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Old 02-08-2013, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Vienna, VA, USA
49 posts, read 127,023 times
Reputation: 15

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So, it looks like we may be selling out house in Reston in March. We are hoping to stay in Fairfax County - buying another house if we can find one, or else just renting for a while - mainly moving because the house we bought just 3.5 years ago was just too expensive, even with a refinance last year.

Anyway, our 1 daughter is 7 and in 2nd grade in small private school which is also part of the overall money issue, so we may have her in public school as early as next year, but she will definitely be going at the latest by middle school, as the school will not teach at that level (at least not yet).

So, as we look at all the possible areas to live in FFX County (but trying to stay as close to the Herndon/Reston/Vienna/Oakton areas as we can, since we've been in those areas for the last 13 years mostly), I'm trying to guage the schools. While the rankings give a useful ballpark, I wish there were rankings based on something besides test scores. I've heard that those simply map to how affluent an area is. I've heard that more important are other considerations which are not as easy to quantify. I guess what I'm looking for is a kind of Checkbook.org for schools, if that's even possible! I've also heard that percentage of students going on to a high school is a decent metric for quality, but I can't seem to find anything like this.

I guess I'm wondering if folks know of some good sites that look at schools from many different angles rather than the few metrics that I've seen...
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,129 posts, read 31,238,974 times
Reputation: 6920
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmon View Post
I've also heard that percentage of students going on to a high school is a decent metric for quality, but I can't seem to find anything like this.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that most kids at all middle schools in FC go on to high school. Although I think they quit tracking that metric in about 1940.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Vienna, VA, USA
49 posts, read 127,023 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that most kids at all middle schools in FC go on to high school. Although I think they quit tracking that metric in about 1940.
Oops! I meant to say high school kids going on to colleges! Heheh.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:17 PM
 
5,125 posts, read 10,085,417 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmon View Post
Oops! I meant to say high school kids going on to colleges! Heheh.
If that's what you're looking for, you can check this link (Fairfax schools are included along with those in other jurisdictions in Virginia):

VDOE :: Graduation, Completion and Dropout Data
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:49 PM
 
2,076 posts, read 3,428,918 times
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If you haven't found it, check out the school profiles for FCPS, Fairfax County Public Schools - School Profiles. It may not give all, but it does give a lot of data about the schools.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
1,449 posts, read 3,170,151 times
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There are very few "bad schools" in Fairfax, especially in the more affluent areas.

People use greatschools and schooldigger as their best estimates of a "good school"

If your child is in 2nd, you could get her tested for the AAP (gifted) program. If she tests into the program, she might be able to go to either the area AAP Center school or the LLIV school.
FCPS: Advanced Academics

FWIW, the schools in our neighborhood are rated 8 and above on great schools, yet the HS (Chantilly) is not considered one of the "best" high schools just because the SAT scores don't match places like Langley and there is more socioeconomic and ethnic diversity.

Honestly, it ALL comes back to socioeconomics. Most middle class and up parents try to avoid Title I schools at the elementary level (for better or worse), and the even higher income clamor for the top 5 HS clusters.

Find neighborhoods you like in the price range you are comfortable with - there really is no trick to all of this. I don't think there really is a "best" elementary school in this area - there are top notch schools in just about every corner of the county.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,129 posts, read 31,238,974 times
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I brought this up on another thread but is there a site that rates schools based on parent and student satisfaction? That seems like it would be more useful since as was alluded to here, the picture is often clouded by demographic averaging.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:37 AM
 
5,125 posts, read 10,085,417 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
I brought this up on another thread but is there a site that rates schools based on parent and student satisfaction? That seems like it would be more useful since as was alluded to here, the picture is often clouded by demographic averaging.
If there is anything reliable like that for FCPS, it has escaped my attention. Montgomery County in Maryland does make such survey information available:

Montgomery County Public Schools - Survey Results

That type of information may be useful, but has its own issues in terms of comparability since fewer parents and students may complete surveys at some schools than others, and the expectations of parents and students may also vary in different areas.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Suburbia
8,826 posts, read 15,311,022 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
I brought this up on another thread but is there a site that rates schools based on parent and student satisfaction? That seems like it would be more useful since as was alluded to here, the picture is often clouded by demographic averaging.
I'd be concerned that the parents who are happy would not chime in and the results would be skewed by a more vocal group of negative ratings.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,129 posts, read 31,238,974 times
Reputation: 6920
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
I'd be concerned that the parents who are happy would not chime in and the results would be skewed by a more vocal group of negative ratings.
I'd have it done like a Gallup phone survey to avoid that type of skewing. The schools could even use their automated call out tool to do it with a recording.
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