Download a copy of the FAQ’s here

 What is the XLR8 STEM Academy?

XLR8 STEM Academy students pursue an innovative PLTW (Project Lead The Way) curriculum; which allows them to cultivate their special talents in engineering, mechatronics, and biomedical science. The PLTW classroom is an engaging and thought-provoking place, where students develop critical thinking skills through hands-on project-based learning, preparing them to take on real-world challenges. Students will have the opportunity to create, design and build things like robots and cars, applying what they are learning in math and science to the world’s grand challenges.
PLTW programs are designed to serve high school students of diverse backgrounds from those already interested in STEM-related fields to those who are more inspired by the application of STEM than they are by traditional mathematics and science courses.
XLR8 STEM Academy is the 16th Governor’s Career and Technical Education Academy across the state approved by the Virginia Board of Education and sponsored and evaluated by the Virginia Department of Education.

How is it different from the Central VA Governor’s School? This type of STEM Academy differs from the Central VA Governor’s School in the type of curriculum and courses offered. STEM Academy courses will have a career and technical education focus with the curriculum driven by the needs and projected growth of regional industry. The two schools complement each other and expand options for students in the Region 2000 area.

Where is it located? The XLR8 STEM Academy is located on the Campus of Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) in the AREVA Technology Center.

What’s the schedule? The XLR8 STEM ACADEMY is a half day program. Classes meet M-F from 8 AM to 11:00AM.

What does it cost? The cost for the student to attend the XLR8 STEM Academy will be determined by each participating school division.

How many students in each class? The following slots are allotted to the school divisions for the 2015-16 school year for new juniors applying and for the seniors: Amherst: 3 juniors/3 seniors, Appomattox: 1 junior/1 senior, Bedford: 8 juniors/8 seniors, Campbell: 6 juniors/6 seniors and Lynchburg City: 7 juniors/7 seniors.

How will students get to and from the XLR8 STEM Acacdemy? Students will be able to ride the same bus as students attending the Central VA Governor’s School at Heritage High School. The bus will provide transportation to the XLR8 Academy and return students to the base school. Students may also choose to drive to and from the STEM Academy. Student parking is available, free of charge, to students in student parking lots 1, 2 and 3 on the main campus of CVCC.

Can students earn dual enrollment credits? Students will have an opportunity to earn up to 23 Dual enrollment credits per year and up to 44 dual enrollment credits at the end of two years.

What courses will be taught?
Junior year: Introduction to Engineering Design (PLTW), Principles of Engineering (PLTW), College Algebra & Elementary Statistics, College Chemistry for Engineers I & II, College for Success Skills

Senior Year (Mechatronics Specialty): Computer Integrated Manufacturing (PLTW), Digital Electronics (PLTW), Precalculus I & II or above, College Physics for Engineers I & II, Internship

Senior Year (Biotechnology Specialty): Introduction to Medical Terminology, Digital Electronics (PLTW), Precalculus I & II or above, Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II, Internship

What certifications can students earn? Students will have the opportunity to earn at least one of the following certifications: PLTW certification in each PLTW class, Career Studies Certificate in Engineering Fundamentals, and a Career Studies Certificate in Mechatronics or Biotechnology. STEM Academy students completing the requirements for the one or more Career Studies Certificates are eligible to participate the CVCC Graduation Ceremony in May of their senior year

Who can apply? The XLR8 STEM Academy is looking for rising juniors for the 2016-17 school year who like hands on work, are technically gifted, have an interest and aptitude in applied science and mathematics & a strong work ethic.

How do you apply? Students can apply to the XLR8 STEM Academy in the spring of their sophomore year. Interested students can download an application, teacher recommendation form and counselor form from this website or obtain them from their school counseling office. Applications are reviewed by the XLR8 STEM Academy selection committee, which includes a representative from each school division as well as representatives from local business and industry. The Selection committee will meet to determine which students will be offered acceptance for the following year. Selection is based upon: quality of application content, attendance, discipline, academic achievement, as well as teacher and counselor recommendations.
Admission Time Schedule
• April 1st – All applications due to the STEM Academy
• May 1st – Official notification of acceptance to school counselors and student’s home
• June 6th – Final Acceptance List with class period

What local companies support the XLR8 STEM Academy? XLR8 has been a joint effort by the Region 2000 Technology Council, Future Focus Foundation and Workforce Investment Board; Central Virginia Community College; the school divisions of Amherst, Appomattox Bedford, Campbell and Lynchburg; and area business partners, including AECOM, AMG, AMTI, AREVA, The Babcock and Wilcox Company, Centra, Delta Star, Harris, Liberty University, Master Engineers and Designers, Sweet Briar College, VDOT, WW Associates, WegmannUSA and Wells-Fargo. XLR8 dovetails with current regional K-12 STEM activities and workforce development initiatives. The goal of this institution will be to help close the gap between education and industry, furthering the economic vitality of this region.

What type of post-secondary education does the stem academy prepare students for?

The STEM Academy class of 2015 graduates all chose to pursue their education and training in a STEM-H field. We had 100% of our class of 2015 continuing their education either at a 2 or 4 year college or University.

Below is a list of where our students are going in 2015-2016:
o Central VA Community College: 8
o Emory & Henry College: 1
o George Mason University: 1
o Liberty University: 1
o Lynchburg College: 3
o Old Dominion University: 4
o University of Kentucky: 1
o Virginia Military Institute: 2
o Virginia Tech: 2

What careers can the XLR8 STEM Academy prepare you for?

Careers Requiring a Certificate or Associate’s Degree:
Biological Technician – $45,870
Cardiovascular Technician- $46,078
CNC Technician/Machinist -$40,140
Electro-Mechanical Technician – $50,460
Engineering Technician-  $68,980
Medical Equipment Repair – $44,580
Nuclear Equipment Operations Technician -$59,800
Nuclear Technician -$59,800
Radiologic Technician- $51,184
Respiratory Therapy  -$50,320
Robotics Technician – $50,460

Careers Requiring a Bachelor’s Degree:
Biomedical Engineer -$80,919
Computer Science Engineer-$75,225
Electrical Engineer – $89,470
Mechatronics Engineer – $100,740
Nuclear Engineer – $88,090
Registered Nurse – $62,864

Careers Requiring a Master’s Degree:
Physical Therapist -$70,347
Physician Assistant – $80,919

Eight Guiding Principles of the XLR8 STEM Academy
1. I will always act with INTEGRITY on projects and assignments
2. I understand my studies will require INVESTMENT of my time and talent
3. I will use my IMAGINATION to reach goals and expand my thinking
4. I will embrace my INTELLIGENCE to thrive as a leader and team player
5. I shall seek INNOVATIVE ways problem solve and support my community
6. I understand that everything I learn has a level of IMPORTANCE
7. I understand I am an INDIVIDUAL and take responsibility for all of my actions and decisions
8. I will find INSPIRATION in my pursuit of knowledge to embrace my own future