The Commonwealth Governor’s School
Serving the Virginia Commonwealth Counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford.
Based on a school-within-a-school model, the half-day program at The Commonwealth Governor’s School of Virginia utilizes real-time interactive audio/visual technology, field trips, and team teaching to create a regional community of learners.
Students from Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford school divisions are offered a rigorous program of study while interacting with other talented students in the region.
Students from participating high schools travel to one of the six Commonwealth Governor’s School sites: Colonial Forge High School, North Stafford High School, Stafford High School, Spotsylvania High School, Riverbend High School, and King George High School.
The Commonwealth Governor’s School curriculum is designed to challenge students in four major academic content areas, through problem-based instruction appropriate for gifted and highly motivated learners and to focus on the community issues of environment, development, and service.
From the Director’s Desk
In Their Own Words
The Commonwealth Governor’s School celebrates its 20th Anniversary in the words of its students.
Zachary King“CGS has given me the unique opportunity to learn through field experiences that are both enjoyable and enlightening. These opportunities help me retain and reinforce the information we have already covered in class, which in turn helps me succeed. These field experiences also create special memories that I will be able to look back on in the future.”
Ava Purcell"Throughout my time in CGS, I've been constantly reminded of the fact that I am appreciated and valued by my teachers: these mentors are available to assist me in all of my academic progress and guide me towards success. The teachers invest time and effort into expanding each student's talents and are known to check in periodically to ensure that schoolwork and even personal life aspects are being fully accounted for. This creates a caring environment that is viable due to smaller, intimate class sizes and the unique personalities each teacher possesses. These bonds will undoubtedly be ones I carry with me for years to come, as I know my CGS teachers will always be here to support me from the classroom to the next stages of my life."
Christopher Pinto“Throughout my time at CGS, I have found that some of the most memorable learning experiences were the summer opportunities. While there are plenty of opportunities within the school during the year, I have found the most unique one to be the CGS / Chesapeake Bay Foundation Watershed Experience. Everything that I had ever done and ever hoped for was consummated by the trip that I took with students from all different sites. I may not remember all of them, and they might not remember me, but the experiences we shared were unforgettable. Canoeing in the warm sun, camping along the river, travelling to and staying at Fox Island, and exploring the streets of Tangier – even though the trip was nearly a year ago, I still remember it fresh in my mind. The group of people I went with was mainly people I had never seen before, people I had no impressions about until the day we met. But by the end of the trip, I could easily have said that they were my friends.”
Johnathan Arner"The most valuable thing I've learned from my four years in CGS is how to effectively manage school. The program has taught me not only how to balance workload between classes, but also how to balance that work with extracurriculars and a job. I know I will be able to use this skill as I move on to not only college, but also the workforce in years to come."
Sarah Johnson"Despite the countless hours of hard work and late night studying, I am very glad I decided to do CGS. The relationships I have earned through my classmates and teachers are unlike any other program. The teachers care about the success of the students, going above and beyond to teach material they're passionate about, and classmates care about the success of each other, always there in need of motivation or just a friend to lean on. To be part of a group who is just as motivated as you to learn and engage in studies ranging from the logics of maths to the abstract thinking of literature, that also acts as a second family, is the outstanding experience that can be found at CGS."
Ethan McCue"I think one of the greatest benefits of CGS is the increased autonomy that the teachers give you. They really allow the students to learn the way that they learn best, but are still available and caring for when you need them. Another unique benefit is the interdisciplinary projects that just aren't possible in mainschool just due to the fact that not everyone has the same classes, whereas in CGS the content areas can overlap and create a more cohesive learning environment. I think that the best part though is the community. Just getting to know these people over the past few years, through thick and thin, has been a really beneficial experience and has allowed me to grow as a person while knowing I will always have people by my side."
Soumya Gottipati"CGS has truly been a life changing program for me, as it has allowed me to grow immensely as both a student and as a person. When it comes to academics, the myriad field experiences and interdisciplinary projects have helped me foster a life-long love of learning and have demonstrated firsthand that the things I learn in school can be applied in numerous ways to better the world around me. Having the same group of wonderful teachers and classmates has also helped me develop in ways I never thought possible; as a freshman, I was a shy and quiet girl, afraid to speak up and branch out. Fostering close relationships with fellow members of CGS has helped me become the more confident person I am today. Kilroy Robotics also played a big role in helping me grow, as the opportunities the team gave me in terms of finding a family, taking on a leadership position, and helping improve my community have been invaluable as well."
Jennifer Sprow"One of the most unique and valuable learning experiences that CGS has provided me is the opportunity to do extensive research in a field of my choice. The culminating project has given me the opportunity to not only find my passion for a subject that I would like to go into later in life, but also opportunities to extend my research skills and be full prepared for college. It is because of CGS and the culminating project that I have been able to find and delve into my passions. Another unique learning experience has been the usage of the broadcasting system among all CGS sites. Because of this system, I, as well as the rest of my classmates, am able to learn from multiple teachers with different perspectives."
Gino Chiotti"I believe CGS is a whole unique and valuable experience that anyone should try to strive for. CGS has allows us students to understand the various lessons of academics while also teaching us the useful skills that may be utilize in future occasions. One the most important and essential learning experience, I would have to say is Culminating. Culminating basically encompasses what we, CGS students, are ready to tackle for the year. We incorporate various skills and identify new skills that any research paper or any paper in general needs to have. I personally think it's the biggest subject at CGS!"
Grace Long"CGS has transformed me from an ordinary student to a highly motivated scholar, deeply invested in not only my education, but my future as a whole. CGS gives me the opportunity to develop close relationships with my teachers who are incredibly supportive, resourceful, and encourage me to make the most of my four years in high school. One of my favorite parts of the CGS program is our four year research journey, culminating. Culminating allows me to delve deep into my areas of passion through independent research that is both fascinating and gives us experience in advanced, college-level research. Our field trips and summer programs offer us the opportunity to see how what we learn in class applies to the real world, driving us towards potential career paths. CGS has developed vital life skills in me, such as the ability to manage my time efficiently, speak in front of large groups, write in a sophisticated manner, and implement leadership skills. CGS has unlocked my full potential and has me ready to tackle my future, confidently."
"One of the most valuable aspects of CGS is the relationships that I have cultivated with my teachers. Because I have had some teachers for over a year, they have been able to truly get to know me in a way that extends beyond just the classroom. Each time I walk into the CGS room, I am sure to have at least one of my teachers greet me and ask me how I am doing, or how dance is going, or when my next drama performance is. Because of CGS, I have formed strong bonds with my teachers that I know will last long after I graduate."
Ellen Phillips"CGS has really helped me grow academically and individually. I constantly tell my friends, 'I am so glad we're learning this; it will be so helpful when we're in college.' CGS strikes the perfect balance between learning for success and learning for knowledge. It has helped me grow my strengths and better my weaknesses."
“Undoubtedly the most outstanding gain from my years in CGS is the meaningful relationships I’ve developed with my teachers. They know me personally, rather than as solely a first and last name, therefore they know the best ways to help me learn and when additional guidance is worthwhile.”
Sarah Schaefer"Two of my most prized experiences from CGS were the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's 50 Forward Student Leadership Program, and Virginia Space Coast Scholars. Both were opportunities presented to me through the CGS program, and both made the summer between my sophomore and junior years unforgettable!"
- Gale Science
- AP Science Collection
- 2017-18 Student Handbook
- 2017-18 Student Profile
As the 2017-18 school year comes to an end…CGS staff and faculty would like to say “CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2018!” Wishing you continued success in all of your future endeavors, and hoping you keep in touch with your CGS classmates and teachers. Make sure you sign up on the CGS Alumni page!
CGS would like to thank Dr. Merri Kae VanderPloeg for her eight years of leadership as the CGS Director. As she leaves the program for her next adventure, we hope she keeps with her the many fond memories of students, parents, staff and faculty that have touched her during her time with CGS.
We would also like to welcome Mrs. Jennifer Grigsby as the new Director of The Commonwealth Governor’s School. Students, parents, staff and faculty look forward to the continued, successful leadership of the CGS program! WELCOME MRS. GRIGSBY!
Hoping all CGS family members have a safe, enjoyable, peaceful, and memorable summer! See you next school year! Let the adventures begin…
- CGS PTO Senior Scholarship Winners! Molly McMullan – 1st Place; Sydney Collins – 2nd Place; Ana Haines – 3rd Place
- CGS Film Festival Winners…click for details!
- PARENTS!! Sign up for REMIND 101 and get CGS alerts sent directly to your phone or email! Get Instructions
- CGS Promotional Video
- CGS: A Student’s Perspective!
- June 23, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., CGS 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION! Riverbend High School Auxiliary Gym Volunteers needed! Please sign up if you’d like to help out! CGS 20th Anniversary Alumni Celebration
- August 7, 1:00 – 7:30 p.m., CGS New Student Orientation for all Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford students.
- August 8, 12:30 – 3:00 p.m., CGS New Student Orientation for STAFFORD STUDENTS ONLY.
- August 23, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., CGS AP European History Workshop, North Stafford High School, Room 523
The Commonwealth Governor’s School
Regional Administrative Office
12301 Spotswood Furnace Road
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22407
Telephone: (540) 548-1278
Fax: (540) 548-1736