Annandale, VA ― On May 25, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) released demographic data for its incoming Class of 2026 – the second class selected using the new admissions process aimed at increasing access for students from a broader variety of socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds than in the past. The high school offered seats to a wide diversity of students, including: 60% Asian American, 21% White, 8% Hispanic, 6% Black, 33% low-income, and 51% female, according to the Washington Post. TJHSST’s Class of 2026 data demonstrates continued progress towards holistically accessible and student-centered education opportunities.
Last year, TJHSST saw a notable impact on student diversity and experience after using the new process for the Class of 2025, while maintaining an average class GPA of 3.9 out of 4.0 – an increase from the previous year. This impact included:
- An increase in underrepresented schools from 6% to 31% – this was the first time in 10 years that the incoming class had students from all FCPS middle schools
- An increase in low-income students from <1% (2020-21) to 25%
- An increase in Black students from 1% (2020-21) to 7%
- An increase in Hispanic students 2% (2020-21) to 11%
- An increase in Female students from 42% (2020-21) to 46%
- English Language Learner students represented 7% of admitted class
- Special Education students represented 2% of admitted class
“For too long, opportunities and pathways to quality education for marginalized communities in the Commonwealth – such as BIPOC, immigrant, linguistically marginalized, and working-class Virginians – were overlooked, under-resourced, or made inaccessible. As an Asian American growing up in Southeast Virginia, this was the reality that I and many other students internalized, until the TJHSST admissions process reforms challenged this notion and sought to change it. While there’s certainly more work to be done, the Fairfax County School Board has taken a meaningful step towards improving pathways to education in Virginia by prioritizing equitable access and using a community-centered approach to address a complex, historic problem.”Zowee Aquino, Hamkae Center’s Policy and Communications Team Lead
We applaud TJHSST and FCPS for seeking academic excellence by understanding and supporting students as people with unique experiences, resources, and community histories. Hamkae Center stands firm in its belief that every student has the right to a quality public education that supports their goals and desires, regardless of where they live or their background. All public schools in Virginia need to be fully and fairly funded, with resources and supports necessary to ensure every student has an opportunity to thrive.
Hamkae Center is a community-based organization with a mission to organize Asian Americans in Virginia to achieve social, economic, and racial justice. Alongside its community members, Hamkae Center works to build a future in which low- and middle-income, immigrant, people of color, and all marginalized communities can fully participate in U.S. society and work together as makers of lasting change.
We are the Virginia affiliate of the NAKASEC Network. Other members include HANA Center (Illinois), Woori Center (Pennsylvania), MinKwon Center for Community Action (New York) and Woori Juntos (Texas).