Va. beach charter school counts success against the odds

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — When it opened in Virginia Beach, some thought Green Run Collegiate High School would just be a new location for troubled teens. Two years later and the school is not only accredited, but also exceeding expectations and producing students who are outperforming their peers.

Keeping class sizes small and imaginations overflowing, Green Run Collegiate is racking up quite an impressive list of accomplishments, against the odds, with sometimes unorthodox tactics.

The demographics are diverse, with 75 percent minority students. In the classroom, these students are getting world-class lessons that are, in many cases, earning them college credit at the same time.

“It’s about what’s best for our students, and with that in mind, we may try something a little different or unexpected,” said Rianne Patricio, IB coordinator for the school.

“We pride ourselves in taking everybody,” said Thomas Coker, a math teacher there. “We’re not about making you take a 400-question test to see whether you deserve to come here. No, it’s [about] do you want to be here?”

“It’s amazing,” said Journey Matos, a rising junior. “I was in a different school, an academy before this, and I’ve never been in a school with a family environment comparable to this.”

“We don’t look at just Virginia Beach or just the United States and our own problems,” said Tiffany Warren, a rising sophomore. “We look globally.”

“I didn’t know if I was going to be ready, but stepping in, the teacher was like supportive,” said Brandyne Holmes, a rising junior. “They stay back to tutor everyday.”

The school also offers Saturday school from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The teaching staff includes some of the best and brightest, too. Out of 26 full-time staffers, three have been citywide teachers of the year and eight have held the title for various schools and more.

“We ask our students to take great risks with themselves and with us,” said Amy Abbott, gifted resource teacher. “There’s a great deal of trust involved.”

“The best thing about our job, it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done,” said Barbara Winn. “And it’s the most rewarding.”

The school is preparing for a new year where new milestones are becoming par for the course. GRC has met or exceeded all state benchmarks in several subjects. It’s the only Open Access International Baccalaureate High School in Hampton Roads. Admission is based on a lottery system. For more information, click this link.

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