MCPS Recognized as a “School Division of Innovation” by VA Board of Education

MCPS Named “School Division of Innovation” by VA Board of Education

Montgomery County, VA – Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) was recognized last week as a “School Division of Innovation” by the Virginia Board of Education. MCPS is among the first 15 school divisions across the state to be recognized for “designing and implementing alternatives to traditional instructional practices and school structures that improve student learning and promote college and career readiness, and good citizenship.”

Montgomery County Public Schools was specifically recognized for these innovative programs and practices:

  • Creating and offering new information technology curricula through dual enrollment
  • Creating new associate degree pathways
  • Developing an alternative model for professional studies
  • Embracing and supporting work-based learning experiences

    Virginia’s New River Valley is a hub for the information technology industry with an ever-expanding need for tech talent. School systems in the region like MCPS are meeting that need by focusing on IT instruction in K-12 curricula.

    Read the full press release from the Virginia Department of Education and see the entire list of the “School Divisions of Innovation” here.

    Learn more about the information technology industry in Virginia’s New River Valley here.

    Learn more about education in the NRV here.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

  • RU Ranked #33 Southern Regional University by U.S. News & World Report

    RU Ranked #33 Southern Regional University by U.S. News & World Report

    Radford, VA – Radford University was ranked the #33 Regional University in the South by U.S. News and World Report. The publication released their “2021 U.S. News Best Colleges” rankings in September 2020.

    Radford also ranked in a number of other categories for Southern Regional Universities. U.S. News & World Report defines a regional university as one that “offer[s] a full range of undergraduate programs and some master’s programs but few doctoral programs.”

    Radford University made the Top 20 for Southern Regional Universities in the following categories:

    #14 Top Public Schools
    #15 Best Undergraduate Teaching
    #19 Best Colleges for Veterans

    Read the official press release from Radford University about the rankings here.

    Learn more about Virginia’s New River Valley, the region that Radford University calls home, here.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Virginia Tech Ranked 7th Most Loved College by The Princeton Review

    Virginia Tech Ranked 7th Most Loved College by The Princeton Review

    Montgomery County, VA – Virginia Tech was ranked the 7th most loved college by The Princeton Review. The company released their annual rankings lists for 2021 in August 2020. The ranking was titled, “Their Students Love These Colleges,” and was determined by student responses to the question, “I am satisfied with my school.” Learn more about the methodology of the survey here.

    Virginia Tech, whose main campus is located in Blacksburg, also ranked in the Top 20 on a number of the other categories evaluated by The Princeton Review.

    Here is a list of all the rankings that Virginia Tech received for 2021:

    #1 Best Counseling Services
    #7 Most Loved Colleges
    #8 Best Campus Food
    #15 Town-Gown Relations are Great

    Hokies clearly love Virginia Tech and Blacksburg, and many alumni choose to live, work, and play in Virginia’s New River Valley beyond their college years. Learn more about living and working in the NRV after graduation here.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    FastForward Prepares NRV Workforce for Jobs in Manufacturing

    FastForward Prepares NRV Workforce for Jobs in Manufacturing

    Pulaski County, VA – New River Community College (NRCC)’s FastForward Program was highlighted in an article in the July 2020 issue of Valley Business Front. The program is run by NRCC’s Office of Workforce Development and is designed to help individuals in Virginia’s New River Valley prepare and train for in-demand careers.

    According to the article, “FastForward was made possible by the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Program, developed during the 2016 General Assembly Session, to create and sustain a supply of credentialed workers to fill high-demand occupations in fields which support the state’s economy while making the attainment of these credentials more affordable.”

    Several of the FastForward training programs at NRCC are designed to serve students looking for careers in the manufacturing industry. There are two Six Sigma certification programs that are offered in partnership with the college’s Manufacturing Technology Center. In addition, the college is adding a Certified Production Technician (CPT) program in Spring 2021. This goal of this Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) program is to “raise the level of performance of production technicians both to assist the individuals in finding higher-wage jobs and to help employers ensure their workforce increases the company’s productivity and competitiveness.”

    Virginia’s New River Valley is a hub for the advanced manufacturing industry, and training programs like FastForward help to strengthen the industry’s talent pool in the region.

    Read the full article from Valley Business Front about the NRCC FastForward program here.

    Learn more about the NRCC FastForward program here.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Virginia Tech Among 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America

    Virginia Tech Among 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America

    Montgomery County, VA – Condé Nast Traveler recently ranked Virginia Tech among the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America. The article states, “College campuses big and small boast some of the most beautiful architecture and landscaping – not to mention history – in the entire country.”

    Here’s what the article had to say about Virginia Tech:

    “While many old colleges are clad in beautiful stonework, the buildings on Virginia Tech’s campus all feature the locally sourced “Hokie Stone.” Brought to the campus from nearby limestone quarries outside Blacksburg, Virginia, the renovation of the school’s buildings dates back to the university’s fifth president during the turn of the 20th century. At the time, the school’s buildings were primarily made from brick, and university president Joseph D. Eggleston sought to use limestone of the area to model buildings closer to institutions like Oxford and Cambridge.”

    Virginia Tech is one of the several colleges and universities that call Virginia’s New River Valley home. Learn more about education in the region here.

    Photo credit: Photo by Ray Meese for Virginia Tech.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Received Record-Setting $50 Million in External Awards

    Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Received Record-Setting $50 Million in External Awards

    Montgomery County, VA – A recent article from Virginia Tech Daily highlighted Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s major research advancements for fiscal year 2020. VTTI received a record-setting $50 million in external awards for the year. This funding allowed for the following major research programs and projects to be pursued:

  • U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Automated Driving System Demonstration Grants
  • Virginia Smart Roads Expansions
  • Automated Mobility Partnership (AMP) Program
  • Drivers Knowledge and Correct Use of New Technology Features in Vehicles
  • Refining Testable Cases and Scenarios Concepts
  • Safety Implications of Potential Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Sensor Degradation
  • Virginia’s New River Valley is a hub for the unmanned systems industry. VTTI is one of the leaders in the region for unmanned systems and transportation safety research.


    Read the entire article describing VTTI’s research projects for fiscal year 2020 here.

    Learn more about the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute here.

    Learn more about the Unmanned Systems industry in Virginia’s New River Valley here.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Drones to Deliver Library Books

    Drones to Deliver Library Books to Kids in Christiansburg via Wing Partnership

    Montgomery County, VA – A recent article by The Washington Post describes a new pilot program between Wing, a drone delivery service, and Montgomery County Public Schools. The company has partnered with the school system to use drones to deliver library books to students in the Christiansburg area this summer. The deliveries will begin the week of June 8, 2020.

    The idea was hatched by Blacksburg Middle School librarian Kelly Passek. Here is what she had to say about the new program in the article:


    “I think kids are going to be just thrilled to learn that they are going to be the first in the world to receive a library book by drone.”

    Wing started drone delivery of food, beverages, medications, and packages to select Christiansburg customers in October 2019. Virginia’s New River Valley is an expanding market for the unmanned systems industry, including drones. Learn more about the growth of this industry in our region here.

    Read the entire article from The Washington Post here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/06/10/wing-library-book-drone-delivery/

    See a video from Wing about the project here:
    https://medium.com/wing-aviation/wing-delivers-library-books-to-students-in-virginia-b2cd0ad86551

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Virginia Tech a top 10 college with alumni who will jump-start your career

    Montgomery County, VA – The Princeton Review compiled a list of the 25 colleges with the best alumni networks in the country, featured in the book “Colleges That Pay You Back: 2016 Edition,” published in February, based on students’ ratings of how visible and active alumni are on their campuses.

    Virginia Tech, whose main campus is located in Blacksburg, ranked No. 10 on the list, ahead of some marque colleges such as Stanford (No. 24), Cornell (No. 22), Ohio State (No. 15), and the University Virginia (No. 11).

    Here is what the Princeton Review had to say about the Hokies:

    Once a Hokie, always a Hokie. And through Virginia Tech’s Hokies4Hire program, students and alumni can apply for jobs, internships, and co-ops. Current students can even land on-campus interviews from the program. Post-grad, VT’s alumni association keeps Hokies in the loop through LinkedIn groups, webinars with career experts, and networking opportunities with fellow alums.

    More and more Hokies are jump starting their career in Virginia’s New River Valley. Alumni are realizing that Blacksburg is more than a great place to go to college and are sticking around the NRV post graduation. The region offers meaningful career opportunities paired with a small town charm, urban amenities, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.

    Plugging into the New River Valley Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association. is a great way for Hokies to jump-start their career in the NRV.  

    Blacksburg High School Ranked 30th in VA by U.S. News

    Montgomery County, VA – U.S. News just came out with their 2020 Best High Schools Ranking by state and a NRV high school made the top 50! Among 386 public high schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Blacksburg High School ranked 30th. The ranking is based off of graduation rate, college readiness and enrollment. After taking this into consideration, U.S. News compiles a list of the top 100.

    Here is the summary from U.S. News:

    Blacksburg High is ranked 30th within Virginia. Students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement® coursework and exams. The AP® participation rate at Blacksburg High is 51%. The total minority enrollment is 21%, and 15% of students are economically disadvantaged. Blacksburg High is 1 of 4 high schools in the Montgomery Co Public Schools.

    Of more than 24,000 public high schools in the U.S., Blacksburg High School ranked No. 1,328. The means that Blacksburg ranks among the top 10% of high schools in the country.

    Virginia Tech Ranks Top 3 Best College Campuses in America

    Blacksburg, VAVirginia Tech ranks third in 2020 Best College Campuses by Niche.com.

    The rankings are based on on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Top-ranked colleges offer outstanding campus resources across classrooms, labs, performance venues, housing, food, and recreational facilities. These on campus areas were assessed through student surveys on campus quality, campus crime rate, campus food cost and quality, and housing cost, safety, and quality. Additionally, the surrounding community was evaluated. Niche.com included factors such as median rent, local crime rates, access to amenities, as well as student surveys regarding the local area around campus.

    Virginia Tech’s main campus in Blacksburg has 2,600 acres, 213 buildings, an airport, Lane Stadium, Cassell Coliseum, the Moss Arts Center, and an adjacent research park. VT is a highly rated public college located in Blacksburg, Virginia. It is a big institution with an enrollment of 26,603 undergraduate students.

    Photo credit: Virginia Tech Office of Undergraduate Admissions

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.