Special Academic Programs Offered at WJ!

Following are brief descriptions of the special academic programs available to Walter Johnson High School students. Use the links to the individual program webpages for additional information.


The ACES Scholars program is designed to offer students a challenging course of study in the science disciplines. Students follow a comprehensive curriculum combining honors level courses and rigorous Advanced Placement (AP®) level course work. The course of study provides students with a broad background in all scientific disciplines at levels appropriate to talented and motivated learners.

The program encourages students to take more accelerated science courses, offers structured support and skill refinement, and broadens students' career choices. The program setting includes heterogeneously grouped classes within Walter Johnson High School. ACES Scholars is an intellectually stimulating program within a student's own community that offers the flexibility to pursue individual educational goals. Additional information about the ACES Scholars program can be found at www.walterjohnson.com/programs/ACES/. Questions should be directed to Mr. Jamie Grimes, ACES Program Coordinator, by email to James_M_Grimes2@mcpsmd.org.


Walter Johnson's Advanced Placement® courses are electives offered to academically motivated students. Not to be confused with the APEX Signature Program, established at WJ in 1996, the AP® program has existed at Walter Johnson for many years. AP® courses follow curricula set by the College Board to give students an idea of what they will experience in university classes. Advanced Placement® exams are offered in May of each year and provide students an opportunity to earn college credit based on their results and the policies of the universities they will be attending. Additional information about the WJ AP® program can be found at www.walterjohnson.com/programs/ap/. Questions about AP® courses should be directed to student counselors.


The APEX-Reach Scholars program is the signature program at Walter Johnson High School. APEX-Reach is a rigorous four-year course of study designed for students who want to pursue a challenging curriculum of honors and intensive Advanced Placement® course work. Selection for this program is initiated through a special application process in the fall of 8th grade. Students selected for grade 9 will continue through the program while in high school. The course of study provides students with a broad, general background in many academic areas at levels appropriate to highly academically gifted learners, as well as an opportunity to follow a rigorous course pathway they are interested in. 

The program setting includes a combination of both heterogeneously and homogeneously grouped classes integrated within the whole school setting. After a ninth grade program designed to offer structured support and skills development for the transition from middle school to high school, the course of study is specifically designed to allow individual choices for APEX Scholars, affording them the flexibility to pursue individual educational goals during their sophomore, junior and senior years. APEX Scholars is an integral part of Walter Johnson High School, not a school within a school.

Additional information about the APEX Scholars Program can be found at www.walterjohnson.com/programs/apex/. Questions should be directed to Mr. Nathan Schwartz and Ms. Kathy Simmons, APEX Program Coordinators, by email to Nathan_Schwartz@mcpsmd.org and Katherine_A_Simmons@mcpsmd.org.


THE DUAL ENROLLMENT PROGRAM in Partnership with Montgomery College

Dual Enrollment is an opportunity for high school students to enroll in college, take college courses, and earn college credit prior to graduation.  MCPS and Montgomery College (MC) have a Dual Enrollment partnership that allows qualified students to pursue one of several programs.  Students may earn from 3-60 college credits through the Jumpstart to College pathway or pursue an associate degree while also earning a high school diploma through the Early College or the Virtual Middle College program. Beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year MC classes will be offered at no cost to high school students.

As part of the Jumpstart to College program, two to three MC courses are offered at WJHS each semester. These classes are taught by MC professors, are open only to juniors and seniors, and have limited enrollment due to class size. To register, students must have flexibility in their schedules to replace two high school electives with one MC course while meeting all graduation requirements. These classes are held 7:45 -9:15 a.m., one or two times per week, depending on the course format; students use an abbreviated morning schedule. Students may also choose from this list of approved MC courses https://tinyurl.com/mcps-mc-courses and take classes online or on an MC campus.

During the Jumpstart to College registration process, students accept or refuse the dual credit option; MC credit is earned in either case. If accepted, the MC course appears on the student’s WJHS transcript, and the final grade is calculated into the high school GPA as one weighted credit.  Some MC courses may be used to meet high school graduation requirements, as shown at https://tinyurl.com/mcps-mc-courses.  The ARTSYS site shows the transferability of MC courses to the University System of Maryland and other 4-year Maryland schools.

Students should discuss their interest in Dual Enrollment programs with their counselors and may email the WJHS Dual Enrollment Program Assistant (DEPA) for assistance at Antonia_M_Dentes@mcpsmd.org or visit WJ’s Dual Enrollment Office in Room 138A. 

For additional Dual Enrollment resources, including Jumpstart to College eligibility requirements and registration steps, click here.


  • Career Experiences & Career Internships
    Grade Level: 11-12
    Grade Level: 11-12
    Grade Level: Rising seniors


The LEAD! program Is for students who wish to commit to a broad range of courses in World Languages. Students take advantage of Walter Johnson's extensive offerings in World Languages, both in the number of languages represented as well as in the many levels available, and of allied arts and social studies offerings to grow and develop as international communicators.

The rigorous program requirements, including work in at least two world languages, one through the Advanced Placement® level, will focus students on the centrality of communication with peoples of diverse cultures. Working in several languages, students will hone their analytical skills while exploring the wealth of communicative possibilities, both spoken and written.

The basic course of study includes one world language including the AP® course in that language (Chinese, French, Italian, Latin, Spanish); a second world language through the second year; and, in addition, at least three further full-year courses (chosen from among further work in the first and/or second world language; work in a third world language; work in two AP® international studies courses – namely, AP® Art History, AP® European History, AP® Human Geography, AP® World History, AP® Comparative Government). There is also a major project requirement related to the student’s work in world languages, which might be, for example, a community service internship, a creative project, service as a Designated Hitter, or work based on a student's stay and studies abroad.

Additional information about the LEAD! Scholars Program can be found at https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/wjhs/programs/lead/. Questions should be directed to Ms. Maria Cavallini, LEAD! Program Coordinator, by email to Maria_G_Cavallini@mcpsmd.org or by visiting her classroom, G33. Mondays through Thursdays at lunch.


The WJ Minority Scholars Program (MSP) selects seventy rising juniors and seniors to serve as leaders in the WJ community. These students participate in activities designed to promote school wide success and help continue closing the achievement gap at Walter Johnson.

Additional information about MSP can be found at www.walterjohnson.com/programs/msp/. Questions should be directed to Ms. Ladson, MSP Program Coordinator, by email to Imani_J_Ladson@mcpsmd.org.


Juniors and Seniors interested in the challenge of creating, completing, and presenting a culminating project in their senior years may register for an Independent Research Project. Students select their own topics and ask WJ staff members to serve as mentors. Students and mentors work together to clarify and outline the plan of study as students work independently with weekly mentor guidance. The project must be something that cannot be accomplished in another course at WJ and all project topics must be approved. Independent Research Project students need to complete 75 hours of work on their project over the course of a semester. Students who successfully complete their project earn honors level credit for this course.

Questions should be directed to Ms. Geri Acquard by email at Geraldine_A_Acquard@mcpsmd.org or by visiting her in room 115.
Course Number: 804131/804232
Grade Level: 11, 12