Public magnet high school
. Draws students
from 19 jurisdictions
, most notably Chesterfield
, and Hanover
counties and the City
. Was located at Thomas Jefferson High School
in the city's West End
, sharing the building with an urban school
that hated it and everything associated with it, from its 1991 founding until summer 2001. Richmond's counterpart to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
in Northern Virginia
TJ's enrollment had been declining for several years, so Richmond City Public Schools promised the building to the GSGIS regional board -- but never actually signed a contract to formalize this promised conveyance. GSGIS brought in its first freshmen in 1991, during which year TJHS did not take in an incoming freshman class. TJ parents and alumni rose up in protest at the apparent phase-out of their school, RCPS reversed itself, and in 1992 TJ started accepting freshmen again and GSGIS started looking for a permanent home.
In 1993 the Richmond school system nearly lost control of GSGIS's bank account on the basis of the school board's refusal to make plans for GSGIS's long-term home, but saved it at the last minute (delaying notice of accounting irregularities by several years). That amateurish plan would have housed the school at Westhampton, home of Richmond Community High School, a smaller building with even less athletic facilities than TJ. Chesterfield County, which would have taken over control of the books, spent the 1993-94 school year establishing The Mathematics and Science High School At Clover Hill High School as an alternative to open in fall 1994, and nearly pulled all of its students out of GSGIS.
After several years of false starts and administrative turnover, GSGIS finally obtained the Maggie Walker High School building, an abandoned former Richmond City school in Jackson Ward, as a permanent home. GSGIS took up occupancy after massive renovations in fall 2001, and then adopted the name Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies, or MLWGS for short.
When I was there (graduated in 1997), Strand was the biggest target of hatred -- a two-year research project required of all juniors and seniors. They canned it right after my class left. As far as academics go, there used to be a decent computer department, math and science were pretty good, and foreign languages were hit or miss.