Fairfax County

Fairfax County School Board Votes for ‘Holistic Review' Admissions at Thomas Jefferson HS

Thomas Jefferson High School's new admissions process is set to be in place for current eighth graders

Thomas Jefferson High School

Changes are coming to how students are admitted to an elite public high school in Northern Virginia that has been ranked as the best in the nation.

The Fairfax County Public Schools board overwhelmingly voted Thursday to adopt what's called a “holistic review process” for admission to Thomas Jefferson High School.

Eighth graders now must have a 3.5 grade point average, complete a problem-solving essay and submit a profile of their extracurricular activities and achievements.

It’s a move away from the old process, a long-standing admissions test, WTOP reported.

The school will take into consideration whether students are low-income, have special needs or come from a household that does not speak English.


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Parents and students at Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology blasted the Fairfax County school board after the board decided to end the magnet school's current race-blind, merit-based admissions standards. News4's Derrick Ward reports.

That school has historically struggled with diversity, although the new admissions process must only use race-neutral methods that don’t seek to achieve a racial or ethnic mix, the school board said.

The new admissions process will begin next fall for the incoming freshman class.

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