Toni Haley, Director of Student Services


If you are new to Polk County and have a child who has been receiving special education services, please inform the school in your attendance area of your child's special needs and, if possible, provide them with documentation of your child’s special needs (i.e., a copy of the student’s Individual Education Plan). Your child's records will be requested from their previous school district. If you have any questions please contact the Student Services Department at the numbers below:

Polk County Schools' Student Services Department

125 East Mills Street

Columbus, NC 28722

Phone: 828.894.3051

Fax: 828.894.8153

If you are concerned that your child might be in need of special education and/or related services, please contact the director at the numbers above..


The mission of Polk County Schools, in partnership with parents and community, is to prepare and inspire each student to be a literate, responsible, productive member of a diverse society who believes learning is a lifelong process.

Belief Statements

  • Polk County Schools work best in partnership with students, parents, teachers, administrators and community where everyone assumes responsibility and accountability for their roles.

  • Schools must be physically safe and orderly places that foster mutual respect among students, staff and parents.

  • Schools should be caring environments where students are actively engaged in learning and are encouraged to take learning risks.

  • High expectations of all partners are essential for successful performance and academic excellence.

  • Students should be taught the way they learn best.

  • Schools should help students to develop skills and attitudes that enable them to be prepared for success in life.

  • A sufficient financial base is necessary to provide programs and services.

The purposes of the Exceptional Children program are:

(a) To ensure that all children with disabilities, ages three to 22, have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living;

(b) To ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected;

(c) To assist the local educational agencies, including state operated programs and charter schools, to provide for the education of children with disabilities; and

(d) To assess and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities.

The Polk County Schools Exceptional Children’s Program provides specially designed instruction to ensure that all children with disabilities in our community, ages 3 to 22, have the opportunity for a free appropriate public education. Our program emphasizes special education as well as related services (such as Speech, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy) designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.

Areas of Service:

Polk County School System does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies: Rachael Haynes-Wood, Personnel Department

Polk County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have questions or concerns regarding the accessibility of the website or if you are unable to access a page or document on the website, you may contact Dave Scherping via email at scherp@polkschools.org or by phone at 828-894-6126.