the evening to meet the needs of working adults. Degrees offered at the site include bachelor’s degrees in business management, criminal justice, and social work, as well as a variety of education majors and licenses. A fully accredited Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program also is available at the Airport Road center.
Montreat College School of Adult and Graduate Studies
Montreat College is an independent, Christ-centered, liberal arts institution that educates students through intellectual inquiry, spiritual formation and preparation for calling and career. For 25years, Montreat College’s School of Adult and Graduate Studies has delivered excellent faith-based adult education that equips students with the real-world skills and experiences needed to advance their careers, achieve success and become leaders in their field. Montreat College students have gone on to become leading executives, business owners and managers, licensed clinical counselors and cybersecurity professionals.
With undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in business, management, marketing, cybersecurity, criminal justice, counseling and more, Montreat College’s School of Adult and Graduate Studies offers convenient scheduling online or at campus locations in Asheville, Charlotte and Morganton.
University of North Carolina at Asheville
UNC Asheville transforms lives through education, offering a pre-eminent undergraduate education as well as specialized graduate degrees and certificate programs. With 3,800 students and more than 30 undergraduate majors and a Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree, UNC Asheville encourages students to take part in a nationally acclaimed undergraduate research program and participate in interdisciplinary learning. From internships and hands-on projects, including detailed design and fabrication in STEAM Studio, to study abroad and community engagement, students experience an education that extends beyond campus into the surrounding region and the world. UNC Asheville is the only dedicated public liberal arts and sciences university in the UNC System, nationally ranked among the top 10 in this category by the U.S. News and World Report, and has been named one of the top schools for “Making an Impact” by The Princeton Review.