Message from the Superintendent
Welcome to Harrisonburg City Public Schools! Located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, we are a school system of excellence, educating over 6,000 students in grades PK-12. We believe that the strength of our schools comes from our highly diverse student population, in which more than 50 languages are spoken by our students. Our school system also prides itself in our commitment to providing a rigorous academic curriculum that includes many Advanced Placement, dual enrollment and honor-level courses, an Associate Arts program in partnership with our local community college, a regional Governor’s School for science, and outstanding foreign language, arts, music, journalism, and sports programs. In August 2016, we expanded our dual language immersion program into our fifth elementary school.
Harrisonburg City Public Schools has outstanding career and technical education programs including advanced computer labs and a wide range of computer application opportunities for all students. We are also very proud of our professional theater productions and our exciting band and choir classes that perform for the listening pleasure of the citizens of Harrisonburg and many other communities. During the 2013-14 school years we opened a fine arts academy at Harrisonburg High School and a fine arts infusion program started in 2014 at Stone Spring Elementary School. Our students and teachers have won many local, state and national awards for their commitment to excellence and high standards. With the 2012-2013 school year, we offered more advanced learning opportunities at our middle schools, an increased emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) throughout the school system, and an elementary foreign language program, along with many other exciting instructional programs. We are proud that our high school is a designated Governor’s STEM Academy and both of our middle schools have STEM academy programs.
These programs could not happen without the professionalism and support of our teachers, administrators and support personnel who work tirelessly to meet the diverse needs of our students. Harrisonburg City Public Schools is also pleased to offer a broad range of programs and services for students who would benefit from additional support or challenge and/or be taught in an alternative learning model. We take satisfaction in our inclusive programs for children with disabilities, a full-day preschool that sets the stage for lifelong learning success, and district-wide gifted and talented programs.
We are very fortunate to have a supportive local government and community that values the importance of educating children and providing them with the experiences and resources needed to be successful learners prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Partnerships with Bridgewater College, James Madison and Eastern Mennonite Universities, Blue Ridge Community College, and Harrisonburg Education Foundation, along with many civic and nonprofit organizations and local businesses, give our students and teachers a breadth of opportunities to improve teaching and learning that is not found in most communities.
Harrisonburg City Public Schools is on a journey towards academic excellence with the ultimate goal of all children learning at high levels. As we move along this journey, we create a legacy of excellence. The journey to create an organization where all children learn at high levels is in itself a learning experience for all of us. Education is impacted by the limits of fiscal resources, time, and belief, but learning itself has no limits. Organizations who understand the concepts of unlimited opportunity are the ones who seize the day. This is what makes Harrisonburg City Public Schools one of the best.
In our pursuit for continuous improvement, we face many challenges, but behind each challenge is an opportunity. We are fortunate in Harrisonburg to have a community that supports public education and a School Board and staff that are committed to the highest levels of professionalism and excellence for all children. Harrisonburg City Public Schools is an exciting place and the best is yet to come.
-Scott Kizner, Ph.D.