There’s a new “kid” on the block in Hazelwood—Haywood County Schools (HCS) in collaboration with Haywood Community College (HCC) are making a difference in student lives with an impressive new learning center located in the former Hazelwood Elementary School.          

     HCC’s Adult Education classes are offered at the Alternative Learning Center morning, afternoon and evenings including GED, Adult High School, and Gateway.

     Gateway is a credit recovery program developed three years ago to decrease the drop-out rate in Haywood County public schools. Since Gateway started in 2005, over 100 students have recovered credits and graduated. Also, the drop-out rate has been cut by 20% since Gateway’s inception.

     The Gateway program is making a difference and is quite unique in doing so—no other community college or public school in North Carolina is doing this kind of program collaboration.

     Both partners must meet each entity’s guidelines: HCC’s Adult Education program can count the contact hours for students who have “dropped out” and enrolled in classes; public schools can count the completions when students recover credits and return to their high school to graduate; and drop-outs are not officially recorded as “dropped out” until the 20th day of the fall public school year.

     The history behind this unique and successful program provided a strong foundation for future collaboration. The partnership began in 1987 when the JobLink/WIA program in the county began making referrals to the GED program at HCC. By 1995 the partnership was going strong and became the first in the state to co-locate in a JobLink Center. By 1998 the partnership began looking for sites to hold classes for the many student referrals coming through the JobLink connection. The partnership grew out of a need to affect the drop-out rate and the shared goal of both partners “to make sure that every student has every opportunity to succeed.”

     An Open House to celebrate this unique partnership and the success of our students was held on Tuesday, September 16. For more information on the Alternative Learning Center, call 828-454-6590.



Kyle Ledford is the Director of the Alternative Learning Center. The center is a collaboration between Haywood County Schools and Haywood Community College. It is located in the former Hazelwood Elementary School. 





Students can attend classes through HCC’s Adult Education Division at the new Alternative Learning Center. These classes include GED, Adult High School, and Gateway.