Frequently Asked Questions about NC Governor's School
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Are the programs the same at Governor’s School East and West?
Yes, except that in 2022, West offers Spanish and an orchestra and East offers a wind ensemble (French will not be offered in 2022). Also, West will have a mixed chorus (i.e., sopranos, altos, tenors and bass/baritones) for 2022; the East chorus will include only sopranos and altos. Otherwise, the curriculum of both schools is the same.
What classes are regularly scheduled at Governor’s School?
Students attend their Area I class (the discipline for which they are selected) for one period in the morning and another in the afternoon. They also attend their Area II and Area III classes, each three times per week.
How is a typical Governor’s School class conducted?
Highly energized and committed teachers invite students to explore new and significant ideas, not principally through lecture but through discussion. Teachers may use an occasional mini-lecture to present a formula in math or physics, demonstrate a new movement in art or music, or explain a recent theory of social groups or literary texts. The hallmark of our intellectual work, however, is the interplay between theory and students’ responses, between the abstract and the personal. Without the common burdens of covering a defined body of material and being tested on it, students and teachers can forge a safe, non-competitive intellectual environment where ideas from many disciplines are entertained and all active learners are taken seriously.
What kinds of dance, theater, and music are performed?
The emphasis throughout the arts (and academic) curriculum is on modern and contemporary ideas and forms of expression. This emphasis has been one of the most successful parts of this 59-year-old program for several reasons: it surprises and energizes students with its often unexpected uniqueness; it alerts students to current ideas; it encourages students and teachers to become creative explorers of uncharted territory; it introduces intellectual inquiries that often do not come into view until advanced college and graduate study.
What options are there after regular classes end in the afternoon?
Governor’s School provides many options for afternoon and evening hours that complement and extend the work of classes. Major outside speakers who are active contributors to current knowledge in their fields address students once a week. Student performances in dance, theater, and music electrify both campuses. Daily optional seminars or electives range from the Aesthetics of Choreography (dance faculty) to a discussion of Stephen Hawking’s "A Brief History of Time" (natural science faculty). Film series offers not only substantive films, but discussions that deepen the understanding of particular offerings and sharpen the ability to see and interpret any film.
What kinds of recreational and social activities are offered?
Each afternoon and evening, numerous facilities are open for individual and group recreation. Later in the evening, students can choose social events such as swing dance instruction, ultimate frisbee tournaments, capture the flag competitions, and scavenger hunts. For many, the high social moments are the masquerade ball and, on the final evening, a semi-formal dance. Others say that their best free moments are spent in the spontaneous conversations, gatherings, and activities that students initiate on the benches of quads and by fountains, at meals and on dormitory halls.
How strict are the rules at the Governor’s School?
Governor’s School is clearly situated between high school and college — an ambitious residential school for high school students. It grants students many freedoms associated with university study, especially the freedom of choice between many different intellectual and community experiences. It is also governed by a number of rules and regulations associated with residential life for high school students. These are enumerated in an honor code and the Student Handbook so students will know what is expected of them. Governor’s School is not a rule-bound place, but those few rules that exist are taken seriously. Strict adherence to them exercises student self-discipline and responsibility, ensures student safety, and frees the community to focus on vital and essential new ideas and experiences.
Do students have to attend Governor’s School for the entire session?
Yes. If a student accepts the invitation to attend Governor’s School, he/she must agree to attend the entire session (NOTE: Any student who does not stay until the closing session on the last day will not receive a Governor’s School certificate, nor be permitted to cite the Governor’s School experience on college and scholarship applications). Students are not excused to attend school, family, or community events (i.e., camps, competitions, reunions, etc.). On rare occasions, students may be excused for events of great urgency that cannot be rescheduled. Such requests may only be submitted after the student selection process, and also may depend on public health conditions.
May students go home on weekends?
No. Students must remain at the Governor’s School through the weekends. Also, due to COVID-19 protocols for the 2021 session, students were required to stay on campus and no visitors were allowed for the duration. Students stayed in contact with friends and families via phones and various social media. Details for the 2022 session will be determined in the spring in response to public health conditions.