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MNSA Student/Parent Handbook
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Montford North Star Academy Gear Logo.png




90 Montford Avenue

Asheville, NC  28801


Welcome to the Montford North Star Academy Family!

I am very excited to be moving into year three with you and your family.  We have a  phenomenal faculty and staff who are bringing a wide variety of experience and talent to our school community.  Our Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) theme will spark student interest and will open their minds to some new and innovative opportunities.

Our middle school concept develops the whole child. As we grow into 8th grade, our curriculum will become more rigorous and will include new course offerings.  We plan to set high expectations for our students and will require each of them to develop digital portfolios that will demonstrate evidence towards meeting certain goals and standards with a growth mindset.  

As a parent or guardian, you are a part of our Parent Team. We encourage you to be an active participant in our amazing school community in any capacity possible.

Looking forward to working with our North Star Navigators,

Shannon Baggett



Montford North Star Academy will provide an immersive, empowering, skills focused and performance-based learning environment in which to prepare all students with the authentic readiness for career, college, and life.


The mission of Montford North Star Academy is to recognize and respond to diverse backgrounds, abilities, challenges and opportunities of each and every one of our students.

By applying individual strategies and fostering self-directed learning through real-world problem solving and innovative choices, students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed in following their North Stars.

Motto: Connect. Collaborate. Create.

Faculty and Staff



Shannon Baggett


Miranda Wheeler

Innovation Coordinator/Assistant Principal

Penny Kole

Data Manager/Bookkeeper/Administrative Assistant

Randy Lutz

Head Custodian

Karen Ackiss


Kortney Conner

Social Worker

Jason Gall

School Resource Officer

Samantha Covalt

6th Grade ELA Teacher

John Gullic

6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Katy Hardy

6th Grade Math Teacher

Gretchen Ross

6th Grade Science Teacher

Sarah Armstrong

7th Grade ELA Teacher

Michelle Berzack

7th Grade Science Teacher

Steven Grindstaff

7th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Christina White

7th Grade Math Teacher

Alston Arras

8th Grade ELA Teacher

Leslie Gehris

8th Grade Science Teacher

Matthew Leggat

8th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Steven Sarnie

8th Grade Math and Math I Teacher

Michaela Denninger

Academically Gifted/Math Through STEAM/Mind Readers

Jacob Ocegueda

PE Teacher

Thomas House

Project Lead The Way Teacher

Micheal Luther

Project Lead The Way Teacher

Tommie (Trey) Simpson

Music Teacher

Megan Venhuizen

Art Teacher

Leah Kiell

Exceptional Children Teacher 6th grade

LaTonya Best/Kelsey McCarter

Exceptional Children Teacher Assistant

Robin Wilson

Exceptional Children Teacher 7th/8th grade

Jason Conklin

Exceptional Children Teacher Assistant

Jeanne Morris

Media Coordinator

Kimberly Lay


Bonnie Cathers  

Laptop Manager

Tabitha Banks

Nutrition Manager

Keva Bates

Nutrition Staff

Student Drop off in the morning--No earlier than 7:45am

Our parking lot follows a one way traffic pattern. Students should only exit vehicles while parked near the covered walkway in designated loading/unloading zones. Both riders and walkers should enter the building via the main entrance near the office. For safety reasons, parents must not unload students in any other area of our parking lot or on surrounding streets.

If arriving between 7:45am-8am, all students report to the cafeteria. A bell will ring at 8am to dismiss students to homerooms. If arriving after 8am, students should report to homeroom unless they wish to eat breakfast, then report to the cafeteria. Breakfast will be served from 7:50am-8:20am.

Students riding school buses will be dropped off on the Montford Avenue side of the building. Students must enter the building via the Montford side entrance.


Student Pick Up in the Afternoon--3:30 pm Dismissal

Our parking lot follows a one way traffic pattern. The car rider line will begin at the covered walkway, down the outer circle of the parking lot onto Courtland and down Gudger Street. Please do not block the entrance to the parking lot.

Upon dismissal, car rider students will wait under the covered walkway in front of the building. Students will only be allowed to load cars within the loading zones under the covered walkway. For safety reasons, parents must not load students in any other area of our parking lot or on surrounding streets.

Bus riders will wait in the gym until their bus is called. Buses will pick up on Montford Ave.

Late Arrivals

It is very important for our students to be on time and ready to learn. Our first class begins promptly at 8:30am. Students who are not in class by 8:30am must report to the office to receive a tardy slip. Repeated tardiness will result in parental conference with an action plan and consequences for the student.

Check In/Check Out

Students arriving late or returning from a doctor appointment must report to the office with a parent to check in. Parents picking up students early must also report to the office to check out students. A doctor's note must be submitted to the Administrative Assistant upon return from any appointments.  Excused notes will not be accepted after 5 days of appointment.

Admittance after Absence

A doctor's note must be submitted to the Administrative Assistant upon return from absences due to any appointments. If a doctor was not seen due to an absence, a parent note must be submitted to the Administrative Assistant upon return from the absence. Excused notes will not be accepted after 5 days of absence.

Classroom Tardy Consequences

1st Offense--Warning

2nd Offense--Warning

3rd Offense--Minor Referral, Conference with student, Phone call home

4th Offense --Minor Referral, Lunch detention

5th Offense-Minor Referral, Lunch detention

6th Offense--Major Referral, ISS, Phone call home


If a student forgot an item at home and a parent wishes to bring it to school, the parent must submit the item to the Administrative Assistant in the main office who will make sure the item gets to the student. Students are not allowed to have or receive fast food deliveries from parents.  

Skateboards, Scooters, Bicycles and other Wheeled Conveyances

Students are not allowed to have skateboards, scooters, bicycles or other wheeled conveyances in the building. If they chose to ride such items to and from school, they may use the bike rack in the front of the building for bikes, and must turn in other devices to the office during the school day. However, we are not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Dress Code

A dress code is enforced to avoid tendencies on the part of students to call attention to themselves to the point of interfering with the school program. The dress code applies to any school-related event including bus transportation.   It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure that students leave home dressed appropriately for school. Any student wearing inappropriate clothing will be asked to change or have parents bring them clothing. 

The administration has the authority to judge a student’s dress situation not specifically listed in this handbook as a violation if the situation is regarded to disrupt the educational environment.  Administration will make final judgments, interpretations, and changes regarding dress code issues.

Asheville City Schools Board of Education Policy 4316 prohibits any appearance or clothing that does the following:

The following  items are not permitted (includes but is not limited to):

Other dress code information:

Dress Code Violation Consequences

1st Offense--Call home to have parent bring appropriate clothing or be given available school issued clothing

2nd Offense-- Call home to have parent bring appropriate clothing or be given available school issued clothing

3rd Offense--Minor Referral, Lunch Detention and Call home to have parent bring appropriate clothing or be given available school issued clothing

4th Offense--Major Referral, ISS and Call home to have parent bring appropriate clothing or be given available school issued clothing

Restroom Policy

Students should use the restroom prior to 8:30am and are allowed to use the restroom during any transition of classes ( 7 opportunities a day). If a student has an emergency during class, they are allowed 3 passes per class per semester. If a medical condition exists, parents should meet with our school nurse with medical documentation.


With the exception of the school-issued laptop, students are encouraged to leave any valuables or other electronic devices at home. We are not responsible for any lost or stolen items. We will not conduct any student searches for allegedly stolen items.


When students bring money to school for field trips or other school-sponsored items, they should bring it to the Homeroom Teacher upon arrival to school for a receipt.

Most fees can be paid online by going to our website and clicking online payments under the parent tab.

Student Use of Technology

Terms of Responsible Use of Technology and Internet Safety Agreement

Students and parents must read and sign the ACS Responsible Use of Technology and Internet Safety Agreement (RUA) prior to using any technology on campus.  Prior to laptop distribution, all students will take the Digital Literacy unit via the Navigator course. Use of technology is a large part of our curriculum and we expect all students to practice safe and effective use. Violations to the ACS RUA may result in limited use of technology.

When a student is using technology (laptops, phones, electronic readers, etc.) and they are not on the appropriate websites or software identified by the teacher, they are misusing the device. During school hours 8:30am-3:30pm, students are only to be using technology for academic use as defined by the supervising adults. Repeated misuse of technology will result in limited technology use including the loss of the device completely. Technology use in our school is a privilege and must be used appropriately.  

Misuse of Technology Consequences

1st Offense--Warning

2nd Offense--Warning

3rd Offense--Minor Referral, Conference with student, Phone call home

4th Offense --Minor Referral, Lunch detention

5th Offense-Minor Referral, Lunch detention, moved to the restricted filter list

6th Offense--Major Referral, ISS, Parent Conference

Fees for Laptop damage

The annual $35 Cost Share Fee helps sustain the 1:1 Laptop Initiative. For information about a payment plan or a fee waiver please contact your school. Only 7th and 8th graders will need to pay this fee for the 2019-2020 school year.

Accidental damage will result in a repair fee for the student/family based on the following:

If a laptop is lost or stolen and not returned, the student/family will be charged $125. Note: some schools may elect to use alternative consequences for the first incidence of accidental damage.

Guidelines for Cell Phone Use

Cell phones are not to be used on campus from 7:45am-3:30pm. If a student brings one to school, they must be turned off and securely stored in a student's backpack or purse. Cell phones are not to be kept in pockets or brought to the restroom. Students will have access to a very robust laptop with a camera for school use. For this reason, it is extremely rare that cell phone use will ever be permitted for academic use by a teacher. However, in these rare academic instances, a teacher may give temporary permission for cell phone use for an activity.  If a parent must contact his or her child, please do not attempt to text or call a student on a cell phone from 8:30am-3:30pm as this may cause a substantial disruption to the learning environment. Please call the office and someone will assist you.

Violation of cellphone procedures by students shall result in the following:

1st Offense – Phone taken until the end of the day, phone returned at end of day to student.

2nd Offense – Phone taken until parent picks it up, parent notified by administrator.  

3rd Offense – Minor referral, Phone taken until parent picks it up, parent notified by administrator.

4th  Offense – Major referral, ISS, Phone taken until parent picks it up, parent notified by administrator,


Grading Procedures--The 10 point grading scale is used in Asheville City Schools:

90-100 A                  80-89  B                70-79 C              60-69 D          0-59  F

NC Check-ins will be the programs used for Benchmark indicators throughout the year.

Report Cards/Progress Reports-- Report Cards are issued at the end of each 9-week period. Progress reports are issued in the middle of each 9 weeks--approximately 5 weeks into each marking period.  

Homework--Work assigned outside of the school day is intended for practice or reinforcement of a skill, further completion of an assignment or task, gaining new knowledge, collaborating with colleagues, or to prepare for a future lesson or project.

Late work--If a student is absent from class, they have 5 school days to turn in any work missed. Points will be deducted from work that is turned in late.

Parent Portal/ PowerSchool--Parents will have access to student attendance and grades via PowerSchool. Login information to access the Parent Portal will be given to parents after the start of the school year.

Academically and Intellectually Gifted Students (AIG)--Students identified as AIG will be served by a certified AIG teacher.

Student Life

Ambassadors--Students are selected to participate as an ambassador for our school. Being an ambassador will support students in overcoming obstacles and will lead to leadership opportunities within the school.  

The Daily Innovator School News--We are looking for responsible and committed young journalists and reporters to be a part of our broadcast news team.

Junior National Honor Society --Students are nominated by their teachers to be inducted into the NJHS. These students display excellence in the areas of Character, Leadership, Scholarship, and Community Service.

Media Center --Our Media Center is a place of learning and discovery.  We encourage our students to utilize the media and technology available.

Field Trips--Our students are expected to represent our school with dignity and respect at all times when traveling to off-campus sites. Administration reserves the right to deny any student the ability to participate on any field trip due to behavioral or academic concerns.

Athletic Programs --Athletic programs will be offered to 6th grade students via the YMCA Play For Your School Sports program and YWCA. Typically, students practice once per week and have one game per week.  Good swimmers are eligible to compete in the Asheville City Middle Schools Swim Club via the YWCA.  Seventh and eighth graders are eligible to participate in sports with Asheville Middle School. See school website for more details.

Extracurricular Participation--Students participating in extracurricular activities are expected to remain in good academic and behavioral standing and will be progress monitored. Any student receiving a D on a progress report or report card will be counseled and put on probation until the grade is raised to at least a C. Any student receiving a referral will also be counseled and put on probation until the next progress report.

Current Clubs include--Robotics Club, Girls Who Code Club, Yearbook, Drama, Dungeons and Dragons, Bully Busters, GSA, Go Girls Running Club, and Student Government Association.

In Real Life (IRL) After School program--After School classes are offered Monday-Friday. Visit for more information.

Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS)--Our school uses a PBIS model to communicate school-wide expectations and to manage student behavior. PBIS is a framework or approach for assisting school personnel in adopting and organizing evidence-based behavioral interventions into an integrated continuum that enhances academic and social behavior outcomes for all students (

Montford North Star Navigators RISE

Respect, Integrity, Safety, Excellence

Parent Team--We highly encourage parental participation on our Parent Team.  Members support our students and staff by organizing events and through various volunteer opportunities. If interested, please see our Administrative Assistant.

Visitors & Volunteers--All visitors must immediately report to the main office for a Visitor's Pass. This pass must be worn at all times while on campus. Before leaving, visitors must check out in the main office. Before any adult volunteers on campus, a background check must first be completed. Background checks may take 1-2 weeks for results. Please see our website for volunteer background check release forms.

Team Conferences (Parent, Teacher, and Student) --Teachers and/or parents may request a team meeting to discuss an action plan to best support our students. Parents should contact the school counselor to schedule a meeting.

School Nutrition Program 

Most main entrees are made from scratch in our cafeteria. The menu includes local produce and participates in the North Carolina Farm To School program monthly.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are served daily.  A variety of entree salads will be offered three times a week. Our very own School Nutrition Manager is a graduate of the K-12 Culinary Institute.

Outside food from restaurants and fast-food restaurants is not allowed. Healthy bag lunches from home are welcomed.

Apply for Free and Reduced Price School Meals on ACS School Nutrition Webpage:

Click on “Apply for Free and Reduced Price School Meals”.  

Breakfast Prices

Lunch Prices

Paying for School Lunch Online--With K12PaymentCenter you never have to worry about lost lunch money again. K12PaymentCenter is a secure, easy and convenient way to apply funds directly to your student's account online. K12PaymentCenter has been designed to make it easy for you to know exactly what information you need to provide and to guide you through the process.

Student Services and Assistance Programs

Our school will offer the following student services: Guidance and Mental Health Counseling, School Social Worker, School Resource Officer,  and School Nurse.


All medications must be turned in to the office. No medication is allowed to be carried on person. Parents should bring medications to the office so we can set up a meeting with the school nurse before medications can be administered.

Student Conduct

Students are expected to follow the Asheville City Schools Code of Conduct. Please refer to the Asheville City Schools Student Code of Conduct Handbook.

Bus Conduct

Middle school students will be riding buses that also have high school students as passengers.  Guidelines regarding appropriate bus and school transportation behavior are clearly outlined below. We take bus rider safety seriously. Students not adhering to the Bus Safety Contract may be removed/suspended from the bus.

Students are only allowed to ride assigned buses. Students are not permitted to ride home with friends on buses for which they are not assigned.

Bus and Bus Stop Rules

At the Designated Bus Stop:

On the bus:

Leaving the bus:

The above are highlighted items from the ACS Bus Rules & Regulations Contract. Both students and parents are required to sign the contract.

Consequences for violating bus rules may include:

1st Violation--Warning and parent contact

2nd Violation--Parent contact; may include a 3 day suspension from riding a bus

3rd Violation--Parent contact; may include a 5 day suspension from riding a bus

4th Violation --Parent contact; may include a 10 day suspension from riding a bus

In case of suspension, the student must still attend school with transportation being provided by parents. Further violations may result in long-term out-of-school suspension.

Safe Schools Drills

Safety of our students and staff  is our primary concern. Our school will conduct routine Fire, Tornado, and Lockdown drills to prepare students and staff for emergency situations.

Anti Bullying/Harassment

Bullying and Harassment are not acceptable at Montford North Star Academy. We will make every effort to address this issue quickly and consequences will be strictly enforced. Anti bullying and harassment lessons will be conducted via our counseling curriculum throughout the school year.

Accidents and Injuries

In the event of any accidents or injuries, students will be assessed and parents will be contacted. While our school nurse is only on campus part time, every effort will be made to ensure the safety of our students.

Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement weather please check WLOS for up to date delay and school closure information. WLOS will be our official communication source.


Asheville City Schools offers parents the opportunity to purchase student accident insurance from a private third-party insurance provider.  The insurance provides coverage for medical costs associated with accidents at school and some options provide coverage for accidents that occur outside of school.  Each year students are provided with the necessary enrollment forms.  If you are interested in purchasing the insurance, please review the form that will be sent home within the first few weeks of school and send directly to the insurance carrier or go online at

(Disclaimer: Asheville City Schools has no direct affiliation with the insurance provider and does not receive any portion of the premium you may pay to the provider.  This notice and the opportunity to purchase the insurance are provided merely as a service and convenience to parents.)  

Sales and Solicitations at School

No outside sales or solicitation are permitted.  Please contact Administration with questions about this policy.