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.

Residence of Colonial Heights are able to participate in the Governor’s Schools listed below. Interested home schooled students should contact Dr. Joseph Douglas at: joe_douglas@colonialhts.net.

The Appomattox Regional Governor's School

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.

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. 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. Rising freshman are eligible to apply for admission the following year. Interested students should contact their guidance counselor in mid-October. Detailed information about the school can be found at: https://www.args.us/Content2/admission-informati

Maggie L. Walker

The Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies (MLWGS) is an innovative public high school offering a comprehensive college preparatory program emphasizing government, international studies, science, mathematics, languages, and fine arts.  The school serves students selected on the basis of aptitude and interest in its mission.

Established in 1991, MLWGS is the product of a public/private partnership to support the needs and interests of the region’s gifted high school students.  In 1998, the Regional School Board facilitated the renovation of the historic Maggie L. Walker High School building to become the permanent home of MLWGS.  Through a coordinated effort, the school’s Booster Groups, PTSA, and Foundation continue to partner with the Regional School Board and school leadership to raise parental and corporate support for the school.  As a public school, MLWGS is also supported by the Virginia Department of Education.

A Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial for Saturday, May 18, 2013, said that “Maggie Walker is the finest comprehensive high school — public or private — in Metro Richmond.”  On August 27, 2014, Maggie Walker Governor’s School was ranked by Newsweek/The Daily Beast/Washington Post as the 12th best public high school in the nation. Unfortunately, the author of this annual ranking has since retired the listing of Best Public Schools. In 2019 MLWGS ranked #8 in Best Public High Schools in the US by Niche.

Maggie Walker is described by students and alumni as “inclusive,” “friendly,” “fostering independence,” and “surprisingly non- competitive.”  Students balance academics with high involvement in an eclectic set of courses, clubs and broad participation in successful athletic teams.  MLWGS fosters an incredibly tightly-knit community of passionate students, dedicated teachers, involved parents, and connected alumni
Rising freshman are eligible to apply for admission the following year. Interested students should contact their guidance counselor in mid-October. Detailed information about the school can be found at: http://www.gsgis.k12.va.us/

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: http://www.msinnovation.info/stu/gifted.htm

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