Frequently Asked Questions From Applicants


    What is a superblock? 

    At Burton, our classes are called “SuperBlocks” because they take the place of two blocks of instructional time at the base school.  

    What about transportation? 

    Roanoke County Public Schools shuttle buses bring students to BCAT and return students to their base school. For A1 and B1 superblock classes, the buses leave the base high schools at or around 7:00 am (WBHS & GHS leaves at 6:55 am). It will be the family’s responsibility to transport students from home to the base school for the morning shuttle bus. Families may also drop students off at BCAT in time to begin class by the 7:30 am start time. Special Transportation for students with disabilities will only be provided to and from the base school for special education programs.   

    For B2 superblock classes, students attending in-person classes may ride the bus after eating lunch at their base school. At the end of the B2 superblock, buses will take students back to their base schools for afternoon dismissal. Check with the base school to determine the exact time of the bus departure to take your child home. 

    When are classes? 

    Our regular schedule is: Morning classes – 7:30 am to 10:50 am and afternoon classes – 12:25 pm to 2:55 pm.

    How do you choose students? 

    Staff works together to recruit and retain students in programs that align with their personal interests, skills, and goals. For many reasons, BCAT does not divulge their selection process, but it has been vetted by numerous stakeholders at the school and central office levels.

    What is dual enrollment? 

    Dual Enrollment is an opportunity to earn college credit from Virginia Western Community College as well as earn quality points for your GPA while attending Burton classes. Dual enrollment tuition for RCPS students should be around $50 per credit hour for the 2021-22 school year. You DO NOT have to take dual enrollment to be in a class. 

    When do I find out if I got in? 

    BCAT sends out information in mid-March regarding acceptances, rejections, and placements on waitlists.

    How do I find out if I got in? 

    Letters will be mailed to your home address.

    What if I don’t get in? 

    For students that are not accepted, they are put on a wait list.  We work all spring and summer to make sure that our classes start full. BCAT does not divulge where any student is on a waitlist.

    How much does it cost? 

    There is no general cost.  However, some programs do have safety equipment that you will need to buy, or program shirts that you can buy. 

    What time do I get on the bus? 

    The morning shuttles leave the base schools about 6:55 am, for our afternoon classes, the shuttles leave the base schools after first lunch. 

    Will I miss lunch? 

    Students in morning classes will eat after they get back to their base schools.  Students in afternoon classes will eat lunch before coming to BCAT. 

    Does class really start at 730 AM? 

    Our morning classes do start at 7:30am. Part of the privilege of attending Burton classes is the responsibility of waking up a bit earlier to be here.

    Can I still play sports? 

    Yes, we have many Roanoke County high school student-athletes that attend classes at BCAT. 

    Can I still take band? 

    Yes, if it can fit in your schedule. 

    How do BCAT classes fit into my schedule? 

    BCAT classes will take 2 of your 8 ‘slots’ in your schedule. 

    Where is BCAT? 

    BCAT is located at 1760 Roanoke Boulevard, Salem, VA, right next to the VA Medical Center and across from East Salem Elementary School. 

    Which application do I need to fill out? 

    All prospective students need to fill out the online application. If you are applying to a specialty center, you will be e-mailed further requirements to fulfill in order to be considered for that center.

    Do I have to re-apply each year? 

    No - all students who pass BCAT classes with a "C" or better are automatically accepted and enrolled next year, unless they are graduating or have completed all the years of a program. If you want to change programs next year, you must complete the application. 

    What if I don’t like my program? 

    Students can drop a class within the first two weeks of the school year. If you are in it for a year and still don’t think that it is for you, that is fine!  We want students to be in programs that match their goals. 

    Can 9th graders come to BCAT? 

    Yes, for most of our programs. For EMT, you must be 16 by early September (state requirement). For Nursing, you must be a junior. 

    Why should I come to BCAT? 

    We offer some great electives that are not available at the base schools. 

    What makes BCAT special? 

    We like to consider ourselves the best kept secret in Roanoke County Public Schools!  We offer lots of opportunities that are not at the base schools and want our students to learn the skills that they need for whatever their plans are after high school ...whether that is a 4-year college, community college, trade school, the armed services or going directly into the work force. 

    Do I come every day to BCAT? 

    No, we are on an A day/B day schedule like the high schools. Your class will be held on either an A day or a B day superblock. 

    If we are on a two-hour delay, when do I come to school? 

    2 hours late. Our bell schedules are available on the main page of our website.

    Does BCAT have sports teams? 

    We do not have sports teams but we do have student organizations that have competitions and consistently win at the regional, state and national levels! 

    What is an A day and B day? 

    A day/B day is how a general high school schedule works.  You have certain classes on A days and certain classes on B days. 

    Can I take all of my classes at BCAT? 

    No. We are basically a school full of elective classes. 

    Can anyone come to BCAT? 

    No. All students must be enrolled in a Ronaoke County Public Schools high school. All students must apply and be accepted.

    Does BCAT have a mascot? 

    Not currently, but we have a slogan: ONE BURTONINFINITE POSSIBILITES” 

    I heard we get a break during class. Is that true? 

    Some classes do have a break during the superblock. This is a unique privilege at BCAT and all students are expected to adhere to break rules to maintain that privilege. 

    What is a base school? 

    Your base school is where you take most of your classes. 

    What if I have bad grades? 

    Having straight A’s does not guarantee acceptance at BCAT, and not everyone at BCAT is a "straight A" student. We want to see evidence that you are trying your best at school, though. Plenty of students at BCAT excel in our programs, even if they struggle academically in other areas.

    Can I apply for more than 1 program? 

    Yes!  If you are interested in more than one program, let us know that on the application. 

    Can I take more than 1 program? 

    As a 9th or 10th grader, it is very hard to fit 2 BCAT programs in your schedule.  Many of our juniors and seniors take two different classes/programs. 

    How old do I have to be to take a medical class? 

    For EMT you need to be 16, prior to September 1 of that school year, for Introduction to Nursing Careers, you need to be a junior or senior in high school.