Fairfax County Public Schools

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Fairfax County Public Schools
Fairfax County Public Schools Logo.svg
8115 Gatehouse Road
Merrifield, Virginia, 22042
United States
Coordinates 38°52′06″N 77°13′26″W / 38.86833°N 77.22389°W / 38.86833; -77.22389Coordinates: 38°52′06″N 77°13′26″W / 38.86833°N 77.22389°W / 38.86833; -77.22389
School type Public, school division
Founded 1870
School board Ilryong Moon, (At-Large)
Pat Hynes, (Hunter Mill District)
Ryan McElveen (At-Large)
Ted Velkoff, Vice Chairman (At-Large)
Megan McLaughlin (Braddock District)
Jane Strauss (Dranesville District)
Tammy Derenak Kaufax, Chairman (Lee District)
Sandy Evans (Mason District)
Dan Storck (Mount Vernon District)
Patty Reed (Providence District)
Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield District)
Kathy Smith (Sully District)[1]
Harris LaTeef, Student Representative[2][3] (Langley High School)
NCES District ID 5101260[4]
Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza
Staff 23,447 [5]
Grades Pre-K–12
Enrollment 186,785 [5] (2014–2015)
Campus Suburban
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.[6][7] All Fairfax County Public Schools are accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.[8]

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[5] and maintains the largest school bus fleet of any school system in the United States.


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.

Fairfax County refused to let black students attend and sent them out of the county to Manassas and Washington.[9] Despite the 1954 Supreme court ruling to end racial segregation, Fairfax County Schools did not allow black students into white schools until 1960.[10]

The county school system was previously headquartered at 10700 Page Avenue in an unincorporated area of the county completely surrounded by the City of Fairfax.[11][12]

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.[13]

Debate over grading policy[edit]

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. Fairfax County Public Schools worked with the parent group to conduct a joint investigation into the issue. 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.[14] FAIRGRADE, an organization started which aims to work with the FCPS research team to focus on issues that may occur because of FCPS's current grading scale, believes some areas in which students may be affected disadvantageously include:[citation needed]

  • College admissions
  • Receipt of valuable merit-based academic scholarships
  • Admissions to college honors programs
  • NCAA athletic eligibility
  • Car insurance "good student" discounts

An example used in one report to illustrate a disadvantage of the 6 point scale noted that students in other counties can maintain higher GPAs than Fairfax County students even if they are not doing as well numerically. For example, if a student in an honors course in another county maintained a 92% average in a course for the year, he or she would receive an A and have a 4.5 to be averaged into his or her GPA; however, a Fairfax County student who maintained a 92% would get a B+ and would have a 3.5 averaged into his or her GPA. Saying that the significantly lower grade point value averaged into the Fairfax County student's GPA could make the student a less competitive candidate for colleges is considered to be incorrect.[citation needed] Some college officials around the United States who have weighed in on the debate said that it would not hurt FCPS's reputation as an excellent public school system if they changed their grading policy, including UCLA.[15]

On January 2, 2009, Superintendent Jack D. Dale announced his decision on the issue,[16] recommending the 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. FAIRGRADE responded that "there is still opportunity with the School Board".[citation needed] -->

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.[17] 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.[17]

Beginning September 2009, the grading system was changed to a 10 point grading system with plusses and minuses. In this new grading system students must have a 92 for an A, 90 for an A-, 88 for a B+, and so on. Students receive a 4.0 for A's, 3.7 for A-'s, 3.3 for B+'s, and so on. Students still must reach 64 to pass.[citation needed]

Controversy over disciplinary policies[edit]

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.[18] 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.[18][19] The school district also suspended at least one student for possession of her own prescription medication.[20]

Although then-Superintendent Jack D. Dale maintained that the disciplinary policy did not constitute "zero tolerance,"[21] the suicides nevertheless prompted the school board and the state legislature to revisit school disciplinary policies.[22][23] 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.[24]


Fairfax Villa Elementary School – 2014
FCPS High Schools' Rankings on Newsweek's
America's Top Public High Schools.[25][26]
School Name 2003 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Annandale 623 516 862 924 960 1004 1279 N/A N/A
Centreville 177 149 99 112 106 131 141 177 246
Chantilly 72 94 162 133 126 136 224 N/A N/A
Edison 425 692 657 694 751 798 804 N/A N/A
Fairfax 92 196 211 157 258 133 182 N/A N/A
Falls Church 128 289 395 1323 390 198 486 N/A N/A
Hayfield N/A N/A 356 783 806 510 567 N/A N/A
Herndon 115 174 139 161 145 166 153 N/A N/A
Langley 31 50 81 72 55 102 118 N/A N/A
Lee 787 1019 1215 1323 801 812 1218 N/A N/A
Madison 787 1019 123 141 152 199 144 N/A 113
Marshall 184 187 201 211 254 159 203 N/A N/A
McLean 152 128 86 76 99 115 102 N/A N/A
Mount Vernon 305 729 636 1323 1398 1217 1516 N/A N/A
Oakton 143 103 105 103 105 157 158 N/A N/A
South County N/A N/A N/A N/A 143 176 308 N/A N/A
South Lakes 407 383 608 842 515 570 221 N/A N/A
Stuart 230 371 368 458 330 285 446 N/A N/A
West Potomac 108 403 295 198 221 270 550 N/A N/A
West Springfield 145 141 155 172 250 263 280 N/A N/A
Westfield 48 126 142 179 148 192 353 N/A N/A
Woodson 23 34 91 65 74 72 92 N/A N/A

The Newsweek rankings do not include Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology because it is a selective school. Newsweek recognized it as one of America's "public elite" high schools for having few or no average students.[27][28]

High schools[edit]

Secondary schools[edit]

Alternative high schools[edit]

Middle schools[edit]

Elementary schools[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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)[29]
  • 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)[29]
  • 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.[5] The fleet make-up consists of buses that are from 1997 to 2015. FCPS operates the following bus models:

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FCPS - School Board". fcps.edu. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "FCPS - News Releases". fcps.edu. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Fairfax County Public Schools". fcps.edu. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for Fairfax Co Pblc Schs". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d "About FCPS". Fairfax County Public Schools. October 23, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  6. ^ "2010 Census Block Maps Merrifield, Virginia." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on November 28, 2012.
  7. ^ Contact Us. Fairfax County Public Schools. Retrieved on November 28, 2012. "Gatehouse Administration Center 8115 Gatehouse Road Falls Church, VA 22042"
  8. ^ "Instructional Services Department". Fairfax County PublicSchools. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Russell-Porte, Evelyn Darnell (2000). A history of education for black students in fairfax county prior to 1954 (PDF) (Thesis). Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. p. ii (abstract). Retrieved 21 July 2006. In an effort to avoid integration black students were sent outside of Fairfax County to Manassas and Washington. 
  10. ^ Duke, Daniel Linden (2005). "Education Empire" (PDF). Albany: State university of new York Press. pp. 17–21. ISBN 9780791464939. Retrieved 21 June 2006. On September 22, 1960, Federal Judge Albert V. Bryan issued a court order for Fairfax County Public Schools to admit some of the 26 black students to previously all-white schools, thereby initiating the process of desegregation in Fairfax County.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  11. ^ Home page. Fairfax County Public Schools. February 24, 2001. Retrieved on April 3, 2009.
  12. ^ "Fairfax city, Virginia." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on April 3, 2009.
  13. ^ "Fairfax County". fcps.edu. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "FCPS - Instructional Services Department". fcps.edu. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "Does Fairfax Give Fair Grades?". Retrieved December 6, 2008. 
  16. ^ Dale, Jack (January 8, 2009). "Review of Grading Regulations". Fairfax County Public Schools School Board eGovernance System. Retrieved January 24, 2009. 
  17. ^ a b Sabo, Linda (January 23, 2009). "School Board Action 1–22–09". Fairfax County Public Schools School Board eGovernance System. Retrieved January 24, 2009. [dead link]
  18. ^ a b St. George, Donna (February 20, 2011). "Suicide turns attention to Fairfax discipline procedures". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  19. ^ Fisher, Marc (5 April 2009). "Unbending Rules on Drugs in Schools Drive One Teen to the Breaking Point". Washington Post. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  20. ^ "Colbert's War On Birth Control". Huffington Post. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  21. ^ St. George, Donna (February 11, 2011). "School Superintendent Jack D. Dale defended Fairfax County's discipline policies". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  22. ^ Carey, Julie (9 April 2013). "Tempers Flare Over Fairfax County Public Schools Discipline Policy". NBC 4. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  23. ^ Carey, Julie (23 January 2012). "Teen's Suicide Leads to School Discipline Legislation". NBC 4. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  24. ^ Shapiro, T. Rees. "Fairfax School Board changes discipline process". Washington Post (7 June 2013). Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  25. ^ Newsweek's America's Top Public High Schools for 2009
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ Pace, Gina (May 18, 2008). "Best High Schools: The Public Elites". Newsweek. Retrieved November 30, 2009. 
  28. ^ Matthews, Jay (June 9, 2009). "Top High Schools: The Public Elites". Newsweek. Retrieved November 30, 2009. 
  29. ^ a b "Court Programs and Services". fairfaxcounty.gov. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 

External links[edit]