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MVGS Student Parent Handbook
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Mountain Vista Governor’s School

Handbook for

Students and Parents/Guardians

 2023-2024

Welcome to Mountain Vista Governor’s School.

Please visit the MVGS website (www.mvgshome.org) for contact information and updates on news and information. Weekly email announcements will be sent to parents and students with active email addressed on file with the MVGS main office. Additional questions can be directed to Kelly Huff, Director; DeAnne Wilmore, Office Manager; Mauren Dougherty, Office Assistant, Debbie Ravn, Program Counselor; Mountain Vista faculty members; your school division’s Gifted and Talented Education Coordinator; or your base school counseling team.

Please note that at the end of this handbook is the MVGS Acknowledgements and Signatures form, which is required for all students and parents/guardians to complete prior to the first day of school at MVGS (August 7, 2023).

  1. MVGS BASICS

  1. MVGS CURRICULUM

  1. Mission Statement

The mission of MVGS is to engage students in a technology-enhanced program, exploring connections within an integrated curriculum of advanced mathematics, science, and the humanities through collaborative research. MVGS challenges students to grow as critical thinkers, leaders, and innovators to maximize their future roles in a constantly changing global society.  

  1. Curriculum Overview
    The interdisciplinary curriculum design of Mountain Vista Governor’s School challenges students to construct a highly integrated understanding of mathematics and designated sciences.  The development of technology and research skills supports students in solving authentic problems in a scholarly and professional manner.  The humanities component requires students to analyze the relationship between the arts and sciences and to construct a personal philosophical basis for ethical leadership in applying scientific knowledge to challenging real-world issues.

  1. Goals
    The learning environment of Mountain Vista Governor’s School is designed to provide students rigorous educational experiences to reach their fullest potential by:

  1. Cultivating a collaborative, supportive regional community of academically talented and highly motivated learners that celebrates intellectual diversity.
  2. Providing investigative learning experiences that integrate disciplines.
  3. Engaging students in research and extended learning through a discovery approach patterned after activities of scholars and professionals.
  4. Developing producers of knowledge as well as consumers of knowledge.
  5. Preparing self-reliant, critical thinkers who excel at advanced levels of education and apply knowledge to real world challenges.
  6. Creating opportunities for service and leadership in both school and community.
  7. Establishing community partnerships to enhance learning opportunities.

  1. Vision
    MVGS brings together a diverse community of exceptional learners in a safe, supportive, and challenging environment to:

  1. Interdisciplinary Connectivity
    The faculty of Mountain Vista Governor’s School will collaborate to integrate knowledge and skills from all disciplines in the following ways:
  1. Scientific and mathematical knowledge will be examined in historical and cultural contexts.
  2. The mathematics courses and the science courses will be taught collaboratively.
  3. Environmental science will be a formal or informal component of the physics and biology courses.
  4. Students will be challenged to see how the process of science and the knowledge gained through science impacts the cultures and politics of the world.
  5. Students will analyze and critique scientific thought against the background of western and non-western philosophy, literature, and the arts.
  6. Students will utilize their technical writing skills while conducting scientific investigations and presenting their findings.
  7. Students will be challenged through research to see that all knowledge crosses multiple disciplines.

  1. Technology Integration
    The faculty of Mountain Vista Governor’s School will integrate technology into all courses in the following ways:
  1. Students will carry out investigations using computer-aided, data-collecting probes and sensors.
  2. Students will use graphing software to manipulate and analyze data collected during laboratory investigations.
  3. Students will utilize Internet resources to gather background information throughout the courses.
  4. Students will engage in distance learning via multi-site video conferencing and/or on-line instruction.
  5. Students will use technology to develop and deliver presentations of their research findings in a publishable format.
  6. Students will utilize web-based and technology enhanced textbooks when possible.
  7. Faculty will use technology in instructional presentations.
  8. Faculty will utilize web-communication systems for off-site instruction, and students will utilize it to prepare and submit assignments (e.g., weather-related or other scheduling issues negatively impacting on-site instruction).

  1. An Alternative Learning Program Option
    The Mountain Vista Governor’s School provides an alternate learning opportunity that is differentiated from the regular high school program by:
  1. Providing a college-level program designed to meet the unique needs of academically talented and highly motivated learners.
  2. Creating a regional community of learners.
  3. Providing a uniquely designed integrated science, mathematics, humanities, and research curriculum.
  4. Providing extensive research and real-world application opportunities.
  5. Using technology-enhanced instruction for delivery of instruction, data collection/analysis/processing, and effective communication of information/solutions.
  6. Focusing on community-based instruction through the themes of engineering, medicine, environment, agribusiness, and animal sciences.
  7. Providing a specially designed program (versus a menu of courses) that enables college-bound students to:
  1. be challenged with college-level content;
  2. experience college-level research expectations, language, and procedures;
  3. develop learner-centered skills needed by a self-reliant, life-long learner;
  4. earn college credits in math, science, humanities, and research;
  5. develop three-years of lived, learning experiences for the college application process;
  6. relate core knowledge to real-world application skills;
  7. interact with experts in the career area of their choice.
  1. Developing leadership potential by exploring and applying intellectual ideas through research and public action.
  2. Providing a half-day program that enables students to continue to be involved in the academic, social, and extracurricular opportunities of their base schools.  

  1. MVGS 2023-2024 THREE YEAR PROGRAM OF STUDY, COURSE OFFERINGS, AND COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Rising 10th graders will attend MVGS for three years and will choose the science strand option during the 10th grade year.  

Several courses may be available to be dual enrolled for college credit through Laurel Ridge.  See the course descriptions below.

Prerequisites:  Geometry; Algebra II (prerequisite for Math Analysis)        Co-requisites: General Biology

Math

Science

Humanities

Research

10th Grade

MVGS Math Analysis

MVGS Collegiate Chemistry

MVGS Humanities 10/English 10

MVGS Research 1:

Introduction to Research

MVGS offers two science focus options for second- and third-year students—typically 11th and 12th graders: Physics/Engineering or Biology/Life Science.

Option I: Physics/Engineering Focus

Prerequisites:  Math Analysis

Math

Science

Humanities

Research and Elective

11th Grade

MVGS Calculus 1

MVGS Physics1: Mechanics

MVGS Humanities 11/English 11 & Research 2

MVGS Computer Science 1 or

MVGS Economics

12th Grade

MVGS Calculus 2/3:

Multivariable

MVGS Physics 2: Electricity and Magnetism

MVGS Humanities 12/

US Government

MVGS Computer Science 1 or 2 or MVGS Economics

Option II: Biology/Life Science Focus

Prerequisites: Math Analysis, General Biology, Chemistry         Co-requisites: recommend Physics either year

Math

Science

Humanities

Research and Elective

Second Year

11th Grade

MVGS Statistics

MVGS Biology 1: Collegiate Biology

MVGS Humanities 11 /English 11 & Research 2

MVGS Computer Science 1 or

MVGS Economics

Third Year

12th Grade

MVGS Calculus 1

MVGS Biology 2: Advanced Topics

MVGS Humanities 12/

US Government

Computer Science 1 or 2 or

MVGS Economics


Note: MVGS Economics will fulfill the VDOE graduation requirement for Economics and Personal Finance when offered on alternating years from psychology.

        

Courses Offered

AP Test Option

Graduation Credit

Dual Enrollment Option

MVGS Collegiate Chemistry

AP Chemistry

Science

CHM 111-112

MVGS Physics 1: Mechanics

AP Physics C/ Mech

Science

PHY 241

MVGS Physics 2: Electricity and Magnetism

AP Physics C/ Elect. & Mag.

Science

PHY 242

MVGS Biology 1:  Collegiate Biology

AP Biology

Science

BIO 101-102

MVGS Biology 2: Advanced Topics

AP+ (beyond AP)

Science

BIO 150 & 270

MVGS Math Analysis

AP Precalculus

Math

MTH 167

MVGS Calculus 1

AP Calculus AB

Math

MTH 263

MVGS Calculus 2/3

AP Calculus BC

Math

MTH 264 & 265

MVGS Statistics

AP Statistics

Math

MTH 245

MVGS Computer Science 1

AP Computer Science A

Elective

CSC 221 & 222

MVGS Computer Science 2

AP+ (beyond AP)

Elective

CSC 208 & 223

MVGS Humanities 10/ English 10

No

English

HUM 201 & ENG 111

MVGS Humanities 11/English 11 and Research 2

*AP Language and Comp.

English

HUM 216 & ENG 112

MVGS US Humanities 12/Govt

AP Government

US Government

PLS 135 & 241

MVGS Economics

AP Macroeconomics

Elective

Not offered

MVGS Research 1

No

Elective

Not offered

MVGS Academic Advisory Board recommendation is that courses earn weighted high school credit          based on local division weighting policy/procedures, given the collegiate level/focus of  MVGS courses.  Be advised that students sign up for Advanced Placement (AP) testing through their base school counseling/testing departments, not through MVGS, if desiring that option.  


*Please see course descriptions below to ensure the course provides AP examination compatibility/preparation.*

Mountain Vista Governor’s School Course Descriptions 

MVGS Collegiate Chemistry Collegiate Chemistry is an introductory college chemistry course. The curriculum is laboratory based and includes study in matter and measurement, atoms, molecules, ions, ionic and covalent bonding. Second semester includes study in liquids and solids, solutions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, and acids and bases.   Upon successful completion of the course, students may be capable of and suited for the Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry examination.  Dual enrollment option is provided in CHM 111 (fall) and CHM 112 (spring).

MVGS Physics 1C: Mechanics Physics 1 is a calculus-based, first-year physics course. The primary focus of study will include the topics of Newtonian Mechanics and Thermodynamics.  Inquiry-based laboratory investigations include extensive integration of technology.  This course is integrated with MVGS Calculus 1.  Upon successful completion of the course, students may be capable of and suited for the AP Physics C (Mechanics) examination.  Dual enrollment option is provided in PHY 241 (full year).

MVGS Physics 2C:  Electricity and Magnetism Physics 2 is a calculus-based, second-year physics course.  Inquiry is stressed and laboratory investigations incorporate extensive integration of technology.  The primary focus of study will include the topics of Electricity and Magnetism and Modern Physics.  This course is integrated with MVGS Calculus 2/3. Upon successful completion of the course, students may be capable of and suited for the AP Physics C (Electricity & Magnetism) examination.  Dual enrollment option is provided in PHY 242 (full year).

MVGS Collegiate Biology Collegiate Biology is the equivalent of a two-semester college introductory biology course for biology majors.  The curriculum is laboratory based and includes extensive integration of laboratory technology.  Major units of study include Cell Processes, Ecology, Evolution and Genetics and Information Transfer.  Upon completion of the course, students may be capable of and suited for the AP Biology examination. Dual enrollment option is provided in BIO 101 (fall) and BIO 102 (spring)

MVGS Biology 2:  Advanced Topics Biology 2 is a second-year college biology course which ties together biological principles with social and ethical implications.  Students will explore advanced topics which may include ecology and microbiology. This course extends beyond the AP level.  Dual enrollment option is provided in BIO 150 (fall) and BIO 270 (spring).

MVGS Math Analysis Math Analysis develops students’ understanding of algebraic, trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic and transcendental functions, and parametric and polar equations. Investigating real world data will enhance the understanding of realistic applications through modeling. Graphing calculators and computers and other appropriate technological tools will be used to assist students.  This course serves as the prerequisite for MVGS Calculus and MVGS Statistics.  Upon successful completion, students may be capable of and suited for the Precalculus AP examination.  Dual enrolled option is provided in MTH 167 (full year).

MVGS Calculus 1 Calculus 1 is a rigorous course in calculus with analytic geometry.   Topics include concepts and applications of differential and integral calculus and an introduction of elementary differential equations.   Upon successful completion, students may be capable of and suited for the Calculus AB AP examination. Dual enrollment option is provided in MTH 263 (full year).

MVGS Calculus 2/3 This course is a fast-paced calculus course which includes multivariable calculus.   Topics include concepts and applications of integral calculus and an introduction of elementary differential equations, methods of integration, sequences and series, power series, Taylor and Mclauren series, study of polar and parametric functions, three-dimensional analytical geometry, vector analysis, vector functions, multivariate functions, partial derivatives, optimization, double and triple integrals.  Upon successful completion, students may be capable of and suited for the Calculus BC AP examination. Dual enrollment option is provided in MTH 264 (fall) and MTH 265 (spring)

MVGS Statistics This course is a study of descriptive and analytical statistics.   Students will learn and apply four broad conceptual themes which include exploring data, planning a study, anticipating patterns, and statistical inference. Students will use statistics as a tool to predict, investigate, and analyze a variety of statistical and research problems.   Upon successful completion, students may be capable of and suited for the Statistics AP examination. Dual enrollment option is provided in MTH 245.

MVGS Humanities 10: Early Humanities / English 10 Examines the values and expression of ideas of selected western and non-western cultures from prehistory up to the 1300s, integrating the arts, literature, religion, and philosophy within the context of history.   Students will earn one English credit, which will meet the requirement for English 10, including the Virginia Standards of Learning requirements.  This course also introduces and prepares students to/for the critical processes and fundamentals of writing in academic and professional contexts.  AP testing option is not provided.  Dual enrollment option is concurrently provided in HUM 201 and ENG 111 (full year).

MVGS Humanities 11: Introduction to Non-Western Cultures/English 11 and Research 2 Introduces students to beliefs, historical developments, and forms of creative expression that have shaped cultures in regions outside Europe and Northern America.  Studies the cultures, values, creative expressions, and historical development of selected non-western regions of the world. This course also introduces and prepares students to/for the critical processes and fundamentals of writing in academic and professional contexts. Students will earn one English credit, which will meet the requirement for English 11, including the Virginia Standards of Learning requirement.  Dual enrollment only option is concurrently provided in HUM 216 and ENG 112 (full year)

Research 2 Explores and applies the principles of effective humanities-based research.  The components and concepts include strengthening of global views, broadening of intellectually foundations, teaching communication clearly, helping to develop creative and critical thinking skills, enhancing problem solving skills, creating engaged citizens and thinkers, and reinforcing cultural and ethical responsibilities and values to help all students understand the impact that math, science, and technology have on society.  This is achieved through the enhancement of the Humanities 11 curriculum.  AP and dual enrollment options are not available for Research 2.

MVGS Humanities 12: Political Philosophy and US Government Humanities 12 introduces students to the key philosophies, institutions, policies, and behaviors of political systems. Students will learn to apply disciplinary reasoning to assess the causes and consequences of political events, interpret data to develop evidence-based arguments, and defend political positions and solutions while cultivating ethical dispositions, civic engagement, and leadership skills which can be applied to contemporary, domestic, and international problems.  Students will earn one US Government credit, which will meet the requirements for Virginia & US Government per the VDOE.  Upon successful completion of the course, students may be capable of and suited for the AP Exam in United States Government and Politics.  Dual enrollment option is provided in PLS 135 (fall) and PLS 241 (spring).

MVGS Research 1:  Introduction to Research The students’ review of literature, analysis of arguments, and evaluation of experiment designs will enable them to explore basic scientific research components.  The students will use statistical and technological tools to organize and integrate information, design studies and experiments, gather data, analyze data, plan, and execute individual or group research projects via laboratory experimentation and/or field studies. AP and dual enrollment options are not available.  

  

MVGS Economics Students develop critical thinking skills through the understanding, application, and analysis of micro and macroeconomic concepts and structures. Students will gain an understanding of economics principles as they apply to free markets and global systems. They will develop familiarity with economics models and graphs, scarcity and choices, supply and demand, elasticity, economic performance measures, national income and price determination, the financial sector, factors that affect income and economic growth, and stabilization policies. Students will gain an understanding of their role in the financial markets. This course can be used to meet the Economics and Personal Finance diploma requirement.  Upon successful completion, students may be capable of and suited for the AP Macroeconomics Exam.  Dual enrollment option is not provided.

MVGS Computer Science 1 Fall semester introduces problem solving and implementation of solutions using a high-level language, Python, in a structured programming environment.  Spring semester focuses on problem solving methods using object-oriented programming with the Java language.  Upon successful completion, students may be capable of and suited for the Computer Science A AP examination. Dual enrollment option is provided in CSC 221 (fall) and  222 (spring).

MVGS Computer Science 2 Fall semester introduces discrete mathematics concepts in relation to computer science.  Applies the use of Boolean algebra, analysis of algorithms, such as logic, sets and functions, recursive algorithms, and recurrence relations, combinatorics, graphs, and trees.   Programming is in Python. Spring semester explores and contrasts data structures, algorithms for manipulating data structures, and their use and appropriateness in writing efficient real-world programming applications.  Investigates implementations of different data structures of efficient searching, sorting, and other transformer operations. Programming is in C++. Assignments in this course requires a basic understanding of programming concepts, problem solving, basic college algebra and trigonometry skills. This course extends beyond the AP level.  Dual enrollment option is provided in CSC 208 (fall) and  223 (spring).

  1. ENROLLING A STUDENT IN MVGS

MVGS courses are offered from Monday-Friday, 7:30 AM to 10:50 AM.  

A student should be enrolled in courses according to base high school policy during PM blocks/periods. Students will need to be enrolled in courses required for graduation, as well as other elective choices at the base school.

The MVGS curriculum is designed to be congruent with the Virginia’s Early College Scholar’s Program.  An MVGS senior may register and maintain acceptable status as a Virginia Early College Scholar.  For more information, please visit the VDOE Early College Scholars Program webpage:https://www.doe.virginia.gov/parents-students/for-students/graduation/policy-initiatives/early-college-scholars-program.

 

  1. ENROLLING A STUDENT FOR DUAL ENROLLMENT CREDIT

Dual enrollment for high school and college credit through Laurel Ridge Community College will be an option for students enrolled in any MVGS course that has a Laurel Ridge approved dual enrollment teacher.  Tuition for MVGS dual enrolled courses (including students from Culpeper County Public Schools) is paid directly to MVGS, unless otherwise directed by the Laurel Ridge Dual Enrollment Specialist.

Students who have not previously dual enrolled at Laurel Ridge Community College:

  1. Apply to the College. Go to https://laurelridge.edu/  and click on “APPLY NOW and follow the steps accordingly.  When the application process is complete, you should have a Student ID number and Username. Keep these where you can find it. (Hint: Your Phone).
  2. All dual enrollment students must meet Admissions Criteria and any course prerequisites. These requirements can be met in the following ways:
  1. Your high school transcript. A GPA of 3.0 is required to register for all transfer courses. Students may see their career coach at their high school or registrar to obtain a copy of their transcript. It does not need to be official.
  2. SAT Scores: Evidence-Based Reading & Writing (480) and Mathematics (550). Attach scores to registration form the first time.
  3. ACT Scores: English/Writing (18); Reading (18); Mathematics (22). Attach scores to registration form the first time.
  4. Virginia Placement Test. See the career coach at your base high school if you need to take placement testing. Attach scores to the registration form the first time.

Continuing students who have previously dual enrolled at Laurel Ridge:

  1. Print a copy of your unofficial college transcript. Log into the Student Information System:
  1. Go to Select MyLaurelRidge. Enter your username and password. Select Self-Serve. Select Academic Records and click on View Unofficial Transcript. For Report screen, make sure the academic institution says Laurel Ridge Community College. Click on the down arrow to choose “Unofficial Transcript” and select the “Go” button. 
  2. High school transcripts may be used for one year only, when first applying.
  1. If you have trouble logging into SIS, please contact Enrollment Services:  Middletown: 540.868.7105; Fauquier: 540.351.1507; or see your base high school career coach for assistance.
  2. To schedule an advising appointment with Laurel Ridge, please contact Mr. Wine at jwine@laurelridge.edu  or 540.868.7218. If you are planning to earn a certificate and/or degree, you must have an advising appointment with the Office of Academic and Student Affairs by the spring semester of your sophomore year.

For those opting to earn college credit, dual enrollment forms with instructions will be distributed to all MVGS students twice per year for fall registration and tuition and spring registration and tuition.  Students will complete the Laurel Ridge dual enrollment registration and enrollment forms for MVGS classes through the Governor’s School.  

For more information about Dual Enrollment, please visit https://laurelridge.edu/high-school-and-homeschool-students/ 

  1. ATTENDANCE

Since the academic pace at the Governor’s School is accelerated, it is very important that student absences be kept to a minimum; this includes late arrivals to school (tardies) and early releases from school. Continuation in the program may be contingent upon an acceptable attendance record.

Parents should contact Maureen Dougherty at mdougherty@mvgshome.org if a student is absent from school. If a student knows in advance that he/she will be absent from Governor’s School for personal reasons or a base school academic activity, it is the student’s responsibility to contact each teacher prior to the absence.

Absences, tardies, and early dismissals will be reported daily to the base school.  School division attendance policies will be in effect.  Excessive tardies may result in suspension of driving privileges and/or withdrawal from the program at the Director’s discretion. A parent/guardian should contact the MVGS Director immediately if a student will be absent for an extended medical situation. A doctor’s excuse may be required.  Be aware that attendance is transcripted and may impact post-secondary plans.

  1. MVGS ACADEMIC-YEAR CALENDAR/INCLEMENT WEATHER

The MVGS Governing Board has approved an academic-year calendar for MVGS. This academic-year calendar is consistent with, but may not exactly reflect, the students’ local school division calendars. If MVGS is closed due to weather, a student will be responsible for web-based instruction. If a school division is closed and MVGS is open, a student may choose to attend MVGS considering the school division will not provide transportation in such cases. The student is responsible for any work missed.  Seniors’ final exam schedule and last day of attendance will depend on the school division’s graduation date. Please see the MVGS webpage at www.mvgshome.org for the academic year calendar and inclement weather practices.

  1. MVGS TRANSPORTATION

MVGS students shall be expected to follow the transportation expectations of their school divisions. The base schools will handle all transportation matters/issues. School divisions provide transportation to MVGS. Permission may be granted for students to drive to MVGS or to be passengers in other students' cars. Parental/guardian approval and assumption of risk for driving to/from campus will be required via the MVGS Universal Acknowledgements and Signatures Form located in Section XVII - Forms in his handbook.  Students may not drive to field experiences. School division, charter buses, school activity buses, or rental vans shall be contracted for field experiences, and school division transportation expectations will be in effect. Section X continues to discuss student code of conduct in regards to transportation.

Students approved to drive to campus must obtain a Laurel Ridge parking permit by visiting the Laurel Ridge campus police.

  1. STUDENT GRADES, REPORT CARDS, TRANSCRIPTS, TESTING and OTHER SERVICES

        

MVGS students will be on a nine-week grading period. Report cards will be issued from their base schools.  The MVGS Academic-Year Calendar indicates the dates on which each of the MVGS nine week grading periods will conclude. The MVGS Governing Board approves this grading schedule with the understanding that it will be consistent with, but may not exactly reflect, each school division’s grading schedules.

MVGS will report grades to school divisions.  Credit is awarded through the base high school.

A student who graduates while enrolled in MVGS will receive the base high school’s diploma.  The Virginia Department of Education Governor’s School Seal will be affixed to the diploma if the student completes the entirety of the MVGS program requirements.

MVGS courses will be part of the student’s base high school transcript. A description of the MVGS program and courses, entitled “MVGS Transcript Profile,” should be attached to the transcript by the base school counselor. This can be located on the MVGS webpage. Students must request transcripts showing dual enrollment college credit from Laurel Ridge.

Virginia SOL and other standardized testing services will be provided at the student’s base school.  Students enrolled in Collegiate Chemistry may be required to take the VA SOL Chemistry Test.  Students enrolled in Humanities 11 will be required to take the VA SOL English 11 Tests.  MVGS course semester and final examinations will be administered at MVGS.  Students may register for Advanced Placement Exams, which will be administered at the base schools according to local school division policy.  

In an effort to better serve our students and parents, MVGS has added a Program Counselor to the staff. The MVGS Program Counselor will provide support in the following areas:

                     process

                     students

                     considering MVGS as an academic option to supplement the high school curriculum 

  1. STUDENT BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS & ACCOUNTABILITY, ACADEMIC HONESTY & PLEDGE

All Virginia Governor’s School students undergo an eligibility screening process that includes references to responsible conduct.   MVGS students are expected to be committed to:

  1. Embodying high standards of quality in pursuit of excellence;
  2. Conducting themselves in a manner that positively affects the learning community’s pursuit of its educational objective; and
  3. Being exemplary role models of responsible citizenship and decision making.

 

A student is accountable for the student codes of conduct for the local school division, Laurel Ridge Community College, and MVGS as outlined in this section.  Laurel Ridge’s policies, which contain the Laurel Ridge’s Academic, Administrative, Human Resources, and Student Policies, can be found for review online at:  https://laurelridge.edu/policies/.

MVGS students are responsible for their actions traveling to campus, on-campus, and on community field experiences.  Infractions of codes of conduct will be referred to the student’s base high school administration for disciplinary action as designated by the local school division.  Some infractions may be reported to Laurel Ridge Community College campus policy and/or Dean of Students, depending on severity.  MVGS students have the responsibility of good citizenship as well as their rights to due process.

The MVGS students shall have the following expectations for behavior:

  1. Attend school and report to all classes regularly and on time.
  2. Demonstrate respect for other students, faculty, and staff.
  3. Demonstrate respect for the property of MVGS, Laurel Ridge, and any other educational, community, or business property involved in MVGS instructional activities.
  4. Refrain from conduct that is disruptive to any MVGS or Laurel Ridge class or activity.
  5. Remain on Laurel Ridge campus during MVGS school hours.
  6. Abide by the acceptable technology and Internet use policies of home-based schools and Laurel Ridge.
  7. Refrain from abusive language, fighting, obscene conduct, public profanity, or stealing.
  8. Abide by regulations governing travel to and from MVGS on school busses and/or private vehicles.
  9. Adhere to Laurel Ridge campus safety and common courtesy expectations.
  10. Not engage in any form of dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information or documents. This may include the unethical use of AI.
  11. Not be in possession of illegal or dangerous weapons, look-alike weapons, or other instruments intended to inflict bodily harm.
  12. Not be in possession of or use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. The Laurel Ridge campus public smoking area is off-limits to MVGS students.
  13. Not intentionally misuse or damage any of the Laurel Ridge teleconferencing, Internet, or web-based technology systems.
  14. Adhere to the loss/damaged textbook and/or materials expectation and fees of their school division, Laurel Ridge, and MVGS. Failure to pay any outstanding fines may result in a referral to a collection agency.
  15. Adhere to appropriate dress that supports the campus or community learning activity for the day and is in compliance with their school division dress code.

Academic honesty is essential in developing students’ full intellectual potential and self worth. An inherent aspect of education is instilling a sense of honor, integrity, and high principles that extend to all facets of life. It requires students and teachers to analyze what they know and to set goals to expand both their knowledge and skill foundation. It is a belief of the MVGS community that it is in each person’s best interest to always adhere to the values of honesty, integrity, and respect. MVGS academic honesty is designed to foster an environment of moral excellence based on a shared code of values.

MVGS students shall maintain a high standard of honesty in their coursework. Students shall not give or accept unauthorized assistance. Unauthorized assistance includes sharing oral and written information during examinations, tests, quizzes, homework assignments; and consulting written materials or copying another’s work without the teacher’s expressed permission. Tests shall not be taken out of the examination room without the teacher's expressed permission and shall be completed within the allotted time. Notes or other sources shall not be consulted unless specifically authorized by the faculty member administering the examination. Cheating shall include, but is not limited to, copying, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, unauthorized divulging of information, and/or unethical use of AI. Plagiarism is defined as the presentation of someone else's ideas or words as one’s own. Falsification includes the intent to mislead, as well as forgery of any signatures. Lying or stealing violates the principles of integrity and respect for self, others and property. MVGS will follow the Laurel Ridge Procedure in cases of Academic Dishonesty, which aligns closely with school district practices.  Please visit https://laurelridge.edu/policies/ and click on “Academic Policies” for more details.

MVGS faculty members shall serve as professional role models for life-long learning and shall exemplify the values of honor, respect, and integrity. They shall be responsible for setting clear expectations under which their classes operate; i.e. when they encourage or prohibit cooperation among students; what constitutes plagiarism; and how to pursue and then document scholarly information sources.

MVGS academic honesty is an expression of the student's support of a learning environment based on honor, integrity, and scholarly pursuit. The following is the MVGS Honor Pledge : "I have neither given nor received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment." The MVGS Honor Pledge is designed to reflect and reinforce the honor code expectation of the students’ home-based schools.

  1. TECHNOLOGY

Technology is an important instructional tool of MVGS.  A student’s participation in MVGS is contingent upon the ethical and appropriate use of the Laurel Ridge teleconferencing, networking, and web-based systems as well as responsible use of laptop computers issued by the school divisions or MVGS. The Laurel Ridge computer use agreement can be found online at:  https://laurelridge.edu/computer-use-agreement/.

The Mountain Vista Governor’s School (MVGS) Governing Board has provided computers to MVGS students to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, innovation, and communication. These computers will be essential tools used throughout the school year. Please direct any questions or concerns to: DeAnne Wilmore, Office Manager, Mountain Vista Governor’s School 540-347-6237 or 540-868-7238.

These computers may be used at the Governor’s School, base school (per school division policy), and home. In addition, students may use Laurel Ridge Community College computer systems in their classes.

All use of MVGS-issued or Laurel Ridge computers and associated MVGS or Laurel Ridge supplied domain software (Google Classroom, Gmail, etc.) must be in support of education and/or research. Use of a computer system is a privilege, not a right. Any communication or material used on the computer system, including electronic mail or deleted files, may be monitored or read by school officials. MVGS, Laurel Ridge, and/or school division personnel maintain the right at any time to exclude a student from access to a MVGS designated laptop computer or computer system because of inappropriate or negligent use. All computers issued to students will have Internet filtering software to prevent access to inappropriate Internet materials. This filtering is required by Virginia State Code 22.1- 70.2. Disabling or removing this filtering software may result in disciplinary action.

Students are allowed to use personally owned devices at MVGS per MVGS Governing Board Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, which can be reviewed in the MVGS Universal Acknowledgements and Signatures Form located in Section XVII - Forms in his handbook.

Students at MVGS who received approval and filed appropriate documentation as designated by MVGS will be allowed to take their assigned laptop computer away from the school. Upon the termination of the student’s enrollment, the assigned laptop computer and all accessories must be returned to MVGS. In the event that the laptop computer and accessories are not returned when the student’s enrollment is terminated, appropriate school disciplinary action will be taken until the laptop is returned.  Referral to a collection agency may occur as well.

The student responsibilities for MVGS supplied devices (also good advice for personal devices) include, but are not limited to:

 Students must keep their laptop computer in their possession or securely stored at their work, home, and/or school locations.

 Students must follow the MVGS Computer Use Agreement as well as the Laurel Ridge Community College/VCCS Technology Ethics agreement.

 No person other than the assigned student may use the laptop.

 Students are not allowed to leave laptops in hallways, auditoriums, etc. Keep them secured.

 Students must use a computer bag or backpack for the student’s assigned laptop computer and the student must transport the laptop computer in an approved backpack or bag at all times.

 Name tags must be present on the backpack and laptop computer at all times.

 The student will not damage, alter, or cause malfunction to the laptop computer or computer system.

 No food, candy or beverages should be consumed while using the laptop computer.

Each user is responsible for his or her actions on the computer system and domain software. Prohibited and unacceptable conduct includes, but is not limited to:

 Using the network for any illegal activity, including violation of copyright or contracts, transmitting any material in violation of any federal, state or local law, or sending, receiving, viewing or downloading illegal material via the computer system.

 Unauthorized downloading of software, including proxy servers.

 Using the computer system for private financial or commercial gain.

 Using the computer system for commercial purposes or private advertising.

 Wastefully using resources, such as file space.

 Gaining unauthorized access to resources or entities.

 Posting material authorized or created by another without his or her consent.

 Submitting, posting, publishing or displaying any obscene, profane, threatening, illegal or other inappropriate material.

 Using the computer system while access privileges are suspended or revoked.

 Vandalizing the computer system, including destroying data by creating or spreading viruses or by other means.

 Bypassing or disabling Internet filtering software.

 Developing or distributing virus software.

Each user is expected to abide by generally accepted rules of etiquette, regardless of whether you are using an MVGS supplied or personal computer in the MVGS or Laurel Ridge domain including the following:

 Identify who you are on any discussion or other posts

 Be polite.

 Do not forge, intercept, or interfere with electronic mail messages.

 Use appropriate language. The use of obscene, lewd, profane, threatening or disrespectful language is prohibited.

 Respect the computer system’s resource limits.

 Do not post chain letters or download large files.

 Do not use the computer system to disrupt others.  Students must seek the approval of the MVGS Director if wanting to send an email using MVGS email groups. 

 Do not read, modify, or delete data owned by others.

 Do not share passwords to protected sites or MVGS licensed software with unauthorized users.

A student and parent/guardian must sign the Mountain Vista Governor’s School Universal Acknowledgements and Signatures Form, located in Section XVII - Forms in his handbook, before the student uses the designated MVGS laptop and computer systems or personal computer at school. The failure of any student to follow the terms of the Agreement may result in loss of computer system privileges, disciplinary action, and/or appropriate legal action.

Neither Laurel Ridge, MVGS, nor the participating counties are responsible for any information that may be lost, damaged, or unavailable when using the computer system or for any information retrieved via the Internet. Furthermore, Laurel Ridge, MVGS, and participating counties will not be responsible for any unauthorized charges or fees resulting from access to the computer system, for theft, loss or purposeful damage to the laptop computer.

The following FAQ may assist in explaining acceptable use of laptops used by MVGS students.

While Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are becoming more prevalent in our society, it is important to use them responsibly and ethically. There is no “one size fits all policy” for AI use in education. But, MVGS acknowledges that AI tools can be used to help brainstorm assignments, much like doing general Internet searches early on in assignments. However, students are reminded that all work submitted must be their own, completed in accordance with Laurel Ridge Community College Academic Policies, as noted above.  Intellectual honesty is vital to an academic community and for fair evaluation of student work.  It is the student’s responsibility to make all submitted work their own, maintain academic integrity, and avoid any type of plagiarism. Students need to be aware that the accuracy or quality of AI generated content will not meet the standards in the MVGS program, even if students only incorporate such content partially and after substantial paraphrasing, modification, and/or editing.  MVGS reserves the right to use various plagiarism checking tools in evaluating all student work, including those screening for AI generated content, and impose consequences accordingly.  The following are some guidelines for what not to do when using AI in your MVGS assignments and for plagiarism detection:

  1. Do not rely on AI tools to complete MVGS assignments.  It is important to understand the material and complete assignments on your own, using AI tools as a supplemental tool rather than a replacement for your own work.
  2. Do not use AI tools to plagiarize.  Using AI to generate or modify content to evade plagiarism detection is unethical and violates academic integrity.
  3. Do not assume that AI responses are always correct.  It has been noted that AI can generate inaccurate results.

                Given the wide variety of disciplines taught at MVGS and the variety of ways that AI can be
                used or abused in the educational setting, MVGS instructors reserve the right to define more or
                less stringent AI usage guidelines based on specific learning outcomes in their courses.  This
                may be communicated verbally and/or in writing to students.

  1. MVGS FIELD EXPERIENCE POLICY/PROCEDURES

The MVGS program is designed to be community-based. A main objective is to provide for authentic learning opportunities beyond the classroom environment.  An MVGS field experience is a school-sponsored and school-chaperoned activity, which provides an effective means of accomplishing a stated instructional activity with specific objectives and learning activities defined in advance.  These field experiences must be approved by the MVGS Director and may be during regular or extended school time. MVGS staff members and designated chaperones will supervise. School vehicles and commercially licensed carriers or rental cars will provide transportation for field experiences. A student will not be approved as a driver for a field experience.

  1. GOVERNANCE AND FISCAL AGENT

Supervision for the MVGS program is by a regional Governing Board with recommendations from an Academic Advisory Board.  The Governing Board is made up of school board members and superintendents from each of the participating school divisions as authorized by Section 22.1-26 of the Code of Virginia. An Agreement to Establish and Operate a Regional Academic-Year Governor’s School was approved by the Governing Board on November 21, 2005.  This document provides an operational agreement with a three-year funding commitment from each participating division. The fiscal agent for MVGS is Fauquier County Public Schools.

  1. THE MVGS FOUNDATION

The MVGS Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The mission of the Mountain Vista Foundation is to:

  1. Support the education of students at Mountain Vista Governor’s School.
  2. Support the growth and expansion of the Governor’s School program in Clarke County, Culpeper County, Fauquier County, Frederick County, Rappahannock County, Warren County, and Winchester City.
  3. Provide financial support to MVGS.

Parents/guardians of MVGS students and MVGS alumni are considered members of the Foundation.  Meetings are held monthly.  If you would like further information, please contact the MVGS offices in Middletown or Warrenton.

  1. FACULTY

Listed below are the preferred qualifications for an MVGS instructor:

  1. Virginia Teaching License, Master’s Degree, and three (3) years of teaching experience
  2. 18 hours of graduate credit in specific subject area
  3. Endorsement in gifted education
  4. Knowledge of a variety of instructional models
  5. Knowledge of technology-enhanced instruction
  6. Leadership qualities with strong analytical and assessment skills
  7. Ability to balance an interdisciplinary knowledge-based curriculum with a learner-centered philosophy
  8. Effective oral and written communication skills
  9. Ability to design, develop, and implement a differentiated curriculum
  10. Ability to plan, organize, and direct learning activities utilizing technology within a team-teaching environment
  11. Ability to work effectively with school personnel, students, parents, and the community
  12. Possession of the following personal characteristics: innovation, flexibility, organization, enthusiasm, confidence, dependability, cooperation, reflection, self-motivation, and the desire to be a life-long learner.

The MVGS instructors for 2023-24 are listed below.  

Instructor

Subject

Middletown Site

Warrenton Site

Allen Burton

Physics/ Research

X

Hannah Bement

Biology

X

X

John Faircloth

Computer Science

X

X

Amanda Harrington

Humanities/English

X

Patricia Hatfield

Physics/Research

X

Christian Laourdakis

Chemistry

X

X

Mike McKenna

Humanities/Psychology

X

Chad Patterson

Humanities/Psychology

X

Vineeta Ribeiro

Mathematics

X

X

Diane Ruby

Mathematics

X

Anca Schmittou

Mathematics

X

Mindy Stephens

Humanities/English

X

  1. MVGS STUDENT WITHDRAWAL OR DISMISSAL POLICY/PROCEDURES

A student wishing to withdraw from MVGS should adhere to the MVGS Withdrawal Policy/Procedures as further noted in Section XIX. Criteria for withdrawing a student from MVGS should be based on the best interest of the student and the school. There are two time periods designated for a student to withdraw from the MVGS program:

  1. At the end of the MVGS first semester (request must be submitted in writing to the MVGS Director no later than November 1st)
  2. At the end of the MVGS school year (request must be submitted in writing to the MVGS Director no later than April 1st)

The MVGS Director has the authority to recommend that a student be withdrawn due to continual failing grades, inappropriate behavior, and/or attendance (including excessive tardies or early dismissals).  Basically, a student’s ABC’s (attendance, behavior, coursework) will be reviewed on matters of withdrawal.

The MVGS Director (or designee) shall be responsible for reporting a student’s inappropriate behavior to the student’s home-based school administrator and for collaborating with that administrator on an appropriate disciplinary resolution. Laurel Ridge Community College campus police and/or Dean of Student may be involved depending on the nature of the situation.

The MVGS Director may request dismissal of the student from the MVGS for the following, but not limited to:

  1. Code of Conduct violations resulting in actions by the local school board to suspend or expel the student from public school.
  2. Failure of the student to meet the high MVGS academic course expectations as documented in a MVGS Plan for Success.
  3. Multiple honor code violations after a student has failed to meet the honor code expectations as documented in a MVGS Plan for Success.
  4. Intentional misuse or damage of any of the Laurel Ridge teleconferencing, Internet, or web-based technology.
  5. Excessive absenteeism, tardies, and/or early dismissals.

The director’s request for a student’s dismissal shall be submitted to the student’s home-based school principal and the student’s parents/guardian. A meeting shall be convened to review the request, based on due process, and to recommend appropriate action.

A student who is dismissed from the MVGS for matters of conduct shall be ineligible to reapply for admission for a period of not less than 365 calendar days from the date of dismissal.

  1. PLAN FOR SUCCESS

The faculty at MVGS seeks to ensure that every student excels at advanced levels of learning and succeeds socially and emotionally as well as academically.  If a teacher, student, counselor, and/or parent/guardian notices a progressive decline in an individual’s academic performance or social success at MVGS, the director should be notified immediately.  This notification may take place at any time but should be monitored upon the completion of each interim and advisory.  Actions from the following list should take place:

  1. The teacher should talk with the student to clarify and address concerns, missing assignments, changes in performances, etc.
  2. The student’s team of MVGS teachers and MVGS program counselor should be consulted.
  3. Parents/guardians, if unaware, should be contacted.  
  4. A team meeting to review the student’s performance and to discuss what action is best for the student may be organized and held by the MVGS Program Counselor. This assessment may result in the development of an individualized MVGS plan for success that contains specific objectives, strategies for improvement, outcomes, and a designated time period for reassessment. Team members must include the student, parents/guardians, MVGS teachers, MVGS school counselor, and director. If deemed appropriate, base school teachers, school counselors, the local gifted and talented coordinator, and/or the base school administrator may be invited.
  5. MVGS instructors or counselor shall serve as communication liaisons among the student, parent/guardian, and base school.
  6. MVGS faculty and/or staff will provide follow-up.

  1. FORMS

This handbook contains the MVGS Universal Acknowledgements and Signatures Form which is required for all students.  Other forms, such as field trip permission, may be required throughout the school year.  Please click here to access a printable version of the form:

Link to MVGS Universal Acknowledgements and Signatures Form

  1. MVGS STUDENT WITHDRAWAL POLICY

The application process for MVGS is rigorous, and space is limited to less than two percent of the students in the district. It is expected that students and families seriously consider their decision before accepting a position in this unique program. All students accepted into the MVGS are expected to complete the full year. If, for some extreme circumstance, a student feels it may be necessary to request a withdrawal, MVGS should be contacted immediately so a conference may be arranged without delay.  

A student withdrawing from Mountain Vista Governor’s (MVGS) shall be expected to adhere to the following MVGS policy/procedures. Criteria for withdrawing from MVGS shall be based on what is in the best interest of the student and the school.

There shall be two time periods designated for withdrawing from the MVGS program:

A student who withdraws at other times will be subject to the home school division’s policy relating to withdrawal from courses.        

The student shall return to the home school with the cumulative numerical grade and credit earned through MVGS and shall be placed into an appropriate course as scheduling allows.  The numerical grade shall be used in accordance with the home school’s academic and grading policies.  In schools using 4X4 scheduling, the student who withdraws at the end of the first semester shall receive .5 elective credits per course (unweighted), if local school/division policy allows. If a student successfully completes a weighted course in the MVGS program, weighted credit shall be issued.  If a student transfers from MVGS into an equivalent weighted course and successfully completes that course, the student shall receive weighted credit.  

If the student is enrolled in a course for dual enrollment credit, the withdrawal policy of Laurel Ridge Community College shall be in effect. As per Laurel Ridge policy, withdrawal prior to the end of first semester requires the student to forfeit college credit and to receive a “W” on the college transcript.  If the student withdraws from MVGS at the end of the first semester, the student shall receive a grade from MVGS for the dual enrolled course(s) in which they were enrolled for that semester.  Credits received shall be based upon the grade earned in the course(s).

A student shall not re-enter MVGS during the same year in which he or she has withdrawn.  A student who has withdrawn shall be required to re-apply the following year if desiring to re-enter MVGS.  A student that is provided dual enrollment tuition assistance through the MVGS Foundation or Laurel Ridge may be requested to re-pay the encumbered assistance if he/she needs to withdraw from MVGS as they will be breaking the understood commitment to complete a certificate, credential, and/or degree.

If a parent/guardian believes that the remaining at MVGS may not be in the best interest of the student:

  1. The parent shall contact the director or the student’s MVGS instructor/counselor and the home-based school guidance counselor to request a team meeting to review the student’s academic record and to discuss what action is best for the student. This assessment may result in the development of an individualized MVGS plan for success that contains specific objectives, strategies for improvement, outcomes, and a designated time period for reassessment. MVGS instructors shall serve as communication liaisons between the student and parent.
  2. If it is determined that the student shall withdraw from MVGS at the end of the first semester or at the end of the school year, the parent/guardian shall submit in writing to the director a request to withdraw the student.  The director shall send a copy of the letter/email to the home-based school counselor and the school division’s gifted education coordinator.
  3. If, after meeting with the director, the student’s instructors, school division administrator, and school counselor, the parent/guardian feels that the child should be withdrawn from Governor’s School at a time other than the end of the semester or year, the parent/guardian shall appeal in writing to the superintendent of the local school division.  The director will submit a recommendation based on the consensus of the educators’ opinions regarding the withdrawal. The decision of the superintendent will be final.  
  4. The student may be asked to participate in an exit interview to provide feedback data for improving the MVGS program.

If the director and MVGS instructors believe that remaining at MVGS may not be in the best interest of the student:

  1. The student’s MVGS instructor or the director shall contact the parent/guardian to arrange an assessment of academic progress. An individualized MVGS plan for success shall be developed that contains specific objectives, strategies for improvement, outcomes, and a designated time period for reassessment. MVGS instructors shall serve as communication liaisons between the student and parent/guardian.
  2. If the director determines that the student will withdraw from MVGS at the end of the first semester or at the end of the school year, the director shall confirm in writing (email or letter) to the parent, base school counselor, and school division gifted education coordinator.  
  3. The student may be asked to participate in an exit interview to provide feedback data for improving the MVGS program.

If the director and the home-based school counselor and/or administrator or designees determine that a student shall be withdrawn due to an infraction of the MVGS or Laurel Ridge or home-based school’s Student Code of Conduct:

  1. The director’s request for a student’s dismissal shall be submitted to the student’s home-based school principal, counselor, and the student’s parents/guardian.  
  2. A meeting shall be convened by the base high school to review the request, based on school-division policy and due process, and to recommend appropriate action.  

  1. PAYMENT METHOD

MVGS uses SchoolCash Online for SOME school items and activity fees. Parents/guardians and
students will receive an email notification of new fees or items available for purchase, including         field trips, yearbooks, spirit wear, and more. Please be sure your email information in JupiterEd is correct.  MVGS families need to be aware that dual enrollment tuition cannot be paid through SchoolCashOnline at this time.  Dual enrollment tuition needs to paid via check, cash, or money order.

MVGS families need to register for SchoolCashOnline which is safe, simple, and secure.  To
register, go to:
https://fcps1.schoolcashonline.com/.

When logging in, click “I don’t want to add a student” at the bottom of the page.  You will not be
able to add a student.  See diagram below to assist in the process.

When there is something that can be paid online, the system will send out an email with a link like the example below.  Please make sure to put the student’s name in the “Who are you purchasing this for” box to ensure proper documentation of receipt.

  1. CONCLUSION

As MVGS is an evolving program, this is an evolving document. It is designed to provide a helpful tool for students and parents.  The MVGS website (www.mvgshome.org) is continually updated with the most current news and information. Further questions can be directed to Dr. Kelly Huff, MVGS Director at khuff@mvgshome.org or to your school division’s Gifted and Talented Coordinator.  

Mountain Vista Governor's School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, childbirth or other medical conditions, political affiliation, gender, gender identity, marital status, genetic information, disability, age, or status as a veteran in its programs and activities.