We strive to provide an education for students with alternative or special education needs.

About Us

HopeTree Academy, a private day school in Salem, Virginia, provides a safe and secure educational environment where students with unique educational needs, often at-risk and in-crisis, grow emotionally and socially, develop academic and job skills while connecting with vital resources.

For Parents

Your child has needs that must be met in order to maximize their academic success, but some students require more than the typical secondary school can reasonably provide.

HopeTree Academy was designed from the ground up to meet these needs. From a facility design that includes one-on-one areas and the latest in vocational equipment to a staff that includes experienced teachers, behavior support specialists, social workers, clinical services, and substance abuse counseling, HopeTree Academy is focused on helping your child maximize his or her potential.

Our school continues the legacy of the Gus Mitchell School, formerly located on the campus of HopeTree Family Services. Since 1890, HopeTree has been helping children become responsible, successful adults through Therapeutic Group Homes, foster care, and an emphasis on education. The current HopeTree Academy building was purpose-built in 2009 to better serve residential and day students.

HopeTree Academy is licensed by the Virginia Department of Education, accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Specialized Education Facilities, and a member of the Coalition for Residential Education. Contact us for more information on how to enroll your child in HopeTree Academy.

For Case Managers

HopeTree Academy is a fully-accredited alternative education facility located in Salem, Virginia, that is designed to meet the needs of over-aged or significantly underachieving students. For students who are not thriving in a public school setting, HopeTree Academy is often the perfect placement.

Students entering HopeTree Academy – including students with identified disabilities- are typically performing one and a half to two grade levels behind their peers. With HopeTree’s three-semester program and ample remedial opportunities, a student can complete the diploma requirements mandated by the Virginia Department of Education.

Students who are not thriving in traditional education settings may also benefit from HopeTree Academy’s small class sizes and a low student-staff ratio. In addition to experienced teachers and in-class behavior support specialists, the HopeTree campus is also home to licensed social workers, licensed professional counselors, and psychiatric and substance abuse counselors.

HopeTree Academy routinely works with a variety of school districts and departments of social services throughout Virginia, including:

  • Alleghany/Covington
  • Augusta County
  • Botetourt County
  • Buchanan County
  • Carroll County
  • Danville City
  • Franklin County
  • Grayson County
  • Harrisonburg/Rockingham County
  • Pittsylvania County
  • Pulaski County
  • Roanoke City
  • Roanoke County
  • Salem City

Contact HopeTree Academy to discuss the placement of a student today.

Prospective Students

Nestled in the heart of the beautiful Roanoke Valley, HopeTree Academy is located on the campus of HopeTree Family Services. Education has been an integral part of the HopeTree Family Services mission since its founding in 1890. The current HopeTree Academy facility was purpose-built in 2009 and designed from the ground up with learning disabilities and other challenges in mind.

With a proven track record of success, HopeTree Academy is the perfect fit for many students – but the best way to be sure is to schedule a visit and see for yourself. Contact the school to schedule a tour of our facility, meet with faculty, and get to know us.

Our Philosophy

Our program strives to provide a positive learning environment that maximizes individual student success through a low teacher to student ratio. We do not discriminate against a person’s race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, national origin, physical attributes, and/or sexual preference for admission. Any transmittal of derogatory or inflammatory verbal/ nonverbal messages is not tolerated at HopeTree Academy.

HopeTree Academy is one of the most unique, complex, and successful specialized schools in Virginia. It offers residential and day-school services to a wide cross-section of alternative and special education students throughout the Roanoke Valley and the Commonwealth.

HopeTree Academy is licensed by the Virginia Department of Education to serve grades 7-12, day and residential students, including disabled learners for their specific learning disability, emotional disturbance, speech and language, higher functioning autism, intellectual disability, or other health impairment.


HopeTree Academy’s education program is individualized and accelerated. The average HopeTree Academy student enters the school performing one and a half to two grade levels behind their chronological aged peers. HopeTree Academy who are enrolled in our three semester program have the opportunity to earn eight and a half to nine credits per academic calendar year.

Each HopeTree Academy student also benefits from in-classroom behavior support specialists, licensed social workers, on-campus licensed professional counselors, and substance abuse counseling if needed.

Student Job Description

At HopeTree Academy, students are expected to adhere to a unique set of  35 work habits, social skills, and life values called the Student Job Description.

These 35 qualities were gleaned from interviews with real-world workplace supervisors, and are clustered into four “Power Tools” for students. They serve as the basis of HopeTree Academy’s Student Management System. Students are evaluated each class period on how well they adhere to each of these “Power Tools.”  HopeTree Academy’s Student Management System also defines the student’s class participation grade in every course they take.  Class participation accounts for 20% of a student’s grade in all courses.

Individualized Approach

HopeTree Academy is a comprehensive secondary education institution that:

  • Features a low student teacher ratio
  • Stimulates intellectual curiosity
  • Develops personal integrity
  • Fosters respect for individual differences
  • Emphasizes high standards for student achievement, behavior, and career development

The Academy serves students who require an alternative or a special education school in order to succeed. The staff at HopeTree Academy provides an opportunity for students to develop skills which will allow them to become responsible citizens as well as capable, employable adults. Through apprenticeship agreements with the community, HopeTree Academy students have access to job training in a variety of career fields. Our students have the opportunity to earn certifications in auto mechanics and culinary arts.

Available Diplomas

There are a variety of high school diploma options available to secondary students enrolled in HopeTree Academy including:

  • Advanced Studies Diploma (Public School) – 8VAC20-131-50-C
  • Advanced Technical Diploma (Public School) – 8VAC20-131-50-E
  • Standard Diploma (Public School) – 8VAC20-131-50-B
  • Standard Technical Diploma (Public School) – 8VAC20-131-50-C
  • Applied Studies Diploma (Public School) – 8VAC20-131-50-G
  • HopeTree Academy Standard Diploma (Private School)
  • HopeTree Academy Life Career Diploma (Private School)

Along with these diploma options, HopeTree Academy also offers an ISAEP/GED program that helps to prepare students for the GED test and a successful transition into the workforce or postsecondary education.


One of the unique aspects of HopeTree Academy is its flexibility in admitting new students. For many schools, a new student entering the classroom mid-year can be challenging for the student, as well as disruptive for the rest of the class. HopeTree Academy’s educational program was designed to help students who may be entering the school mid-year get off to a good start, and get up to speed as quickly as possible.

In order to maximize the potential for your student’s success, please review the Tuition and Enrollment Process tabs below, then contact us to get started.

Tuition Information

Funding for HopeTree Academy students comes from a variety of sources, and every case is unique. For departments of social services and school systems, a standard rate schedule is available. For parents wishing to privately enroll their child at HopeTree Academy, rates depend on the services required. While privately placed students will be billed at the same rate as publicly placed students with similar needs, HopeTree Academy is able to offer tuition assistance based on family income and/or debt obligations.

HopeTree Family Services provides classroom textbooks, supplies, materials, and field trip expenses for all students at HopeTree Academy.

Day students that attend HopeTree Academy are encouraged to eat breakfast and lunch in the HopeTree Academy dining hall at no cost to the student.

Enrollment Process

Step 1 – Complete the Admission Application to HopeTree Academy (click to download)

Step 2 – Collect the following current or most recent documents on the student:

  • I.E.P. and its Addendum (If Exists)
  • Behavior Intervention Plan/Functional Behavioral Assessment
  • Eligibility Committee Meeting Minutes (If Exists)
  • Transcript and Report Cards for Grades 5 to the present
  • Standardized and S.O.L. Testing for Grades 5 to the present
  • Psychological Evaluation (If Exists)
  • Psychiatric Evaluation (If Exists)
  • Educational Assessment (If Exists)
  • Copy of Birth Certificate or State Birth Registration Number
  • Discipline Records for Current and Previous School Years
  • Copy of Medicaid Card (If Exists)
  • Physical/Medical Information Records as well as Immunization Records
  • Physical Examination (Done within 1 year)
  • Physical, Occupational, Speech and/or Counseling Report(s)

Step 3 – Mail or deliver all of the above to:

HopeTree Academy
c/o HopeTree Family Services
PO Box 849
Salem, VA 24153

Social Worker: Bryant Taylor
(540) 389-4941 Ext. 2290

Step 4 – Once receiving all the documentation, the HopeTree Academy Social Worker will review it for completeness and appropriateness.

Step 5 – A HopeTree Academy Admission Committee Meeting is scheduled involving the following:

  • Youth applying for enrollment
  • Parent/Legal Guardian
  • Professional making application – if not Parent/Legal Guardian
  • HTFS Education Director or designee
  • HopeTree Academy Education Supervisor or Lead Teacher
  • HopeTree Academy Social Worker

Approximately 30-45 minutes prior to the Admission Committee Meeting, the HopeTree Academy Social Worker will coordinate a tour by the applying student of HopeTree Academy and the HopeTree campus.

Step 6 – The HopeTree Academy Admission Committee Meeting is held. If the Admission Committee recommends that the youth is acceptable for enrollment at HopeTree Academy, additional placement documents and agreements will be signed by the student, parent/legal guardian and agency representative after the meeting.

Step 7 – An enrollment date and time is mutually determined by all parties.

Step 8 – Within the first 30-days of enrollment, the new HopeTree Academy student will receive an initial educational assessment by the Academy’s Assessment Coordinator and receive a psychological “risk” assessment by HopeTree Family Service’s Licensed Clinical Social Worker. During or at the conclusion of this 30-day assessment period, HopeTree Academy reserves the right to convene an I.E.P. or I.S.D.P. meeting to review the youths’ appropriateness for placement at our school, and suggest other placements which would be better suited for him/her. HopeTree Academy staff may also hold an I.E.P. or I.S.D.P. meeting to modify or change various educational and/or behavioral goals and strategies needed for the youth.

Throughout the youth’s placement at HopeTree Academy, ongoing communications will take place between HopeTree Academy Staff, HTFS counseling clinicians, parents/legal guardians, LEA and other agency representatives about the youth’s performance.