Our mission is to give intellectually gifted high school students the opportunity to achieve their academic potential by providing an accelerated and enriched science and mathematics learning environment of exceptional quality, setting the pace for excellence in science and mathematics education in Southwest Virginia. We recognize that our students are not merely participants in the Governor's School program, they are the program itself. To remain vital, we will carefully plan our future curriculum and growth based on the ever-changing needs and interests of our students, the school systems supporting them, and the business community who will be their future employers.

More Than Just a School

Governor's Schools differ from high schools. Differences include:

SWVGS leads students to solve math problems independent of a calculator. Students are encouraged to understand and practice the steps of completing calculations by hand. Development of proficiency in solving fractions, equations, factoring, etc. is a high priority. Students are asked to use mathematics to analyze data, understand scientific principles, and explore relationships among different fields of knowledge. Knowledge of basic facts and proficiency in applying basic skills allow students to understand what they are doing, make connections, and give meaningful interpretations of their results. Understanding how to use a variety of mathematical tools independent of a calculator gives students the self-confidence to think for themselves, analyze new and more complex problems, determine appropriate strategies for solving those problems, and then apply those strategies. Thinking conceptually, using logical reasoning, and making connections are skills that lead to success not only in SWVGS math and science classes, but also in college classes and in the workplace.

At SWVGS, there is a focus on understanding the process of science and the use of the scientific method to reveal new knowledge. Students are required to take the Science and Technology Seminar and Project course each year they attend SWVGS and all students complete independent research projects each year. Additionally, the process of scientific discovery and the impact of significant discoveries are discussed within specific science courses. Experience with research develops critical thinking and problem solving skills, skepticism and curiosity about the world, ability to acquire and apply knowledge, joy of discovery, persistence, time management skills, a strong work ethic, and intellectual integrity, as well as collaborative, leadership, and communication skills.

The SWVGS compacted curriculum model is designed to challenge gifted students. Faculty members work to actively engage students in learning through demonstrations, projects, lab experiments, and group experiences. Development of problem solving and critical thinking skills are emphasized as students complete their dual-enrolled courses.

Governor's School students are part of a community of similarly motivated and talented learners. Students like the atmosphere at SWVGS and enjoy being in classrooms filled with other students who are focused on learning and achieving.

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