Frequently Asked Questions

What are EMS' plans for COVID-19 safety?

EMS prioritizes in-person educational experiences for all K-12 students with focus on best practices for optimal health and safety of students, faculty and staff. The school will abide by Governor Northam’s mandates, as well as recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health and Center for Disease Control. Please see the announcements section of our Coronavirus web pages for more details and latest details.

What are EMS class sizes?

We limit class sizes to ensure the best experience possible for our students. Class sizes depend on the grade. K-2 enrollment is limited to 15 students per class except in special cases. Grades 3-5 are capped at 18 per class. 6th grade will have 18 or fewer per section, while 7th and 8th grade is typically 20 or fewer per class section.  There are usually 40-50 students in each high school grade. A required high school course may have 22 students; an elective course may have 6-10 students.

Can I visit classes?
Yes, please do!  Parents are welcome to visit EMS classes to see our mission in action. Middle and high school students who want to learn more about EMS are invited to visit on a school day and will be assigned a host student with similar interests.  For elementary families, we request that parents visit first to minimize confusion for younger children. Please arrange a visit ahead of time by calling Marsha Thomas, our admissions counselor, at 540-236-6021 or emailing.

Do EMS students take the SOL tests?

No. The classes required for an EMS high school diploma are based on Virginia department of education standards, but our students are not required to take the statewide SOL tests in grades K-12. This allows EMS teachers freedom and creativity in the classroom so that energies may be directed to the art of teaching students and inspiring critical thinkers. Our teachers focus on instilling problem solving and essential life skills to best prepare students for life in and out of the classroom, instead of simply preparing them for a test. We do offer standardized testing as various grade levels, but more for our own accountability and assessment rather than state mandated requirements.

Does the middle and high school have block scheduling?

No.  Eastern Mennonite has an eight period day.  A 15-minute chapel is a part of the daily schedule, as well as a 40-minute lunch.

What percentage of graduates go to college?

EMS graduates are strong applicants to competitive colleges, community colleges and trade programs. About 90 percent of graduates choose to go directly to an institute of higher learning. However, it is important to take into consideration that many of our graduating seniors choose to take a gap year and do mission or service work immediately after high school before continuing their education. We are proud that many EMS seniors consider options for the greater good as they leave Eastern Mennonite School. Read more about our College Counseling office and Outcomes

Does EMS have uniforms?

No, but students K-12 are asked to dress modestly and neatly. You can read more in the handbooks which contain information on clothing guidelines.

What extracurricular activities are available?

We offer clubs, athletics, theatre, and musical opportunities for students of all ages.  You can learn more by exploring the Campus Life and Athletics sections of this website.

Do EMS students take Bible classes?

Yes. We are a Christian school, and students are required to take one semester of Bible class for every year that they are at EMS. We use the Encounter curriculum developed by Mennonite Education Agency. We enjoy and celebrate a diverse student body at EMS with varied faith backgrounds in every grade. Students are encouraged to share their faith perspectives and how they relate to the Mennonite/Anabaptist principles on which EMS is founded. See an issue of TODAY magazine with more stories and details on faith formation at EMS.

Do EMS students attend chapel?

Yes. In grades 6-12 students and faculty gather three days a week for a 20-minute chapel. Chapel is planned by a group of students and has a variety of speakers and presentations. On Thursdays, middle and high school students and faculty gather in small intentional gatherings of 8-10 students and one faculty member called "Neighbor Groups."

In grades K-5, students attend a Wednesday chapel program called Gathering which includes speakers from local churches and organizations.

Families are encouraged to attend Chapel and Gathering to learn and worship with us!

What if I need academic support?

EMS has a full-time Learning Support Services Coordinator, Rebecca Yutzy. She oversees learning support working in collaboration with teachers, school counselors and principals.  All teachers work diligently to provide accommodations and support for all of our students, including those with IEPs.  EMS is not, however, able to provide services for students with more significant challenges.  We would be happy to discuss options with you. Contact Marsha Thomas.

Is there financial aid available?

EMS works with each family to make an EMS education affordable.  Visit the tuition page to learn more about the value of  an investment in an EMS education and see the range of tuition costs for each school division. If you have concerns about your ability to meet the financial investment, please complete the financial aid process. Applications for financial assistance may be completed online from the FACTS tool and must be completed by March 15. In addition, your student may qualify for scholarship assistance.

Does EMS provide any transportation?

Yes. EMS develops routes using the school's transportation fleet for points south as far as Staunton and east of Harrisonburg. Details are available as interest level is gathered and processed with other families. There is an additional charge for bus service that varies, depending on location.

Does EMS have certified teachers?

Yes, teachers at EMS are certified, and many have a master's degree as well as extensive professional experience, diverse global education, and cross-cultural experience.

What percent of EMS students are Mennonite?

We welcome students from all faith backgrounds. Around half of EMS students attend a Mennonite church, and the other half come from a variety of other denominations and faith traditions, Christian and non-Christian. EMS is sponsored by the Virginia Mennonite Conference of the Mennonite Church USA.