LearnBoost welcomes Jackson Middle School
Luther Jackson Middle School, located in Falls Church, Virginia, is a part of the Fairfax County Public School system and is one of 26 public middle schools in the county. It opened in 1954 as Luther Jackson High School, the first all-black high school in Fairfax County. This gave Virginia African-American students a closer option than schools in Washington DC.
In 1965, when the county was integrated, the school was designated as Luther Jackson Intermediate School, which eventually changed to Luther Jackson Middle School. The school is named after Dr. Luther P. Jackson, an established historian and educator.
The school was built and opened in September 1954 as Fairfax County's sole high school for black students after members of the black community, exasperated by having to send their children as far as Manassas or the District of Columbia, agitated for a school closer to home. It was named for prominent academic Luther P. Jackson, who headed the History Department at Virginia State College in Petersburg and founded the Negro Voters League of Virginia.
Four months after the opening, the Supreme Court declared separate education for students of different races was unconstitutional. But not until September 1960 did 19 black Fairfax high school students began classes at eight previously "white only" schools. By 1965 the county schools were completely integrated.
Although the first decade of the school was a turbulent time for race relations, alumni from the school said it was a calm place with dedicated teachers, despite county authorities often giving the school outdated books and meagre supplies. Football and basketball games were popular events that attracted people from across the black community, typically packing the bleachers in the gymnasium. Football players would to carry box lunches to distant games because they were barred from restaurants. Sock hops were held in the gym and dances in the cafeteria.
In 1965 the school was turned into an integrated middle school. Since then, the building has been renovated and expanded and now is the location of county School Board meetings.
By 2004, the Washington Post reported, the school's 1,050 students came from 60 countries, and 60 percent were minorities. A total of 40 languages were spoken by students, with Spanish the most prevalent among the 70 percent of students whose first language wasn't English, followed by Korean and Vietnamese.
The City agreed in December 2006 to move a day center for the homeless, from its location on Old Lee Highway Luther, because of its proximity to the school, especially because the center closes its doors in the late afternoon, moving some of its clients onto the streets.
For students attending Jackson as their base school, the two feeder high schools are Falls Church High School and Oakton High School. Some students in the GT program would attend Madison High School. If accepted, students could also attend Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
30.36% of the school population was Hispanic, 28.82% White, 25.08% Asian, 11.66% Black, and 4.07% Unspecified. 52.81% were male, and 47.19 were female.
Jackson is full accredited by the Virginia Department of Education. The following chart is for the 2005-2006 school year.
As part of a county initiative to combat concern about gangs, drug and alcohol use, the school expanded its sports offerings, in October 2004, to 300 students who participate in its three-day-a-week after-school program, with soccer matches, volleyball games, and softball.
In 2004, Steve Smith, a seventh-grade science teacher, was one of five recipients of the Teacher of the Year award given by the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, a non-profit organization.
Ian Scott Wilson, in May 2007, was a first-prize winner in a student documentary contest sponsored by C-SPAN. StudentCam asked middle- and high-school students to create and produce a video running less than 10 minutes about an issue important to them.
Toby McKeehan, a.k.a. tobyMac, was a student from 1981-1983 and went on to lead the contemporary Christian rap and R&B group dc Talk and now is a successful solo artist and co-founder of Gotee Records in Franklin, Tenn.