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Rigorous Academics


The Chesapeake Bay Governor's School (CBGS) provides high-ability and gifted students from the Northern Neck and the Middle Peninsula with a rigorous curriculum through enrichment, exploratory, investigative, and career awareness experiences. Through the integration of math, science, technology, and research, woven with marine and environmental sciences, students have the opportunity to foster an appreciation and respect for environmental issues.

CBGS students take a rigorous course load including the following courses: Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Foundations in Science, and Marine & Environmental Science I & II. All courses meet and/or exceed the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) requirements. In addition, students may earn dual enrollment credits through Rappahannock Community College (RCC).

Every student at CBGS is enrolled in three courses per semester: a mathematics class, lab- based science class, and a marine/environmental science class. These courses are scaffolded over the three-year term, where students develop increasing proficiency in laboratory, technological, analytical and communication skills.

Through a partnership with Rappahannock Community College, students may earn dual enrollment and transferrable college credit upon successful course completion. This curriculum allows students to earn as many as 66 college credits at no charge to the student upon completion of the three-year course of study at CBGS.


Chesapeake Bay Governor's School for Marine and Environmental Science (CBGS) is a "hands-on, minds-on" program. An integral part of the CBGS curriculum is the college-level field studies where students go out into the environment on three-day learning expeditions. Students conduct field laboratories and collect data which is later analyzed in the classroom. Through investigative, exploratory activities, students learn how to use the concepts taught in class in an applied, problem-solving context. In the application of this method, every student at CBGS designs and executes an independent research project that allows them to delve into scientific questions of interest to them. These projects evolve through the scientific method into poster presentations, academic papers, and ultimately, formal presentations at the CBGS annual research symposium.

Technology is an integral part of the CBGS science curriculum from the use of real oceanographic sampling equipment to daily use of computers for data analysis and presentation. Students become adept in the use of Excel for graphing and statistical analysis of data. Microsoft PowerPoint is used for student presentations and Google Drive products for collaborative work. Students regularly use online databases for data acquisition from sources such as NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), NASA (National Aeronautical and Space Administration) and USGS United States Geological Survey). In lab classes, students use PASCO Spark probeware and computer systems to analyze CO2 emissions, force and motion, current velocities, redox potential and other important chemical and physical parameters.

Students are involved in "Citizen Science" where on a regular basis, they are out in the field monitoring water quality and submitting data for use in analyzing the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Service learning is an important part of the CBGS curriculum where students apply what they have learned in a real world context to make a difference. Through these varied experiences - academic, community, environmental - CBGS students learn not only the content of their courses but also the context, which has a profound effect on the learning experience and a greater educational impact.