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Unique Program & Traditions

SWVGS is a Unique Program

SWVGS leads students to solve math problems independent of a calculator. Students are encouraged to understand and practice the steps of completing calculations by hand. Development of proficiency in solving fractions, equations, factoring, etc. is a high priority. Students are asked to use mathematics to analyze data, understand scientific principles, and explore relationships among different fields of knowledge. Knowledge of basic facts and proficiency in applying basic skills allow students to understand what they are doing, make connections, and give meaningful interpretations of their results. Understanding how to use a variety of mathematical tools independent of a calculator gives students the self-confidence to think for themselves, analyze new and more complex problems, determine appropriate strategies for solving those problems, and then apply those strategies. Thinking conceptually, using logical reasoning, and making connections are skills that lead to success not only in SWVGS math and science classes, but also in college classes and in the workplace.
At SWVGS, there is a focus on understanding the process of science and the use of the scientific method to reveal new knowledge. Students are required to take the Science and Technology Seminar and Project course each year they attend SWVGS and all students complete independent research projects each year. Additionally, the process of scientific discovery and the impact of significant discoveries are discussed within specific science courses. Experience with research develops critical thinking and problem solving skills, skepticism and curiosity about the world, ability to acquire and apply knowledge, joy of discovery, persistence, time management skills, a strong work ethic, and intellectual integrity, as well as collaborative, leadership, and communication skills.

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

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

SWVGS has Unique Traditions

SWVGS Selu and Wildwood Park Field Trip

Each August, incoming students join SWVGS Faculty and Professors from Radford University for two days to complete field experiments and team building activities. Activities are completed at the Selu Conservancy, Wildwood Park, and RU West Campus. Students are divided into different groups each day so that they have the opportunity to work with and get to know students from the other school divisions. The activities require students to work together to solve problems, conduct experimental protocols, collect samples, identify specimens, and analyze data. Types of activities include: chemical analysis of samples from the Little River, mark and recapture to estimate grasshopper populations, stream analysis and invertebrate identification, use of a dichotomous key and wandering-quarter protocol for tree identification, surveying with geophones, and team building with RUABLE.

SWVGS Science and Engineering Fair

Annually, SWVGS students present their research projects at the Southwest Virginia Governor's School Science Consortium held at New River Community College in Edward's Hall. Students create a project display and answer questions from judges familiar with their topic area. Awards are given in fourteen different categories. First, Second, and Third place, as well as Honorable Mentions, are awarded based on project merit. Grand award winners are selected in Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences. First place winners of the Southwest Virginia Governor's School Fair have the opportunity to attend the Blue Ridge Highlands Regional Science Fair, hosted by Radford University. Additional SWVGS place winners may also attend the Regional Fair according to availability of slots. Participants in the Regional Fair have the opportunity to compete to attend additional Fairs at the State and International levels. The Grand Award winners at the Regional Fair traditionally will also receive an all-expense paid trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair.

SWVGS Movie and Game Night

On specific Saturdays each semester, students are invited to SWVGS to view a notable film with a scientific or mathematical focus. Pizza and popcorn are available as well as fun with card games. Students appreciate these opportunities to enjoy the company of their peers outside the classroom.

SWVGS Young Scholars Day

Each spring on Young Scholars Day, SWVGS students help with activities. Young Scholars Day is an opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, and math through fun, hands-on activities. It is open and free to all upper elementary and middle school students and their families. Students launch rockets, play with polymers, explore electricity, create models, conduct genetic tests, and much more.

SWVGS Academic Banquet

Every May, the Southwest Virginia Governor's School hosts an Academic Banquet. A catered meal is followed by presentation of awards for achievement in coursework and special activities. The evening ends with a ceremony where seniors are presented with SWVGS Program Completion Certificates with seals from the National Consortium of Specialized Secondary Schools for Mathematics, Science, and Technology and Virginia Academic Year Governor's Schools, as well as Presidential Education Awards, SWVGS pins, and lanyards.