Academic-Year Governor's Schools
The Virginia Department of Education, in conjunction with localities, sponsors regional Academic-Year Governor's Schools that serve gifted high school students during the academic year. Currently, 19 Academic-Year Governor's Schools provide students with acceleration and exploration in areas ranging from the arts, to government and international studies, and to mathematics, science, and technology.
The Virginia Board of Education must approve proposals for new or expanding Governor's Schools. In 1998, the board passed procedures for initiating academic-year governor's schools to direct the actions of regional planning groups. Each school creates a program tailored to the needs of its students. Academic-Year Governor's Schools vary in format. While three are full-day programs, fulfilling all requirements students need to graduate, most are part-time programs. Students in these schools spend a portion of their day at the Governor's Schools but rely on their high schools to provide other programming required for graduation. Students use computers, robotics, and other current technology in laboratory activities; they conduct in-depth research, work with other students to develop special projects and performances, and alongside mentors in business, industry, government, and universities gaining experiences that enhance their understanding of the content as well as contemporary career options.
The Academic-Year Governor's Schools have developed innovative ways to serve their students. Appomattox Regional Governor's School for the Arts and Technology, Central Virginia Governor's School, Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, Roanoke Valley Governor's School, and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology are housed in their own facilities. Other Academic-Year Governor's Schools share campuses with high schools, community colleges/universities, or professional organizations. The Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk shares facilities at the Wells Theatre and with the Virginia Ballet. Several new schools are using interactive television to link multiple high school sites. A. Linwood Holton Governor's School is the commonwealth's first completely virtual Governor's School. Daily, students in more than 24 high schools in 13 counties in Southwest Virginia are taught through an Internet connection using a variety of software. Commonwealth Governor's School uses compressed video technology and coordinated large group activities to produce a community of learners at multiple sites across three counties.
Faculties for the Academic-Year Governor's Schools are selected based on advanced degrees, professional experience, and training and/or experience with gifted high school students. Most teachers have the gifted add-on endorsement that represents post-graduate training in gifted education, and several are certified through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. Each school is responsible for providing staff development to extend its teachers' knowledge and use of innovative teaching strategies, technology, and contemporary subject matter.
The Academic-Year Governor's Schools are established as "joint schools" by Virginia school law. As such, they are typically managed by a regional governing board of representatives from the school boards of each participating division. The regional governing board is charged with developing policies for the school including the school's admissions process. While these processes differ from school to school, all applicants are assessed using multiple criteria by trained evaluators who have experience in gifted education and the focus area of the specific Academic-Year Governor's School. Students can only attend an Academic-Year Governor's School program if their school division is a participating public school division and the students are selected by the Academic-Year Governor's School program through a competitive admission process. Transferring or students in military families should inquire with school division guidance counselors as to the availability of Academic-Year Governor's School programs in that school division and the application timeline.
- Navigating Gifted Education and Governor’s School Programs as a Military Transfer Student Briefing (PDF)
- See also Military Families
The Virginia Department of Education oversees and evaluates the Academic-Year Governor's Schools. Each school is evaluated through the use of evaluation rubrics designed to determine the effectiveness in curriculum, professional development, program design, guidance and counseling, identification and selection process, and facilities. A full-site evaluation team visits each school every six years.Academic-year Governor's Schools
Click a region on the map to a school page or use the links below.
- A. Linwood Holton Governor's School
- Appomattox Regional Governor's School for Arts & Technology
- Blue Ridge Governor's School
- Central Virginia Governor's School for Science & Technology
- Chesapeake Bay Governor's School for Marine & Environmental Science
- Commonwealth Governor's School
- Governor's School for the Arts
- Jackson River Governor's School
- Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government & International Studies
- Massanutten Governor's School for Integrated Environmental Science & Technology
- Mountain Vista Governor's School
- New Horizons Governor's School for Science & Technology
- Piedmont Governor's School
- Roanoke Valley Governor's School for Science & Technology
- Shenandoah Valley Governor's School
- Southwest Virginia Governor's School for Science, Mathematics & Technology
- The Governor's School of Southside Virginia
- Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology
- The Governor’s School at Innovation Park
Complete list of Academic Year Governor's Schools - with location and contact information (PDF)