Pam Dudding-Burch
Contributing writer

Photo by Pam Dudding-Burch
CC School Board invited Mark Levy, Director of the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School (seated at the far right) to their monthly meeting to discuss the future program in CC School.

For many years, Craig County students have participated in the Roanoke County Governor’s School for Science and Technology (RVGS). This year is no different, with the exception that the interest is “down” amongst the current students.

For the past 10-15 years, CC has sent four qualified students to RVGS, where they received excellent teaching to prep them for their future after graduation.

Mark Levy, Director of RVGS, attended the School Board meeting on Tuesday, September 5, offering any assistance to the questions the School Board may have had, as only one student is signed up this year. Jeanette Warwick, Superintendent shared, “He tried his best to fill the available three slots.”

“I’m here because I really appreciate Craig County’s participation in the Governor School and we have been in partnership for such a long time in the Regional program,” Levy shared. “I would like to see that opportunity for your students to continue, however I understand budgetary situations are very challenging.”

RVGS’s mission is to explore interconnections between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and society. It is a regional public school and includes the school districts of; Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, Roanoke City, Roanoke County as well as Salem and averages 270 students in grades 9-12, an average of 16 students per class.

The students attend half of their school day at RVGS and the second half at their public school. The brochure states that, “RVGS is able to provide gifted education in a unique setting, featuring cutting-edge technology and innovative instructional strategies.”

“Each year, the Districts have a number of spots equal to their previous years enrollment, which would mean for the coming fiscal year, your allotment would drop to one student, as that is what your enrollment is now,” Levy explained to the Board. “Therefore, there would not be an expectation for you to continue to send or have to pay for four slots.” The cost per slot for a student is $4,650

He added that each year he could let his Board know what the status at CCHS would be.

“With a district your size, I do not think they will have a problem with that,” he said. Levy and the CCSB agreed that no one can predict the number of students qualified and/or interested each year.

“I also went to a small school in a rural community and very much appreciated having the opportunity to go to Governor School, which I attended when I was in high school,” Levy said. “I want to be as flexible as possible in order to meet the needs for your students here in Craig as they are coming up.”

With much thought, it was decided that Craig County would currently reduce the slot to one, but hold the option open to any students who qualify and wish to pursue the opportunity in the future years.

“Recruitment is in January of each year,” Levy explained. “We can start speaking with students to see if they have an interest in participating in the school’s program then.”

“I’m happy that you do have one student this year that is very interested,” Levy shared. “I have been keeping tabs on her, as she is very engaged and excited about school so far and I am hoping you will continue to support that student throughout her time at the Governor School.”

Warwick shared that Craig County schools opened this year with a great group of students and staff. Several new teachers were hired and others were moved to different positions.

Warwick also reported that legislation approved a new bill where all water resources at the schools are to be tested for lead. “I reached out to a business in Roanoke that is working with some other school divisions and we have 111 faucets or fountains that need to be checked,” she said. “The cost will be $2,265 and is an unfunded mandate from the General Assembly.” The school will be moving forward with the mandate.

The next School Board meeting will be held at the Media Center, at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3.

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