A. Linwood Holton Governor's School
Virginia's First Virtual Governor's School
One Partnership Circle - PO Box 1987 Abingdon, VA 24212
Telephone: 276-619-4326      Fax: 276-619-4309     e-mail: holton@hgs.k12.va.us

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About the A. Linwood Holton Governor's School


What is a Governor's School?

A Governor's School provides special opportunities for very able and motivated high school students who want to become part of an exciting and challenging program. Governor's Schools typically concentrate on specific curricular areas, such as science, mathematics, the arts, and/or technology.

What is the A. Linwood Holton Virtual Governor's School?

Students in Southwest Virginia are often confronted with challenges their peers in other parts of Virginia do not experience. The distance between schools, the rugged terrain, and the harsh winter weather serve as formidable impediments to providing a traditional, single-building Governor's School. Consequently, an innovative solution to these barriers had to be created. The result was Virginia's first "virtual governor's school," the A. Linwood Holton Governor's School, which is named for a former governor of Virginia who grew up in Southwest Virginia.

Using sophisticated distance learning and Internet based telecommunications technologies to deliver an advanced curriculum especially designed for gifted and talented students in their home schools, the A. Linwood Holton Governor's School fills a unique need in a very innovative way. Students from 37 high schools use "state of the art" software to attend classes, listen to lectures, participate in discussions, complete lab activities, etc. - from their school, home, or almost anywhere. Many of their tests are also completed and submitted online. Students enjoy a number of other advantages as well:

  • Most of the content for the school's courses is online, as well as available in the textbooks provided, and is accessible to students at any time and place. Many educational tools and a large collection of supplementary material are available on the school's web site. The technology provides students with their own e-mail accounts, and makes it easy for them to communicate with their teachers, collaborate with other students, etc. Teachers can post announcements to students, distribute class notes that may have been missed, provide a quiz which can be taken online and much more.

  • Class sessions are recorded and archived and are available from the school's web site. This feature enhances the learning environment by providing students the opportunity to revisit material they need to review, catch up on classes they may have missed, etc.

The A. Linwood Holton Governor's School is part of the Commonwealth of Virginia's Academic Year Governor's School System. For information about all of the member schools in the Academic Year Governor's School System, please visit the web site http://www.aygs.org .

To learn more about for operation of the A. Linwood Holton Governor's School, such as governance of the school, membership, and committees, please review the school's Constitution, which is available for download here [PDF format]. .

Participating Counties

The Holton Governor's School serves students in 17 separate school districts and 36 high schools in Southwest Virginia including the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Highland, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe, in addition to the cities of Bristol, Galax, and Norton.

Course Offerings

Courses offered during the 2022-2023 academic year include Astronomy, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology, Probability and Statistics, Introduction to Engineering Methods & Computer Programming, Cybersecurity, History of Western Civilization, History of World Civilization, Appalachian History, Honors Physics, Introductory Chemistry, General Chemistry, Advanced Multimedia Applications, Latin, Creative Writing, College Composition, Survey of American Literature, Biology, Life Science, and Environmental Science.

The courses are designed for juniors and seniors, but do not exclude academically advanced sophomores who have completed the necessary pre-requisites. Classes are offered in both 50 minute and 90 minute formats to best fit the schedules of the schools served. All courses, except for Honors Physics and Latin, have been approved for dual enrollment through the Virginia Community College System. Therefore students receive both high school and college credit when they complete their coursework. (Students receive only high school credit for Latin and Honors Physics.)

Additional Information for Parents and Students: Guide Books and Newsletter

Guide books, detailing requirements, Governor's School policy, etc., are available for both parents and students. These documents, along with a Code of Conduct for all Governor's School students, are available on the Support For Parents and Students web page located here.