Governor's Schools

The Virginia Governor's School Program began in 1973 when Governor Linwood Holton established the first summer residential programs for 400 gifted students from across the commonwealth. From its beginnings, with three summer schools in 1973, the program has expanded to more than 40 sites throughout the commonwealth.

Virginia Governor's Schools provide some of the state's most able students academically and artistically challenging programs beyond those offered in their home schools. With the support of the Virginia Board of Education and the General Assembly, the Governor's Schools presently include summer residential, summer regional, and academic-year programs serving more than 7,500 gifted students from all parts of the commonwealth.

The years since 1973 have brought refinement and change to the programs, yet one aspect, the student, has remained constant. Each year, hundreds of outstanding young people come to one of the different Governor's Schools in search of knowledge and eager to accept the challenge of acquiring advanced skills. Each group makes the Virginia Governor's School Program a special experience by creating a community of learners who demonstrate their remarkable talents in diverse and meaningful ways.

Three types of Governor's Schools are available to students who reside in the City of Colonial Heights.

The Appomattox Regional Governor's School

General Information

Located in historic Petersburg, Virginia, the Appomattox Regional Governor's School (ARGS) is the only full time governor's school in the state devoted to the arts and technology. The school' unique environment helps students in grades 9 through 12 excel in a number of focus areas. In addition to the common core classes, ARGS offers specific "tracks" in specialized classes for students' focus areas. Focus areas include: Performing Arts: musical theatre, theatre arts, technical theatre, dance, vocal music, and instrumental music; Visual Arts: sculpture, painting, drawing, graphic design, photography and film studies; Literary Arts: poetry, fiction, and non-fiction; and Technology: computer programming and engineering.

Selection Process

The following school divisions participate in the Appomattox Regional Governor's School: Cities of Colonial Heights, Franklin, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond; and the Counties of Amelia, Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Powhatan, Prince George, Southampton, Surry, and Sussex. Current eighth grade students who are legal residents of Colonial Heights are eligible to apply. Interested home schooled students should contact Joseph Douglas at the Colonial Heights School Administration Office. Applicants should have at least a "B" average and are required to have successfully completed Algebra I for high school credit prior to enrollment. Applicants are required go through an adjudication process. This process consists of an interview and, depending upon the focus area in which the student is applying, a possible audition. Students interested in applying should contact their guidance counselor in early October.

Summer Residential Governor's Schools

Summer Residential Governor's Schools provide gifted high school seniors with intensive educational experiences.

Each Summer Residential Governor's School focuses on one special area of interest. Students live on a college or university campus for up to five weeks each summer. During this time, students are involved in classroom and laboratory work, field studies, research, individual and group projects and performances, and seminars with noted scholars, visiting artists, and other professionals. In the two mentorships, students are selected to work side-by-side with research scientists, physicians, and a variety of other professionals. A director and a student-life staff provide supervision of students 24 hours a day, throughout the program.

One of the most important aspects of the Summer Residential Governor's Schools is the opportunity participants have to live, study, and get to know other students with similar interests and abilities from across Virginia. Both co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are designed to encourage students' interests and abilities. Recreation and free time are provided outside of the academic environment that enable these students to enjoy, what for many is, their first summer living away from home.

Click on the links below for more detailed information.

Academic Programs

Visual and Performing Arts

Foreign Language Academies

Summer Regional Governor's School For Middle School Youth

Choose from a variety of course offerings and explore the exciting worlds of math, science, and computer technology. All classes meet for two weeks in July at the MathScience innovation Center. The Virginia Department of Education and the Center support this special program for gifted and talented students currently in grades 6, 7, and 8. Click on the following link for more information:

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