“Our mission is to provide comprehensive educational opportunities that advance gifted students’ understanding of world cultures and languages. Our diverse and supportive community develops students’ character and ability to contribute, collaborate, and lead.”
The admissions process thus seeks to include a diverse pool of applicants who are interested in our mission and who are representative of the gifted populations in our participating school divisions. Local and regional selection committees are provided with a variety of information to identify students who have the potential for success at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School.
Except in cases where extenuating circumstances exist, applications are accepted only from students during their eighth-grade year of school. All applicants residing in a participating school district must meet the application deadline in December of each year to be considered for admission. If a new student moves into a participating school division between the deadline and the beginning of the fall semester, the student may submit an application and be placed on the waiting list if the student meets the qualifications.
The selection process is highly competitive. Typically 1,200 eighth grade students apply each year for admission. Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School will only accept full-time students who have met the regional requirements for admission.
Applicants must be enrolled in Algebra I or higher-level mathematics course when they apply, and they will be required to have successfully completed Algebra I for high school credit prior to enrollment.
If offered during the middle school years, it is highly recommended that applicants have completed/are enrolled in the following courses:
Step 1: Information Forums
Information Forums are held at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in the fall where prospective students and parents may come meet teachers and students, ask questions, tour the building, and receive an overview of the program and extracurricular activities.
Step 2: Application Submission Deadline: Early December
Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:
Applications are available in Mid-October. Public school students who are interested in becoming applicants from their local school division must request applications from their middle school counseling department. Private and home-schooled student application contact persons vary by locality. Upon receipt of the completed application, the contact person will forward the application to the local division’s gifted program administrator.
Chesterfield, Henrico, and Richmond students apply online through their local public school division portal.
The following items will constitute the application for each student:
Basic student information is requested on the first page of the application.
Recommendations (limited to two recommendations)
Each student will solicit two recommendations to support his/her application. One of the recommendations must be from a middle school social studies or international language teacher. The other recommendation must be from a current school faculty member or another adult who knows the student’s ability and potential for success. Parents and other relatives may not submit letters of recommendation. Persons completing recommendations must submit them to their counseling department/contact person no later than the deadline in early December.
The middle school will provide a transcript of the second semester, seventh grade, and the first semester of eighth-grade work. Standardized test data must be included. Evaluation of the transcript will include the grade point average (GPA) of the core subjects and rigor. Rigor is a comparison of the courses listed on the applicant’s transcript with the most challenging courses offered in the local public middle school. For non-public school students, course content/rigor may be verified.
Students must submit their application to their counselor/contact person no later than the deadline in early December. (Chesterfield, Henrico, and Richmond online portal deadline applies.) Persons completing recommendations must submit them to the school counselor/contact person no later than the deadline in early December. The counselor/contact person must forward application packets, which include the student’s application and the two recommendations, to the local school district’s gifted program administrator (Planning Committee member). The Planning Committee member will submit application data (public and private) to the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School Coordinator of Admissions. No additional information from the student or parent may be added to the student’s application after it has been submitted.
Step 3: Evaluation Sessions
Each student is required to attend a regional evaluation session. Only students with a valid application submitted by the Planning Committee member will be allowed to participate in the evaluation. The evaluation will include assessment materials and a writing sample.
Note: In an emergency or extenuating circumstances a make-up session is available. Pre-approval is required. To request the make-up assessment, the student must submit a request to their division’s Planning Committee member.
Step 4: Regional Application Evaluation
A regional committee composed of members from each participating school division will evaluate all applications. All categories are scored by experienced and trained teams of evaluators. A profile including a composite score from assessment results will be created for each applicant. Evaluation criteria* include:
*Divisions may include additional criteria.
Step 5: Selection
Each participating local school division will select students to attend MLWGS based on the regional evaluation of applicants and the number of available slots for the school division. The number of slots for each division is primarily determined by the number of seniors graduating from that division. Each school division will also set up an alternate list for slots that open after the initial selection. For students with alternate status, each school division reserves the right to review a student’s current transcript before offering admission.
Step 6: Notification
All applicants who complete the admissions process will receive a letter of decision from their local division superintendent. Letters will be placed in U.S. mail in mid-March. No information from the evaluation process will be available before this date. Students offered admission to Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School will be invited to “shadow” at the school and be given a due date to accept or decline the invitation to attend.
Step 7: New Student Registration
Admitted students will register at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for courses at New Student Registration on an evening in the spring.
Parents/guardians who have initial questions regarding the admissions decision shall contact their division’s Planning Committee member. If an understanding cannot be reached, the parents/guardians may initiate an appeal of the admissions decision by submitting a written request to the Planning Committee member in their home school division within 10 school days from the date on the letter of decision received from the division superintendent. The request of the parents/guardians should include specific concerns related to the application process that they would like to have considered in the review. The Planning Committee member will refer the appealed case to the Coordinator of Admissions and the Regional Appeals Committee.
The Regional Appeals Committee is composed of at least three Planning Committee members from the participating school divisions not involved in the appeal. This committee reviews all pertinent information (submitted by the application deadline) that is used in determining student admission. Appeals are heard within 20 school days of the receipt of the written request. The finding of the Regional Appeals Committee will be submitted to the division superintendent or designee who will notify the parents/guardians within 10 school days of the final decision.
New Residents Testing
Students who establish residence in a participating school division during the second semester of eighth grade may apply and be tested during the summer. The application due date is prior to testing.
General public information about the admissions process for Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies is found on this web page. For specific questions, please refer to the Admissions Handbook received with the application. For unique questions, you may contact the office of the Planning Committee member of the public school division in which you reside.