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Old 02-16-2013, 09:45 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
There is a difference between saying any FCPS HS is good and saying they are all the same. The basic DNA is the same, if you will, but the feel and school cultures can be quite different. That matters to some people, and not so much to others. To take some examples, students at Mount Vernon are regularly exposed to members of the military, athletics and drama are huge at Westfield, and there may be more World Bank/diplomatic families at schools in other parts of the county. If this doesn't matter to someone, they are less like to pose questions on this forum, which may be why the overall impression one might get about how much attention people pay to such details is skewed.
Oh that would be great if people would ask questions iike "I'm in the military, how well will my child fit in at school x" or "which school has a good drama program" or "my child is a superstar tennis player, which school has a great tennis coach". But no, it's almost always a very general quesiion about "which schools are the best?" or "why are test scores higher at school x than y"? Those have little to do with exploring the differences you mentioned.
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:05 AM
 
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This is in large measure a relocation forum. I think you have to assume that people may ask general questions or may not be familiar with some of the resources that might quickly help explain things like differences in standardized test scores.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:09 AM
 
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Does anyone has a link for the decision made for Haycock AAP center boundary in January? I googled around but couldn't find a definitive plan that was passed by the school board. Any comments on comparing Navy/Rachel Carson (AAP)/Oakton with Mclean pyramids in terms of academics, culture, etc? Thanks.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by novajs View Post
Does anyone has a link for the decision made for Haycock AAP center boundary in January? I googled around but couldn't find a definitive plan that was passed by the school board. Any comments on comparing Navy/Rachel Carson (AAP)/Oakton with Mclean pyramids in terms of academics, culture, etc? Thanks.
Here's the link to the FCPS web page with information about the proposals that the School Board voted on in late January:

Advanced Academic Programs

With respect to Haycock, through this year it had served as an AAP center for students whose base schools were Haycock, Chesterbrook, Franklin Sherman, Timber Lane, Lemon Road, Shrevewood, and Westgate ES. Starting next year, rising third, fourth and fifth AAP students at Lemon Road, Shrevewood and Westgate ES who wish to attend an AAP center are assigned to a new center being opened at Lemon Road. Rising third-sixth grade AAP students at Haycock, Chesterbrook, Franklin Sherman and Timber Lane, and rising sixth-grade AAP students at Timber Lane, Shrevewood and Westgate, who wish to attend an AAP center will stay at Haycock next year. Starting in 2014, all AAP-eligible students at Lemon Road, Shrevewood and Westgate who wish to attend an AAP center are assigned to Lemon Road.

If you want to see the specific language adopted by the School Board with respect to Haycock, you can look at these board minutes:

http://www.fcps.edu/schlbd/docs/minu.../20130124R.pdf

The trend in this part of Fairfax seems to be to offer Local Level IV services at more elementary schools, which results in fewer students attending the designated AAP centers. For example, parents of AAP-eligible children at Chesterbrook now largely opt for Local Level IV at Chesterbrook rather than the Haycock AAP center. This has led some to suggest that, at some point, FCPS will dispense with seaprate AAP "centers," at least in the McLean pyramid, and just make Local Level IV services available at every school in the pyramid, including Haycock.

As to your question about Carson/Oakton vs. the McLean pyramids, I think they are pretty similar. Carson and Longfellow have long been two of the biggest MS feeders to TJ, along with Kilmer and Rocky Run. Demographically, Oakton matches up a little more closely to McLean HS than Langley HS, in terms of having a bit more racial/economic diversity, but my sense is that the environments are pretty similar. Based on the locations, I'd hazard to guess that Oakton families skew more towards the IT industry and McLean families skew more towards government and DC-based professional service jobs. In recent years, the schools have been stronger in different sports (Oakton traditionally has strong football and girls basketball teams; Langley has strong boys basketball and lacrosse teams; and McLean has strong baseball, softball and soccer teams). Oakton is slightly bigger than McLean or Langley (typically 2200-2350 students vs. around 2000 at Langley and McLean).

The one negative about the Carson/Oakton area is that the boundaries and school assignments there get adjusted more often than any other part of the county. For example, I think much of Westfield used to go to Oakton, part of Oakton got moved to South Lakes in 2008, part of Chantilly got moved to Oakton in 2008, Carson now splits to three high schools (Westfield, South Lakes and Oakton), and FCPS has recently suggested that it may move some Fairfax HS kids to Oakton and some Oakton kids (although not in the Navy area) to Falls Church HS. And, if FCPS builds another HS in western Fairfax to relieve overcrowding, as it has stated it plans to do, that could end up affecting Oakton's boundaries as well. Although FCPS has also suggested that it may move some Longfellow/McLean kids to Cooper/Langley in the future, there haven't been as many boundary changes in the McLean area in recent years. However, the redevelopment plans for Tysons could also affect the McLean-area schools at some point, depending on how many families with children move into the planned new housing.

Last edited by JD984; 02-17-2013 at 11:18 AM..
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,016,057 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
The trend in this part of Fairfax seems to be to offer Local Level IV services at more elementary schools, which results in fewer students attending the designated AAP centers. For example, parents of AAP-eligible children at Chesterbrook now largely opt for Local Level IV at Chesterbrook rather than the Haycock AAP center. This has led some to suggest that, at some point, FCPS will dispense with seaprate AAP "centers," at least in the McLean pyramid, and just make Local Level IV services available at every school in the pyramid, including Haycock.
Isn't that true for the whole county? I think they've doing that here in Mount Vernon too. A lot of these kids are staying at their neighborhood schools rather than all going to Stratford Landing. Ultimately that may help reduce the difference in test scores between Mount Vernon and West Potomac. Perhaps you'll see that in other areas where the center school takes kids from multiple high school zones. We may be unique though because our secondary schools are under-enrolled and kids can pretty much select wherever they want to go.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Fairfax County
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Isn't that true for the whole county? I think they've doing that here in Mount Vernon too. A lot of these kids are staying at their neighborhood schools rather than all going to Stratford Landing. Ultimately that may help reduce the difference in test scores between Mount Vernon and West Potomac. Perhaps you'll see that in other areas where the center school takes kids from multiple high school zones. We may be unique though because our secondary schools are under-enrolled and kids can pretty much select wherever they want to go.
It varies from one portion of the county to another. The School Board seems to be favoring not applying a one-size-fits-all approach for AAP. If you have the time and interest, I suggest viewing the work session video vs. relying on the posted minutes. The most recent work session video is from February 11, 2013.

School Board Meeting Videos
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Isn't that true for the whole county? I think they've doing that here in Mount Vernon too. A lot of these kids are staying at their neighborhood schools rather than all going to Stratford Landing. Ultimately that may help reduce the difference in test scores between Mount Vernon and West Potomac. Perhaps you'll see that in other areas where the center school takes kids from multiple high school zones. We may be unique though because our secondary schools are under-enrolled and kids can pretty much select wherever they want to go.
I can't say what the long-term strategy will be, but some pyramids currently have more center/Local Level IV schools than others. For example, currently the McLean pyramid has one center (Haycock) and two schools with Local Level IV (Chesterbrook and Timber Lane), and another school (Franklin Sherman) may get Local Level IV next year. The West Potomac and Mount Vernon pyramids currently each have one AAP center and one school with Local Level IV (Stratford Landing/Waynewood in WP; Riverside and Washington Mill in MV).

My understanding is that many FCPS administrators and parents believe that a successful center should have a "critical mass" of AAP students, so they may not like expanding Local Level IV in some pyramids, if they think it will reduce the size of the designated center. So, within the Mount Vernon pyramid, while some might think it's not "fair" if there are fewer schools with Local Level IV than in the McLean pyramid, some parents with AAP kids at Riverside might complain if FCPS expanded Local Level IV in the Mount Vernon pyramid, and complain that the AAP center at Riverside might no longer have the "critical mass" that FCPS has suggested is needed for a thriving center. This type of dialogue just took place when FCPS recently debated establishing AAP centers at every MS in the county (which the School Board decided required further study).

Haycock has a large number of AAP students who live within the school's base boundaries, and has also been overcrowded, so having Local Level IV at other schools in the pyramid still allows for this so-called "critical mass" and helps with the overcrowding. There is at least one School Board member who purportedly would like to get rid of the centers entirely, and just offer Local Level IV at every school, but I don't know how widely her view is shared among her colleagues.

Last edited by JD984; 02-17-2013 at 01:41 PM..
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,016,057 times
Reputation: 6824
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I can't say what the long-term strategy will be, but some pyramids currently have more center/Local Level IV schools than others. For example, currently the McLean pyramid has one center (Haycock) and two schools with Local Level IV (Chesterbrook and Timber Lane), and another school (Franklin Sherman) may get Local Level IV next year. The West Potomac and Mount Vernon pyramids currently each have one AAP center and one school with Local Level IV (Stratford Landing/Waynewood in WP; Riverside and Washington Mill in MV).

My understanding is that many FCPS administrators and parents believe that a successful center should have a "critical mass" of AAP students, so they may not like expanding Local Level IV in some pyramids, if they think it will reduce the size of the designated center. So, within the Mount Vernon pyramid, while some might think it's not "fair" if there are fewer schools with Local Level IV than in the McLean pyramid, some parents with AAP kids at Riverside might complain if FCPS expanded Local Level IV in the Mount Vernon pyramid, and complain that the AAP center at Riverside might no longer have the "critical mass" that FCPS has suggested is needed for a thriving center. This type of dialogue just took place when FCPS recently debated establishing AAP centers at every MS in the county (which the School Board decided required further study).

Haycock has a large number of AAP students who live within the school's base boundaries, and has also been overcrowded, so having Local Level IV at other schools in the pyramid still allows for this so-called "critical mass" and helps with the overcrowding. There is at least one School Board member who purportedly would like to get rid of the centers entirely, and just offer Local Level IV at every school, but I don't know how widely her view is shared among her colleagues.
Wouldn't they have had to have expanded eligibiity beyond the original GT program? I think Stratford was only able to fill a single class or at most a class and a half with GT kids at each grade level. In some cases they had to third and fourth graders and fifth and sixth graders together to make one class. Adding Riverside and Washington Mill to serve that small population of kids would have made the program unworkable. Does AAP serve a wider audience?
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:30 PM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,616,501 times
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Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Wouldn't they have had to have expanded eligibiity beyond the original GT program? I think Stratford was only able to fill a single class or at most a class and a half with GT kids at each grade level. In some cases they had to third and fourth graders and fifth and sixth graders together to make one class. Adding Riverside and Washington Mill to serve that small population of kids would have made the program unworkable. Does AAP serve a wider audience?
Yes, over time, I believe FCPS has made the most advanced academic programs available to a larger percentage of students. As of January 2013, Stratford Landing had 884 students, 360 of whom were at the AAP center. Since AAP is for Grades 3-6, that appears to translate to three full AAP classrooms for each of Grades 3-6 there now. The AAP center at Riverside is smaller (roughly 140 students), but they clearly have enough students for at least one full AAP class per grade.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,016,057 times
Reputation: 6824
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
Yes, over time, I believe FCPS has made the most advanced academic programs available to a larger percentage of students. As of January 2013, Stratford Landing had 884 students, 360 of whom were at the AAP center. Since AAP is for Grades 3-6, that appears to translate to three full AAP classrooms for each of Grades 3-6 there now. The AAP center at Riverside is smaller (roughly 140 students), but they clearly have enough students for at least one full AAP class per grade.
Sounds like FCPS has discovered "tracking", like we had when I was a kid.

Last edited by CAVA1990; 02-17-2013 at 08:16 PM..
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