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LCPS Update on National Merit Recognitions

 

Updated January 13, 2023

 

Our school division has received questions regarding whether Loudoun County Public Schools students were notified about National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) commendations. The LCPS Office of Student Mental Health Services has conducted a review of all 17 LCPS high school notification processes for NMSC Semifinalists and Commended Students. 

 

It is important to note that there is more than one level of NMSC award. National Merit Finalists have not yet been announced by NMSC, therefore LCPS has no names or notifications about this level of award at this stage of NMSC process. LCPS will, however, verify the timeliness of notification processes, support and celebrations of any finalists. 

 

School principals receive notification in September from NMSC of students named as Semifinalists. NMSC notifies students through the email address used to register for the PSAT. School counselors notify and support semifinalists in meeting the October 5 deadline for NMSC finalists. All LCPS National Merit Semifinalists were notified of their awards by LCPS and the appropriate procedures were implemented to assist those students in their scholarship applications. National Merit Semifinalists were celebrated in an LCPS news story on September 16, 2022, and were recognized at the September 27, 2022, School Board meeting.  

 

National Merit Letters of Commendation is another level of acknowledgment for academic promise. According to the NMSC website, “Commended Students are named based on a nationally applied Selection Index score that may vary from year to year and is typically below the level required for participants to be named Semifinalists in their respective states.” 

 

Distributing commended certificates and celebrating these students commonly vary from school to school and may take place at different ceremonies during the year. The LCPS review found that all but three of our high schools had already distributed the notifications to Commended Students. Subsequent to that initial review, the LCPS Office of Student Mental Health Services found that one additional school had not notified students, for a total of four schools. School administration has now notified all students and parents who were not notified in the fall of 2022. 

 

In addition, NMSC notifies only the schools, and not any division-level office, about their awards program. LCPS is pursuing improvement in the NMSC notification process and encourages parents to share their feedback or observations about the division’s process or NMSC’s process.  

 

The Academies of Loudoun (ACL) is not responsible for the notification process for NMSC awards. ACL student notifications are made through the student’s home high school, where they are concurrently enrolled. 

 

As part of continuous process improvements across the division, and in recognition of the importance of these awards, the Office of Student Mental Health Services will create and implement a specific standard operating procedure for each high school administration and office of school counseling. Using resources provided by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, as well as the knowledge of general timelines for the distribution of materials, the standard operating procedure will help ensure effective and timely notification of Commended Students across the division. This resource will be shared with high school principals and directors of school counseling at a joint meeting in January 2023, well in advance of next year’s cycle. The Office of School Counseling Services will review this procedure in the fall of each school year. 

 

Should LCPS families have additional questions they should contact their principal or counseling office.

 


 

January 11, 2023

 

Our school division has received questions regarding whether Loudoun County Public Schools students were notified about National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) commendations. The LCPS Office of Student Mental Health Services has conducted a review of all 17 LCPS high school notification processes for NMSC Semifinalists and Commended Students. 

 

It is important to note that there is more than one level of NMSC award. National Merit Finalists have not yet been announced by NMSC, therefore LCPS has no names or notifications about this level of award at this stage of NMSC process. LCPS will, however, verify the timeliness of notification processes, support and celebrations of any finalists. 

 

School principals receive notification in September from NMSC of students named as Semifinalists. NMSC notifies students through the email address used to register for the PSAT. School counselors notify and support semifinalists in meeting the October 5 deadline for NMSC finalists. All LCPS National Merit Semifinalists were notified of their awards by LCPS and the appropriate procedures were implemented to assist those students in their scholarship applications. National Merit Semifinalists were celebrated in an LCPS news story on September 16, 2022, and were recognized at the September 27, 2022, School Board meeting.  

 

National Merit Letters of Commendation is another level of acknowledgment for academic promise. According to the NMSC website, “Commended Students are named based on a nationally applied Selection Index score that may vary from year to year and is typically below the level required for participants to be named Semifinalists in their respective states.” 

 

Distributing commended certificates and celebrating these students commonly vary from school to school and may take place at different ceremonies during the year. The LCPS review found that all but three of our high schools have already distributed the notifications to Commended Students. All three identified schools have reached out to all students and parents who were not notified in the fall 2022 of their commendation. In addition, school counseling staff will contact or have already contacted the universities and colleges to which commended students have applied to ensure these schools were made aware of the students’ achievements.

 

In addition, NMSC notifies only the schools, and not any division-level office, about their awards program. LCPS is pursuing improvement in the NMSC notification process and encourages parents to share their feedback or observations about the division’s process or NMSC’s process.  

 

The Academies of Loudoun (ACL) is not responsible for the notification process for NMSC awards. ACL student notifications are made through the student’s home high school, where they are concurrently enrolled. 

 

As part of continuous process improvements across the division, and in recognition of the importance of these awards, the Office of Student Mental Health Services will create and implement a specific standard operating procedure for each high school administration and office of school counseling. Using resources provided by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, as well as the knowledge of general timelines for the distribution of materials, the standard operating procedure will help ensure effective and timely notification of Commended Students across the division. This resource will be shared with high school principals and directors of school counseling at a joint meeting in January 2023, well in advance of next year’s cycle. The Office of School Counseling Services will review this procedure in the fall of each school year. 

 

Should LCPS families have additional questions they should contact their principal or counseling office.