Henrico changes admission policy for Maggie Walker School

By Laura Geller - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Parents hoping to send their kids to the Maggie Walker Governor's School need to be aware of a new admission policy in Henrico County. In previous years, the school system chose students based on who had the top composite scores across the county.  Next year, officials say they'll take one top student from each of the eleven middle schools in Henrico. Only the remaining spots will be filled the conventional way.

For many kids, Maggie Walker is a dream school.

"She's been working very hard to be the strongest applicant she could be because that school is the one that feels like home to her," said Britta Wolfe of her 13-year old daughter.

But now she's afraid the 8th grader is at a disadvantage when it comes to the 33 spots available in next year's Maggie Walker class. The county is basing some of the admissions process on geography.

Parents said that makes the pool smaller. Instead of vying for one of 33 spots, some kids will fight for only 22 positions available.

Officials told us historically certain schools weren't gaining acceptance. In the last five years, only a handful of students from five schools combined have gotten into Maggie Walker. In that same time period, 141 Moody Middle School students were accepted.

Eric Jones said the new process will add to the diversity the Governor's School seeks in its mission statement.

"You're going to have different backgrounds," said Jones. "You may have different socioeconomic levels. You may have different world experiences."

Parents contend this won't add geographic variety because students may not necessarily attend the school in their home location. The admission consideration goes to what school the student is enrolled in, not where the student lives.

"We just want an equal playing field; the same chance as anybody else, that's all we're asking for," said Wolfe.

School officials said only qualified applicants will be accepted. If there is no eligible student from a particular school, no one from that location will get in. This change only applies to Henrico students, other counties remain the same.

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