One of the most difficult things about PCSing to the Washington DC area is trying to figure out if you want to live in Northern Virginia (NoVa), Maryland, or in DC. For many military families, choosing a good school system is their number one factor when choosing where to live.
I've always wondered .....What's all the talk about? Why is this such a good school district? Which areas and towns are aligned to Fairfax County Schools?
I. Pros and cons of Fairfax County Schools
1. Positives of Fairfax County Schools
High Achieving Kids - Most kids are high achieving so your child is constantly surrounded by other high achieving students.
Supportive Families - Most of the families understand how important a strong educational foundation is and they are very involved. There's lots of parent participation and volunteering in this school district.
Energetic Staff - The faculty and staff is energetic and are high quality teachers. The school district has a very organized approach and they make great use of their online resources.
High Quality Administration - Principals and vice principals really make the schools run like a cohesive unit. Usually, when the principal is great, the teachers are happy.
2. Negatives to Fairfax County Schools
Since there are a lot of high achieving students, families sometimes put added academic pressure on their kids to compete in this type of school environment. Â It can be stressful at times and there is a big emphasis on standardized test scores. One of things that makes this school district outstanding is their standardized test scores, but that also can be a negative when some teachers focus too much on teaching to the test.
*Note: Most of these negatives are similar to other high performing school districts!
Read Fairfax County School Ratings by GreatSchools via Military Town Advisor
While the elementary schools are smaller and most are located within a neighborhood, the middle and high schools are larger which can add to a child's stress level. As always, it's recommended to personally visit the school and meet the faculty and administration. Sometimes you can get a good feel about a school by just visiting in person. Remember, you know your child the best, so trust your gut when choosing a school.
II. Which towns are aligned to Fairfax County Schools?
- A couple of things to clarify on the map......
- Here is a map of Fairfax County
- Falls Church vs City of Falls Church - The City of Falls Church (just shown as Falls Church on the map) is shown in grey so it's not part of Fairfax County Schools, however to make thing more confusing, the part inside the 495 Beltway has Falls Church zip codes, addresses, and is part of the Fairfax County School System.
III. Areas to Live in Fairfax County Schools System
As you can see, Fairfax County covers a lot of the Northern Virginia areas and towns. Some popular places to live where your kids will attend Fairfax County Schools is
- Alexandria¿ (the southern part),
- West Springfield,
- Annandale, and
- Falls Church (the part in Fairfax County).
When searching for a military home, read neighborhood reviews near the Pentagon and neighborhoods in the Fairfax County Public Schools System. Click on each review to see nearby individual school ratings.
UPDATE: As of May 9, 2013, the School Board approved to redistrict some of the middle and high school attendance boundaries. Check for more updates at http://boundary.fcps.edu/boundary/