Grantee Corner  |  CodeRVA Regional High School

Students sit on couches and work on laptops
CodeRVA students work independently on the online component of their coursework

Students sit around a conference table
CodeRVA students participate in small-group, breakout instruction

Two female students work on the same laptop at a conference table
CodeRVA students work on a collaborative project

Students work in a large room with lots of tables
CodeRVA students use the school’s nontraditional, open workspace

Six adults pose in uniforms
CodeRVA instructional and administrative staff pose at the school

Headshot of Tracy Walker
Tracy Walker, CodeRVA Project Director

CodeRVA Regional High School (CodeRVA) is an innovative public high school in Richmond, Virginia, focused on preparing students for college and careers in computer science. The school opened in September 2017 with its first class of 93 students. CodeRVA serves 13 school districts with more than 180,000 students in the greater Richmond area.

CodeRVA has three overarching goals: (1) to redesign the high school experience to better meet the needs of today’s students; (2) to address racial, economic, and gender inequities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education; and (3) to increase the pool of potential employees in computer science for the Richmond region. CodeRVA prepares students for college and careers in STEM fields by accelerating learning through a combination of online and face-to-face instruction. This blended approach includes enriching instruction with project-based learning, providing students the opportunity to complete a 2-year degree in computer science by the time they graduate high school, and providing paid internships in the computer science field. CodeRVA students can graduate with a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, industry certification(s), and up to 400 hours of paid work experience.

The school follows the traditional academic year calendar for the first two trimesters, and extends the school year into the summer for the third trimester. The third trimester provides students additional learning time to master course content, engage with the business community, and make academic and career plans. Across courses, the school emphasizes development of workplace and life skills such as independence, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, confidence, creativity, citizenship, and community engagement. 

In their first 2 years at CodeRVA, students concentrate on accelerating learning and applying knowledge through project-based learning to complete most courses included in state graduation requirements. In years 3 and 4, through partnerships with J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and area employers, students participate in paid internships and complete dual enrollment courses with the potential to lead to an associate’s degree. One of CodeRVA’s founding partners, MAXX Potential, coordinates student internships on real projects contracted by local businesses. These internships enable students  to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills in real-world contexts 

In addition, several other partners in the greater Richmond area collaborate to support the development of CodeRVA through generous donations, in-kind services, and consulting services. Contributors include Capital One, CarMax, Snagajob, RVATech, the Richmond Technology Foundation, Ballou Justice Upton Architects, SMBW Architects, United Network for Organ Sharing, Virginia Advanced Studies Strategies, Code Virginia, and Bridging Richmond. These organizations and businesses were joined by several institutions of higher education, including J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, and John Tyler Community College. These partners will continue to help the school lead educational innovation and make opportunities available to a diverse group of students in central Virginia.

CodeRVA's Project Director, Tracy Walker, has worked in education for 22 years. She has served as a middle and high school counselor, a school counseling director, an assessment specialist, and an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University and Randolph-Macon College. Most recently, she taught in the school counseling program at Virginia State University. Walker has collaborated on local, state, federal, and private grant-funded projects.