Fairfax County Public Schools
|Fairfax County Public Schools|
|8115 Gatehouse Road
Merrifield, Virginia, 22042
|School type||Public, school division|
|School board||Ilryong Moon, (At-Large)
Pat Hynes, Chairman (Hunter Mill District)
Ryan McElveen (At-Large)
Ted Velkoff, (At-Large)
Megan McLaughlin (Braddock District)
Jane Strauss (Dranesville District)
Tammy Derenak Kaufax, (Lee District)
Sandy Evans Vice Chairman (Mason District)
Dan Storck (Mount Vernon District)
Patty Reed (Providence District)
Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield District)
Kathy Smith (Sully District)
Ben Press, Student Representative
(James Madison High School)
|NCES District ID||5101260|
|Superintendent||Dr. Karen Garza|
|Enrollment||186,785  (2014–2015)|
|Area||Fairfax County, Virginia|
The Fairfax County Public Schools system (abbreviated FCPS) is a school district in the U.S. commonwealth of Virginia. It is a branch of the Fairfax County government which administers public schools in Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax. FCPS's headquarters is located in the Gatehouse Administration Center in Merrifield, an unincorporated section of the county near the city of Falls Church; the headquarters has a Falls Church address but is not within the city limits. All Fairfax County Public Schools are accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.
With over 180,000 students enrolled, FCPS is the largest public school system in Virginia, as well as the largest in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. The superintendent of schools is Dr. Karen Garza. The school division is the 10th largest school system in the nation and maintains the largest school bus fleet of any school system in the United States.
- 1 History
- 2 Debate over grading policy
- 3 Controversy over disciplinary policies
- 4 Schools
- 5 Transportation
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The public school system in Fairfax County was created after the Civil War with the adoption by Virginia of the Reconstruction-era state constitution in 1870, which provided for the first time that a free public education was a constitutional right. The first Superintendent of Schools for Fairfax County was Thomas M. Moore, who was sworn in on September 26, 1870.
At the time of its creation, the Fairfax County Public Schools system consisted of 41 schools, 28 white and 13 colored schools.
In 1886, Milton D. Hall was appointed superintendent. He would serve for 44 years until his retirement in 1929.
Fairfax County refused to let black students attend local high schools and sent them out of the county to Manassas and Washington. Despite the 1954 Supreme court ruling to end racial segregation, Fairfax County Schools did not begin to allow black students into white schools until 1960.
FCPS took over the education of students with mental disabilities from a parent-organized cooperative in 1953. The parents had begun the program in 1950, using whatever space could be found to educate their children, but eventually asked FCPS to take control of the program.
Special education classes for mentally disabled students were expanded in 1955 to four classes for "educable" (those with a mental age above 7) children at Groveton, Lincolnia, Oakton and Luther Jackson schools, and a class for "trainable" (those with a mental age of less than 6½) children at Groveton.
The Fairfax County School Board voted to switch from a 7-5 to a 6-2-4 grade level configuration in 1958, necessitating the creation of what were then called intermediate schools for students in grades 7 and 8. By the time the first eight intermediate schools opened in the Fall of 1960, they were already over their 1000 student capacities.
Also in the Fall of 1960, the first black students were admitted to newly-desegregated public schools. Jerald R. Betz and Raynard Wheeler were enrolled at the Belvedere Elementary School in Falls Church, and Gwendolyn Brooks was enrolled at Cedar Lane Elementary School in Vienna.
The changeover to the 6-2-4 plan was the last major initiative of Superintendent W. T. Woodson, who retired in 1961, having served at 32 years the second-longest tenure as head of the Fairfax County Public Schools system.
As early as 1965, Superintendent Funderburk was discussing plans to decentralize FCPS. By 1967, Funderburk had put together a plan for five area offices, each serving a portion of the county, and had appointed Woodson High School Principal Robert E. Phipps and West Springfield High School Principal S. John Davis as his first two administrators that December.
Although the school board had endorsed Funderburk's plan, they also hired the consulting firm of Cresap, McCormick & Paget to conduct an audit of the system's management organization and operations. In 1968, based on their consultant's recommendations, the school board put a significantly modified version of the decentralization plan into effect, dividing FCPS into four areas which were in effect miniature school systems.
In January of the following year, Funderburk resigned, telling the school board he did not want a third term as superintendent. The school board selected Dr. Lawrence M. Watts from the Greece School District in Greece, New York to take the reins of the Fairfax County Public Schools system, which had grown during Funderburk's tenure from 65,000 to 122,000 students, in May 1969.
Watts' appointment of Williams would be one of his final official acts. After less than a year as superintendent, Dr. Watts died, aged 44, of a heart attack at his home in Oakton in June 1970. Assistant Superintendent S. Barry Morris was named interim superintendent while the school board sought a replacement to lead the 130,000 student school system.
The board did not have to look far for its new superintendent. In September 1970, Area Superintendent S. John Davis was chosen following a nationwide search to serve the remaining 33 months of Dr. Watts' four year term.
During the mid-1970s, Davis had twin difficulties dealing with the start of demographic crash as well as a population shift. The student population dropped from a high of 145,385 in 1974-75 school year to an eventual low of 122,646 in 1982-83. Additionally, families migrated from established eastern and central parts of the county to newer developments in the west and south, leading to the unenviable task of Davis having to request the closings of some schools while needing to build entirely new ones elsewhere.
In a 6-5 vote, the school board voted in May 1976 to re-institute textbook rental fees, hoping to raise an additional $1.3 million to close a projected budget shortfall. The plan was scrapped two months later, in July, when the board was able to find a $1.4 million surplus.
In 1978, Fairfax County began countywide enforcement of its 15-year-old standardized six-point letter grading scale, which also had a ten-point spread at the bottom of the grading range. The grading scale, originally set in 1963, provided that a score of 100-94% was an A, 93-87% a B, 86-80% a C, and 70-79% a D, with any score below 70% an F.
The county school board adopted a $279 million budget in February 1979 which included a 5.15% cost of living raise for the system's teachers and other employees. However, this increase was only slightly more than half of the inflation rate, which was at an annual rate of 9.9% that month, and far short of the 9.4% increase FCPS employees had sought. In April 1979, the Fairfax Education Association, the professional association representing teachers in the county, adopted a work-to-the-rule action, which meant that teachers would not do any work outside of the 7.5 hours per day they were contracted for. Additionally, the FEA gave a vote of no confidence to Superintendent Davis.
The vote of no confidence was considered the main factor in Davis' decision to resign from Fairfax County Public Schools on May 18, 1979 and accept an appointment as Virginia Superintendent of Public Education from Governor John N. Dalton, despite having to take a $5,000 per year pay cut.
Following Davis' resignation, the Fairfax County School Board appointed Associate School Superintendent William J. Burkholder as interim superintendent.
In November 1979, the School Board named Orange County, Florida superintendent L. Linton Deck Jr. as superintendent following a four-month search. Deck had been a divisive figure during his 6 1/2 years in Orange County, with some residents glad to see him go, while others praised him as a strong and professional leader.
Deck inherited the problem of needing to close underutilized schools that had first plagued Superintendent Davis. 29 elementary schools, mostly in the eastern part of the county, were studied for possible closure, but Deck's recommendation in April 1980 was for eight schools to be closed, five more than the review panel had suggested. The following month, the school board voted to close seven of the eight schools at its May 22, 1980 meeting, a move which was met with angry hisses and boos from parents in attendance.
The work to the rule action by Fairfax County teachers which had begun in April 1979 was finally ended in May 1980.
Superintendent Linton Deck accepted a new four-year contract as Superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools in January 1981. Shortly before accepting his new contract, Deck proposed making up a $2.75 million portion of his proposed $395 million 1982 school budget by instituting textbook rental fees for students. Although permitted by Virginia law, the plan, which included charging textbook fees from $22 for elementary school students up to $30 per year for high school students, was jettisoned in the face of strong criticism.
Controversy over Deck's handling of an investigation of recruiting violations by the Mount Vernon High School athletic department, his censure by the Fairfax Education Association for a mishandled school closing, unhappiness with his personal leadership style, which was characterized as "aggressive" and "abrasive", and pressure from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors angry at Deck's proposed budget led to the school board forcing Deck to resign on June 24, 1982, only 1½ years into his four-year contract. The Board appointed William J. Burkholder as acting superintendent.
At its April 25, 1991 meeting, the school board approved a plan where the county's intermediate schools, which had for the previous 31 years only served seventh and eighth grades, would add sixth graders and become middle schools. Three intermediate schools, Glasgow, Holmes and Poe, added sixth grade classes.
In 1993, the four-year-old teacher merit pay was suspended due to budget cuts, and the school board voted to phase the program out completely over the next four years at its March 11 meeting.
From 1965 to 2006, the county school system was headquartered at 10700 Page Avenue in an unincorporated area of the county completely surrounded by the City of Fairfax. In 2006, FCPS moved all of its operations from the Burkholder Center, as well as from several other school-owned and leased offices, to the office building on Gatehouse Road.
The school system has expanded to include over 196 schools and centers, including 22 high schools, 3 secondary schools, 23 middle schools, and 196 elementary schools. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) also operates a fleet of over 1520 school buses, which transport 110,000 students every day. They operate on an operating budget of $2.5 billion, through numerous funding sources. Today, FCPS is the largest school system in Virginia, and the 10th largest in the United States. It also boasts an average on-time graduation rate of 91.3%, along with an average SAT score of 1659.
On multiple accounts during the winter of the 2014-15 academic year, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), along with Loudoun County Public Schools took international backlash in the #closeFCPS incident. This initially took place on January 6, 2015, when FCPS Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza and school board members made a misjudged mistake over choosing not to close nor delay all academic activities, despite inclement weather conditions. This sparked an international fandom, as enraged FCPS students, parents, and faculty took their opinions to Twitter. #closeFCPS soon was trending globally, as many across the globe questioned the illogical decision made by FCPS. The school system gained massive opposition on a second account on February 19, as #closeFCPS trended globally again. Fairfax County Public Schools soon released an apology, as well as a statement that they would be reviewing their policy regarding inclement weather for the future.
Debate over grading policy
Fairfax County Public Schools was known for their use of a 6-point grading scale. Before May 7, 2009, 94–100% received an A, 90–93% was a B+, 84–89% was a B, and so on.
In 2008, a parent group raised concerns about whether the FCPS method of computing grades and applying weights for advanced courses was adversely affecting FCPS applicants for college admissions, honors program placements, and merit-based scholarship awards.
On January 2, 2009, Superintendent Jack D. Dale announced his decision on the issue, recommending changing the weights of advanced courses but maintaining the six-point grading scale. Dale stated there was no conclusive evidence the six-point grading scale is disadvantageous for the students of FCPS.
Fairfax County Public Schools worked with the parent group to conduct a joint investigation into the issue. On January 22, 2009, the FCPS School Board directed Superintendent Dale to report back to it with a new version of the grading scale by March 2009. The Board also approved changing the weighting for Honors to 0.5 effective with the 2009–2010 school year and for AP and IB courses to 1.0 retroactively.
After investigation, the Fairfax County School Board approved a modified ten-point scale, complete with pluses and minuses. The new scale went into effect at the beginning of the 2009–10 school year. 93–100% is an A, 90–92% is a A-, and an 87–89% is a B+, and so on.
Controversy over disciplinary policies
Fairfax County Public Schools disciplinary policies for drug offense came under community scrutiny starting in 2009, after two students separately committed suicide after being subject to school disciplinary proceedings. Both 17-year-old Josh Anderson of South Lakes High School, who died in 2009, and 15-year-old Nick Stuban of W.T. Woodson High School, who died in 2011, had been suspended from their schools for marijuana-related offenses. The school district also suspended at least one student for possession of her own prescription medication.
Although then-Superintendent Jack D. Dale maintained that the disciplinary policy did not constitute "zero tolerance," the suicides nevertheless prompted the school board and the state legislature to revisit school disciplinary policies. After a year-long study, the school board voted to relax punishments for marijuana possession and add parental notification requirements for students facing serious disciplinary sanctions.
The Newsweek rankings do not include Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology prior to 2010 because it is a selective school. Prior to 2010, Newsweek recognized it as one of America's "public elite" high schools for having few or no average students.
- Annandale High School
- Centreville High School
- Chantilly High School
- Thomas A. Edison High School
- Fairfax High School
- Falls Church High School
- Herndon High School
- Langley High School
- Robert E. Lee High School
- James Madison High School
- George C. Marshall High School
- McLean High School
- Mount Vernon High School
- Oakton High School
- South County High School
- South Lakes High School
- J. E. B. Stuart High School
- Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
- West Potomac High School
- West Springfield High School
- Westfield High School
- Wilbert Tucker Woodson High School
Alternative high schools
- Bryant Alternative High School
- Fairfax County Adult High School
- Mountain View Alternative High School
- Rachel Carson Middle School
- James Fenimore Cooper Middle School
- Franklin Middle School
- Robert Frost Middle School (Fairfax County, Virginia)
- Ellen Glasgow Middle School
- Herndon Middle School
- Oliver Wendell Holmes Middle School
- Langston Hughes Middle School
- Washington Irving Middle School
- Luther Jackson Middle School
- Francis Scott Key Middle School
- Joyce Kilmer Middle School
- Sidney Lanier Middle School
- Liberty Middle School
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Middle School
- Edgar Allan Poe Middle School
- Rocky Run Middle School
- Carl Sandburg Middle School
- South County Middle School
- Ormond Stone Middle School
- Henry David Thoreau Middle School
- Mark Twain Middle School
- Walt Whitman Middle School
- Buzz Aldrin Elementary School
- Annandale Terrace Elementary School
- Louise Archer Elementary School
- Armstrong Elementary School
- Bailey's Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences
- Bailey's Upper Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences
- Beech Tree Elementary School
- Belle View Elementary School
- Belvedere Elementary School
- Bonnie Brae Elementary School
- Braddock Elementary School
- Bren Mar Park Elementary School
- Brookfield Elementary School
- Bucknell Elementary School
- Bull Run Elementary School
- Bush Hill Elementary School
- Camelot Elementary School
- Cameron Elementary School
- Canterbury Woods Elementary School
- Cardinal Forest Elementary School
- Centre Ridge Elementary School
- Centreville Elementary School
- Cherry Run Elementary School
- Chesterbrook Elementary School
- Churchill Road Elementary School
- Clearview Elementary School
- Clermont Elementary School
- Clifton Elementary School
- Coates Elementary School
- Colin Powell Elementary School
- Columbia Elementary School
- Colvin Run Elementary School
- Crestwood Elementary School
- A. Scott Crossfield Elementary School
- Cub Run Elementary School
- Cunningham Park Elementary School
- Daniels Run Elementary School
- Deer Park Elementary School
- Dogwood Elementary School
- Dranesville Elementary School
- Eagle View Elementary School
- Fairfax Villa Elementary School
- Fairhill Elementary School
- Fairview Elementary School
- Flint Hill Elementary School
- Floris Elementary School
- Forest Edge Elementary School
- Forestdale Elementary School
- Forestville Elementary School
- Fort Belvoir Elementary School
- Fort Hunt Elementary School
- Fox Mill Elementary School
- Franconia Elementary School
- Franklin Sherman Elementary School
- Freedom Hill Elementary School
- Garfield Elementary School
- Glen Forest Elementary School
- Graham Road Elementary School
- Great Falls Elementary School
- Greenbriar East Elementary School
- Greenbriar West Elementary School
- Groveton Elementary School
- Gunston Elementary School
- William Halley Elementary School
- Haycock Elementary School
- Hayfield Elementary School
- Herndon Elementary School
- Hollin Meadows Elementary School
- Hunt Valley Elementary School
- Hunters Woods Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences
- Hutchison Elementary School
- Hybla Valley Elementary School
- Island Creek Elementary School
- Keene Mill Elementary School
- Kent Gardens Elementary School
- Kings Glen Elementary School
- Kings Park Elementary School
- Lake Anne Elementary School
- Anthony T. Lane Elementary School
- Laurel Hill Elementary School
- Laurel Ridge Elementary School
- Lees Corner Elementary School
- Lemon Road Elementary School
- Little Run Elementary School
- London Towne Elementary School
- Lorton Station Elementary School
- Lynbrook Elementary School
- Mantua Elementary School
- Marshall Road Elementary School
- Mason Crest Elementary School
- McNair Elementary School
- Mosby Woods Elementary School
- Mount Eagle Elementary School
- Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School
- Navy Elementary School
- Newington Forest Elementary School
- North Springfield Elementary School
- Oak Hill Elementary School
- Oak View Elementary School
- Oakton Elementary School
- Olde Creek Elementary School
- Orange Hunt Elementary School
- Parklawn Elementary School
- Pine Spring Elementary School
- Poplar Tree Elementary School
- Colin L. Powell Elementary School
- Providence Elementary School
- Ravensworth Elementary School
- Riverside Elementary School
- Rolling Valley Elementary School
- Rose Hill Elementary School
- Sangster Elementary School
- Saratoga Elementary School
- Shrevewood Elementary School
- Silverbrook Elementary School
- Sleepy Hollow Elementary School
- Spring Hill Elementary School
- Springfield Estates Elementary School
- Stenwood Elementary School
- Stratford Landing Elementary School
- Sunrise Valley Elementary School
- Terra Centre Elementary School
- Terraset Elementary School
- Timber Lane Elementary School
- Union Mill Elementary School
- Vienna Elementary School
- Virginia Hills Elementary School
- Virginia Run Elementary School
- Wakefield Forest Elementary School
- Waples Mill Elementary School
- Washington Mill Elementary School
- Waynewood Elementary School
- West Springfield Elementary School
- Westbriar Elementary School
- Westgate Elementary School
- Westlawn Elementary School
- Weyanoke Elementary School
- White Oaks Elementary School
- Willow Springs Elementary School
- Wolftrap Elementary School
- Woodburn Elementary School for the Fine and Communicative Arts
- Woodlawn Elementary School
- Woodley Hills Elementary School
Special education centers
- Burke Center
- Camelot Center
- Cedar Lane School
- Davis Career Center
- Key Center
- Kilmer Center
- Mount Vernon Center
- Pulley Career Center
- Quander Road School
Interagency Alternative Schools
- Adult Detention Center
- Boys Probation House
- Care Connection for Children
- Compass Day School
- Computer Enhanced Instruction Program
- Crossroads Residential Program
- Devonshire Center
- Elizabeth Blackwell School
- Enterprise School
- Falls Bridge School
- Foundations (formerly Girls Probation House)
- GRANTS (GED Readiness and New Technology Skills)
- Gunston School at South County Juvenile Court
- Hickory Grove School
- Hillwood School at East County Juvenile Court
- Horizons Day School
- Independent Study Program
- Juvenile Detention Center
- Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute
- Northern Virginia Sickle Cell Center at Inova
- Northwest Center
- Sager School
- Shelter Care II (formerly Less Secure Shelter)
- Sojourn House
- Sunrise House
- Transition Support Resource Center
- Vista Day School at South County Juvenile Court
FCPS operates a fleet of over 1,700 school buses. The fleet make-up consists of buses that are from 1997 to 2015. FCPS operates the following bus models:
- 1998 Thomas Saf-T-Liner MVP EF
- 1998 Thomas Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
- 1999 AmTran Genesis
- 1999 AmTran RE
- 2000 AmTran FE
- 2000 AmTran RE
- 2000 Thomas Saf-T-Liner MVP EF
- 2001 AmTran RE
- 2001 Thomas Saf-T-Liner MVP EF
- 2002 International RE
- 2002 International FE
- 2003 IC RE
- 2003 IC FE
- 2004 IC RE
- 2004 IC FE
- 2006 IC RE
- 2006 IC FE
- 2007 IC RE
- 2007 IC FE
- 2008 IC RE
- 2008 IC FE
- 2008 IC CE
- 2009 IC CE
- 2009 IC RE
- 2010 IC CE
- 2010 IC RE
- 2011 IC CE
- 2012 IC CE
- 2013 IC CE
- 2013 IC RE
- 2015 IC CE
- 2015 IC RE
- 2016 IC CE
Transportation is divided into several different offices. Area 1, Area 2, Area 3, and Area 4 are regional offices servicing different regions of the county. Area 1 serving the farthest south, Area 2 central south, Area 3 central north, and Area 4 serving the farthest northern region. In addition to the regional offices there is also a Central office which oversees all lower offices and a Training Center. The final office is Routing and Planning which creates bus routes. Routing and Planning which is also known as Area 7, maintains its own fleet of vehicles. The white vans and cars from Area 7 transport special needs students to special public and private schools throughout the county.
Three garages service the buses. Alban, Newington, & West Ox.
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In an effort to avoid integration black students were sent outside of Fairfax County to Manassas and Washington.
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- "Colbert's War On Birth Control". Huffington Post. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- St. George, Donna (February 11, 2011). "School Superintendent Jack D. Dale defended Fairfax County's discipline policies". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- Carey, Julie (9 April 2013). "Tempers Flare Over Fairfax County Public Schools Discipline Policy". NBC 4. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- Carey, Julie (23 January 2012). "Teen's Suicide Leads to School Discipline Legislation". NBC 4. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- Shapiro, T. Rees. "Fairfax School Board changes discipline process". Washington Post (7 June 2013). Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- Newsweek's America's Top Public High Schools for 2009
- Mathews, Jay (May 18, 2008). "FAQ: Best High Schools". Newsweek. Retrieved September 9, 2008.
As noted in the FAQ, the ranking is based on Jay Mathews' experience, does not account for how well students do on the test or thereafter.
- "2013 America's Best High Schools". Newsweek.
- Pace, Gina (May 18, 2008). "Best High Schools: The Public Elites". Newsweek. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- Matthews, Jay (June 9, 2009). "Top High Schools: The Public Elites". Newsweek. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- "Court Programs and Services". fairfaxcounty.gov. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
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