Week of December 9, 2014


Summer Residential Governor’s Schools for Sophomores and Juniors

Applications are now available for the Summer Residential Governor’s Schools. These programs provide opportunities for gifted high school students to explore professional and university environments through mentorships and academic enrichment. Information and applications can be found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/governors_school_programs/summer_residential/ for academic and mentorship programs, and http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/foreign_language/language_academies/index.shtml for the foreign language academies. Please see Ms. Davis for additional information about application process and deadlines.

VCU Programs and Opportunities

After-school Program:
Project ACEe - pre-health focus on medicine, academic skills and prep

  • Eligibility: Current Juniors and Seniors
  • Program Duration: Fridays, starting January - April
  • Application Requirements: Online application with personal statement, official transcript, 1 letter of recommendation from science teacher and 1 letter from guidance counselor:  due 12/12/14
Non-Residential Summer Programs:
Open to a variety of grade levels, each program focuses on a specific career field, offering hands-on instruction & information about preparing for these fields now.

The High School Diplomats (HSD) program brings American high school students together at Princeton University for a 10-day cultural and educational exchange program with students from Japan. Current sophomores and juniors are encouraged to apply and Japanese language familiarity/experience is not a pre-requisite. For more information about HSD, please visit www.highschooldiplomats.com. Application deadline is January 7, 2015.

The Cochrane Summer Economics Institute is a five-week work/study program for rising high school seniors. The program provides an introduction to economics, business, networking, and a variety of job/career choices through a combination of classroom work, community service, and internship experience. Applications will be available at www.powellinfo.org 
starting on December 1, 2014. Application and essay must be submitted by January 16, 2015.


Founded in 1831, the Virginia Historical Society is the fourth oldest institution in America dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of history. Its mission includes service to a wide range of scholars, educators, genealogists, and “life-long learners” interested in any topic, period, or group found within Virginia history. Each year the society honors individuals for historical scholarship or service to the larger historical community. 
This year, two MLWGS graduates were recognized for their work.

Daniel Yoo (MLWGS ‘14) received the Bobby Chandler Student Award, which recognizes the top research submission from a Virginia high school student. Daniel’s award was based upon his oral history project on the HIV/AIDs epidemic of the 1980s and its intersection with the hemophilia community, federal blood screening protocols, and numerous drug approval obstacles. The project was part of Daniel’s Historiography seminar in the 2013-14 school year.

Adrianna Scheer-Cook (MLWGS ‘09), a recent graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, won the Undergraduate History Paper of the Year for her paper on the Vietnam War activism of Phyllis Galanti, whose personal papers reside at the VHS. As a senior in the 2008-09 school year, Miss Scheer-Cook was enrolled in an advanced seminar on Korean and Vietnam conflicts offered by the Social Studies Department.

Daniel is currently enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Richmond. Adrianna is in her first year of law school at the University of Virginia.


SOL Testing for freshmen who attended private middle schools will take place during the week of Monday January 5th. Specific testing times and locations were distributed to students last week.

All students at Maggie L. Walker are required to pass nine SOL End of Course tests in order to qualify for a Virginia Advanced Studies High School Diploma. MLW students typically earn SOL verified credits for biology, chemistry, World History II (given at the end of 10th grade), US History (10th or 11th grade), English writing (10th grade), English reading (11th grade), Algebra I, geometry, and Algebra II.

Students who attended private middle schools need to verify earned credit through SOL tests for Algebra I, geometry, and/or Algebra II classes taken.

Students are encouraged go to the Virginia Department of Education site http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/practice_items/index.shtml to review materials to prepare for the tests. In addition, students may ask their current math teacher for additional help. Finally, the math tutoring lab is open after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays for help with specific content.

Students will have a practice opportunity to use the online math tools during lunch on Monday, December 15th in Lab 201. It is highly recommended that all students attend this practice session since it is important to be able to use the tools effectively during online testing. 

SOL tests are scored as fail, pass/proficient or advanced/college path. If a student fails the SOL, he or she is permitted to take an expedited re-take if the score is between 375 and 399. This re-take will be scheduled within a couple of weeks of the initial testing date. Otherwise, the student can take the test again in May. If a student fails the re-test, he or she will have an opportunity to retake the test in May. The scores are not used for college admissions purposes and are only used for verifying credits.

Please contact Karl Zweerink at kzweerink@gsgis.k12.va.us or 804-354-6800, extension 3210 if you have any questions.


WINTER JAZZ CONCERT – Monday, Dec. 15th, 7:00 pm
WINTER CHORUS/ORCHESTRA CONCERT – Wednesday, Dec. 17th, 7:00 pm
  • Cost is $5 at the door.
  • Concert Reception immediately followS each performance.
  • Mark your calendar NOW!
Please contact Leslie Hausser, Music Boosters President, at lahmeems@comcast.net, with any questions.


The December Senior Newsletter is now available on the School Counseling Website (https://sites.google.com/a/gsgis.k12.va.us/mlw-school-counseling/2011-2012-newsletters). This newsletter contains college-related reminders and a listing of scholarships with approaching deadlines. The newsletter was distributed to students in their English classes last week. Scholarship information for seniors is also available on the School Counseling website (https://sites.google.com/a/gsgis.k12.va.us/mlw-school-counseling/college-admissions-information-1/scholarships-financial-aid) and in Naviance (https://connection.naviance.com/mlwgs). Contact your child’s counselor if you would like to view the Naviance scholarship database and need your registration code.

Scholarships are still being added to this database on a monthly basis, most with direct links to the applications. Hard-copy applications are scanned and attached to the scholarship description as a PDF. Please note that all deadlines posted on Naviance or in the Newsletter are subject to change as organizations are still sending us updated information for this school year. Check the organization’s website for the most current information. Please contact Rachel Loving in the School Counseling Office with scholarship questions.


Last chance for donations! The 13th Annual Night of the Dragon Auction team will accept donations of auction items through this Friday, December 12. 
  1. To donate, click here to print a donation form.
  2. Fill it out and choose the group(s) that the proceeds from the item should benefit.
  3. Drop the form and the item off at school in the auction box in Valenta Williams’ office.
  4. All forms received by Friday, December 12 at the end of the school day will be accepted.
  5. Due to processing times, donations received after the deadline cannot be included in this year's event.
For donations too big to send to school (or those donations that contain alcohol), pickup can be arranged by marking "to be arranged" in the delivery instructions section of the form – but the donation form must still be turned in by December 12.

Questions?? Contact Karen Akens at karenakens@gmail.com


The Budget Town Hall on December 3 featured a total of 15 parents, PTSA and Foundation leaders, alumni, students and educators who provided public comments. The primary concern was the continued underfunding of MLWGS. The local funding for our students has dropped more than 10% over the past five years while VRS and healthcare costs have increased substantially. In front of a crowd of about 100, these speakers shared heartfelt concerns about the impact of deep budget cuts in recent years including what they felt was outdated textbooks, inadequate technology equipment and staffing, increased teacher workloads, noncompetitive salaries, reductions in field trips and course offerings, and a new proposed cap on participation in the Senior mentorship program.

Several speakers pointed out concerns about the anxiety surrounding the annual budget process. One speaker provided a detailed proposal to stabilize funding through a formula tied to the amounts spent by local school divisions on students in their home schools. Another speaker voiced concerns regarding the Regional School Board’s upcoming decision on a long-term capital improvement contract that will be funded with reserves (savings).

It is a challenge to gain consensus among all school divisions, but the Regional School Board and Superintendents Steering Committee are beginning to look at solutions. In addition to the MLWGS administrative team, Mr. Kevin Hazzard, chairman of the Regional School Board, Dr. James Lane, chair of the Superintendents Steering Committee, and, Mr. John Axselle, Vice Chair of the Regional School Board attended the meeting. One speaker expressed concern regarding the absence of the other 21 superintendents and elected representatives who are responsible for the MLWGS budget and requested that the Town Hall comments be communicated to them. Dr. McGee and Chairman Hazzard assured the audience the issues raised would be taken into consideration.

The PTSA Advocacy Committee will continue to update parents throughout the budget development process including any formal report or minutes for the Budget Town Hall. The budget should be finalized by April or May. The next Regional School Board meeting is Dec. 18, 2014 at 9 am at MLWGS. There is a public comment period at the beginning of each monthly meeting should you wish to share your thoughts. Here is information about the Regional School Board. If you are interested in learning more about government relations and advocacy on behalf of MLWGS, please contact PTSA Advocacy Co-Chairs Marianne Macon, macon4@verizon.net, or, Laura O’Brien, prable@comcast.net.


Ms. Surat  is seen  ringing a “zenergy” chime as Lynn Reed provided the frequency for the sound in mathematical terms.

Story as the Landscape of Knowing” was the theme of this year’s National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Conference. Thanks to the generous support of the Governor’s School Foundation, Michele Surat (World Literature) and Lynn Reed (AP Calculus) presented their collaborative work in two separate programs on November 21, 2014.

After NCTE’s acceptance of their original proposal, the National Council of Literacy Education (NCLE) also requested that Ms. Surat and Mrs. Reed participate in an all-morning session of round-table discussions. There the teachers shared their resources and interdisciplinary lessons plans with elementary through university teachers.

Later in the afternoon, Yoko Ogawa's award-winning novel, The Housekeeper and the Professorprovided the primary focus. Ms. Surat and Mrs. Reed each explained how to use the contemporary Japanese novel as a catalyst for increased literacy, close reading, and critical thinking skills. Since the protagonist of the novel was a math professor, students considered the use of the mathematics and baseball as metaphors to describe the relationships among the characters. About 40 teachers attended their animated session.

The Foundation Annual Fund supports grants for continuing education for faculty, programs for students, and special projects for facilities and technology. So far this year, the Annual Fund Campaign has raised $122,774 for the school. Overall current parent participation is 21%, and here is the parent participation by class:

• Seniors: 29%
• Juniors: 23%
• Sophomores: 24%
• Freshmen: 9%

To donate online, please click here.


Karina Kunka (Class of 2015) really needs your support. She is making and selling Dragons of a Different Color (clay dragon ornaments) for her friend Caitlin Haigh from Powhatan County and who is currently battling Mitochondrial Disease, Dysautonomia, and Gastroparesis.  Her debilitating diseases and frequent surgeries and hospitalizations have prevented Caitlin from attending most of high school, although she will still be graduating this spring from Powhatan High.  Last year, her dream to swim with dolphins was fulfilled by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and despite all of her setbacks, she still wears a bright smile.

$5 buys a gift-wrapped dragon in your choice of available colors; designs vary since no two dragons are alike! Every single penny of your purchase goes directly towards Caitlin's medical expenses, so if you are interested in adopting a dragon this winter, contact karina.kunka@gmail.com. They make great holiday gifts, so be sure to snag one before they fly away! For more information on Caitlin, visit http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/caitlinalliehaigh.


‘Tis holiday season
So let us be lyrical!
We’ll change up our sales pitch
(But maintain the satirical).

If gifts you should need
For neighbors or cousins
Come drop by the Lair
We have a few (dozens).

From sweatshirts warm
To pajama pants snuggly
In our spirit apparel
You’ll look sharp, not ugly.

And gifts and accessories
And tchotchkes and bling
All kinds of drink tumblers
Ornaments on green string

Pens, pins and totes!
Stretchy swim caps!
Take your school to the pool
And do a few laps.

Dragon Shirts! Comfy Jackets!
Smart Ties! Cool Gym Shorts!
Our staff will assist you
With all types and sorts

Of purchases which –
By the time you are done –
Will finish your shopping
Before others’ve begun.

So swing by on Tuesday
Or Friday at lunch,
And these special hours
To help your time crunch:

- (after the winter concert)
- (after the winter concert)
December 19 (ALL DAY BLITZ DAY - shop til you drop!]:   8:30 - 3:30
(Yeah, like I’m gonna try and rhyme all of that.  As if.)

Check our stuff on the web
Checks and cash are all welcome
If you need some, ask mom.

I’m through with this rhyming.
No more, this I swear.
So Happy Chrismahanakwanzaa!
From The Dragon’s Lair!