CAAR Real Estate Weekly
If you have a family and are considering a move to central Virginia, or if you’re living in one county and plan to relocate to another, you may be wondering about the caliber of our local school systems and what each has to offer. To make it easy for you, we’ve compiled information on the public school districts in our readership area. Following is an overview of each of those districts.
Albemarle County Public Schools
Educational excellence is the number one priority for residents of Albemarle County, and the quality of Albemarle County Public Schools continues to be one of the top reasons people and businesses choose to locate here. In 2011, nine Albemarle County public schools were named among the highest performing schools in the Commonwealth through the Virginia Index of Performance Program. This distinction is the latest of many accolades to the schools and the county, which include being selected by Forbes magazine as one of the 20 best places in the nation to raise a family.
All 26 Albemarle County Public Schools are fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education. The School Division’s on-time graduation rate of 93 percent places it well ahead of the state average and is among the highest rates of any school division in the state. Overall pass rates for students in reading and mathematics on the Virginia Standards of Learning assessments also remain well in advance of state averages and the same is true for SAT test scores in reading, mathematics and writing. In 2012, the division placed among the top three percent of all school divisions in the nation and Canada by being named to the College Board’s honor role for the success of its students on Advanced Placement tests. Nearly two out of every three graduates of Albemarle County high schools earn an Advanced Studies diploma. But an education in Albemarle County Public Schools is about much more than achievement on standardized tests.
Albemarle County Public Schools is actively working to transform education for the 21st century to meet the needs of today’s learners and prepare them for our rapidly changing global economy. Through partnerships with PVCC, the University of Virginia and James Madison University, students have opportunities to graduate with one semester or more of college credit already completed. In 2012, more than 1,500 students were enrolled in one or more college-level courses. The School Division is a leader in using data-driven decision-making to improve student achievement, and in implementing model 21st century classrooms that utilize technology and concept-based instruction to accelerate learning through student engagement and collaboration.
In 2012, Albemarle High School was again named a Virginia Music Educators Association Blue Ribbon School for excellence in its combined music program: choir, band and orchestra. Sports teams at all three comprehensive high schools captured district, regional, and state titles, while extracurricular teams such as forensics, music and theatre also took home local, state and national awards. For the 18th consecutive year, Destination Imagination teams from Albemarle County schools advanced to global competition. The young women’s choir at Burley Middle School qualified for the World Choir Games and took home a bronze medal. A Monticello student captured a first place medal title at the National History Day competition and a Western Albemarle student won a scholarship for placing first in the national English Honor Society essay competition.
Students from Albemarle County Public Schools are accepted to the top 25 research and liberal arts colleges and universities every year, with more than 80 percent of graduates pursuing post-secondary education or certification. They have the opportunity to pursue customized learning options through programs such as the Math, Engineering and Science Academy (MESA) at Albemarle High School, the Junior Air Force ROTC program at Monticello High, two charter schools: Murray High School and the Community Public Charter School for grades 6-8, and the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC), which offers 13 certification programs in marketable skilled trades.
And this year, a new Health and Medical Sciences Academy debuted at Monticello High School. The academy will prepare students for successful academic and professional careers in a field that was cited in a county study as presenting its most promising economic development opportunities over the next several years. (www.k12albemarle.org)
Augusta County Public Schools
Augusta County Public Schools has a comprehensive educational program for students from preschool through high school. The school system takes in approximately 10,500 students from around the county. Augusta County Public Schools operate 21 schools including five high schools, four middle schools, and twelve elementary schools. Additionally, the division operates a regional vocational/technical center, a regional governor’s school, a regional special education program and a regional Head Start program.
Currently the division employs approximately 900 teachers and offers advanced curriculum in language arts, science, foreign language, mathematics, social studies, physical education, and fine arts with college credit available. The schools offer a program for gifted and talented students in the areas of language arts, mathematics, art, music, and drama as well as vocational education programs in agriculture, business, home economics, technology, trade and industry. Extensive media services and connections to the Internet are provided to all students and personnel. Summer school enrichment and remedial programs are available as well as special education programs to provide a continuum of services for students with special needs. (www.augusta.k12.va.us)
Charlottesville City Schools
The Charlottesville City School (CCS) Division made a strong start in addressing many of the objectives in the CCS Strategic Plan 2011-2017, based on four strategic goals and the vision statement of “Personal and Academic Excellence Inspired by a Collaborative and Innovative Learning Environment.”
- Goal 1: All students will graduate prepared for post-secondary education and active participation in society.
- Goal 2: Schools will be partners with families and the community to meet the academic, physical, social, and emotional needs of every student.
- Goal 3: Schools will be optimal teaching and learning environments, places of excellence and equity for all.
- Goal 4: Charlottesville City Schools will be an exemplary workplace that attracts the best-qualified teachers, administrators, and support staff members.
Charlottesville City Schools are comprised of six elementary schools (preschool-4); one upper elementary school (5-6); one middle school (7-8) and one high school (9-12). As of September 2011, enrollment for preK-12 was 4089 students.
Neighborhood schools with a global orientation expose City students to a wide variety of experiences, viewpoints, and opportunities—preparing them not only for post-secondary education but also for life. The comprehensive CCS curriculum fosters innovative learning that incorporates the four C’s for students in preschool through grade twelve—Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, and Communication.
CCS teachers are making use of the latest technology to bring the world to students. Videoconferences link classrooms to people and places all over the globe. Students in grades 6-12 are assigned their own tablet computers, delivering access to learning opportunities beyond the walls of the classroom. Online classes, incorporating teacher support in a flexible environment, are being piloted at the high school. The school division also incorporates learning sites, electronic textbooks, cloud computing, document cameras, VoIP, and other multimedia resources into an integrated learning network. In this setting, teachers serve as learning liaisons, engaging student interest while challenging their thinking.
The division offers the only locally funded preschool program for 3-year-olds in the region. In the coming year, all K-5 students will incorporate Spanish lessons into their classroom curriculum.
CHS offers more than 30 college-level (Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment) courses, and 83 percent of the 2011 AP exams taken by CHS students earned scores of 3 or higher. SAT combined mean scores in Verbal, Math, and Writing — respectively, 546, 518, 530 — are well above both state and national mean scores. CHS had 18 Commended Scholars and seven students named as 2011 National Merit Scholar Finalists.
Five schools in the Charlottesville City School Division exceeded 2011 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) indicators: Burnley-Moran, Clark, Greenbrier Johnson, and Venable elementary schools. Overall test scores show progress, while benchmarks continued to rise. Jackson-Via Elementary, Walker Upper Elementary, Buford Middle School, and Charlottesville High School did not meet the benchmarks of 86 percent for reading and 85 percent for mathematics.
As a division, City Schools made gains in 13 of 18 AYP scoring areas.
- Jackson-Via made gains in 12 areas
- Buford/Burnley-Moran/Clark each made gains in 11 areas
- Venable made gains in eight areas; three areas remained the same at 100 percent.
- CHS made gains in seven areas (missed AYP in math by one point)
- Johnson made gains in six areas; four areas remained the same at levels exceeding the AYP target.
- Walker made gains in six areas.
- Greenbrier made gains in five areas; four areas maintained 100 percent and another exceeded the AYP target.
City schools benefit from community partnerships that extend resources for learning through tutoring, supplies and materials, mentoring, leadership development, volunteers, internships, and funding. (www.ccs.k12.va.us).
Fluvanna County Public Schools
The Fluvanna County Public Schools system is comprised of six schools: Carysbrook Elementary, Central Elementary, Cunningham Elementary, Columbia Elementary, Fluvanna Middle School and Fluvanna County High School. All of Fluvanna’s schools are fully accredited. Fluvanna County Public Schools will:
- Provide a quality education to all students.
- Build a culture that is conducive to learning in a safe and nurturing environment.
- Foster relationships with the community.
- Operate in an effective and efficient manner.
Student enrollment is a little over 3,800 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. (www.fluco.org)
Greene County Public Schools
Greene County Public Schools (GCPS) educat es 2,925 children in grades PreK through 12 in one primary school, two elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and one technical school. Greene County Public Schools has five Nationally Board Certified Teachers; 84 percent of the division’s professional staff has a masters or doctoral degree, while 98.87 percent of its professional teaching staff is considered “highly qualified.”
GCPS has a lot to be proud of:
- The class of 2012 had 36 Commonwealth Scholars & 43 Early College Scholars.
- Seventy-eight percent of the class of 2012 will continue their formal education after high school.
- Class of 2012 collectively earned over 850 college credits through PVCC and Advanced Placement classes prior to graduating from high school.
- The class of 2012 earned an impressive $1.3 million in scholarships.
- Marlene Rombach and Katie Brunelle were recognized as Educators of the Year for the 2011-2012 school year.
- William Monroe Middle School dominated National History Day competition at state and national levels.
- William Monroe Academy had a successful first year and will add additional courses for the 2012-2013 school year. Students in this program learn skills as well as core content through different learning experiences, field trips, service learning, etc.
- National Merit Finalist at William Monroe High School.
- William Monroe Dragons baseball team won state championship.
- Fifty-four percent of the class of 2012 earned advanced study diploma.
- New Athletics and Performing Arts facilities.
- Rachel’s Challenge implemented to promote kindness and respect.
- 137 students earned Industry Certification at the Greene County Technical Center/William Monroe High School.
- Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) History Teacher of the Year at William Monroe Middle School.
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). The building of Moss-Nuckols Elementary School, the county’s fourth elementary school, is completed and the school opened in August 2010. The division also has an alternative education center for students at the middle and high school levels. The high school has an extensive Career and Technical Education department and access to a Governor’s School. All LCPS schools are currently accredited by the Virginia Department of Education, having met or exceeded the standards required on the SOL assessments.
During the 2011-2012 school year, the school division employed approximately 385 teachers, and served about 4,754 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 June of 2012, a total of 381 students received their diplomas at the high school’s seventy-first annual commencement service. Approximately 36 percent planned to attend a four-year college, 36 percent planned to attend a two-year college, 24 percent planned to work and three percent planned to enlist in the military and others were planning to attend a trade school.
Louisa County Public Schools utilizes the Effective Schools process w here the staff examines school needs and sets goals each year. Both at the school level and at the district level, the schools’ procedures and processes are continually assessed to ensure staff members are meeting the needs of its students and the community.
LCPS has seen continual progress since 1998 when Standards of Learning testing began. Test scores have risen despite the fact that a different group of students are being tested each time, the SOLs are revised periodically and additional SOL tests have been added over the years. (www.lcps.k12.va.us).
Madison County Schools
Pride. 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 and the nation’s top schools and enter the workforce exceptionally well prepared. This great feat is accomplished by a caring community centered on “Madison Pride”—the drive to provide children an absolutely remarkable education and a plethora of opportunities.
Schools. 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).
Exceptional Education. Madison County Public Schools (MCPS), a student-centered and community-supported school division, insures a superior education in a changing world. The vision is to build on excellence to exceed community expectations … to be the best. Madison is proud of excellent schools, which focus on traditional methods and progressive programs in a never-ending cycle of improvement. That is why it is regarded as a superior school division in the Commonwealth.
MCPS is 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 citizenry and life-long learning. Twenty-first century skills require that tomorrow’s workforce be adept at technology, excellent communicators, responsible employees, and physically fit and active. To this end, MCPS wants every secondary student to take Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement, or earn an Industry Certification prior to graduation as well as a foreign language. And it encourages all students to be scholar-athletes or scholar-performers.
MCPS embraces the notion of global awareness. It aims to provide world awareness through foreign language, current events, classes in culture and diversity, as well as K-12 division wide studies on a central question. It supports enrichment experiences for all students to engage them with the world beyond Madison and by developing national and international connections through virtual exchanges with national and international sister schools. It fully supports the incorporation of cultures and current events of local, national and international communities at every grade level.
Equally, MCPS supports the notion of community citizenry and awareness. It embraces the local community that is rich in history and tradition. Its landscape boasts preeminent countryside—mountain life and flatlands, rich with agriculture, viniculture, forestry, and pastureland. MCPS expects students to know the Madison community and natural wealth as it encourages field trips, community service projects and service learning. In its preeminent countryside, students have the opportunity to experience and learn from its amazing location.
All schools are fully accredited by the Commonwealth of Virginia with test scores demonstrating that all students are expected to succeed. Over the course of academic careers, beginning in Kindergarten, students excel in academic competitions. In fact, Madison has won the prestigious Wells Fargo Cup (formally Wachovia Cup) 18 times in 19 years in 2012. Winners of the Wells Fargo Cup are determined by a point system based on performance in Virginia High School League (VHSL) state competitions. Schools can earn academic activity points for outstanding participation in scholastic bowl, creative writing, theatre, forensics, debate, newspaper, yearbook and magazine. VHSL named Madison “a traditional powerhouse school” in claiming top honors in the 2012-2012 Wells Fargo Cup race for year-long success.
Additionally, athletic competition is a tradition in Madison with numerous district, regional, and state championships. The most recent were the 2010 Boys State Basketball Championship and a student-athlete, runner, winning four state championships by 2011—a remarkable accomplishment anywhere in all Virginia’s competition history.
Additional information can be found on the division website at: www.madisonschools.k12.va.us
Nelson County Public Schools
“Empowering generations through excellence in education.” That’s the vision of Nelson County Public Schools. Its mission is to educate students to become skilled, responsible, productive and enlightened citizens who contribute to society. To accomplish this, the school district is committed to:
- Learning for all
- Maintaining an environment conducive to learning.
- Supporting communication, collaboration and teamwork.
- Using the growth and learning process as a critical component of the organization.
- Teaching the importance of mutual respect, character development and diversity.
- Including the community and businesses as key partners in the educational process.
- Maintaining positive and proactive public relations
- Learning as a lifelong process.
Low student teacher ratios in modern facilities provide an array of educational opportunities for students of all ages. All Nelson County Schools are fully accredited by the Commonwealth of Virginia and they continue to exceed Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) benchmarks of achievement.
During the 2011-2012 academic year, Nelson County Schools had a total of 1,972 students in the pre-school through 12th grade. The district employs approximately 150 teachers for PK through 12th grade. The average class size is 19.66 and the division attendance rate is 94.8 percent. Seventy percent of high school graduates in 2011 planned to attend higher institutions and 88 percent received an advanced or standard diploma.
The Schools’ administration focuses on the following while educating the children:
- Setting high expectations of students, teachers, and staff;
- Continuous monitoring of students’ progress;
- Building strong home, school, and community relationships;
- Providing a safe, orderly, and caring environment;
- Making many professional development opportunities for instructional staff
Nelson County Public Schools partners with community agencies and Institutions of Higher Learning to provide opportunities for its youth. The school district welcomes community involvement in its programs and activities and invites the public to learn more by visiting its website at www.nelson.k12.va.us.
Orange County Public Schools
Over 94.4 percent of the teachers employed by Orange schools are highly qualified. This fall they will educate approximately 5,010 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.
OCPS has over 735 identified gifted and talented students. The division also offers a summer scholars program for enrichment as well as Head Start, Early Head Start and Virginia Preschool Initiative. OCPS utilizes the School Messenger system to notify parents, students, and staff of school-related events.
Three hundred and seventy-eight students graduated from OCPS in 2012, of which 197 students received an Advanced Studies Diploma. Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School, Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment and Distant Learning opportunities are offered by OCPS.
Approximately 71 percent of this year’s graduating class is continuing their education.
Nearly 84 percent of graduates enrolled in a Career & Technical Education Course during middle or high school. In addition, advanced math & foreign language instruction is offered.
OCPS has a five-year capital improvement plan, which includes a new career and technical education center.
For additional information, visit www.ocss-va.org. +