Dozens of concerned teachers, parents and students gathered at Luther Jackson Middle School on Thursday night to discuss the proposal for the Fairfax County school board to adopt Policy 3355, regarding the admissions procedure for entry into Jefferson.
During the event, parents gave testimony to the school board members, providing vignettes regarding their children’s experiences at Jefferson or at other schools, while alumni shared their own stories about the school. Additionally, teachers spoke about the lack of math preparation in many incoming freshmen, proposing recommendations to the school board on what changes need to be made to ensure that students who are admitted are prepared for the rigorous curriculum.
Senior Will Ashe, who serves as the Student Representative to the FCPS school board, shared his own experiences as a Jefferson student, and demonstrating his support for the new policy, which would change around some of the wording from the previous one to emphasize the purpose of the school.
Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) president Grace Chung Becker made remarks on behalf of the Executive Committee of the TJ PTSA, offering recommendations to create a more challenging entry exam as well as the consideration of an “early admissions” option. Physics teacher John Dell also gave comments stressing the importance of mathematics at Jefferson as well as in the fields of science and technology in general.
“I believe that this is a step towards reforming the admissions process,” Ashe said.
After several presentations and speeches, including a video submitted by a Jefferson alumnus and a speech given by the Coalition of the Silence, who filed the federal civil rights complaint against FCPS, the school board voted unanimously to adopt the new policy.
“I hope the revised system will function to better understand an applicant’s passion for STEM learning and mathematical ability,” Ashe said.