Longwood University

Longwood University is one of America’s hundred-oldest colleges and universities, and Virginia’s third-oldest public institution, following only William & Mary and the University of Virginia. A public liberal arts university of about 5,000 students, Longwood has a distinctive mission: to shape citizen-leaders.

Routinely ranked in the top 10 regional public universities by U.S. News & World Report, Longwood has grown from its roots as a small all-women college focused on teacher preparation into a full-scale university widely recognized for its focus on undergraduate research opportunities, forward-thinking Civitae Core Curriculum and student access to faculty.

The historic 60-acre central campus in downtown Farmville has witnessed some of the most critical events in American history. The final hours of the Civil War played out along High Street on the north end of campus, and in 1951, the south end of campus witnessed the student-led birth of the modern civil rights movement, with the student strike at the then all-black Moton School. Today, Moton is an award-winning museum that recently affiliated with Longwood, and which plays an instrumental role in the experience of students and the life of the university.

Longwood is known for its citizen-leadership mission, camaraderie, and small class sizes – it has the highest percentage of courses taught by full-time faculty of any public university in Virginia. Its students are famous for their enthusiastic extracurricular involvement. A member of the Big South conference, Longwood is among the 50 oldest institutions in the United States that participate in NCAA Division I athletics.

In 2016, the campus community hosted the only vice presidential debate of the general election between Sen. Tim Kaine and then-Gov. Mike Pence. The unprecedented media coverage of the debate earned the university more than $80 million worth of publicity, as dozens of national outlets highlighted campus, student volunteers and activists and faculty experts.

Longwood students are known for their commitment to leadership. Students participate in more than 200 campus organizations, including thriving art and service organizations, and more than 650 hold a primary leadership position in an organization. Most students live on campus or very close by, and an ongoing commitment to the power and value of a residential liberal arts education has led to two new residence halls constructed in the last five years, with additional large-scale renovation projects ongoing.

President W. Taylor Reveley IV is a forceful advocate for the value of the liberal arts and sciences in democratic life. During his six years at Longwood, the university has held cost increases to among the lowest levels of any public university in Virginia, while applications have increased substantially.

Hampden-Sydney College

The 10th-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, Hampden-Sydney College is a private liberal arts college on a beautiful 1,300-acre campus in Southside Virginia. As one of the nation’s three remaining all-male colleges, Hampden-Sydney is committed to its founding mission “to form good men and good citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning.”

Hampden-Sydney offers 27 majors, 24 minors and nine NCAA Division III athletic teams to its approximately 1,100 students, while a student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1 ensures small class sizes, a collaborative learning environment and a focus on experiential learning. The College’s Honor Code and Code of Conduct date back to the American Revolution and form the foundation of Hampden-Sydney’s campus culture, which emphasizes integrity and leadership.

Located approximately an hour’s drive from Richmond, Lynchburg and Charlottesville, the college’s central campus is designated a National Historic Preservation Zone. Recent campus additions include a newly constructed student center, newly renovated fine arts center, and ongoing construction of a communication center to house the college’s flagship rhetoric program.

Hampden-Sydney consistently earns top national rankings in a variety of categories. The college is one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, according to both U.S. News & World Report and Forbes. The Wall Street Journal has named Hampden-Sydney one of the 10 top schools in the nation for career preparation and has ranked the college in the top 30 percent among all colleges and universities. The Princeton Review ranks Hampden-Sydney’s alumni network number four nationally and ranks the college in the top 20 in both its “Best College Library” and “Best Schools for Internships” categories.

Prince Edward County Public Schools

United in Excellence. The vision of Prince Edward County Public Schools is inclusive of all students regardless of grades, skills, and abilities, and ensures a comprehensive education as well as opportunities for community engagement.

PECPS provides a quality education to 2,079 students from pre-K to 12th grade. The convenient location of the 135-acre campus allows parents who have several children enrolled to easily access faculty and staff. The campus is composed of four school buildings: Prince Edward County Elementary School, Prince Edward County Middle School, Prince Edward County High School and the Career and Technical Education Center. Teachers often take advantage of opportunities for professional development, such as courses through Longwood University’s prestigious education department.

Instructional technology is important in PECPS classrooms. Tools like computers, tablets, laptops and iPads are supported by extensive wireless access. Each classroom is equipped with a Promethean interactive whiteboard, and computer labs are available across the division.

Students benefit from contemporary educational approaches. Prince Edward County Elementary School utilizes inquiry-based science, hands-on mathematics and guided reading. Students at Prince Edward County Middle School participate in daily Power Up activities that provide skills-centered interventions and engaging enrichment activities. The English curriculum at Prince Edward County High School features an award-winning creative writing program, and the school promotes global citizenship by participating in an exchange program with German students.

The schools also partner with local entities and businesses to offer students a variety of experiences. Longwood University, Hampden-Sydney College, and Southside Virginia Community College host events for prospective students and allow high school students to take college-level courses in their areas of interest. Nursing students from the Career and Technical Center strengthen their skills through working with staff at The Woodland assisted living facility.

PECPS also encourages students to pursue extracurricular activities and achieve post-high school goals. Athletic teams include volleyball, soccer, basketball, cheerleading, softball, baseball and track. Other activities are also available, such as band, debate, forensics, drama, Future Business Leaders of America and National Honor Society. After leaving PECPS, many graduates attend college, complete career/technical programs or enter the military.

Cumberland County Public Schools

Cumberland County Public Schools is a model, rural school division that provides for the academic, social, emotional and physical needs of approximately 1,500 students in grades preK-12. The division is composed of three schools – Cumberland Elementary School, Cumberland Middle School and Cumberland High School – which strive to ensure the academic success of each student by providing rigorous, quality instruction based on innovative practices and research-based programs. Quality programs include early childhood options, after-school enrichment, Senior Project, STEAM camps, WagiLabs, service learning and talented and gifted programs.

Opportunities for students abound. Dual enrollment classes, offered in conjunction with Southside Virginia Community College, give students the opportunity to earn an associate degree and a high school diploma concurrently. Students can also participate in the Southside Virginia Community College Welding Certification program; take classes such as cosmetology at the Amelia-Nottoway Technical Center; apply to CodeRVA; and apply to attend the Governor’s School for Global Economics and Technology or the Pre-Engineering Academy at Southside Virginia Community College.

To ensure students are life ready, CUCPS has embraced the Profile of a Virginia Graduate initiative. Even at an early age, students engage in career exploration. As they progress, they set career goals, experience job shadowing, and secure internships. Students can earn digital badges in the five C’s (critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity and citizenship), which are the skills that colleges and employers value. Students can also acquire industrial credentials and certifications.

CUCPS is at the forefront of technology, utilizing interactive whiteboards and electronic devices such as iPads, tablets and Chromebooks. The division has implemented a high school one-to-one device initiative and a Bring Your Own Device initiative. Students engage in online, blended and distance learning and can compete in First Robotics and Lego League.

A wide range of sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities are offered. Extracurricular activities include yearbook, drama, forensics, Envirothon, JROTC competitions and band.

The CUCPS mission statement is to inspire and prepare all students with the confidence, courage and competence to achieve their dreams; contribute to community; and engage in a lifetime of learning.

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Fuqua School

Fuqua School is an independent, co-educational, preK3-12 day school – centrally located to serve southside Virginia – that provides children with a well-rounded, values-based educational experience uniquely tailored to create a solid foundation for their individual success.

The school is known for individualized attention where no student can slip through the cracks; a safe, inclusive environment where adults and students treat each other with compassion, kindness, respect and trust; and an exciting menu of academic and extracurricular activities where students have many options to broaden their experiences and find their passions.

Fuqua’s caring, highly-engaged, teachers and administration know and care about each student as an individual, thus creating a sense of family and community. Small class sizes provide opportunities for personalized teaching that is tailored to students’ individual needs and promotes the development of close teacher-student relationships

As an independent school, Fuqua is free to be flexible with its curriculum, allowing for more innovative programming. Its high academic standards reflect the 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, writing and information literacy. The school offers a wide variety of STEAM-related programming and innovative classes such as aviation, robotics, AP environmental science, externships and classes at local colleges.

Fuqua School graduates are distinguished by exceptional preparedness for admission to and success in college and careers; empowered by strong leadership and problem-solving skills; propelled by self-confidence and their drive to succeed in whatever they undertake; respected for their persuasive ability to express themselves orally and in writing; and grounded in high morals, deep values, integrity and respect for all.

Last year, Fuqua school graduates received $2 million ($50,000 per student) in academic scholarships in a class of 40 graduates. 95 percent of graduating seniors were accepted to their first-choice college or university.

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Sunrise Learning Center

The Sunrise Learning Center is a licensed, nondenominational, preschool through first grade school dedicated to providing an innovative quality, progressive early education for children ages 2 and a half through 6. Its balanced, play-based curriculum is carefully designed to provide a holistic foundation for future academics while promoting imagination and creative learning in a safe and media-free environment. It is inclusive and accepts all students regardless of race, religion, ethnic or cultural background. Students also have specialty enrichment classes in music, arts and crafts, Spanish, gardening, early mathematics and literacy, American sign and children’s yoga.

Dr. Deborah Carrington, school co-founder, envisioned The Sunrise Learning Center over six years ago while teaching education at James Madison University. With experience as a Waldorf teacher and exploring progressive approaches to education, she crafted an integrated curriculum to address early childhood learning.

Sunrise Learning Center’s highly trained, professional staff provides a research-based, play-oriented, progressive approach that is unique to the area. Carrington and Dr. Chapman Hood Frazier each have over 30 years of experience in leadership and teaching in progressive public and private schools as well as tenured university positions. Carrington was coordinator for the James Madison University Elementary Education Department and won awards for her teaching and scholarship. Frazier taught in the middle secondary program at James Madison and English education at Longwood University, and is a published poet and writer. He has been a member of the Prince Edward School Board and chairman of the board of the Crossroads Waldorf School in Charlottesville and currently is also a Professor in Residence for JMU in Prince Edward County Schools. The Sunrise Learning Center offers families and their children an opportunity to create a real learning community in southside Virginia.

Bear Creek Academy

Bear Creek Academy is a private special education day school serving students in grades 6-12. The academic program centers on strengthening students’ academic foundations by filling in the missing gaps in learning from previous years and then building a history of academic success upon that newly solidified foundation. With small class sizes and the opportunity to develop strong interpersonal relationships between teacher and student, students acquire confidence in their ability to learn and begin to realize how valuable an education is for their future.

Education does not only include the student and the teacher but each member of the school, family and members of the community. Bear Creek Academy actively collaborates with community organizations to educate and equip students with practical means to improve their lives. Accountability, responsibility, sharing and mutual respect are essential components of relationships with the staff and community, and students can be inspired to follow their own dreams to do service in the global community.

To address the additional needs of students who have behavioral difficulties, the school’s therapeutic advocates work in tandem with teachers in the classroom to facilitate problem-solving, management of emotions and learning social skills. Through a combination of individual support and a positive peer culture, students learn to cope with emotions and are encouraged to self-monitor their own behaviors. Alternative education classes and special groups teach skills in identifying and communicating feelings. In addition, students with attention deficits and other behavioral issues are taught strategies to help them maintain focus and/or manage their emotions and behaviors, which positively impacts their ability to learn and retain academic knowledge.