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To apply for a Richmond Public Schools (RPS) specialty program, interested students must complete an online application for admission. Open High School

Admission to Open High School is open to all City residents. The faculty actively seeks to enroll students from all RPS middle and private schools. A special effort is made to recruit disadvantaged students, not only those identified as gifted but also those whose potential may not have been recognized. Student ambassadors and the school counselor often participate in recruitment trips to middle schools to explain, encourage, and demystify the program. More than 300 students, including home-schooled and those from many area private schools, compete annually for the limited number of spaces in each incoming (9th grade) class. Open High School also accepts a limited number of 10th graders.

Open High School's (OHS) vision is to develop positive and informed global citizens who are working to make the world a better place. We are committed to developing responsible, resilient, creative, and compassionate students who value intellectual inquiry and social responsibility. We are a College Preparatory program, and all students take Honors, Advanced Placement, and/or Dual Enrollment courses. All students are expected to work towards the Advanced Studies Diploma.

Known at the “school without walls,” Open collaborates with the community for classroom space, elective offerings, and events throughout the year. All students are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the school and community and contribute to an environment of mutual respect between families and the school. All students must complete a minimum of 120 hours of community service and a Senior Project. 

Specialty Schools and Programs – Specialty schools are RPS secondary schools that require an application process for admission. For the SY2022-2023 application cycle, these schools include Franklin Military Academy (grades 6-8 and 9-12), Open High School (grades 9-12), Richmond Community High School (grades 9-12), Thomas Jefferson High School International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (grades 11-12), and the Governor's STEM Academy at Richmond Technical Center (a part time program for RPS students; rising 9th graders may apply).

Richmond Public Schools offers enrollment admission to students to attend high school in a smaller school setting. These 'specialty schools' offer rigorous college preparation, career preparation, leadership opportunities, community service, and other inspiring experiences.

Specialty School applicants are required to complete a single common application, allowing them to submit the following common components which will be applied to each school to which they apply:

  • 2 teacher recommendations
  • 1 essay
  • 1 short essay response

The applications for RPS specialty schools open Thursday, October 14, 2021. Students and families will have until Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 4:30 PM to submit specialty school applications. No late applications will be accepted for specialty schools. While recommendation requests are due as a part of the overall application, recommenders will have until December 15, 2021 to submit their recommendations online.

Once students submit applications they will be contacted by the specialty schools to which they applied for next steps in the selection process.