Appalachian State University Academy at Middle Fork students and teachers are excited and enthusiastic to learn together — the school provides a balanced education through:

  • research-based practices; 
  • state-of-the-art literacy instruction; and 
  • exemplary classroom instruction and administration. 

The App State Curriculum Team, consisting of faculty experts from the Reich College of Education, and other App State faculty members partner with Academy at Middle Fork teachers to innovate and incorporate new methods into the curriculum. Additionally, through the ongoing partnership with App State, Academy at Middle Fork students are reminded daily that a college education can become their reality — when the time comes, Academy at Middle Fork students know that their “college on the mountain” will be ready for them.

Overview of Academic Program

Academy at Middle Fork teachers, students and administrators, as well as App State faculty, and community members work together to create an excellent and robust academic program. 

Core Commitments

  1. Learning Together: We commit to learning together through partnerships, collaboration and high-quality instructional programming.
  2. Developing the Whole Child: We commit to developing the whole child including their social skills, emotional needs and cognitive abilities.
  3. Boosting Academics: We commit to boosting academics through early literacy as well as an inclusive and integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum.
  4. Amplifying Sustainability: We commit to amplifying sustainability by teaching sustainable living; civility, equity and equality; wellness; and, respect for the environment.

Key innovations

In keeping with the above commitments, three key innovations at the Academy at Middle Fork are:

  1. The implementation of a literacy workshop approach to teaching all students in K-5 classrooms,
  2. The implementation of a balanced curriculum that is inclusive, integrated, and interdisciplinary,
  3. The implementation of targeted professional development for practicing teachers and teaching assistants.

Literacy Workshop

The Academy at Middle Forks’s literacy workshop approach, where students receive adaptive, guided, small group instruction, has resulted in significant increases of average test scores in a state reading assessments.

The Academy at Middle Forks’s literacy workshop, inspired by the Anderson Reading Clinic in Appalachian’s Reich College of Education (RCOE), is implemented in every classroom — it is designed to improve and enrich literacy via immersive reading and writing instruction

  • The literacy workshop approach involves students in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. 
  • Students receive adaptive, guided, small group instruction.
  • Students have the opportunity to read a wide variety of texts featuring characters and themes that are identifiable to them. 
  • Students also write daily during Interdisciplinary Writing Workshop. They begin with self-selected topics to encourage their interests while developing writing fluency, and later practice writing across different areas/genres.

The Academy at Middle Fork also hosts a summer reading clinic that focuses on individual student needs as determined by research-based literacy assessments.


Books are vital to the literacy workshop’s success. 

  • Books that match readers’ levels and interests are present in every classroom. 
  • The workshop relies heavily on the daily reading aloud of texts along with “accountable” talk — teachers read aloud and give students time to think and talk about the text. 
  • Students also talk with each other about the books they read. 
  • Author’s visits provide opportunities to interact with some of the authors of the books that we read together.

Balanced curriculum

The Academy at Middle Fork recognizes the importance of a challenging, balanced curriculum and is committed to providing a quality education with opportunities for all students. Therefore, the Academy at Middle Fork’s curriculum is inclusive, integrated, and interdisciplinary

There are four key components:

  1. The implementation of four strands throughout the academic year. The four strands are: Identity, Movement, Our World, and Changes.
  2. Grade-level and developmentally appropriate application of the school-wide strands including implementation suggestions/strategies and professional development for teachers aligned with state standards, common core, and professional interests.
  3. Materials and resources to support implementation suggestions and teachers’ professional development.
  4. Interdisciplinary and integrated content including the arts, fitness, and media studies for children, families, and community members.

Targeted professional development

App State faculty and staff work collaboratively with staff at the Academy at Middle Fork to provide professional development that is focused on improving student outcomes and providing high-quality teacher and principal training.

Core values and the positive behavior support system

The Academy at Middle Fork’s core values of Honesty, Integrity, Kindness and Excellence (HIKE) guide our efforts towards sustaining a positive school culture and behavior support system. 

Our strong positive behavior support system reflecting the values of HIKE (honesty, integrity, kindness, and excellence) is implemented on a daily basis and has resulted in improved student behavior and collaboration. — Darron Daniels, Director of Student Affairs and Emergency Management

Our mini-Mountaineers work individually and collaboratively to demonstrate these values and receive special recognitions: 

  • Mountaineer tokens are awarded to students and collected to purchase items and cool prizes at our school store, The Trading Post. 
  • Entire classrooms receive “Trail Pass” recognitions from other staff members. Once a class earns twenty trail passes, it is time for a celebration. 
  • Our HIKE Committee includes teachers, staff members and administrators from each grade level and focuses on school-wide events and student programming.
  • We recognize student achievement highlights weekly when we announce a “HIKER of the Week” from each classroom. 
  • Restorative meetings centered on community development and building relationships help us to resolve conflicts and continue to learn together. 

Read more: Positive incentives guide students at App State Academy at Middle Fork