About Us

Amherst County is a rural county with a small population of students who either drop out or consider dropping out of school due to various factors. Being able to meet the needs of this at risk population of students is an important goal of Amherst County Public Schools.

Once these students develop a negative attitude towards education, they lose interest in their educational success. Being able to establish a positive relationship with these students can help reduce the possibility of the students dropping out of school. Along with this, having the ability to provide a support network to these students as well as their family can prevent some of the students from dropping out of school.

Amherst County Public Schools supports an option that meets the needs of these at-risk students in an alternative education school. Amherst Education Center (AEC) is a satellite school of Amherst County High School that serves approximately 70 to 100 students. The alternative education program continues to evolve and strives to meet the needs of students who are experiencing extreme difficulties in the traditional classroom environment.

Amherst Education Center has the following objectives: (1) to meet the needs of at-risk students of Amherst County Public Schools in grades eight through twelve; (2) to reduce the disciplinary referrals of the students; (3) to improve school attendance; and (4) to increase the overall academic performance of the student body.

Program Design
The school year at the alternative school is congruent with the official Amherst County Public School calendar and transportation is provided for all students. Core subjects that are aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning are provided at a pace that meets the needs of the students. The program also allows seniors to graduate with their class at the graduation ceremony for the high school.

Another option for students who are at least 16 years old is to participate in an Individualized Student Alternative Education Program (ISAEP). This program includes career guidance counseling, enrollment in a GED program, counseling on the economic impact of failing to complete high school, procedures for re-enrolling in regular high school program, and an occupational training component. These options, along with community support, should positively influence students to complete a course of study at Amherst Education Center instead of dropping out of the high school.

The heart of any alternative school program is the staff; they are the most important factor in the success of the students. The students must recognize that someone at their school cares about them and that a caring and safe atmosphere is provided.

The alternative school staff in Amherst County consists of individuals who are qualified and dedicated to the success of each student. The alternative school staff has experience in working with extraordinary adolescents, is practiced in patience, and can stimulate students to think and make good choices for themselves. They are certified by the State Department of Education to teach in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Their specific duties include providing classroom instruction, classroom management, completing progress reports, providing an environment that is conducive to learning, and writing individualized education plans for students if needed.

Staff development is provided to address professional development in the areas of classroom management, differentiation of instruction, and intervention strategies. These programs are offered to the Amherst Education Center teaching staff as well as all support personnel.

Student Achievement – Amherst County Public Schools shall appropriately motivate, educate, and inspire every student, every day to achieve his or her maximum academic potential.

Safety – Amherst County Public Schools shall provide a safe, courteous and professional environment for all school activities.

Leadership – Amherst County Public Schools shall provide educational programs and opportunities that produce responsible citizens who are life-long learners and contributors to the community.

Communication – Amherst County Public Schools shall continue open lines of communication to enhance school, parent and community collaboration.

Responsibility – Amherst County Public Schools shall be accountable to students, parents, colleagues, and the community for student achievement, safety, leadership and communication.