VS Student Handbook 2014-15


Program Policies & Student Responsibilities Handbook

Table of Contents





Overview Selection Process to VS V.


Attendance Guidelines Grade Requirements VII.

Program Completion VIII.

Admission to JMU VS Participation Policies & Requirements Probation Notification/ Program Standing Student Responsibilities IX.

Conduct Expectations a.

Classroom Expectations b.

Academic Integrity c.

Transportation X.


Absences or Tardy e.

Visitors f.

Medications while in VS Contact information a.

VS Staff Contacts b.

Emergency Contact Information 6 7 7 8 8 8 8 9 9 9


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The Valley Scholars program serves first generation, financially eligible students, who are motivated and demonstrate academic promise in middle school. Participating partner school districts include Augusta County, Harrisonburg City, Page County, Rockingham County, Shenandoah County, Staunton City, and Waynesboro City Schools. Students are selected in the spring of the 7th grade year, with program participation beginning in 8th grade. The program offers both educational and cultural enrichment opportunities with programs occurring throughout the academic year. In addition, students participate in a week long summer camp for students completing 9th through 11th grades. The central focus of the program is to foster and encourage a desire to learn, while also building skills that will help students achieve the academic success necessary for college attendance. Our Mission: The Valley Scholars program provides outreach activities to middle and high school students who will be the first in their family to attend a college or university; engaging students in educational enrichment activities designed to increase awareness and access to institutions of higher education with the goal of providing scholarship support for students admitted to and attending James Madison University. Our Vision: To provide educational opportunities that inspire, motivate and educate; producing Valley Scholars who will be both leaders in the classroom and community.


Selection Process to VS

Student applying to the Valley Scholars program must complete a program application and interview. Applications are considered in the spring of the 7th grade school year. Selections are based upon the following criteria for admission to the program: Page | 3

1. Be a Virginia resident and United States citizen or permanent resident .

2. Be in 7 th grade and attend a partner middle school. 3. Be in good academic standing and demonstrate academic promise and motivation. 4. Meet financial eligibility guidelines based upon free and reduced lunch eligibility. 5. Be a first generation college student. This means that your parent(s) or guardian(s) have not graduated from a four year college or university. 6. Have the full support of parent(s) or guardian(s) for your participation in the program. 7. Be recommended for participation by a teacher, principal, or guidance counselor from your school. 8. Commitment to attend week long summer enrichment programs, as well as Saturday or after school programs throughout the school year. Later admission may only occur through the offer of an alternate position during the 8th grade year. Later admission is not available beyond the end of the 8th grade year.


VS Participation Policies & Requirements

Participating students must be enrolled in a participating VS public middle school in a partnering school division: Augusta County, Harrisonburg City, Page County, Rockingham County, Shenandoah County, Staunton City, and Waynesboro City Schools. Students are expected to attend all VS events. Participation is recorded and will be reviewed at the end of each semester, and a final review in mid to late May. This review will be considered as JMU staff determine student’s status in the program, which will determine eligibility and continued participation.


Probationary Notification / Program Standing

Students will be informed of his/her unsatisfactory standing for one or more of the following reasons:

 Student has

unsatisfactory academic performance

; particular attention will be focused on core classes. (Math, Science, History, English). Unsatisfactory standing means failure to maintain the required 3.25 GPA.   Student has unsatisfactory attendance to VS events/programs. Student has violated the required behavioral code of conduct established by VS staff.

After written notification of warning, if academic performance and/or behavior do not improve the student will be dismissed from the program; under the following procedures:

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VS Dismissal Procedures  Parent/guardian and student will receive written communication outlining the student’s status and consequences of not meeting requirements.  Parent/ guardian and student have 7 business days from the date of the dismissal letter to formally appeal the decision. Dismissal decisions are solely made by VS and James Madison University.  Written appeals should be sent to Mr. Shaun Mooney at MSC 6927, Harrisonburg, VA 22807. Phone or email appeals WILL NOT be accepted. Upon receiving a written appeal, VS will schedule a meeting with parent/ guardian and student to discuss reasons for the dismissal and student’s future standing in the program.  

Note: Students can exercise their option to appeal only ONE time.

Once a student is removed from the program, the student’s school division will be notified of the dismissal.  Dismissal from the program results in forfeiture of any future scholarship offered through VS.


Attendance Guidelines

Students are expected to attend all Valley Scholars program events. Attendance at the summer academy is also mandatory. Missing more than 1 programming day will be considered unsatisfactory attendance. VS will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis, only if the excuse is documented and falls under the category of a family emergency or personal illness. In addition exceptions may be granted for academic enrichment. (Governors School, Field Trips) Additional educational or cultural opportunities may be offered that are not mandatory. Non attendance at these events will not negatively impact a student’s attendance record.


Grade Requirements & Course Requirements

All VS students will be required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 to remain in “Good Academic Standing”. After quarterly and/or semester review of grades, students who fall below the required 3.25 GPA will be placed on probation; repeated unsatisfactory academic performance will result in removal from the program. Student’s academic performance will be evaluated after each quarter, semester, and a final review in mid to late May to determine continued participation. Page | 5

Academic rigor is an important component of the Valley Scholars program. Students are encouraged to pursue an academically challenging schedule throughout high school. VS will work with students to outline an appropriate academic curriculum each school year. VII.

Program Completion

Upon successful completion of VS, students with at least 3.25 GPA will receive a full, 4-year tuition and fees scholarship to James Madison University. A student is considered to have successfully completed the VS if he/she has met the following requirements:  Completed all required VS program activities.     Graduated from high school with an Advanced Diploma. Earned a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.25. Taken the SAT or ACT and submitted their scores directly to VS. Submit FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid (if applicable)


Admission to James Madison University

In order to be admitted to JMU students must meet the following criteria: 1.

Completion of the VS program 2.



Completion of the James Madison University Application FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid (if applicable) and earned a high school diploma, and a minimum GPA of 3.25 Follow through on all communications from the Financial Aid and Admissions, and VS office.

Student Responsibilities


The requirements to be admitted to JMU may be subject to change.

Conduct Expectations

Students participating in the Valley Scholars program will be held responsible in accordance with the James Madison University Student Handbook. Disrespectful language or Page | 6

behavior will not be tolerated and may result in students being removed from the Valley Scholars program. These behaviors include, but are not limited to the following:        Disrespectful behavior or language Fighting, bullying, or hazing Verbal threats/attacks Profanity Theft Non-compliance with reasonable request from staff, teachers, mentors, or other staff affiliated with VS. Students may be disciplined for acts committed on JMU’s campus and away from campus while being transported to and from events, including bus stops and on buses. In the event of a disciplinary issue including but not limited to fighting, theft, verbal threats, VS will dispatch University Police. The VS reserves the right to dismiss any student(s) from the program due to disciplinary issues.

a. Classroom Expectations

     Students must be prepared for class with the proper materials needed. Students must comply with reasonable requests from staff, teachers, or tutors while in the classroom. Students are expected to respect themselves, teachers, mentors, peers, guests and members of JMU’s community. Students are required to keep classrooms clean at all times. While participating in VS events, students are not permitted to enter buildings, dormitories, or facilities other than those directed to. VS participants should not engage in interactions with students enrolled at James Madison University, unless while under the supervision of VS staff, or if the interaction is related to a VS sponsored event. Students may not leave James Madison University’s campus or leave VS related events without prior parental permission. In addition, in the event a student is picked up by an approved person as verified by parents, a picture ID will be needed for a VS staff to verify prior to releasing the student.

b. Academic Integrity

Students participating in the Valley Scholars program will be held to James Madison University’s Honor Code. Academic Integrity constitutes being honest at all times. Students should not engage in cheating, stealing, lying, forging, misuse of academic material, or the work of other students for academic or personal gain. Page | 7

c. Transportation Buses

Due to liability issues, students MUST ride their designated bus provided from their school division. Students may not board a bus of another school division. VS will not accept written requests to ride buses provided by counties other than the one assigned. Pick-up and Drop off If parents or other adults are picking up a student from an event, written documentation must be provided prior to, or on the day of the event. An adult must come into the VS office to pick up the student (The adult must

present ID for verification

). Parents must pick up students on-time after dismissal from Saturday events. Because students are minors, if they are not picked-up within 30 minutes after an event they will be released to the custody of JMU Campus Police for pick-up.

d. Late Arrivals

Students arriving late must contact the Valley Scholars program office or contact person to arrange drop off.



Students may not bring non-VS participants to tutoring or other events. Parents are encouraged to attend events. Please contact VS staff (


) to arrange visits.


Medications while in VS

Parents are asked to administer medications at home prior to VS events whenever possible. If it becomes necessary for a student to take prescription medication while at VS, the parent must send written notification/permission along with the medication in its original container with the child’s name, medication name, and dosage and time needed. All students must have a medical authorization form on file with VS.

Please be aware that the VS office does not have direct access to medical staff at JMU

. In the event of an emergency, VS will contact University Police to dispatch emergency assistance and notify parents. Page | 8


Contact information

VS Mailing Address

Valley Scholars Program MSC 6927 Harrisonburg, VA 22807

2014-2015 VS Staff Contact Information General Office Email: [email protected]

Shaun Mooney Director 540-568-7232 540-820-5041 [email protected] Priscilla Easterling Erin Casey Administrative Assistant Graduate Assistant 540-568-7232 [email protected] 540-568-7232 [email protected] Bethany Doman Graduate Assistant David Baker Principal, Hillyard 540-568-7232 [email protected] 540-896-8961 [email protected] Holli Bland Mandy Chambers Jeff Cassell Guidance Counselor, Hillyard 540-896-8961 [email protected] School Counselor, Kate Collins 540 -946-4635 [email protected] Superintendent, Waynesboro 540-946-4600 [email protected] Evelyn Linaburg Andrea Zimmon School County, North Fork Middle Dixie Davis Director of Elem Ed, Page County Donna Power Assistant Superintendent, Shenandoah County 540-459-6701 [email protected] 540-477-2953 [email protected] 540-743-6533 [email protected] Superintendent, Page County 540-743-6533 [email protected] Leslie Trissell School Counselor, Shelburne Middle Dori Walk Executive Director of Instruction, Staunton City Rick Castaneda Skyline Middle School 540-332-3930 [email protected] 540-332-3920 [email protected] 540-434-6862 [email protected] Joe Glick Principal, Skyline Middle Brenda Walton Principal, Stewart Middle School Eric Bond Superintendent, Augusta County 540-434-6862 [email protected] 540-245-5046 [email protected] 540-245-5100 [email protected]


Emergency Contact

Department of Public Safety: 540-568-6911 Page | 9