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Old 02-25-2009, 08:32 AM
 
5 posts, read 17,933 times
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Just came back from my trip to NoVA, and I must admit I am deeply impressed with the way some communities look like. Frankly, I personally liked some of pockets in Fairfax better than Arlington, although Arlington had some very nice areas too.

Now, my big question. I discovered that all of the Fairfax elementary schools only had hours between 9-11 (Monday) and 9-12 (all other days) for the K grade. The schools in Arlington on the other hand usually ran between 9.30am-3.45pm.

Basically kids in Arlington go to school twice as long, and get twice as much education, am I right? Seems to me that the schools are completely underfunded in Fairfax, and I wonder if the high ratings do not reflect recent budget cuts.

Is there anyone who might have more information on how Fairfax schools can still be this effective despite short hours? Or am I right in my assumption that the kids in Arlington are better educated because of the longer school hours?
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:59 AM
 
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I believe since you are only talking half-day for Kindergarten, that really doesn't effect the overall education levels for later grades. Fairfax is one of, if the THE, higher performing school district.
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:34 AM
 
134 posts, read 163,282 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
I believe since you are only talking half-day for Kindergarten, that really doesn't effect the overall education levels for later grades. Fairfax is one of, if the THE, higher performing school district.
I thought so too but according to Newsweek, Arlington is.
America's Top Public High Schools | Newsweek Best High Schools | Newsweek.com

Personally, I think fairfax has better schools but you have to be carefull on where you look.
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:48 AM
 
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Some Fairfax County schools offer half day kindergarten and other schools offer full day kindergarten. My older daughter attends a full day K.

You may be able to find out that info by clicking on this link and searching for various elementary schools profiles. Fairfax County Public Schools - Schools and Centers Directory
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:29 AM
 
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Thanks for the replies, I based my assumption on Churchill, Wakefield, and a few others. Basically I just focused on K grade, and these schools only offered half-day (overcrowding? educational philosophy?). Even the full day schools have half-day on at least one day (usually Monday), and this for most grades.

I did take a peek at the Newsweek ranking, but I personally do not hold that much of such rankings. According to the ranking, Florida (I'm from Tampa) has 19 of the top 100 schools, exceeding New York's tally by around 7. Although possible, I'm skeptic based on the funding available to schools in NY and FL.
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:36 AM
 
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Arlington does have full day kindergarten at all elementary schools. Most Arlington elementaries have an early release day on Wednesdays, similar to Fairfax on Mondays. Several schools have eliminated the early release Wednesday when they began to incorporate FLES (foreign langauge in elementary school) programs. We're up to about 7 I think. In comparing, remember that while quality programs are quality programs, Arlington is only a fraction of the size of Fairfax--we have 22 elem schools compared to something like 135 maybe? So that does factor in to operating procedures, budgets, etc, although not necessarily quality of the schools.
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Mountain View, CA
1,152 posts, read 2,846,224 times
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Okay... I don't mean to be "mean" to the OP here, and I'm sure I'll get negative rep for this... but do people really think half day kindergarten vs. full day kindergarten is some huge educational difference? I mean really... its KINDERGARTEN. I know when I was a child, I went to half day, because I didn't do well with full day. Our public schools had full day (primarily so parents could work) and my mom pulled me out and sent me to private school to get me in half day.

I just can't believe people spend this much time worrying about every little minutiae. I mean, really. Trying to decide if Arlington or Fairfax is better, in terms of public schools, is like trying to figure out if Harvard or Oxford is more well regarded.

Bottom line, in my opinion: MOST of the NOVA school districts, especially fairfax, loudoun, arlington, and PWC, will provide children an excellent education and amply prepare them for college, given proper parental support and other factors. With these districts we are talking mostly marginal differences in quality that are probably pretty meaningless outside of statistics.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:21 AM
 
82 posts, read 535,411 times
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so let me get this straight as I have been looking at moving to either Fairfax County [McLean, City of Falls Church, Vienna] or Arlington County [N. Arlington].

Fairfax elementary
• K half days every day
• remaining grades are full days, with one day early dismal

Arlington elementary
• K full days, one day early dismal
• remaining grades are full days with one day early dismal
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:50 AM
 
1,261 posts, read 5,609,248 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC resident View Post
Fairfax elementary
• K half days every day
• remaining grades are full days, with one day early dismal
As Housewatcher stated, there are several FCPS that offer all day K.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:56 AM
 
82 posts, read 535,411 times
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I did some more research [see below]. It appears in Fairfax there is a session called After Kindergarten that operates from the end of morning K until the end of the school day. The program comes with a fee and is based on income. If you make over $50K after K costs $276.

Als note Fairfax, like Arlington offers before and after care typically beginning around 7am and ending at 6pm. The costs in Fairfax for the morning is $125 and the after school is another $276. Total cost including After K 125+276+276= $677. I think before and after care in Arlington totals $474.

From the Fairfax County Public School Website
Fairfax
School Year Program
During the school year, children may be enrolled in three separate sessions
(below). Enrollment and fees are separate for each program and session.
Before School (BS): operates from 7:15 a.m. until the time school begins.
After Kindergarten (AK): operates from the end of the morning
kindergarten class until the end of the regular school day. Kindergarten
children needing care after the regular school day ends must enroll in
both the after kindergarten and after school sessions.
Note: In schools with an early release schedule on Mondays,
children who are enrolled in the after kindergarten program, but
not the after school program, may attend SACC until the regular
Tuesday through Friday school dismissal time.
Children enrolled in the AK program must be enrolled in the school’s
morning kindergarten class. Acceptance into the school’s morning
kindergarten class is based upon availability and approval by the
school. Space is limited. Therefore, it is recommended that parents
make this request to their school offi ce as soon as possible. Enrollment
in SACC does not guarantee enrollment in the school’s morning
kindergarten class.
After School (AS): operates from the end of the school day until
6:15 p.m. In schools where children are released early on Mondays,
SACC service begins when children are released.
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