Hoke County Schools

Resilient and ready

Becoming College, Career, and Life Ready

Board Approves November 12 as a Non-Instructional Day for Students

and a Remote Working Day for Staff

Hoke County Schools announced on Thursday, October 21, that the Board of Education approved a change to the 2021-22 school calendars. Friday, November 12 will now be a non-instructional day for all students. All staff are encouraged to work remotely on the 12th and should use the time to rest, reflect, and prepare for the remainder of the semester. Thursday, November 11 will remain a holiday in observance of Veteran’s Day.

“We all are keenly aware of the toll that the past year and a half has taken on our students, staff, and families,” Board Chair Rosa McAllister-McRae reflected. “All of the hard work that has gone into getting this school year started has not gone unnoticed as well. As a Board, we believe that the social and emotional well-being of our students and staff is critical to our success and we felt that the additional opportunity for reflection will have a positive impact on everyone.”

The district was able to implement the change by using banked time that is built into the school calendar. The 1,025 required instructional hours will still be met.

All athletic events, practices, and extracurricular activities will take place as scheduled on November 12.


U.S. Department of Education Continues Green Strides Tour in Sandhills

Continuing their tour of the Tar Heel State to highlight schools that teach and model sustainability, representatives from the U.S. Department of Education and N.C. Department of Public Instruction traveled Wednesday to the Sandhills region to visit three past Green Ribbon award winners in Hoke and Cumberland counties.

Wednesday’s tour kicked off at Hoke County’s Sandy Grove Middle School, led by Principal Tommy Jacobs. A 2016 Green Ribbon honoree, Sandy Gove is an LEED Gold school that generates more energy than it consumes. Notable innovative design and construction features include photovoltaic and geothermal heating and cooling systems, LED lighting, continuous air barrier, and whole-building control of each building system through a singular automation system.

During the tour, guests visited stations where they heard about the building’s unique design and construction, had an opportunity to see the energy-conserving and use efforts at the school, learned about the interactive energy dashboard where energy use and savings are tracked daily, and visited an eighth-grade science classroom where students learned more about energy conservation.

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Board of Education Approves COVID Stipend

During their October 12 regular meeting, the Hoke County Schools Board of Education approved a COVID-19 Stipend for all of the district’s full-time and part-time permanent employees. The Board unanimously voted to approve the stipend in the amount of $1,800 for the 2021-2022 school year.

Chief Finance Officer, Mrs. Wannaa Chavis, reported to the Board the stipend would be paid in two increments with the first payment of $900 being paid in December 2021 for the 1st semester, and then $900 would be paid in June 2022 for the 2nd semester.

Superintendent Dr. Debra Dowless noted, “As we continue to offer face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, our staff continues to experience an increased number of responsibilities to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our buildings. Additionally, due to staff shortages and vacancies related to COVID-19, staff members have assumed multiple responsibilities and assignments.” Dowless continued, “On behalf of all Hoke County Schools staff, we are so thankful that the Board chose to make this expression of appreciation.”

The COVID-19 Stipend will be paid out of ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) funds.


Hoke County Schools Receives $1.4 Million Dollar Grant to Expand STEM Programming

Hoke County Schools is excited to announce its recent awarding of a $1,436,459.47 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). According to the Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education of the National Science and Technology Council, it is critical to our national security that our students spark interest in critical and fast-growing careers in STEM and our PreK-12 education system is poised to increase and sustain student engagement in STEM. This grant will provide Hoke County Schools with the college and career-ready resources necessary to successfully build and/or expand the district’s STEM programming.

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Message from the Superintendent

Dr. Dowless addresses school safety and security

Dear Hoke County Schools’ families,

In recent weeks, school districts across our region have seen a sharp increase in the number of altercations among students, as well as an increase in verbal comments and social media posts where students make inappropriate remarks or threats. While these are the actions of a few students, they can create an atmosphere where all students and staff feel unsafe.

I want to assure our students, staff, parents, and community that safety is our number one priority each and every day that we open the doors of our schools and offices. Our commitment to providing a safe learning and working environment is always at the forefront of our minds and in every decision we make. We work closely with our local law enforcement to develop safety plans for each school and building we operate. In conjunction with our local Fire Department, Police Department, and Sheriff’s Department, we conduct announced and unannounced fire and lockdown drills at each of our schools. We work with emergency management to continuously review our emergency preparedness plans and we ensure that our school administrators are prepared for any possible event that could take place on our campuses. We have School Resource Officers assigned to all of our schools. At a moment’s notice, our law enforcement and emergency services personnel are ready to respond quickly to any situation on our campuses. It is our goal that, without hesitation, every child and every staff member knows what to do in an emergency situation.

We know that even with all the camera systems, drills, and exercises we conduct, the most valuable security system that we have on our campuses each day remains the many thousands of eyes and ears of our students and staff. We can’t stress enough how strongly we encourage anyone and everyone to say something to someone – a teacher, a counselor, an administrator, or law enforcement personnel – if they hear or see anything suspicious or ever have any concerns. Students, parents, or community members can also anonymously report anything suspicious using our Tip Line app which can be found on our district and school websites.

Finally, we are keenly aware that there are students and their families that face situations and have burdens that many of us can only imagine, particularly in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. We also know that one of the biggest challenges we face as a nation is mental health awareness. We remain committed to meeting the educational, social, and emotional needs of all of our students.

We must remain vigilant here in our own community. Let us do everything we can, with all that we can, to ensure that our schools and community remain safe.


Dr. Debra Dowless, Superintendent

Hoke County Schools



During their September 14 regular meeting, the Board of Education approved the Hoke County Schools’ comprehensive strategic plan, entitled ‘Ready and Resilient’. The Board’s approval marks the end of a stakeholder-driven process that developed the plan, as well as the beginning of the district’s next five years.

The plan highlights five priorities including creating an environment for student success, fostering student well-being, creating and enhancing modern and innovative learning environments and systems, developing strong communication and community engagement, and attracting and retaining excellent professionals. All five priorities include long-range goals with corresponding strategies and actions for implementation. All of the plan’s priorities fully support the district’s new district and vision and mission statements.

“This strategic plan is a significant first step of the many we plan to take together to continue to move our system forward,” noted Hoke County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Debra Dowless. “Success does not happen by accident and schools and districts do not become high-performing by chance. Having a strong school system requires our personal and collective commitment; therefore, the success of this strategic plan requires everyone’s effort.”

A data-driven process will be in place to monitor the progress of the plan’s priorities. Regular strategic plan updates will be presented to the Board and stakeholders.

Click here to view the Strategic Plan in its entirety.

Click here to view the Strategic Plan At-a-Glance.

Please click here to review our 2021-22 School Re-Entry Plan

Face coverings will be required inside all buildings and on all school transportation for all students and staff, PreK-12, regardless of vaccination status.


Haga clic aquí para revisar nuestro Plan de reingreso escolar 2021-22.

Se requerirá el uso de cubrebocas dentro de todos los edificios y en todos los transportes escolares para todos los estudiantes y el personal de Pre-Kínder a grado doce, independientemente del estado de vacunación.

Meetings will be held the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m., unless otherwise posted. The meetings will take place at the Hoke County High School Media Center, 505 South Bethel Road, Raeford, NC.

The meetings are also livestreamed via the HCS YouTube Channel - Click here to be directed to the site.

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310 Wooley Street Raeford, NC 28376 Phone: 910-875-4106 Fax: 910-875-3362