School Board Sends Letter to FCPS Community About Court Ruling Involving Thomas Jefferson High School

By Office of Communication and Community Relations
May 26, 2023

Dear FCPS Community,

Earlier this week, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of the Fairfax County School Board in a legal case challenging the 2020 changes to the admissions policy for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.  The Court found that the “central aim” of the “race-neutral” and “fully race-blind” policy “is to equalize opportunity for those students hoping to attend one of the nation’s best public schools, and to foster diversity among TJ’s student body.” The “undisputed facts” before the Court showed “that the Board intended to improve the overall socioeconomic and geographic diversity of TJ’s student body.”

The changes adopted in 2020 included:  eliminating the $100 application fee and standardized testing; increasing the minimum GPA and coursework requirements for eligibility; increasing the class size to 550; guaranteeing each public middle school seats for its top applicants in a number equal to 1.5% of the eighth-grade class; and giving a fixed number of additional points to students from economically-disadvantaged families, English-language learners, and students with Individualized Education Plans. 

These changes have helped to make TJ accessible to all talented students with a passion for science and technology, from every corner of the County and our neighboring school divisions. The students at TJ continue to amaze us every day.  Because of their hard work and commitment to excellence, TJ continues to be ranked as the #1 high school in the country. 

The Board is committed to providing fair and equitable educational opportunities to all students. The Court decision this week confirms that we are moving in the right direction.  


Fairfax County School Board