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Halifax County trustees weigh Governor’s School re-entry
SoVaNow.com / February 04, 2013Halifax County’s re-entry next year in the Regional Governor’s School remains up in the air as school trustees weigh the cost of the program and how many students may want to take part.
The school for elite academic achievers is offered by Southside Virginia Community College at its two area campuses, in Keysville and Alberta. Local students would take a bus to attend classes that start at 7:45 a.m. and continue through 11:15, after which time students return to their home schools.
Currently ten school divisions participate in the program — Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Greensville, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward. Halifax County used to be a part of the program — sending the largest number of students of any participating school division — but it pulled out of the school four years ago due to budgetary restraints.
The mission of the Governor’s School is “to provide gifted, highly motivated juniors and seniors a challenging, interdisciplinary program of studies that develops leaders who possess the skills, global perspective and vision needed to address the challenges of a rapidly changing society,” according to the school handbook.
ED-1 trustee Karen Hopkins, who raised the issue with fellow School Board members at a Thursday night work session, said she has had parents and students come up to her, asking why Halifax is not taking part in the Governor’s School. Board Chairman Kim Farson said she remembers well the positive comments of graduating seniors who attended the school, touting the educational experience and how much it had meant to them.
Frosty Owens, Supervisor of Secondary Education, said he has been in touch with the Governor’s School director, Patrizia Humphrey, who said they would like to have Halifax County students back at their school. Owens pointed out that the Governor’s School now has two strands — the humanities and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) — whereas it offered only the humanities program when Halifax students last attended.
Owens said the annual cost of enrolling students in the humanities strand is around $5,000 per student, while STEM students are charged only about $1,900. This does not include the cost of transporting students to the Keysville or Alberta campuses — which is left up to the locality to provide.
Owens said the Governor’s School program offers a collegiate-style atmosphere and allows high-achieving students to interact with their peers from other school divisions, often resulting in lifelong friendships. The Governor’s School is only open to members of the junior and senior classes. The county’s participation must be timed to students’ junior year, since the program is based on a team format for two years of work.
He added that in order for Halifax to participate, entrance tests would have to be administered very soon since applications are due in March. Admissions are based on seven criteria; Owens said it takes two days to complete the entrance tests.
The question was raised as to whether Halifax could have its own Governor’s School. Dr. Betty Adams, director of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, who was sitting in the large audience at Thursday’s work session, said she would be willing to assist in any way she can, suggesting that the SVHEC could perhaps serve as a satellite location. “We are very interested in working with you in any way we can,” Adams told trustees.
Vice Chairman Dick Stoneman asked, “Can we afford this?” a question that drew no immediate answer.
After much discussion, school trustees opted to ask Hopkins and ED-4 trustee Cheryl Terry to work with Owens, Adams and School Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon to look at all options and bring back a recommendation at their March meeting.
CommentsGOV. School big waste of money.
- By allpolitical2 on 02 / 04 / 13
CommentsI CANNOT BELIEVE any rational, somewhat intelligent adult(s) would take food away from a child! For the school board to try to dodge it by saying they didn't approve it, certainly is not an acceptable excuse/reason. Where is common sense and respect for children! PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!
- By Joe Blow on 02 / 04 / 13
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