Stafford Co. schools apologizes to students, joins list of systems in National Merit controversy

Stafford County Public Schools has announced that six students did not receive timely notification of their National Merit Scholar Commended Student status.

The Virginia school system said it learned of the delayed notification on Thursday, apologizing “for the administrative error and the frustration this delay has caused.”



“This is very frustrating for us, and not indicative of the pride we feel in our students and the approach we take in celebrating their personal achievements,” the department said in a release.

A school principal has informed students, their family members and any colleges they applied to of their commended status, SCPS said, adding that they plan to discuss the notification process with the scholarship program.

Stafford County joins a short list of schools, including Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun County school systems, that have been under fire for not quickly informing students of their commended status. For some systems, students affected numbered in the dozens, sparking investigations by Attorney General Jason Miyares and even garnering the attention of Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

“I have made it clear to superintendents and principals across the Commonwealth to go back and really do the work to make sure that this hasn’t happened,” Youngkin told WTOP’s Nick Ianelli Friday, adding that the problem needs to be fixed.

Letters of Commendation from the organization go out to roughly two-thirds of high scorers who don’t qualify as semifinalists, according to the program.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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