For those moving to a new location, it’s important to know what educational options are available. This chapter outlines the public schools system in Hampton Roads, along with information about local libraries and higher education. There are private schools, charter schools and home schooling available to children in Hampton Roads as well.
To be enrolled in a Virginia school, a child must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 30 of the school year. Parents wishing to register a child for school should take the following to the school office: an official certified copy of the birth certificate (not a photocopy) or a sworn statement of the child’s age with an explanation of why the certified birth certificate cannot be provided; the child’s street address; and the three-part School Entrance Health Form (MCH 213F) completed by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant, indicating that the child has had a full physical exam within the past 12 months. Go to www.doe.virginia.gov/families/student_enrollment.shtml, the Virginia Department of Education website, for more information. Required immunizations include diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; hepatitis B; Haemophilus influenzae type b; human papillomavirus; measles, mumps and rubella; polio; and varicella (chickenpox). For more details on Virginia’s vaccine requirements for students in grades K-12, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/immunization/requirements.
Virginia is one of the few states to reject Common Core education standards that provide a consistent set of educational expectations for students in the majority of other states, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Department of Defense Education Activity. Instead, Virginia uses Standards of Learning exams to regularly test students from kindergarten through 12th grade on their levels of learning and achievement; the standards are based on what students should learn in every grade in Virginia in the core subjects of English, mathematics, science and history. Students in grades three through 12 typically will take between two to four SOL tests each year.
Charter schools are public schools of choice that are tuition-free, serve all students and have open enrollment. For more information or a listing of charter schools in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Education’s website at www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/charter_schools.
In an introduction to home schooling in Virginia, the state Department of Education provides guidelines for home-schooled children. The rules can be found at www.doe.virginia.gov/families/private_home.
VAHomeschoolers — The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers
P.O. Box 5131
Charlottesville, VA 22905
This independent, member-driven statewide organization provides support to home-schooling families, links to resources and information about schools and policies. It also serves as family forum.
Home Educators Association of Virginia
2100 W. Laburnum Ave., Suite 108-A
Richmond, VA 23227
Home Educators Association of Virginia is a member-supported, statewide, 501(c)(3) nonprofit home-school association. Since 1983, HEAV has worked to promote home education by working with the Virginia Department of Education and legislators and providing information to home-schooling families, the media and officials. Though HEAV is based on a biblical worldview, it serves all home-schoolers regardless of religious or philosophical beliefs, and membership is open to all.
To search for local private schools in Virginia, visit the National Center for Education Statistics website and use the private school search tool at www.nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/privateschoolsearch. Users may search by location, religious affiliation, school type and more.
Choosing a School
Choosing the right school is very important, so be sure to research each one before deciding. Contact the school by phone or by visiting its website, which is a valuable source for school district statistics and curriculum. Talk to people in the area, especially friends and colleagues who already live there.
If the school shows promise, schedule a visit and bring a list of written questions about student-teacher ratios, computer availability, extracurricular activities, sports programs, music programs, gifted programs and grading standards.
Discuss the potential school with your child: what they like and what they didn’t like. Your family’s ability to readily adapt to a move and to find happiness in your new home may depend, in part, on how happy your children are in their new school.
Chesapeake Public Schools
312 Cedar Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322
Chesapeake Public Schools has 28 elementary schools, 10 middle schools and seven high schools as well as several alternative, gifted, and science and technology schools; the International Baccalaureate program; a special education center; a preschool facility; online courses; and adult and continuing education. The district’s enrollment hovers around 40,000.
Franklin City Public Schools
207 W. Second Ave.
Franklin, VA 23851
Franklin City Public Schools has three schools — an elementary, a middle and a high school — and an adult education program. The district has an enrollment of approximately 1,100 students.
Hampton City Schools
1 Franklin St.
Hampton, VA 23669
Hampton City Schools has 19 elementary schools, five middle schools and four high schools and a school for the arts, a gifted center, schools that stress fundamentals, a technology magnet school, an early childhood center, and an adult education program. The district has an enrollment of just over 20,600 students.
Gloucester County Public Schools
6099 T.C. Walker Road
Gloucester, VA 23061
Gloucester County Public Schools has five elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. The district’s enrollment is about 5,500 students.
Isle of Wight County Schools
820 W. Main St.
Smithfield, VA 23430
Isle of Wight County Public Schools has five elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools. The district has an enrollment around 5,500 students.
Newport News Public Schools
12465 Warwick Blvd.
Newport News, VA 23606
Newport News Public Schools has five early childhood centers, 24 elementary schools, seven middle schools, five high schools, a middle/high combined school, five early childhood centers and special schools including an aviation academy and workforce training schools. The district has an enrollment of approximately 24,000 students.
Norfolk Public Schools
800 E. City Hall Ave.
Norfolk, VA 23510
Norfolk Public Schools has 33 elementary schools, eight middle schools, five high schools and other auxiliary facilities, including alternative and specialty programs such as an early childhood education center and choice schools, to serve its 33,000 students.
Poquoson City Public Schools
500 City Hall Ave.
Poquoson, VA 23662
Poquoson City Public Schools has one primary school (K-2), one elementary school (grades 3-5), one middle school and a high school. The district has an enrollment of approximately 2,100 students.
Portsmouth Public Schools
801 Crawford St.
Portsmouth, VA 23704
Portsmouth Public Schools has four pre-K centers, 13 elementary schools, three middle schools, three high schools, an alternative school and an adult learning center. The district’s enrollment is just under 15,000 students.
Southampton County Public Schools
P.O. Box 96
Courtland, VA 23837
Southampton County Public Schools has four elementary schools, one middle school, a technical career center and an alternative school, to serve some 2,800 students.
Suffolk Public Schools
100 N. Main St.
Suffolk, VA 23434
Suffolk Public Schools has 11 elementary schools, four middle schools and three high schools. The district has an enrollment of around 14,250 students.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools
2512 George Mason Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Virginia Beach City Public Schools has 55 elementary schools, 15 middle schools, 12 high schools and a number of secondary/post-secondary specialty centers, including an adult learning center and a technical and career education center. The district is the largest school division in the region and has an enrollment of a little over 67,200 students.
Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools
117 Ironbound Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools has nine elementary schools, three middle schools and three high schools. The district has an enrollment of more than 11,300 students.
York County School Division
302 Dare Road
Yorktown, VA 23692
York County School Division has 10 elementary schools, four middle schools, four high schools, a center for the academically gifted, an academy that focuses on computer technology and web design, an International Baccalaureate program, an arts-intensive program and online courses. The district has an enrollment of about 12,700 students.