education options

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education options2018-02-24T21:32:21+00:00

You have more options than you may think…

Brick & Mortar Public Schools

Compulsory Attendance

Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. Students is required to be enrolled if they turn six on or before September 30.

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Required Documentation

Virginia school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district. To get that information, contact the district directly.  

Some legal documents are required for Virginia students to attend school:

  • Certified Birth Certificate/proof of identity
  • Official copy of records/transcripts from the previous school the child most recently attended
  • A shot immunization record (or proof that immunization is not required for the child)
  • Click here to view the immunization requirements 
  • Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)

School Fees

Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.

Some typical items on that list include:

  • Lunch
  • Summer school
  • Student parking passes (high school)
  • Lost textbooks
  • Late or lost library books
  • Field trips
  • Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)

Public Charter Schools

What are Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.

Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Alabama, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke  or refuse to renew a school’s charter.

Virginia Charter Schools

For a list of charter schools in Virginia visit the Virginia Department of Education.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about charters can be found at  Virginia Charter Schools.  

Enrollment

Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.

Virtual Public Schools

Middleton Academy

Phone: (703) 494-0147
Grades: 9-12

Virginia Virtual Academy

Phone: (877) 654-8486
Grades: k-10

Virtual Loudon

Phone: (571) 252-1854
Grades: 9-12

York County School Division Virtual High School

Phone: (757) 898-0454
Grades: 9-12

Private Schools

What makes a school “private”?

Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 630 private schools across the state.

private school review

Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.

*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.

Scholarships

Virginia enacted the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program in 2012 and launched the program in 2013. This program offers a 65 percent tax credit to individuals and businesses that donate to qualified Scholarship Foundations (SFs). The SFs then provide private school scholarships to students whose families meet the income requirements. This page offers more information about the tax-credit scholarship program’s funding, eligibility, regulations and more.

For more information on policy change or to get involved in the school choice movement in Virginia visit EdChoice.

Private Virtual Schools

George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.

International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum

They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.

International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K–12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.

The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.

Home Education

Your options

In Virginia, parents have four options when it comes to educating their children at home.  To homeschool under Virginia’s home instruction option, you’ll need to follow these requirements: learn more >

Under the home instruction option:

  • Ensure that you possess one of four home instructor qualifications.
    • Possess a high school diploma or higher degree
    • Possess a current Virginia teacher’s license
    • Provide your child with a curriculum
    • Program of study as part of your home instruction program
  • Give evidence that you are able to provide your child an adequate education
  • File annual notice with your school superintendent.
  • Provide an annual evaluation.
    • By august 1 each year, can be results of any standardized test

With a religious exemption:

Under Virginia law, your school board must excuse your child from school if the child, “together with his parents, by reason of bona fide religious training or belief is conscientiously opposed to attendance at school.” 

  • Send a religious exemption application letter to your school board.
  • Obtain a reply to your religious exemption letter.
  • Exempt any additional children.

If needed, reapply next year.

With a certified tutor:

A person with a current Virginia teacher license can ask the school superintendent to approve him or her as a tutor. Once approved, the person can tutor any children he or she wants—including his or her own. If a child is being taught under such a tutor, the child is in compliance with compulsory attendance.

Under the private school option:

There are some private schools that allow their pupils to receive all or most of their instruction at home. By enrolling full-time in such a program, your child can receive instruction at home under parental direction and control while legally being a private school student.

The private school should have an office in Virginia. It is questionable whether a private school that has no office or facility in Virginia would be considered a private school under Virginia law.

Home School Legal Defense Alliance

visit HSLDA website >

Coalition for Responsible Home Education

visit the coalition’s website >

Support Groups

Virginia has many homeschool associations that offer classes, curriculum, advising, sports, clubs, socials and recreation. Check out your local support groups here.

Dual Enrollment

College Credit

Private and home schooled students may also participate.Through the Virginia Index of Performance (VIP) incentive program, the state board recognizes schools and school divisions that are annually increasing student enrollment in dual enrollment, AP or IB courses toward the state goal of 30%. An increase toward this goal earns a high school one VIP bonus point for the Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award or Board of Education Excellence Award, and meets state goal for Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence.

Students who complete the requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma with an average grade of “B” or better, and successfully complete college-level coursework that will earn the student at least nine transferable college credits via dual enrollment or other options receive the Governor’s Seal on the diploma.

Dual enrollment courses do not count toward accumulation of the 125% credit hour threshold, after which a postsecondary student who continues to be enrolled after completed 125% of the credit hours needed to satisfy the degree requirements for a specified undergraduate program is charged a surcharge for each additional semester enrolled.

Community colleges must provide dual enrollment students access to appropriate student support programs, academic support services, and activities including access and user privileges to adequate library collections and services and any other learning information or resources.

Course Fees

Local decision. However, under the Governing Principles for Dual Enrollment Between Virginia’s Public Schools and the Virginia Community College System, approved summer 2015, full tuition and fees must be paid the community college, but when the course is taught at the high school by a qualified high school faculty member, the minimum amount the community college must reimburse the school division is 60% of tuition charged. Dual enrollment reimbursement rates may be increased up to 100% based on specified options negotiated by the community college and public school division.  Total reimbursement may not exceed 100% of the tuition charged. School divisions may not charge dual enrollment students or their families more than the actual cost of the tuition and fees charged. Reimbursement rates and justifications must be documented in the annual dual enrollment contract between the community college and the school division.

When courses are not taught by high school faculty members, the community college may, in order to reduce the net cost to students, reimburse the school division a portion of tuition in recognition of agreed-to contributions of resources provided by the school division.

Any high school student not otherwise qualified for in-state tuition who is enrolled in community college courses for high school and community college credit pursuant to a dual enrollment agreement between the high school and community college must be charged at the Virginia in-state rate.

For more information about dual enrollment in Virginia visit the Education Commission of the State’s website

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