Highland County Public Schools is the smallest school division in the Commonwealth with fewer than 300 students in a one-campus K-12 school. The system has a part-time superintendent, two principals (elementary and middle/high school,) and a professional staff ranging between 30 – 40 individuals resulting in an extremely low teacher / pupil ratio. Highland High School grades 6 through 12 were awarded the Blue Ribbon Schools Award, the highest recognition for academic excellance, by the federal government in 2010.
Highland County Schools provide special education programs for identified students with learning and developmental disabilities, emotional disturbances, and physical limitations. In addition, speech/language and early childhood services are provided. Counseling services are also available to all students to support educational, sociological, psychological and career needs.
Enrichment programs are offered to all classes and the Challenge Program serves identified gifted and talented students through programs including, but not limited to, mentoring, independent studies and special projects. Advanced placement courses are offered at the high school level through regular classroom coursework, as well as the school’s distance learning laboratory. Approximately 25% of the students take at least one A.P. course.
Expanded course offerings for high school students include dual enrollment courses with Southwest Community College, Dabney Lancaster Community College, and Blue Ridge Community College.
Vocational education courses are offered in business, agriculture and carpentry. Approximately 70% of high school students take at least one vocational course.
Highland County Schools offer courses in art, music and band, and co-curricular clubs in drama and 12 other student interest areas. Approximately 90% of the students participate in at least one co-curricular club. The athletic program consists of 11 sports.
No Child Left Behind
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB,) federal legislation, requires that all public schools make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for student performance in statewide tests in reading and math. Since its enactment, Highland County Public Schools have made AYP.
In 2010, the Commonwealth’s annual measurable objective for English, mathematics, history and science was 70% passing. Highland County Public Schools’ (HCPS) pass rate was 95% in English, 95% in mathematics, 92% in history and 94% in science. Attendance rates for schools was set at 95%, HCPS had 96% attendance for the year. The final scorecard was graduation percentage. The Commonwealth’s level was 77% and HCPS students achieved a 96% graduation rate.
According to the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, 72.8% of the County’s full-time residents have at least a high school diploma. The pursuit of higher education has been a priority for Highland County public schools. For example, in the class of 2010, approximately 90% of graduates pursued post-secondary education programs.
While there is no institution of higher learning in Highland County, there are several colleges and universities located within a two (2) hour drive of Monterey. These include liberal arts schools such as Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, WV (61 miles from Monterey) and Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA (43 miles from Monterey.) Blue Ridge Community College, which offers both day and night classes, is in Weyers Cave, VA (59 miles from Monterey). Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute are located in Lexington, VA (80 miles from Monterey;) and James Madison University, Eastern Mennonite University and Bridgewater College are situated in the Harrisonburg, VA area (61 miles from Monterey.) In addition, the University of Virginia is located in Charlottesville (82 miles from Monterey).
REACH is a grassroots community group (teachers, business leaders, parents and citizens)
searching for ways to support the sustainability of the Highland County Public Schools, specifically
through alternative funding options and by increasing the county and student population.
GRASP is a non-profit scholarship program funded by generous individuals, businesses and foundations to help students become aware of financial opportunities for higher learning.