Twelve Standout Schools

Based on the statistics in our high schools chart, and with academics (AP test taking percentages and SOL scores) weighted slightly more heavily than dropout rates and behavioral offenses, we’d like to recognize the following schools for standing out as the best public high schools in Hampton Roads for the 2012 school year.



4431 Big Bethel Rd., Yorktown

District: York County Schools
Principal: Angela Seiders
Mascot: Tigers
Awards: Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence (2011); Virginia Board of Education’s Competence to Excellence Award (2010); more than 20 state athletic championships
Standout programs: The York County School of the Arts, a program in the fine arts, provides students with an education comparable to the math and science opportunities offered by the Governor’s School for Science and Technology. Through the Virtual Learning Program, students engage in curriculum that blends online and offline learning experiences.
From the principal: “The walls of our school reflect tiger pride with galleries of student-created artwork, several trophy cases, and a sea of orange. Tabb students excel in a wide array of artistic, athletic and co-curricular activities as well as a rigorous curriculum that helps them thrive in college and beyond.”


3751 John Tyler Highway, Williamsburg

District: Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools
Principal: Catherine Worley
Mascot: Eagles
Awards: Second-highest ranked high school in the Hampton Roads region in Newsweek’s listing of America’s Best High Schools; 63 percent of 2012 graduates enrolled in four-year colleges or universities.
Standout programs: Students may enroll in concurrent courses at The College of William and Mary, Christopher Newport University and Thomas Nelson Community College. Dual enrollment credit is offered for many technical and academic classes, with some technical courses leading to industry certification.
From the principal: “We are working on strategies to meet our school improvement goals which address high expectations and achievement for every student, community building, and clear communication practices.  It is exciting to see this work unfold with our staff and students, and we look forward to receiving input from our community as we move forward.”


4400 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach

District: Virginia Beach City Schools
Principal: James Pohl
Mascot: Cavaliers
Awards: Maintains its place as the highest ranked high school in Virginia Beach as well as the Hampton Roads region in Newsweek’s listing of America’s Best High Schools.
Standout programs: Home of Virginia Beach’s International Baccalaureate program, designed to meet the highest standards required of any high school in the world. The prestigious program offers a rigorous, comprehensive approach to learning in the last two years of secondary school. The school also hosts the Virginia Beach center for students with moderate to severe disabilities.
From the mission statement: “The mission of Princess Anne High School, in cooperation with family and community, is to empower our diverse student population to meet the challenges of life through quality education and to instill a lifelong desire for continuous learning and improvement.”


2007 Grizzly Trail, Chesapeake

District: Chesapeake City Public Schools
Principal: Carolyn Bernard
Mascot: Grizzlies
Awards: Principal Carolyn Bernard received the prestigious 2013 AdvancED Virginia Excellence in Education Award.
Standout programs: Governor’s STEM Academy operates as a school-within-a-school and features a cutting-edge curriculum especially designed for students with an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. Students have multiple opportunities for taking advanced courses and sampling special programs such as mentorship and internship.
From the alma mater: “We pledge our loyalty, devotion ever true. We’ll cherish all our lives, all that’s learned from you. Hail alma mater, with excellence we strive.”


2425 Shorehaven Dr., Virginia Beach

District: Virginia Beach City Schools
Principal: Randi Riesbeck
Mascot: Falcons
Awards: More than $3 million in scholarship money awarded to graduating seniors in June 2011; Virginia High School League Wachovia Cup for outstanding academic and athletic achievement has been awarded to the school more than any other school in the state.
Standout programs: The school has won 40 state athletic titles overall. Blue ribbon awards were also given for the music program, student newspaper and student yearbook.
From the mission statement: “The mission of the Frank W. Cox High School community is to empower everyone to become a lifelong learner and a responsible, productive citizen of a global society.”


Matthew Fontaine Maury High,

Salem High,
Virginia Beach

First Colonial High,
Virginia Beach

Hickory High,

Grafton High,

Poquoson High,

Great Bridge High,

CLICK HERE for our comprehensive chart, including facts and figures for all of the area’s public high schools.

About our chart:

*Virginia public schools receive annual accountability ratings based on the performance of students on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests and other statewide assessments. Schools in which students meet or exceed all achievement objectives established by the Virginia Board of Education are rated as Fully Accredited (FA).

**The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires states to establish annual measurable objectives (AMOs) for raising overall reading and mathematics achievement and the achievement of student subgroups. Virginia has established AMOs designed to reduce proficiency gaps between high- and low-performing schools within six years. Schools must develop and implement improvement plans to raise the achievement of student subgroups not meeting annual objectives.

***Several Hampton Roads high schools are IB (International Baccalaureate) schools, which means they are able to offer students a special curriculum that strives to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. In those select schools, our chart indicates the percentage of the student population enrolled in the IB program.

****The Advanced Placement (AP) program is a curriculum sponsored by the College Board which offers standardized courses to high school students that are generally recognized to be equivalent to undergraduate courses in college. Our chart indicates the percentage of the student population that has taken an AP exam.

Statistics were gleaned from the Virginia Department of Education website: www.DOE.Virginia.Gov

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