County School System One of Largest in Nation

County School System One of Largest in Nation


Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), one of the nation's largest school system, expects 168,838 students to begin the 2003-04 school year Sept. 2.

The school system supports 236 facilities and programs including 138 elementary schools, 22 middle schools, three secondary schools — made up of grades seven through 12 —, 21 high schools, and several special services centers, alternative schools and programs.

Three of the schools are magnet schools: Bailey's Elementary for the Arts and Sciences in Falls Church, Hunters Woods Elementary School for the arts and sciences in Reston and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria.

In addition, there are five professional technology academies: Chantilly High School Academy, specializing in engineering and scientific technology and health and human services; Edison High School Academy in Alexandria, specializing in international studies, business and engineering, and scientific technology; Fairfax High School Academy, specializing in communication arts; Marshall High School Academy in Falls Church, specializing in international studies, business and engineering, and scientific technology; and West Potomac High School Academy in Mount Vernon, specializing in communication arts and health and human services.

SEVERAL ELEMENTARY schools focus on specific areas and are designated as focus schools, adopting one of the following approaches: core knowledge, basic school, math and science, modified calendar, French language, block scheduling and arts.

There are seven elementary, one middle and two high schools that follow modified school calendars, more commonly known as year-round schools. They are Annandale Terrace Elementary, Dogwood Elementary in Reston, Franconia Elementary in Alexandria, Glen Forest Elementary in Falls Church, Graham Road Elementary in Falls Church, Parklawn Elementary in Alexandria, Timber Lane Elementary in Falls Church, Glasgow Middle in Alexandria, Falls Church High and Stuart High in Falls Church. The 2003-04 school year begins July 28 for the elementary schools and Aug. 18 for the secondary schools.

FCPS HAS 20 Project Excel elementary schools: Annandale Terrace, Bucknell in Mount Vernon, Cameron in Alexandria, Dogwood in Reston, Fort Belvoir in Mount Vernon, Glen Forest in Falls Church, Graham Road in Falls Church, Groveton in Mount Vernon, Halley in Fairfax Station, Hollin Meadows in Mount Vernon, Hutchison in Herndon, Hybla Valley in Mount Vernon, London Towne in Centreville, Mount Eagle in Alexandria, Mount Vernon Woods, Pine Spring in Falls Church, Riverside in Mount Vernon, Westlawn in Falls Church, Woodlawn in Mount Vernon and Woodley Hills in Mount Vernon.

The program includes a reorganized school day, focused instructional programs and computer-based phonics instruction to supplement new reading textbooks with a strong phonics component. The major components are increased time for learning, enhanced academic programs and school accountability.

THERE ARE FIVE Focus 2004 schools: Edison High in Alexandria, Falls Church High, Mount Vernon High, Stuart High in Falls Church and Whitman Middle in Mount Vernon. The goal of the program is to prepare students to be successful in the Standards of Learning (SOL) courses and exams required for graduation beginning in 2004.

FCPS funds 21,296.9 positions, including 19,142.9 school-based personnel, of which 13,176.9 are teachers, 1,640.8 nonschool-based personnel and 513.2 grant-funded personnel. For the 2004-05 school year, the school system has an operating budget of $1.668 billion. The average cost per student is $9,961.

THE SCHOOL SYSTEM owns and operates a school-bus fleet consisting of more than 1,470 buses that transport approximately 110,00 students.

Bus transportation is provided to elementary-school students who live more than one mile from school, as well as for middle and high school students who live more than one-and-half miles away, for students who would have to walk on hazardous routes and for certain special education children.

Information about bus stops and routes is provided by the local school.

APPROXIMATELY 1,300 food service employees serve a variety of breakfasts, lunches and à la carte offerings to nearly 140,000 school customers each day.

Around 19 percent of the student enrollment qualify for free and reduced price meals. The prices for paid breakfast and lunch are determined by the School Board and the price of reduced-price meals are established by the federal government.

Standard prices for students are as follows:

Type Lunch Breakfast

Elementary $1.60 $1

Middle $1.70 $1

High and Secondary $1.70 $1

Federally subsidized breakfast programs will be provided at 151 schools. Students who qualify according to family size and income are entitled to free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches.

SCHOOL-AGE CHILD CARE operates in several elementary schools across the county. The program serves students before school, after kindergarten and after the regular school day. Interested parents should call the Fairfax County Office for Children at 703-449-8989 for more information.