The CVGS program differs from normal high school programs in three primary ways:

1) Intensive research and laboratory program

At the inception of the program, the faculty felt that one of the best ways students could prepare for future academic endeavors was to learn basic research skills. Hence, a year-long research course was developed. In the course, each CVGS student designs and implements a research project on a topic of the student's choice. Results are reported via a major paper, a scientific poster, and a PowerPoint presentation. Students participate in a local research symposium and the regional science fair, and many students advance to participate in the state science fair and Virginia Junior Academy of Sciences Research Symposium. Some students even advance to the INTEL International fair, and others present their research to members of the Virginia Academy of Sciences.

All science classes emphasize learning content through hands-on laboratory work, and students are provided numerous opportunities to develop their laboratory skills.

2) Technology infused throughout the curriculum

The development of technical skill is important for all students, and this process takes time. Hence, CVGS students use technologies in core classes, in research, and especially in our technology laboratories. The CVGS faculty uses technology to increase productivity, to expose students to emerging hardware and software, and to enhance the learning environment.

3) Active learning environment

The curriculum is designed to challenge gifted students and actively engage them in the learning process. Emphasis is placed on teachers acting as mentors with students learning through projects, laboratory work, and group experiences. Problem solving and the development of critical thinking skills are stressed.