Summer at Renaissance

At Renaissance School we are committed to a love of lifelong learning! While regular classes break for the summer, learning opportunities continue. 

Summer Classes & Workshops

Our summer classes are open to the Charlottesville community, and we have been happy to welcome students from the majority of area middle and high schools, both public and independent. The summer is a great time to focus on an area of interest, get ahead, or catch up in a more relaxed setting. Registration for 2021 is now closed. Please check back in January for 2022 classes! 

In 2021, the following courses were offered (click for more information):

We are directly across the street from the Albemarle Courthouse on historic Court Square in downtown Charlottesville. 

Questions? Please feel free to call us on 434-984-1952 and ask for the Registrar, or email her on

Schoolwide Summer Reading

Each year, the whole RS community - students, parents, and faculty - pick from a small selection of books to read together over the summer. This informs work we do in the fall. It's a favorite tradition! You are welcome to read one or both books. Audiobooks are also a great choice.

All students should indicate their selection(s) at this form
Please consider ordering the following titles from New Dominion Bookshop, which is offering both curbside pick-up and delivery. Our summer options for 2021 are:

Just Mercy

Just Mercy

Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit.

Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy

J.D. Vance

A passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis - that of white working-class Americans. Vance's grandparents, his aunt, his uncle, his sister, and most of all his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America.

Grade Level Reading Assignments

These exciting texts are picked by Ms. Goodbar and Ms. Gillispie, and it is expected that all students will have read their grade-level books over the summer to be prepared for work that starts right at the start of school! Please consider ordering from New Dominion Bookshop - they offer curbside pick up, and delivery. All students should indicate that they have a plan to read their grade-level books at this form

Literature & Philosophy

Literature & Philosophy

Peter Pan
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

12th Grade
Please read each of the following:

Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie
ISBN-13: 978-1593082130
- AND -
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
ISBN-13: 978-1593080150
Both editions are 'Barnes & Noble Classics'.

American Literature

American Literature

Various Selections

11th Grade
Please read each of the following:



The Mythology Book
Big Ideas Simply Explained

Returning 9th & 10th
The Mythology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
ISBN-13 : 978-1465473370

Selections as follows:

  • Ancient Greece: pp.18-87 (selection)
  • Asia: pp.182-219 (selection)
  • The Americas: pp. 236-265 (all)
  • Ancient Egypt and Africa: pp. 266-301 (all)
Literary Genres

Literary Genres

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

Incoming 8th & 9th
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
ISBN-13 : 978-0375842207
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist - books.

Summer Workbook

For Seniors, the summer workbook consists of:

  • Finalizing your list of 5+ books for your topic
  • Posting MLA style notes on 2+ books on Google Classroom

For all other grades, please choose three of the menu options at this form. We've added some new options, and kept some old favorites! 

Activity - Your Name
e.g., Conduct an Interview - Sammy Jones
e.g., Write a Creative Work - Cris Smith

We look forward to your submissions! When completed, you may email your summer work to before Orientattion (8/26/21).

Honoring and respecting any restrictions in place, you can modify the following to fit your circumstances.

Inspired by Underrepresented Voices Series (This was a series of presentations during the daily Assembly by faculty and students in their areas of discipline or interest):

  1. Subject Deep Dive. Do research on one of the subjects presented during the Underrepresented Voices series []. Produce a video, essay, webpage, or other medium sharing what you learn.
  2. Subject Presentation. Select an underrepresented voice that is important or inspiring to you, and do research to prepare a 4-8 slide presentation that you could share with the school during Assembly. 
  3. Conduct an Interview. Consider people in your community whose voice is important but underrepresented in our society. Conduct an interview with them to listen to their story. Record audio or video or both. 

Inspired by Sixth Day (“Sixth Day” refers to days of all-school remote project learning that took place throughout the year):  

  1. Subject reflection. Review the presentations, videos, and other materials from one of our Sixth Day explorations [] from the last school year. Do additional research and spend time reflecting on it. This could be journaling, sketching, or? Take time with the material.
  2. Cookbook or Cuisine Blog. Cook 3 different dishes from 3 different countries, and draft a food blog entry for each dish including photos and/or videos, reviews, and descriptions; or format as a cookbook!
  3. Photo challenge with a friend. With a friend, select an object. Take ten “hidden object” photos. Challenge each other with your photos. The one who finds the most wins! 

Inspired by Current Events: Huge life moments, like the COVID-19 pandemic, can inspire great art or new methods of expression. Historic times call for strong, informed voices and positive civic engagement. The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted and exacerbated the racism pandemic.

  1. Creative Response. Create a piece of art or series inspired by your experiences this last year and a half. This could be visual or performing art, journal or writing, or another medium of your choice.
  2. Analyze Research Ethics. Find a news article about a recent (within the last 6 months) experiment that has been conducted by professional scientists. The research can be performed in any discipline. Analyze the ethics behind the study, in particular considering the lenses of race and public health. Communicate the ethics behind the experiment either via paragraphs or in another media.
  3. Research Legislative Ideas. Research state or local legislation and determine an area where legislation could be improved upon, particularly considering the lenses of race and public health. Compose a mock bill of the legislation that could be taken to city council or the General Assembly. Discuss your legislation and get feedback from at least 3 people. Record reaction to your legislation and your thought on if the proposed legislation would pass.
  4. Volunteer With a Non-Profit. Choose a local non-profit organization and volunteer for at least a 3 hour shift. Write a two paragraph reflection about the experience. Describe the organization you chose to volunteer for, why you picked it, and what you did during your shift. In the second paragraph, describe how the volunteer activity affected you - what did you take away from it?

Traditional Summer Workbook:

  1. Attend a Workshop. Participate in a class or workshop that may be held online or at a camp, public library, YMCA, school, youth organization, etc. and write a two-paragraph summary of the experience, including what was learned.
  2. Propose an Experiment. This experiment can be applied to any discipline. Please email your proposal to
  3. Gardening. Plant a garden or volunteer to help someone else with their garden (see UAC - Urban Agriculture Charlottesville).  Pick 5 - 8 plants of the same kind to measure over the course of the summer. Measure at least 2 variables at least 3 times; you decide what you want to measure (plant height, number of leaves, fruit yield, number of flowers etc.) and how often you make measurements. Present your data in the form of both tables and graphs. Research where the plants are from and report on how they got to Virginia. 
  4. Design a Museum. Consider 8 - 10 pieces that interest you and design a gallery that would contain these pieces. You are the curator of this new exhibit; consider how you would display them and design a floorplan of the gallery. Include a curator's statement (at least one paragraph) with your design. Why did you choose these pieces of art or artifacts? What would you call this exhibit? What theme(s) unite the works in the gallery?
  5. Exercise Goals. Set quantifiable strength, speed, and/or stamina goals for the summer, or set a target exercise schedule as the goal itself. This could include taking a class, training for a particular event (e.g., a race), or be independent. Create a log to track your progress. Be careful and hydrated. Track your progress, including observations about how you feel before and after exercise, and how you feel on days you do not exercise.

For grades 8-11, please choose three of the menu options at this form. We've added some new options, and kept some old favorites! 

Activity - Your Name
e.g., Conduct an Interview - Sammy Jones
e.g., Write a Creative Work - Cris Smith

We look forward to your submissions! When completed, you may email your summer work to before Orientattion (8/26/21).