By Celeste M. Smucker –
Welcome to the annual article featuring our amazing, public schools.
If you plan to relocate to Charlottesville or the Shenandoah Valley, or will be moving to the perfect house in a different, nearby location, you can learn all about the public schools right here.
Read about educational opportunities available in Charlottesville City, Waynesboro, Staunton and surrounding county schools and prepare to be amazed at the impressive resources available in every district.
Albemarle County Public Schools
The Albemarle County Public School Division retained its number three ranking in the state of Virginia during the 2018-19 school year.
According to Niche, a national education assessment organization that analyzes more than 60 million data and information points each year, the performance of Albemarle County students, teachers and staff during 2017-18 placed the division third out of 131 school divisions in the Commonwealth.
This past year, the division’s on-time graduation rate reached 95 percent, higher than the statewide rate for every one of the nation’s 50 states. More than six out of ten graduates received Advanced Studies Diplomas, well above the 52 percent rate for all school divisions across the Commonwealth. The drop-out rate for Albemarle County public school students was 2.8 percent, well below both the 5.8 percent statewide rate and the national rate of 5.9 percent.
College Readiness 63 Percent Higher than National Average
In Niche’s 2017-2018 report, Albemarle County Public Schools earned an A+ rating overall and A+ ratings for academics, teachers and college preparation of students. Average scores, for instance, on the College Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Test were 42 points above the state average and 63 points higher than the national average. On the verbal portion of the test, Albemarle County students scored 38 points higher than their peers in Virginia and 69 points better than their national peers.
On a separate college readiness score, a predictor of college success, 70 percent of local students met the benchmark compared to 52 percent of Virginia students and 43 percent across the country.
A companion study ranked all three of the division’s comprehensive high schools within the top 20 percent of all high schools in the nation.
Five Key Operational Objectives
The pathway to this success starts at the earliest grades based upon five objectives adopted by the School Board. They include engaging every student, implementing balanced assessments of student learning, improving achievement by improving opportunities, establishing and expanding partnerships with the business community and other organizations, and optimizing the value and impact of all resources.
Student engagement is addressed through the use of contemporary technologies and instructional methods that empower students to complete self-designed projects. This hands-on model emphasizes not only the acquisition of knowledge but its application. Students, teachers and administrators have appeared at national conferences to showcase their work, including multiple presentations at the White House. School and university administrators and teachers from throughout the nation have visited Albemarle to learn more about this model.
In 2018, County students earned an impressive 72 awards at the 37th annual Piedmont Region Science Fair, including 14 first place awards in 15 subject categories. Both the Best-in-Show and Best-in-Show runner up awards were won by division students. This performance, the ultimate demonstration of project-based learning, was typical of student performance this past year.
Students also developed problem-solving skills in several areas using creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills and dedication to community service. During the year, they developed projects that raised money to support hurricane victims in Houston and Puerto Rico, textbooks for rural Haitian schools, the American Heart Association and cancer research.
Another year-long project involved students who researched the best ideas for communities to honor their historical leaders and values. Students visited local sites and the state and national capitals, meeting with historians, archivists and local community leaders to offer ideas to bring communities together around shared values.
Dr. Matthew Haas is New Superintendent
On July 1, the division celebrated the appointment of its newest superintendent, Dr. Matthew Haas, who succeeded Dr. Pamela Moran. Her 13 years of service was the second longest tenure in division history.
Dr. Haas, in his former leadership role as deputy superintendent, was primarily responsible for the development of two major initiatives that will enhance the quality of learning for students in future years.
In August of 2018, the division will open a pilot student center program on the site of the former Comdial building on Route 29, where students will work with technology and business professionals as interns. In 2021, the division will open a similar 600-high school student center in a location yet to be established but with the same purpose—to deepen authentic learning in alignment with operational skills of modern businesses and service organizations.
The benefits of this curricular approach will be shared with the division’s elementary and middle school instructional models.
The division also is building upon its foundational approach to close learning opportunity gaps among all students. As part of that commitment, Albemarle County Public Schools became one of the first public school divisions in the nation to adopt a plan to eliminate the digital divide for all school families. Re-purposing its FCC-allocated spectrum, the division provides free broadband access to the homes of students who have not previously had such access, often because of their geographic location. Within a short period of time, nearly all students will be able to fully access the Internet at home for their research and project-based learning needs.
Additionally, the division’s Equity and Access initiative is designed to achieve three goals: to remove the predictability of success or failures that correlate with social or cultural factors; to create inclusive multicultural school environments for adults and children and to discover and cultivate the unique gifts, talents and interests that every child and family possesses.
School Safety, Operational Efficiencies
The safety of students and staff remains the division’s highest priority. This past year, the division completed modernization of all school entrances to control access of all visitors. The School Board approved a division-wide program to install window coverings on all of the windows in approximately 900 classroom to allow teachers to block visual access by outsiders.
New pilot programs that allow a staff member in the front office to automatically lock all doors through the use of a single button and to allow schools to electronically control access to all exterior doors are being tested at two schools before these programs are refined and installed division-wide. Also, a new school safety advisory committee brings together experts in school safety measures and research with school staff and members of the community. The division also expanded the provision of student mental health and counseling support services.
Another pilot program, the use of extended stop arms on school buses, has reduced the number of incidents of motorists violating state law by passing school buses that are stopped while students are entering or leaving the bus.
All of these enhancements supplement the division’s broad range of protections now in place.
In recent years, the school division has increased its operational efficiencies through such innovative initiatives as energy conservation measures that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost avoidance, new contracting guidelines that reduced expenditures by nearly a quarter-million dollars and consolidated bus routes that lowered fuel costs by millions of dollars.
Recent improvements to the division’s health care plan led to multi-million dollar reductions in expenses for the school division and moderated premium increases paid by employees. Employees also benefit from premium holidays.
Augusta County Public Schools
Augusta County Public Schools educates more than 10,300 students in 20 schools. Augusta County has 9 elementary schools (grades PreK-5), 4 middle schools (grades 6-8), 5 high schools (grades 9-12), a Career and Technical Center and a Regional Governor’s School. The division employs approximately 841 teachers.
The reputation of the county’s public schools often inspires families to make their home in Augusta County. Our primary goal is to engage students in a motivating and challenging learning environment that provides them with the skills and dispositions they need to thrive as 21st century learners, employees and citizens. We welcome you to visit our Facebook page or website at www.augusta.k12.va.us.
Charlottesville City Public Schools
The City of Charlottesville values education highly, and the Charlottesville City School Division offers the best in curriculum and community.
City schools are comprised of six elementary schools (preschool-4); Walker Upper Elementary School (5-6); Buford Middle School (7-8) and Charlottesville High School (9-12). The schools also offer educational service at the UVA Children’s Hospital. As of October 2017, enrollment for preK-12 was 4,527 students.
Neighborhood schools with a global orientation expose students to diverse experiences, viewpoints, and opportunities—preparing them not only for post-secondary education but for life. Small class sizes promote individual attention in a collaborative climate. With extraordinary fine arts, the latest STEM technologies, a computer for every student and more, the City schools are White House-certified to be “future-ready” and a charter member of the League of Innovative Schools.
Charlottesville City Schools is known for its commitment to the fine arts. CHS recently earned its 11th state-wide Blue Ribbon recognition for excellence in band, choir, and orchestra. Art and music begins in the elementary schools, and fourth-graders even participate in a year-long dance program with the Richmond Ballet. From fifth grade on, students can be active in art, band, choir, orchestra, theatre, and special programs such as dance or step teams. Students also learn about the arts through regular field trips to live performances as well as school visits from guest artists and authors.
Science and engineering labs at Buford Middle School and Charlottesville High School support innovative STEM education. Buford’s science and engineering program is a cutting-edge collaboration between the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Smithsonian Institution and other area school divisions. CHS offers every possible AP class in computer science, engineering, math, and science, and the school’s science club regularly wins honors in state and international competitions. Our “iSTEM” teachers work in all the Charlottesville schools—even at the elementary level—to lay a strong, hands-on foundation for science, technology, engineering, and math.
The Charlottesville schools are part of their community and the world! In the past year, CCS students won acclaim in art, athletics, community leadership, creative writing, debate, engineering, geography, investing, math, music, programming, robotics, and theatre!
Students begin studying Spanish in first grade, and by the time they attend CHS, they can choose from Chinese, French, German, Latin, Spanish, and even online American Sign Language. Student field trips and competitions take students to places like China, Europe, New York, San Francisco, and more. Charlottesville students excel in all areas and they go on to attend the world’s best colleges and universities.
CHS offers approximately 30 college-level (Advanced Placement and dual enrollment) courses, and is the only regional one on The Washington Post’s list of Challenge Schools that encourages a wide variety of students to take AP classes and tests. CHS students far outperform their state and national peers on AP and SAT tests, and our schools surpass the state’s benchmarks for the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests.
Nearly 300 students attend Charlottesville City Schools by choice, either in person or through the extensive virtual education program at CHS. Learn more! Find the schools on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org or on Facebook and Twitter at @CvilleSchools. To arrange for a visit, call your local school or 434-245-2400.
Fluvanna County Public Schools
The Fluvanna County Public Schools system is comprised of five schools: West Central Primary (preK-K), Central Elementary ( 1st – 2nd), Carysbrook Elementary (3rd-4th), Fluvanna Middle School (5-7), and Fluvanna County High School (8-12).
All of Fluvanna’s schools are fully accredited. Fluvanna County Public Schools will:
Student enrollment is a little over 3,500 students with a targeted student-teacher ratio of 22:1. The school system offers a variety of student programs including special education, gifted and talented education, career and technical education, and alternative education. Parental involvement is high, as is the school system’s expectation of its students.
Greene County Public Schools
Greene County Public Schools (GCPS) educates 3,112 children in grades Pre-K through 12 in one primary school, two elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and one technical school. Over 50 percent of the Greene County Public School professional staff has a masters or doctoral degree, while 99 percent of them are considered highly qualified.
● The class of 2018 had 51 Early College Scholars.
● 66 percent of the class of 2018 will continue their formal education after high school.
● 32 percent of the class of 2018 will take the skills learned at our Technical Education Center and move into the workforce.
● 18 students in the class of 2018 earned their Associate Degree prior to high school graduation, and 99 students are enrolled in the Early College Scholars Program for 2018-19 where they simultaneously earn 60 college credits and 26 high school credits.
● 64 Honor Graduates in 2018
● 5 AP Scholars
● 1 AP Scholar with Honors
● 52 percent of the class of 2018 earned an Advanced Studies diploma.
● The class of 2018 earned over $1.8 million in scholarships ($1,843,743).
● A WMHS senior was chosen as the County’s first participant in the Senate Youth Program—one of 102 students in the country to earn the honor—and received the associated $10,000 scholarship.
● A WMHS senior earned a full ride, Centennial Scholarship, to JMU.
● A WMHS senior earned the County’s first QuestBridge Scholarship to Colby College.
● A WMHS senior softball player was selected to play in the VHSL all-star game.
● Samantha Brunelle was named Girls Basketball Gatorade Player of the Year for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
● Jennifer Myers (NGES) was recognized as the Educator of the Year for the 2017-2018 school year.
● Diana Ford (WMMS) was recognized as the Support Staff of the Year for the 2017-2018 school year.
● Implementation of a one to one Chromebook initiative in grades 4 – 9
● 2018-2019 will mark the 10th year of exemplary student success in National History Day (NHD) with students competing at the regional, state, and national level.
● In 2017-2018:
○ 55 students participated in NHD
○ 21 students made the NHD State competition
○ 10 students (18 percent) made the NHD National competition
● Stephanie Hammer, a WMMS History teacher, has been nominated as the middle school National History Day Teacher of the Year.
● NGES students performed remarkably well in the 24 Challenge Regional Competition with following recognitions:
○ 3rd Grade – 3rd Place
○ 4th Grade 1st Place
○ 5th Grade – 1st Place, 2nd Place, and 3rd Place
● Kim McInturff (NGES) was named VaASL Shenandoah Region Librarian of The Year.
● On May 30, 2018 a groundbreaking ceremony took place for the GCPS Facilities Project.
Greene County Schools engaged VMDO Architects to complete a facilities assessment and long-range visioning study to guide the next 20 years of facilities planning at GCPS.
The study analyzed the existing conditions of facilities and enrollment growth projections to identify operational and capital needs for the long-term utilization of the schools and campuses.
The results of this study indicated several needs including core spaces and site improvements.
This project is in the initial phase and includes renovations and additions to William Monroe High School and Middle School as well as site improvements (road reconfiguration, new parking, and landscaping) on the Stanardsville campus as well as additional parking on the Ruckersville campus. The initial phase of this project began in early June 2018 and is anticipated to be finished for the fall of 2019.
Louisa County Public Schools
Louisa County Public Schools (LCPS) currently has six schools: one high school (9-12), one middle school (6-8), and four elementary schools (PK-5). Two of the schools, Thomas Jefferson Elementary and Louisa County High School, were reconstructed after the 2011 Virginia earthquake and are state-of-the-art. The division also has an alternative education center for students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Louisa County High School students have access to a Governor’s School, and students throughout the division benefit from the school division’s extensive Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department. In 2017, LCPS was announced as an official pilot member of the Virginia Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship program. Only five schools in Virginia were selected, and LCPS was the only rural school division selected.
LCPS CTE offers more than 50 different courses that cover 14 of the 16 career clusters recognized by the state of Virginia. This includes career paths such as accounting, automotive technology, carpentry, cosmetology, firefighting, horticulture science, nursing, technology systems, and more. The high school program’s reach continues to expand, and now includes STEM and STEAM classes in all of the elementary schools.
Recent academic testing results indicate that Louisa County Public Schools’ commitment to academic excellence remains firm. All six LCPS schools are accredited by the Virginia Department of Education, having met or exceeded the standards required on the SOL assessments.
The school division employs approximately 390 teachers, and serves approximately 4,950 students. The division strives to maintain a 21:1 student/teacher ratio at the elementary level and a 25:1 student/teacher ratio at the middle and high school levels.
In May 2018, a total of 360 students received their diplomas at the high school’s 78th annual commencement service. Of those graduates, 62 percent obtained an Advanced Studies diploma.
Approximately 37 percent of those students planned to attend a four-year college, 33 percent planned to attend a two-year college, 22 percent planned to enter the workforce and 5 percent planned to enlist in the military.
Madison County Public Schools
In all, Madison is known not so much by “schools” as by educational families—students surrounded by caring, thoughtful parents and community members who expect graduates to have earned a top-notch education. Our students attend Virginia’s and the nation’s top colleges and enter the workforce exceptionally well prepared. This great feat is accomplished by a caring community centered on what we call “Madison Pride”—the drive to provide children with an absolutely remarkable education and a plethora of opportunities.
We support the notions of community citizenship and awareness. MCPS embraces our local community that is rich in history and tradition. Our landscape boasts preeminent countryside—mountain life and flatlands—rich with agriculture, viniculture, forestry, and pastureland. We expect students to know Madison community and natural wealth as we encourage field trips, community service projects and service learning. In our preeminent countryside, students have the opportunity to experience and learn from our amazing location.
For nearly two decades, student enrollment has hovered around 2,000 students in four schools: Madison Primary School (PK-2), Waverly Yowell Elementary School (3-5), William H. Wetsel Middle School (6-8), and Madison County High School (9-12).
Madison County Public Schools (MCPS), a student-centered and community-supported school division, insures a superior education in a changing world. Our vision is to build on excellence to exceed community expectations—to be the best. In Madison, we are proud of excellent schools, which focus on traditional methods and progressive programs in our never-ending cycle of improvement.
We are committed to helping students acquire the strong values to deal effectively with important intellectual, ethical, and social problems.
Responding to community, parent, and workforce expectations, MCPS aims to educate children to be prepared for good citizenship and life-long learning. Twenty-first century skills require that tomorrow’s workforce be adept at technology, be excellent communicators, be responsible employees, and remain physically fit and active. To this end, we want every secondary student to take Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement, or earn an Industry Certification prior to graduation.
Additional information can be found on the division website at: www2.madisonschools.k12.va.us
Nelson County Public Schools
Nelson County Public Schools consists of four schools: Rockfish River Elementary, located in the northern part of the county; Tye River Elementary, situated in the southern part; Nelson Middle School and Nelson County High School, both in the central part of the County. Nelson is a small division—around 1,850 students—that maintains a positive culture and commitment to excellence in education.
The Elementary Schools serving Pre-K– 5th grade, accommodate approximately 800 students. Both schools emphasize Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. Their programs also include:
· Art, Music, Physical Education, Health
· Remedial as well as supplemental instructional support
· Computer labs, laptop labs, netbooks
· Enrichment and gifted services
· Comprehensive special education program offering specialized services to students with identified disabilities
· Counseling services
· Title I services
· Partnership with the local YMCA to offer a comprehensive after-school child care program
Nelson Middle School
Nelson Middle School, with approximately 400 students from grades 6-8, focuses on grade level learning and the core subjects of Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science while offering the following:
· A varied exploratory program of art, vocal and instrumental music, and foreign languages
· Physical Education and Health
· Career and Technical Education programs
· Enrichment and gifted services
· Comprehensive special education program offering specialized services to students with identified disabilities
· Counseling services
· High School credit courses
· Integrating technology in classrooms with Chromebooks for each student
· Extra-curricular activities (academic clubs and various sports)
Nelson County High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school with an enrollment of approximately 600 students in grades 9-12. The program offers:
· Concentrated 4×4 Block Scheduling program
· A complete Honors program
· Advanced Placement courses
· College-Level Dual Enrollment classes
· Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School program
· Chromebooks for each student
· Comprehensive Career & Technical education program offering opportunities to participate as vocational club members and in local, state & national competitions
· Instrumental and choral music program in which students compete successfully in local, state and national competitions
· Elective programs offered in the performing and visual arts, dramatics, forensics and a variety of foreign languages
· A variety of interscholastic sports for young men and women regulated by the Virginia High School League
Orange County Public Schools
We are a supportive, caring, family-like educational community working to provide an environment where students learn to believe in themselves, achieve their dreams and flourish.
Over 98 percent of the teachers employed by Orange County Public Schools are highly qualified. This fall they will educate approximately 4,800 students in nine schools, including six elementary, two middle schools and one high school. Average pupil/teacher ratios are 1:20 in elementary; 1:24 in middle; and 1:23 in high school. All schools in the system are accredited by the Virginia Department of Education.
This past school year, the division had 255 children attending Early Childhood programs and provided special education services to 559 students, while 709 students participated in the gifted and talented program. The Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School, Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment and Distant Learning opportunities are offered by OCPS.
Please visit the division website at www.ocss-va.org for additional information.
Staunton City Public Schools
Located in the historic Shenandoah Valley, Staunton is one of Virginia’s finest small cities, offering an enjoyable lifestyle with beautiful neighborhoods, large urban parks, a wide range of cultural amenities, award-winning healthcare, and a relatively low cost of living. Known for its history, architecture, arts and culture, and culinary delights, Staunton is one of the best small towns in America.
Staunton City Schools (SCS) is a highly-rated public school division with a student population of approximately 2,700 students and is home to three elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, a preschool program and an alternative education program. The school division is committed to its students and to providing an excellent educational program—where teachers value the uniqueness of each student and strive to challenge them daily.
SCS provides an abundance of opportunities to meet the varied needs and interests of all students. SCS has three elementary schools serving students in grades K-5: Bessie Weller Elementary, T. C. McSwain Elementary, and A. R. Ware Elementary.
At the elementary level, the focus is on engaging students in authentic work, such as reading, writing, thinking, problem-solving, and skill development and strategies that will carry them to great success throughout their school careers.
During these early years, teachers not only teach foundations of learning, but also build strong life skills, such as collaboration, critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, and citizenship.
Upon completion of the elementary grades, students from across the City attend Shelburne Middle School, which serves students in grades 6-8. While using and further developing the skills learned in elementary school, middle school encourages students to explore a variety of subject areas and activities, including careers and special interests, as they begin to develop an Academic and Career Plan to help guide them throughout the remainder of their school years.
In Staunton City Schools, the middle school provides a supportive and stimulating environment for students as they make the transition into adolescence, increasing academic demands and moving towards greater self-reliance. Students are placed on a team to support the developmental needs of young teenagers to support their social, physical, emotional, and intellectual development. Each team helps to foster student growth into responsible, productive adults with the skills and attitudes necessary for success in life.
The camaraderie that develops among the students in middle school grows into an even greater sense of pride and school spirit as they move to Robert E. Lee High School, which serves grades 9-12. The high school was a recent recipient of the 2018 High School Innovation Grant, provided by the Virginia Department of Education to only five schools within Virginia.
The high school is focused on providing the most robust college and career pathways for all students as possible, where students continue to refine their future plans and adjust their Academic and Career Plans to meet their evolving interests.
Robert E. Lee High School offers a comprehensive program, including courses in advanced placement, honors, career and technical, special education, dual enrollment, online, and alternative education. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered in English, US History, Government, and Biology. Honors courses are offered in all core subject areas. Dual-enrollment classes are offered in conjunction with Blue Ridge Community College. The Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School (SVGS) for Math, Science, and Technology and the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities are offered to junior and senior applicants.
The school also partners with the Valley Career and Technical Center to provide outreach courses and practical experiences for students, based on career interests. Staunton City Schools’ students and staff are active participants in life-long learning and healthy, active lifestyles. Our schools are a celebration of learning, personal growth, and community building. Whether you are a parent, student, community member or want to become a member of our community, we welcome you!
Waynesboro Public Schools
A Little Community with Giant Opportunities
With a population of approximately 3,000 students and 500 employees, Waynesboro Public Schools is the center of the Waynesboro community. Berkeley Glenn Elementary, Wenonah Elementary, Westwood Elementary, and William Perry Elementary Schools serve our students in grades K – 5. After elementary school, our students from all over the city come together to attend Kate Collins Middle School (grades 6 – 8) and then, Waynesboro High School (grades 9 – 12). We also have a prekindergarten program at the Wayne Hills Center.
Waynesboro Public Schools is committed to a quality education that includes a strong academic program designed to meet student needs; comprehensive programs that prepare and encourage students to be productive citizens; quality learning environments and school facilities; a diverse, highly trained staff committed to working effectively with youth; and strong partnerships with parents and the community. Ultimately, our goal is to provide the foundation for our students to graduate career-ready—to enter the workforce, to further educational opportunities, to join the military, or to pursue other options for their future.
We do this by providing “Giant” opportunities. Our students are recognized for their academic achievement earning a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma with the opportunity to earn additional seals—Governor’s, Board of Education, Career and Technical, Advanced Mathematics and Technology, and Excellence in Civics.
Students take advantage of Dual Enrollment Opportunities in a partnership with Blue Ridge Community College, Advanced Placement Opportunities, Virtual Virginia Classes, and the Early College Scholars Program. Other opportunities include the Regional Programs at Valley Career School and Technical and Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School. A fourth cohort of Valley Scholars, made up of Kate Collins and Waynesboro High School students, begins this fall in a partnership with James Madison University.
The opportunity for student expression through the arts and physical education is another “Giant” opportunity in Waynesboro Public Schools. Our students have music, art, and physical education programs taught by specialists in all of our schools. Skillful Sketchers and Signature Singers extend the learning for our students who want to expand their musical and artistic experiences in the elementary schools. Full time art, band, and choral teachers provide for music and instruction in both the middle and high schools.
In fact, because of our strong foundational programs in the lower grades, our high school has three full time art teachers. Our physical education programs have flourished as well. Our teams are competitive and provide many evenings of entertainment and pride for the community. Regional track meets are often held in Waynesboro because of the state of the art track and soccer facility.
The Waynesboro High School mascot is the “Little Giant.” All of our students will become a “Little Giant” and we are very proud of that. You will recognize them by their ability to problem solve, their use of technology, their strong work ethic, and their commitment to excellence. Waynesboro’s students are ready for the world and will continue to benefit from this “Little Community with Giant Opportunities.”