NEW BEDFORD — Applicants to the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School this fall will be chosen via a new admissions policy — including a partial lottery system — after the school committee approved the change on Dec. 14.

The new admissions policy is meant to increase access to education for students from all backgrounds and will take effect starting with the Class of 2026, according to a statement from the school.

It significantly changes the criteria used to evaluate applicants, and puts a partial lottery system in place for use when there are more applications than available seats.

The GNB Voc-Tech School Committee approved the new policy in a 7-1 vote at a Dec. 14 meeting.

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“These changes to our admissions policy provide a significant departure from the status quo,” said Superintendent Michael Watson.

“Admittedly, the changes won’t go as far as some would like, and maybe too far for others, but they will enable us to see data in real-time giving us the insights necessary to make the appropriate course corrections if necessary.”

At the start of every school year, GNB Voc-Tech enrolls 565 students in 9th grade.

After 500 students are selected on a points-based system, the statement noted, the remaining 65 spots will be chosen by lottery.

Criteria for admission are based on scores for academic performance, attendance, discipline and recommendations from each student’s middle school.

In contrast with the prior policy, now each student’s 8th grade experience carries more weight than their 7th grade performance.

Recommendations from a student’s school are also now the most important part of the selection process under the new policy.

Students who are added to the admissions lottery participate in an interview process and also provide writing samples or submit portfolios to illustrate their areas of interest.

The lottery will take place by Aug. 10.

“Our new director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Family Engagement Yolanda Dennis, along with our soon to be hired family engagement specialist, will be working directly in the community to support families as they explore high school options and assist with the application process,” said Watson.

“These changes mark a significant change to the admission process, and I believe they will benefit all who are seeking vocational/technical education at Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech.”

For spring admissions, applications and documents must be submitted by March 1.

 

Applications completed after March 1 will be considered for future rounds until the freshman class is filled.

Students who submit complete applications after July 31, regardless of their score, will be placed on a waiting list.

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