Student/Parent Handbook

2014-2015

 


Dear BRVGS Students and Parents,

Welcome to the BRVGS Student Handbook, which has been established for your reference.  The handbook describes the policies and procedures of the BRVGS, and is also designed to convey our general expectations that all BRVGS students will be responsible learners, will act at all times with integrity and maturity, and will work hard to achieve success in the program.

It is important to note that while BRVGS has established policies specific to our courses and our students, BRVGS officials always work with local school administrators to insure the best outcome for the student and for the integrity of the program whenever a possible violation of policy has been brought to our attention.

        We ask parents and students to review the handbook carefully, and we welcome input and suggestions for future improvements to the  BRVGS program. We also look forward to working with you in pursuit of every student’s success in BRVGS.

        

With best wishes for a great school year,

        Marc Carraway                                Sallie Hill Outten

        Director, BRVGS                                BRVGS Technology Specialist

        mcarr1@brvgs.k12.va.us                        soutten@brvgs.k12.va.us

        (434) 589-8208

        (434) 989-3972 (cell)                        Terry Levinson

                                                        Administrative Specialist

                                                        tlevinson@brvgs.k12.va.us


Table of Contents

        Page 2:  Greetings from BRVGS Administration

        

        Page 3:  Table of Contents

        Page 4:  BRVGS Program Overview

        Page 5:  BRVGS Information

        Page 7:  BRVGS Program of Studies

        Page 8:  Honor Code

        Page 8:  Academic Standards

        Page 9:  BRVGS Grading Scale

        Page 10:  BRVGS Grade Appeal Process

Page 10:  Academic Standing

        Page 12:  Late Work Policy

        Page 12:  Field Trip Participation

Page 13:  Expectations For Behavior

Page 13:  Procedures and Sanctions for Code of Conduct

                        Violations

        Page 15:  Acceptable Use of Technology

        Page 17:  Students With Special Needs

        Page 18:  Withdrawal From BRVGS

        Page 19:  Code of Conduct Acceptance Form

BRVGS Program Overview

The Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School (BRVGS) is an academic- year Virginia Governor’s School that provides a challenging and differentiated program of studies emphasizing science, technology, engineering, and math.  The primary goal of BRVGS is to provide students with skills necessary for success in college and the world beyond high school, particularly in the areas of critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, time management, communication and public presentation.

In order to accomplish this goal, the BRVGS program utilizes a rigorous core curriculum, interactive computer and video technology, field trips, and team teaching to create a regional community of learners from the counties of Fluvanna, Goochland, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, and Orange.  Students work at their individual schools and across division lines to learn content, to solve problems collaboratively, to professionally present their academic findings, and to pursue their own individual academic interests. Methods of instruction and learning, aided by technology, are designed to put the individual student in control of his or her learning and education.

As members of a program that provides opportunities above and beyond local school offerings, students of BRVGS are expected to work towards academic success at all times, to demonstrate honesty and integrity in all academic pursuits, and to act with maturity and propriety in all school-related interactions.  With these guidelines in mind, BRVGS students will prepare themselves for a lifetime of learning beyond high school.

        BRVGS Mission Statement

BRVGS will create and foster a collaborative learning community for academically motivated high school students, emphasizing service, leadership and the development of skills necessary for success in the 21st century, while maintaining an instructional focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

BRVGS Information

BRVGS Director 

Mr. Marc Carraway                

Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School

14455 James Madison Hwy.  Palmyra, VA  22963

email: mcarr1@brvgs.k12.va.us    Phone: 434.989.3972   Fax: 434.589.2248

Technology Specialist

Ms. Sallie Hill Outten              email: soutten@brvgs.k12.va.us

Administrative Specialist

Ms. Terry Levinson                email: tlevinson@brvgs.k12.va.us

BRVGS Joint Board

   The BRVGS Joint Board is responsible for establishing policy and practices of the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School.  The Board consists of one local school board member from each of the seven BRVGS school divisions.  Superintendents from member divisions participate in an advisory capacity, with a Superintendent Designee appointed from one division.  The Board meets four times per year in rotating locations.  Meeting dates, times and locations are posted at each division’s local school board office.  

BRVGS Board members:

BRVGS Board Chair: Mr. John Lumpkins, Jr. (Goochland)

Board Member:  Ms. Bertha Armstrong (Fluvanna)

Board Member:  Mr. Troy Harlow (Greene)

Board Member:  Ms. Gail Proffitt (Louisa)

Board Member:  Mr. Joe Parker (Madison)

Board Member:  Ms. Deborah Harvey (Nelson)

Board Member:  Mr. Jim Hopkins (Orange)

BRVGS Superintendents:

Superintendent Designee: Dr. James Lane (Goochland)  

Superintendent:  Ms. Gena Keller (Fluvanna)

Superintendent:  Ms. Andrea Whitmarsh (Greene)

Superintendent:  Dr. Deborah Pettit (Louisa)

Superintendent:  Dr. Matthew Eberhardt (Madison)

Superintendent:  Dr. Jeff Comer (Nelson)

Superintendent:  Dr. Brenda Tanner (Orange)

BRVGS Steering Committee

The BRVGS Steering Committee is an advisory group that consists of administrators and school officials from each BRVGS division.  The group meets approximately once every six weeks, and is responsible for putting BRVGS policy into practice, as well advising the BRVGS Board on matters of significance to BRVGS.  BRVGS Steering Committee members are also the appropriate point of contact for parents and students who have questions or concerns related to the program.

BRVGS Steering Committee Members:

Fluvanna:        Ms. Brenda Gilliam – Fluvanna Co. School Board Office

                        Ms. Wanda Elliott – FCHS Asst. Principal

                        Ms. Stacey Holland - FCHS Guidance

Goochland:         Ms. Raye Rector – Goochland School Board Office

                        Ms. Beth Fowler – GHS Guidance

        

Greene:                Ms. Jessican Ayres – Greene Co. Central Office

                        Mr. David Wilkerson – WMHS Guidance

        

Louisa:                Dr. Lu Anne Unruh – Louisa School Board Office

                        Mr.  Todd Ryan – LCHS Guidance        

Madison:        Ms. Renee Honaker – Madison School Board Office

                        Ms. Celinda Bailey – MCHS Guidance

Nelson:                Dr. Jo Ann Wagner – Nelson Co. School Board Office

                        Ms. Ricki Perry – NCHS Guidance

Orange:         Ms. Carol Hunter – Orange Co. School Board Office

                        Ms. Amy Carr – OCHS Guidance

BRVGS Current Events

Website: www.brvgs.k12.va.us 

The BRVGS website provides parent info, forms, important dates, etc.  Please monitor the website for calendar information, news flashes, etc.  Newsletters and parent emails will be sent out periodically with news of recent and upcoming events.  

BRVGS Program of Studies

        Students may apply to the BRVGS program at the beginning of their 8th grade year.  The Virginia Department of Education and the BRVGS Constitution establish that only a limited number of students will be enrolled at each school site.  

BRVGS students take a combination of specific courses taught through BRVGS, along with the “highest available” courses available at their local high schools.  BRVGS courses are academically rigorous, challenging courses, and include World History I and II in the 9th grade, BRVGS Advanced Placement Biology in 10th grade, Computer Science or Dual Enrollment Statistics in the 11th grade, and an independent research/internship project in 12th grade.  BRVGS also provides Dual Enrollment electives to students as well.

Students in those courses are expected to work well independently, to progress quickly through curriculum, and to participate in all required BRVGS activities (such as field trips, presentations, etc).  In addition to the BRVGS core courses, students are expected to take the highest-level courses available in their local schools. Students may substitute Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual-Enrollment (DE) courses for advanced courses. All BRVGS students must complete four (4) AP or Dual Enrollment courses (preferably one from each core subject area) prior to graduation.  In addition, students must include Calculus, AP or DE Statistics as part of their BRVGS Math sequence. Students may take an alternate AP or DE math class of equal rigor with prior approval from the BRVGS Director.  BRVGS AP Biology will count as one of the four AP/DE courses for the graduates of 2015 and beyond.

Graduation requirements for a BRVGS student from the class of 2015 and beyond are listed below:  

Total Credits Required for BRVGS Seal- 28

English                        4 credits

Mathematics                            5 credits

Science                        5 credits   (includes 2 credits for BRVGS AP Biology)

Social Studies                4 credits

Foreign Language        3 credits or 2 credits                         from  2 languages

Health & PE                        2 credits

Computer Science

(or substitute course)                1 credit

Tech / Sci / Math elective        1 credit

Fine art / Practical art                      1 credit

Economics/Personal Finance*    1 credit

Senior Internship                1 credit        

Total                                  28 Credits

* Virginia grad requirement

Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School Honor Code

The BRVGS Honor Code upholds our community of learners’ belief in truth, honesty, integrity, respect, and responsibility.  It is a physical representation of the values that members of the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School community encompass.  It has been established so that people, teachers and students alike, know the expectations for behavior in the BRVGS program.  Likewise, it supports the high academic and behavioral expectations of all Virginia Governor’s Schools.

Honesty is a value that holds each person to the truth, to tell the truth, and to defend the truth.  Honesty results in fairness for each member of the BRVGS community.  Integrity is firm adherence to our values with and without the presence of others.  Respect is the practice of treating others as we would like to be treated.  Responsibility is the quality of being accountable for our actions and accepting the consequences of our actions.

This honor code is meant as a standard to which all BRVGS students should be held.  The BRVGS program pushes each of us to higher academic achievement and this code asks that we hold each other, with the same rigor and passion, to a standard of integrity and of honesty.  This honor code is designed to reflect and reinforce the code-of-conduct expectations of students’ home-based school divisions.  Students will be expected to express their understanding of, and adherence to, the BRVGS Honor Code with a signed, written statement on all major assignments, as follows:

         “I have neither given nor received unauthorized

help on this assignment”

Academic Standards: Honor Code

   Enrollment in the BRVGS program requires adherence to a certain set of standards and expectations.  Students are expected to produce their own work as required, and to be honest and forthcoming with the sources of their information.  While parents are encouraged to take an active role with their child’s education, it is important that students and parents be aware of the line between “helpful insight” and “doing the assignment for the student.”  Parents are encouraged to contact teachers, should they have questions regarding the amount of input and support they might provide to their child on a particular assignment.  

BRVGS standards include the expectation that no student will engage in the following unacceptable behaviors in any of their high school courses, not just BRVGS required courses:

   If a student is unclear as to whether or not his or her action(s) might be in violation of the BRVGS Honor Code, then it is that student’s responsibility to clarify any ambiguities with the appropriate administrator or instructor. Students found to be in violation of the BRVGS Honor Code in a BRVGS course will receive no credit for the assignment for their first violation, and will be placed on Academic Probation.  Violations in classes other than BRVGS-specific courses will result in penalties as prescribed by the local school, and will also result in Academic Probation in BRVGS.  Further violations of BRVGS Academic Standards will result in dismissal from the program.

BRVGS Grading Scale:

90 - 100 = A

80 - 89 = B

70 - 79 = C

65 - 69 = D

Note - “Plusses” and “Minuses” may be added to grades per local grading policy (“A-” or “B+”, for example).  

Grade Appeal Process for BRVGS Courses

The BRVGS Grade appeals process is designed to complement the BRVGS critical skills curriculum, and is specifically meant to promote self-advocacy for students as the first step in the process.  Also, because the BRVGS curriculum is separately developed and supervised directly by BRVGS staff, appeals of grades in those courses specific to BRVGS (and only those courses) are reviewed by BRVGS staff.  With these facts in mind, students who do not agree with the grade awarded on a specific assignment in a BRVGS course should first discuss that grade directly with their teacher.  Grade appeals should include the following information:

  1. The specific assignment or test in question
  2. The reason(s) that the student believes that the grade should be different, in accordance with the grading guidelines for that assignment
  3. Any evidence or documentation that supports the student’s position that the grade should have been different than the grade that he or she received.  

If the student and parent are not satisfied with the outcome of the grade discussion with the teacher, the parent should contact the teacher with the above information.  If the parent is not satisfied with the outcome of the grade discussion with the teacher, the final step in the BRVGS grade appeal process is for the parent to contact the BRVGS Director, again with the above information.  This procedure only applies to grades received in BRVGS-specific courses.  

Students or parents who contact the Director before undertaking the first steps of the appeals process will be asked to undertake those steps before any appeal will be heard.   All grade appeal decisions by the BRVGS Director are final.

Academic Standing

   Students enrolled in the BRVGS must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and a minimum grade average of 2.5 in their BRVGS core course at each grading period end, as calculated by the local school division, in order to be considered in ‘good academic standing’ with the program. Student records are reviewed at the end of each grading period for academic progress.  Any student not meeting the requirements for good academic standing will be placed on Academic Probation and must follow the procedure outlined below:

Academic Probation

Student records are reviewed at the end of each grading period for academic progress.  Any student not meeting the requirements for good academic standing will be placed on Academic Probation and must follow the procedure outlined below:

Academic Probation:  First Checkpoint

  1. Student meets with a designated high school official and agrees to a contract of expectations.
  2. “Letter of Concern” sent home.

                                

Academic Probation - Second Checkpoint

Meets Standards

Student has met cumulative and Core Course GPA requirements.

Student returns to Good Academic Standing.

Improvement

  1. Student meets with school officials and revises contract as needed.
  2. Letter of Improvement sent home.

No Improvement

  1. Letter of Dismissal goes home.
  2. Exit interview with parent & student.

Academic Probation - Third Checkpoint

Meets Standards

Student has met cumulative and Core Course GPA requirements.

Student returns to Good Academic Standing.

Improvement

  1. Student meets with school officials and revises contract as needed.
  2. Letter of Improvement sent home.

No Improvement

  1. Letter of Dismissal goes home.
  2. Exit interview with parent & student.

Academic Probation is designed to help BRVGS students through a tough academic time and is not intended to be a permanent designation.  Therefore, the following limitations apply:

 

Late Work Policy

        As members of an academically rigorous program, BRVGS students are expected to make every effort to respect guidelines and deadlines for academic work.  Each BRVGS course will have a stated policy for late work, in compliance with BRVGS expectations.  BRVGS students who turn work in beyond established due dates should expect a lowered grade as a consequence.  In situations in which extenuating circumstances (medical or family emergency, for example) might exist, it is the responsibility of the student (or parent, as necessary) to contact the teacher at the earliest possible date and time with information regarding the circumstance, in order to make arrangements for the acceptable submission of the student’s work.  Lack of time management does not constitute an extenuating circumstance for late work.

Field Trip Participation

When approving the BRVGS school charter, the Virginia Board of Education made clear that face-to-face meetings must be incorporated into the school year.  The BRVGS has set a goal of at least five (5) such meetings within a school year for grades nine and 10, and ‘as needed’ in grades 11 and 12.  Field trips are educationally relevant, as well as being a critical part of this program’s design.  These meetings give students the chance to interact with each other in a personal way, outside of online interactions, and are a critical part of the BRVGS program.

Because they are critical to the BRVGS instructional program, field trips scheduled for the BRVGS classes are NOT optional.  Any student who is present for any part of the school day and does not attend a scheduled BRVGS field trip will receive no credit for the activities of that date.  Students and parents should make teachers aware of any extenuating circumstances related to the student’s need to miss a field trip.  “Extenuating circumstances” include family emergencies, illness, or major academic conflicts that require a student’s physical presence in conflict with the field trip date (SAT or AP Tests, for example).  They do not include athletic or other practices, nor do they include the need to prepare for tests or projects in other classes,  The local teacher has the authority to decide whether or not an “extenuating circumstance” exists to excuse a student from a field trip.  Alternative assignments will be given to students who miss a trip for an extenuating circumstance.  

Students on field trips are reminded that they are representative of BRVGS and their local school, and as such, they are expected to dress and behave appropriately.  Students who are not attired according to their school’s dress code may be turned away from participation in a field trip at the teacher’s discretion. Any student denied participation in a field trip due to dress code violation will not receive credit for the academic requirements of the trip.

For the most part, BRVGS field trips occur during the regular school hours.  On rare occasion, however, a trip may require an early departure from school and/or a late return.  Students are expected to make arrangements to be excused from extra-curricular activities if this presents a conflict.

Expectations for Behavior

Just as there are expectations for academic honesty and grades, being a member of the BRVGS carries expectations for behavior as well.   The BRVGS is a “school within a school” program.  Therefore, BRVGS students are responsible for upholding their local school division’s Code of Conduct, the BRVGS Code of Conduct, and the BRVGS Academic Standards.  Additionally, all BRVGS students are expected to be exemplary role models of responsible citizenship and community activity.  A student whose behavior fails to meet these expectations, or who is in violation of the local school division Code of Conduct, is subject to an administrative review.

Procedures and Sanctions For

Code of Conduct Violations

As voluntary participants in an application-based learning program, students of The Blue Ridge Virtual Governor's School are expected to be exemplary role models of responsible citizenship and community activity, and to uphold their local school division’s Code of Conduct at all times.  

If a BRVGS student has been found to be in violation of their local school Code of Conduct and has been assigned to “In-School Suspension” (ISS), or to “Out of School Suspension” (OSS), the BRVGS Director will be notified by local school officials.  The student will be subject to administrative review of their BRVGS status, as follows:

1.  Any BRVGS student found to be in violation of the local school Code of Conduct and assigned to ISS,  or in one (1) day or less of OSS, and for whom this violation constitutes a first offense, will be subject to administrative review by the BRVGS Director.  BRVGS consequences for first offenses resulting in ISS,  or in one (1)  day or less of OSS, include (but are not limited to) the following:

2.  Any BRVGS student found to be in a violation of the local school Code of Conduct that has resulted in a consequence of more than one (1) day of OSS, or who has committed a second offense resulting in ISS or one (1) day or less of OSS, will be subject to administrative review by a team consisting of the BRVGS Director, the local high school principal, and a local representative to the BRVGS Steering Committee.  Parents and students will be notified of the administrative review date, and will be given the opportunity to provide the Administrative Review Team with information relevant to the offense under consideration.  

BRVGS consequences for offenses resulting in more than one (1) day of OSS, as well as for second offenses resulting in ISS,  or in one (1) day or less of OSS, include (but are not limited to) the following:

BRVGS students who commit violations of their local school Code of Conduct while on BRVGS field trips, or through BRVGS technology, will be reported to local school officials.  

Appeals Process

The decision of the BRVGS Administrative Review team may be appealed to the local division Superintendent or his or her designee, in accordance with that division’s policy.  Appeals must be made in writing to the Superintendent within ten days of the receipt of the decision of the BRVGS Administrative Review Team.  

BRVGS Policy for Acceptable Use of Technology



1. BRVGS technology is provided only for legitimate school purposes.  Language in all emails, chats or other BRVGS communications should be professional, polite and respectful at all times, and BRVGS technology should only be used for demonstrable learning assignments related to official school business.  See our guidelines for “Academic and Professional” communications at the bottom of this page or by clicking on: BRVGS Academic and Professional Guidelines.

2.  BRVGS technology may not be used during any class other than BRVGS courses, unless the student has received advance permission from the instructor of that class, prior to using the technology.  For example, should a BRVGS student wish to use their BRVGS Google Docs account to work on a paper during an English class, they may do so only after they have received permission from that English teacher prior to using BRVGS technology for that assignment.

3.  Students may be held responsible for loss or damage to any BRVGS equipment that is placed in their care. 

4.  The use of BRVGS technology to engage in profanity, harassment, inappropriate language or content of any kind, any form of cheating, or the deliberate disruption of learning activities is completely unacceptable, and will be considered a disciplinary offense.  Should a BRVGS student be found to have participated in any activity prohibited by local policy, a referral will be made to local school officials for disciplinary action. Any violations of law found to have been committed on BRVGS technology will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency.  Students and parents should be aware that all BRVGS technology (including email, chat, or any other accounts originating from BRVGS) is subject to monitoring by BRVGS officials on a regular basis, and can be monitored at any time, without prior notice. 

Violations of the BRVGS Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) will be reviewed by the BRVGS Director, the BRVGS Instructional Technology Resource Specialist, and local school officials, and will result in a range of consequences, including, but not limited to:

In order for BRVGS students to be provided with BRVGS technology, each student and a parent/guardian must sign and return the BRVGS AUP form to the student's BRVGS current teacher, facilitator or advisor.

BRVGS students are advised to back up all work in their Google account, as well as on the hard disk of the computer on which the work was done. Very few computers in school will take floppy drives. Students are advised to make multiple backups of all significant BRVGS work, include projects, programs, etc. All BRVGS teachers also have mini storage drives for backing up student work. “Cyber-excuses” will not be accepted for late or missing work.

Additionally, printers often run out of ink, networks shut down, and a host of other things can potentially happen.  Students are responsible for making sure that all technologically-produced projects, programs, etc., are properly backed up and are ready to be turned in on time.  Students and teachers should plan ahead to avoid technological pitfalls.

Guidelines for Academic and Professional Emails, Chats and Status Messages

1. Email and chat content:

2.  Picture and Status Message guidelines:

Your picture (if you choose to post one):

Student Status Messages:

Students With Special Needs

Students with special needs will receive accommodations as required by IEP and 504 plans for all BRVGS courses.   For BRVGS courses that are taught in the local school, the course teacher will be provided with students’ IEPs or 504s and accommodations by local school officials.  In cases where BRVGS courses are not taught in the local school (such as in the case of online and/or BRVGS Dual Enrollment courses), local school officials will provide the BRVGS Director with students’ IEPs or 504s.   The Director will work with course instructors to insure that accommodations are in place as required (updated March 2010).  

BRVGS does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, age, disability or gender.  Inquiries regarding BRVGS policies and practices should be addressed to: Marc Carraway, BRVGS Director, at (434) 589-8208.

Withdrawal From BRVGS

Students wishing to withdraw from the BRVGS Program must contact their local school guidance office.  Students will be asked to work with their school officials and the BRVGS Director to make plans for success in the program.  Should a student and parent decide that they still wish to pursue withdrawal, they must submit a Withdrawal Form, signed by student and parent, to the local guidance office.  Withdrawing students and their parents may be asked to participate in an Exit Interview with local school officials and/or the BRVGS Director.

BRVGS does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, age, disability or gender.  Inquiries regarding BRVGS policies and practices should be addressed to: Marc Carraway, Director, BRVGS, at (434) 589-8208.


To be returned no later than ________________

Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School

Code of Conduct Acceptance

As a member of the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School, I honor academic and personal integrity.  I promise to uphold the values of honesty, integrity, respect, and responsibility.  I agree to abide by the policies set forth in the BRVGS Student Handbook, including the policy for BRVGS Acceptable Use of Technology.

Name (printed)  ________________________________  Grade: _______

Local High School:  _______________________________________

Signature (student):  ______________________________________

As the parent of a Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School student, I understand and support the policies and procedures set forth in the BRVGS Student Handbook, including the policy for BRVGS Acceptable Use of Technology.

Signature (parent):  _______________________________________

The above signatures indicate that the individuals have read and understand the BRVGS Student Code of Conduct.

Parents: BRVGS students are often photographed on field trips and at other BRVGS events.  These photos may be subject to use in published materials.  Please indicate by initialing below if you do not wish your child’s photograph, name or schoolwork to appear in any BRVGS newsletter, promotional materials, or in any published news stories.  

______ I do not wish for my child’s photograph or name to appear in any         

published materials related to BRVGS.

BRVGS may publish student work as examples of student products for news articles, journal publications, or online resources. All credit for original work will go to the student creator and any other participating members. Please indicate by initialing below if you do not wish your child’s work to appear in any BRVGS published material.

______ I do not wish for my child’s work to appear in any published materials related to

BRVGS.

        

Return this to your local BRVGS teacher by the date required.

Date Received:  ________Teacher’s initials, indicating receipt of this form:  _______

BRVGS does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, age, disability or gender.  Inquiries regarding BRVGS policies and practices should be addressed to:  Marc Carraway, Director, BRVGS, at (434) 589-8208.