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Washington County Public Schools

Committed to the Success of Every Student

Mission Statement

Washington County Schools will provide a safe, supportive and engaging learning environment, which challenges all students to achieve their own maximum potential. In partnership with the family and community, the Washington County School System will offer a diverse array of educational experiences that will provide all students the opportunity to acquire basic academic skills and promote their healthy social, physical, and intellectual growth.

Core Values

We believe successful schools:

  • Provide safe, healthy and dynamic learning environments.
  • Employ and retain highly qualified staff.
  • Have well-defined curriculum and programs that are aligned with state and national standards.
  • Involve all stakeholders as partners.
  • Respect all.
  • Are accountable.
  • Align budgets with priorities.
  • Result from effective communication from and to every level.
  • Engage and communicate with families.
  • Provide opportunities for participation in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

We believe effective instruction:

  • Is research-based.
  • Assumes all children can learn.
  • Meets the unique needs of each child.
  • Prepares students for success.
  • Educates the whole child.
  • Elicits high performance consistent with abilities

Vision Statement

Washington County Schools will be a dynamic community of learners where:

  • Faculty and staff are empowered through respect, training, leadership and resources to provide an excellent educational program;
  • Faculty and staff communicate high expectations and respect to every student;
  • Students are engaged through a rich curriculum to acquire the skills and the love of learning;
  • All students obtain the skills of citizenship by playing and working together in an atmosphere that respects both diversity and cooperation;
  • A partnership with parents and the greater community extends to all citizens a greater appreciation of the value of an excellent education; and
  • Students exit with academic skills at or above grade level and on graduation are prepared to succeed in post-secondary education and/or employment.


Washington County was formed in 1776 from Fincastle County and was named for George Washington, who was then commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. Throughout the past two hundred years, parts of Washington County have become Russell, Lee and Wythe counties. With the incorporation of the town of Goodson as the independent city of Bristol in 1890, Washington County assumed its present size.

Many different schools served the children of Washington County. In the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s the school board, under the direction of E. B. Stanley, began a massive consolidation effort that saw the closing of many one room school houses. Four new high schools were built in the 1950’s and early 1960’s which still operate today: Abingdon High School, John S. Battle High School, Holston High School, and Patrick Henry High School. Many new elementary schools were constructed during this era including Abingdon Elementary, Glade Spring Elementary, High Point Elementary, and Valley Institute Elementary. The remaining older and smaller elementary schools were closed in the 1970’s with the construction of Damascus Elementary, E. B. Stanley Elementary, Greendale Elementary, Meadowview Elementary, Rhea Valley Elementary, and Watauga Elementary. Major additions were added to Wallace Elementary, Valley Institute Elementary and Abingdon High School during this time as well.

The next phase of change for the students of Washington County occurred in 1991 with the implementation of the middle school concept. Four of the county’s elementary schools became middle schools: Damascus, E. B. Stanley, Glade Spring, and Wallace. The remaining two small elementary schools, Hayter’s Gap and Mendota, were closed at this time and those students were transferred to Greendale Elementary, Meadowview Elementary, and Valley Institute Elementary.

The William N. Neff Center for Science & Technology opened in 1975 to serve as the training center for Washington County high school juniors and seniors. The Washington County Technical School is a Career and Technical Center that serves students from Abingdon High, Holston High, John S. Battle High, and Patrick Henry High Schools. The Washington County Technical School, which opened in 1938, provides the skills needed for entry-level jobs in local industries and the necessary background for career advancement and continued education. The Washington County Adult Skills Center, which offers a wide variety of job training skills for adults, has also been serving students since 1938.

Since 1968, all of Washington County Schools have been a member of the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS). We are proud of our record with SACS and with the merging of the elementary and secondary commission into SACSCASI we hope to see that it continues for many years to come.

The seven elementary schools include Abingdon, Greendale, High Point, Meadowview, Rhea Valley, Valley Institute, and Watauga. Damascus, Glade Spring, E.B. Stanley, and Wallace are the four middle schools. The four high schools include Abingdon, John S. Battle, Holston, and Patrick Henry. The vocational schools include the Washington County Technical School and William N. Neff Center for Science and Technology. The Washington County Adult Skill Center provides educational opportunities for adults.

Beginning in the 1990’s school board members moved from being appointed by the Board of Supervisors to an elected position. Currently school board members represent seven voting districts within the county.

Higher Education

Virginia Highlands Community College is one of the 23 comprehensive community colleges in the Virginia Community College System. VHCC has become a dynamic leader in Southwest Virginia with a primary goal of providing comprehensive and quality education and related services for residents throughout its region. We are in our forty-eighth year of proudly serving the residents of Bristol Virginia, Washington County and the Western Part of Smyth County. The College is committed to teaching, learning and community building and served more than 2500 students this past year.

Located in the Highlands of Virginia, Emory & Henry has devoted itself since 1836 to the belief that education can have a transformative effect on an individual, a place and ultimately the wider world.

Emory & Henry College is named for Bishop John Emory, an eminent Methodist church leader, and Patrick Henry, a patriot of the American Revolution and Virginia’s first governor. Together they symbolize the college’s dual emphasis on spiritual growth and civic engagement.

Inspired by the motto “Increase in Excellence,” the first faculty challenged students to grow and develop intellectually, spiritually and physically.

Today, our mission continues to focus on students as they follow a path of intellectual and spiritual growth on their way to successful futures. That mission, in turn, is extended to others through a broad program of active engagement and community service. 

The Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center (Higher Education Center), located in Abingdon, Virginia, is the first multi-college and university institution of higher education in the Commonwealth.   Established as a State Agency in 1991, the Higher Education Center partners with public and private colleges and universities to provide degree programs, certificates, and professional development courses.   A variety of learning options and class times are available ranging from face-to-face instruction in the daytime and evening to online study any time.