District

OUR MISSION

The Charlotte County Public School system's mission is to cultivate "21st Century - Ready" students and staff with a passion for life long learning.

Long Term Goals 2017-2022

Charlotte County Public Schools will:
  • provide a comprehensive instructional program that adequately prepares students with skills needed to compete and be successful in a global society.
  • continuously evaluate procedures in order to efficiently utilize existing resources while effectively planning for future operational needs.
  • upgrade, update and expand technology application in order to stay ahead of demands of trends of 21st century educational needs.
  • implement strategies to foster sustainable family-school partnerships.
  • increase opportunities to expand and foster partnerships and cooperation with the community.
  • foster an environment conducive to open dialogue between and/or among employees.

 

UP CLOSE

Charlotte County Public Schools educates over 2,000 children in three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. CCPS has emerged as a strong, rural school division due to its outstanding teachers, advanced technology, solid test scores, and philosophy of putting children first. Our school system and its accomplishments challenge the myths and damage the stereotypes that can haunt rural education. We build upon our uniqueness and our many achievements to create even more avenues for success. Our success as a school division can only be measured by the success of our students' productivity and competitive ability within the global market place. We strive to empower them as they move quickly into the 21st century.

 

Randolph-Henry High School's graduation rate has exceeded 95% over the last 3 years.

  • 60% of Charlotte County's teachers hold a Masters Degree in Education
  • 9% of the high school seniors attend the Southside Virginia Governor's School for Global Economics and Technology.
  • 50% of eligible elementary students attend Longwood University's Gifted and Talented Summer Program annually.
  • 54% of the high school juniors and seniors participate in the Dual Enrollment Program enrolling in and passing an average of 250 college classes each year with superior ratings. 
  • Randolph-Henry High School was designated a Blue Ribbon School by the national publication, Redbook Magazine.

 

INNOVATION 

  • Charlotte County Public Schools offer students a comprehensive education focused on basic academic skills, problem solving, decision making, communication and technology. A full range of course offerings is available to all high school students.
  • The Dual Enrollment Program offers high school students the opportunity to enroll in college level classes, which also meet high school graduation requirements while simultaneously earning college credits. Over 200 students participate yearly and many students have graduated with an Associates Degree prior to receiving their high school diploma.

General Information

Charlotte County was formed in 1764 from Lunenburg County and was named for Queen Charlotte, wife of George III of England. Settlement of this new frontier began forty or fifty years before the county was formed. James Cardwell, grandfather of John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, organized Cub Creek Church, the oldest Presbyterian Church south of the James, here in 1735.

The early 18th century brought permanent settlers to the easternmost section, the Roanoke Creek and Staunton River floodplains. These people were of English descent moving from the settlements along the James. Many influential in the colonial government patented large acreage along these fertile floodplains of the Staunton River and the creeks leading into that river from the north, comprising some forty thousand acres.

The Roanoke Creek basin, alone consisting of approximately twelve thousand acres, was then considered to be the most fertile, flat, productive soil to be found along the East Coast. As these families obtained land grants, they moved their families and their kin to this fertile frontier and with slave labor began raising grains, which were shipped along the waterways to feed England and parts of Western Europe. Thus these people flourished, became wealthy, and built stately mansions for themselves and their descendants.

The western area of Charlotte County was settled by Scotch Irish and French Huguenouts, planters who were active in the struggle for religious freedom.

As the American revolutionary spirit unfolded, these people of newly acquired wealth an influence played important roles in the formation of the government. Charlotte was the second governing body in the thirteen colonies to declare its independence from England. Its militia units helped to halt the advance of Cornwallis in 1781 and to hasten the end of the American Revolution. Tarleton's raiders passed through here. Lafayette's units camped near Charlotte Court House, and George Washington stopped here on his trip south after the Revolution. Patrick Henry and John Randolph lived here. Distinguished people throughout the entire country trace their ancestry to Charlotte families.

Later, as the Mississippi delta and the Midwestern plains became developed farmlands and the highlands of Charlotte came into agriculture by the smaller tobacco farmers, the soil from the high areas began to wash down and fill the creekbeds along these fertile floodplains. The production of grains on these became too costly. The larger landowners with slave labor built dikes along the creeks, but the land was soon abandoned. The flood of 1870 caused severe damage and the flood of 1940 practically ended all low ground farming in Charlotte.

In recognition of the value of this floodplain, between 1960 and 1975 the Federal Government, under the auspices of the state Soil Conservation Service, constructed fourteen-flood control dams along the Roanoke Creek watershed. These dams were located at points which would make agricultural production downstream from them profitable. Shortly after the dams were built it was discovered that many people would not permit the draining of creekbeds below the dams and the authority did not invoke the power of condemnation.

The rich heritage of old homes is architecturally significant as they reflect the styles from the Colonial and Georgian to the Federal and Greek Revival periods. Many of these stately mansions have been restored; time has merely enhanced the superior craftsmanship of the builders.

People of national importance have lived in Charlotte County. It was briefly the home of the signer of the Declaration of Independence, George Walton later of Georgia. Patrick Henry, born in Hanover County, came to Charlotte in 1795 and is buried here at Red Hill. In 1959, the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation was dedicated as a national shrine, a replica of the last home of this Virginia patriot. John Randolph, who represented Virginia in both houses of the United States Congress between 1799 and 1825, lived and was buried at his home, Roanoke Plantation. Charlotte Court House was the scene of a famous debate on states' rights between Henry and Randolph.

In later years, Ambassador David K. E. Bruce, the only man to be ambassador to three great European powers: Britain, France, and Germany, and then to be emissary to a great Eastern power: China, lived at Staunton Hill, a Virginia and a National Historic Landmark. He served as a delegate from this county to the Virginia Assembly just prior to World War II. As was his dream, Charlotte Court House, the county seat, has been likened to Williamsburg on a smaller scale. Mr. Bruce gave generously to Charlotte County many of its stately buildings in the village of Charlotte Court House; its agricultural (Extension) building, its Red Cross building, Treasurer's office building, health department, public library and gardens, besides contributing to the construction of Randolph-Henry and Central High Schools. The village of Charlotte Court House has been listed with the state and National Registers of Historic Places as and Historic Courthouse District for its uniqueness in architecture, business and government buildings.

In 1992, the historic Charlotte County Courthouse was the location for the filming of a major motion picture, Sommersby. In 1996, the historic Brick Tavern at Courthouse Square was purchased by the County of Charlotte, including 4.66 acres adjacent to Courthouse Square. Since the renovation of the Brick Tavern, it currently serves as the offices for the circuit court clerk.

Education in Charlotte County

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Charlotte County (even before it existed with that name) has provided education for its children. As early as 1705, a general law required that orphans be taught to read and write. “Old Field Schools”, generally one room log houses, were built in empty fields and controlled by communities who wished to educate their children. In 1778, Robertson Schoolhouse is mentioned in the clerk’s records, as was Watson Schoolhouse in 1781. Orphans and paupers continued to be educated as were the children of planters. Other groups often went uneducated.

Several classical schools offering education above elementary levels were established in Charlotte County. There were schools at Greenwood and Golden Hills, early homes in the county. Boarding schools including ones at Moldavia, Gravel Hill and Cub Creek, were particularly well respected. They were often staffed by teachers who were graduates of Hampden-Sydney College.

After the Civil War, schools developed in each community and buildings were constructed for an elementary school and often for a high school, too. One teacher taught a range of children from age six or so to sixteen. In the decades that followed school staffing expanded as more and more families sought education for their children.

The African-American community also had numerous area schools over the years. The Reverend James Murray Jeffress and his wife, Zena Wilson Jeffress led the effort in establishing the Charlotte County Training School in 1928 to broaden educational opportunities.

In the 1930’s the county constructed the first consolidated high school in the state. Completed in 1939, Randolph-Henry High School was named by a student ballot. The school is named for John Randolph and Patrick Henry, who were both residents of Charlotte County. Financing was secured for Randolph-Henry and Central High Schools by David K. E. Bruce, who had a home at Staunton Hill in the Aspen area of the county. (Charlotte Court House owes a great deal to the generosity of Mr. Bruce, who also donated the buildings for the health department, the Red Cross building, the extension office and endowed the public library.) The school was the first of its kind in the state, consisting of a main building and separate home economics and agriculture buildings. Central High School was also constructed at this time to provide a school for African-American children.

In the 40’s and 50’s, the smaller elementary schools were gradually consolidated into ones located in the larger communities- Keysville, Charlotte Court House, Phenix, Drakes Branch and Wyliesburg. Central Elementary School, Bacon Elementary and James Murray Jeffress Elementary were constructed for African-American children. The social turmoil of the 1960’s was addressed in Charlotte County in 1966 by beginning a system of freedom of choice, allowing families to choose the school their children would attend. In 1970, the schools were desegregated. Randolph-Henry Senior High and Central Junior High Schools served all secondary students.

A Literary Fund loan approved in 1968 allowed an addition to the west side of Randolph-Henry. It included business classrooms, a band/music room, art room, and clinic. In 1978, construction began on a new vocational facility located directly behind the main building. At that time, the present library was added, and the cafeteria was renovated and expanded. 

As student numbers grew and buildings aged, a decision was made in 1983 to build a new consolidated elementary school. A location between Keysville and Charlotte Court House was chosen and Eureka Elementary School was constructed. The schools at Keysville and Drakes Branch were closed, with Central Elementary students from Charlotte Court House following in 1985. Central Middle School was expanded to include the old Central Elementary building and became a true middle school encompassing grades 6-8.

In time, age and enrollment dictated the need for a new middle school. In 1993, Central Middle School was built on land behind and adjacent to Randolph-Henry. A separate building houses the cafeteria and gymnasium. This area is available for Randolph-Henry athletic events and is used by the community.

Over the years the athletic program has grown. From Randolph-Henry’s original football/baseball fields and “Death Valley”, now a parking lot, the sports complex now includes lighted softball and tennis courts at Randolph-Henry, lighted softball and baseball fields at Central Middle School as well as a practice field and wrestling arena in the old Central High School gym.

Success and expansion of the School’s computer business resulted in the construction of a new building for Statesmen Computers in 1996. This unique hybrid provides hands-on business experience for students and computer sales and services for the community.

Through the years the citizens of Charlotte County have demonstrated a strong commitment to education. At present, strong cooperation between the School Board and the Board of Supervisors, supported by the concerted efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, and communities has resulted in an unusually strong school system with outstanding SOL scores.

Sources:

Ailsworth, Timothy, et al. Charlotte County: Rich Indeed, Richmond: Whittet and Shepperson. 1979.

Shepherd, Leonard Hall. Secondary Education in Charlotte County 1764-1937. A Thesis presented to the Graduate Faculty of the University of Virginia (1938).

“A History of Randolph-Henry High School”. Randolph-Henry Library, Charlotte Court House, Virginia.

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