Our Program

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Overview

Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School is an Academic Year Governor’s School sponsored by Virginia Department of Education.  In addition to state funding, three local school divisions, Augusta County Schools, Staunton, and Waynesboro support the school’s program in Arts and Humanities and Sciences.

SVGS has programs and courses designed to meet the unique needs of gifted and highly motivated students. Students may attend in one of two broad curriculum areas: the Arts and Humanities Program or the Sciences program.  The Arts and Humanities program features three curriculum options: humanities, fine arts, or performing arts.  Our Science program features course selections in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology.

High school juniors and seniors attend this half day selective regional program. Our facility, housed in the Valley Career and Technical Center, supports the curriculum with its open and flexible design.  Student work is facilitated and enhanced by available technology and equipment available throughout. Work areas of varying size are provided to promote group and individual activities in informal settings.  Students in the arts regularly work off-site in professional performance and exhibition spaces.

Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School works to 1)provide a comprehensive, intellectually challenging program for advanced learners that extends and enriches their education; 2)  provide appropriate opportunities for intellectual and personal growth and 3) facilitate partnerships between the school and parents, community members, colleges and businesses that expand students’ knowledge of and interest in science and technology, the humanities, and the arts.

The Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School provides leadership in innovative instructional practices and effective service to students and teachers in all grade levels.  The school presents a unique educational environment in which individuals explore the interconnections between and enhance their experiences in science, mathematics, the arts, humanities and technology.  SVGS provides students with the knowledge, skills, discipline and attitudes necessary for further advanced study at institutions of higher education and successful careers.

Mission:     

The mission is to provide a supportive and challenging environment for area gifted students to nurture and develop their talents, expand their knowledge and improve their critical thinking skills while fostering their sense of personal and social responsibility.

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Fiscal Agent

Augusta County Public Schools

Divisions Served 

Augusta County Public Schools
Staunton City Public Schools
Waynesboro City Public Schools

Service Area

Augusta County, which geographically includes the two cities, is the second largest county in Virginia.  It is primarily rural with agriculture as its economic base.  However, because it is located at the intersection of two Interstates (I-64, which carries traffic east west, and I-81, a major north-south corridor), the industrial base and, consequently, the population is increasing.  Total population for the area is just over 100,000.  The school divisions’ combined student enrollment is approximately 20,000.

Student Information  

219 high school juniors and seniors during the 2021-22 year.

143 from Augusta County
41 from Staunton City
35 from Waynesboro City

Brief History:

SVGS opened its doors in the fall of 1993 to 95 students with a staff of five (5) full-time and one half-time teachers, a director and a secretary.  Class selection was limited to one science, two levels of math, and one level of technology.  By 1996, staff had been increased to seven (7) full-time teachers, plus part-time teaching by the Director, and offered 14 courses to and supported various independent study projects of 118 students.

In 2002, SVGS expanded its mission to include visual arts, theatre arts and humanities courses. Three full-time instructors joined the faculty. Student enrollments increased to 147. In 2003, ten students were added to the Math-Science and 25 to the Arts programs. In 2008, Math-Science and Arts-Humanities programs included 134 and 44 students, respectively.

In addition to the high school program, SVGS serves the advanced learner population of 4th-8th grade students each year in our participating divisions.

Relationship with Area Schools

The purpose of SVGS is to provide an integrated math, science and technology program and an integrated arts and humanities program in a unique learning environment particularly suited to the needs of gifted learners and is not available in the local schools.   SVGS further distinguishes its programs from most area schools through extensive teamwork among faculty members to plan common activities that support concepts and skills being developed in all classes.

SVGS works with local TAG/GT coordinators in the schools to develop custom outreach programs that address the particular interests and needs of their students.

Administration 

SVGS and VCTC are a part of the Shenandoah Valley Center for Advanced Learning (SVCAL).  Dr. Lee Ann Whitesell is the director for the SVCAL.  SVGS is administered by a Principal/Coordinator, Brent Hull. The office is managed by the School Secretary, Debbie Conner. Teachers assist with some administrative and managerial tasks through a committee system.

Board and Committees     

SVGS is guided by a Board, a Committee of Superintendents, and an Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Augusta County School Board.  These three groups meet concurrently a minimum of four (4) times per year. The three school board members are the voting members of the Board. The Augusta County School Board has administrative oversight of SVGS.

Voting Board membership for 2021-22 is:

Division Voting Board Member Superintendent Advisory Committee
Augusta County Donna Wells Dr. Eric Bond Tina Kiracofe, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Instructional Technology
Staunton City Amy Wratchford Dr. Garett Smith Stephanie Haskins, Executive Director of Instruction
Waynesboro City  Rick Wheeler Dr. Jeffrey Cassell Tim Teachey, Executive Director of Instruction

The Board meets a minimum of four (4) times per year.

Accreditations and Memberships

Virginia Department of Education

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.

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.  Mid-term progress report on implementation of recommendations are submitted to the Department of Education in the third year of the six year period.

National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology

The goal of the Consortium is to foster, support, and advance the efforts of those specialized schools whose primary purpose is to attract and academically prepare students for leadership in mathematics, science, and technology. The NCSSSMST was established in 1988 to provide a forum for schools to exchange information and program ideas and to evolve alliances between them.

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