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Rivermont School moves to new Chase City location / September 03, 2014

The first day of school was celebrated in late August for 28 students at Rivermont School in Chase City. The specialty school, operated through Centra Health, assists students with special needs and behavioral issues that may not thrive in a public school setting. They serve students from Mecklenburg, Brunswick, Halifax, Lunenburg, Charlotte, Nottoway, and Prince Edward counties. The county pays for the students’ cost to attend the school.

“We have the capability of having the counselors and the small ratio of staff to students,” said Principal Heidi Sheets.

Sheets, who began her education career in Mecklenburg County in 1999 and has been with Centra since 2007, is thrilled about this year. The school moved to a new building from its former location of 17 years at the Robert E. Lee building, the Chase City armory.

“It’s just amazing to have our specifications meet the building. With this move, we’re able to meet the requirements for the classrooms and have them built to a certain size,” Sheets said.

Sheets was grateful for the assistance from the realtor as well as the construction contractor. Glenn Edwards Construction handled the remodeling of the facility’s new location. Edwards also serves on the Mecklenburg County school board. “Being familiar with the school, he did a fantastic job,” she said.

Sheets was enormously grateful that this year, the new facility, which serves first through twelfth grade, will provide more of a school atmosphere. She knows that it will be beneficial to the students with special needs, including autism.

“We offer the behavior management in teaching students how to succeed,” Sheets said. “Our goal is to get the students ready to succeed when and if they go back into the public school setting.”

Each classroom has one teacher for 10 students as well as two counselors. Students are placed with the school through their home county public school system either through a Family Assessment and Planning Team or a Local Educational Agency. They are not part of the public school, but a private day school provided by Centra Health. There are 10 Rivermont Schools that serve throughout Southside and Central Virginia.

Rivermont School in Chase City does meet all the educational requirements, Sheets said. She explained that the school is accredited through the Department of Education and Virginia Department of Education. Students also complete their SOLs to meet the state requirements. Sometimes students will stay at Rivermont to finish their degree, Sheets said.

“We have some seniors this year; they like it here and are comfortable and chose to stay here. Students can choose to transition back [to public school] or they can stay here,” she said.

Rivermont School in Chase City will be hosting an Open House for the community on Thursday, Sept. 11 from 3 - 5 p.m.

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