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Fairfax County High School Rankings: IB vs AP

When choosing a high school, either for a current high-schooler or for the future, there are several considerations.  One consideration which is in almost every parent’s mind is: How good is the school?

And, well, “good” is quite a subjective measure

But when they say “good”, most parents are referring to how much their children will be challenged to reach their highest potential.

Children love to be challenged (IB vs AP)

Children love to be challenged

One way to ensure that children have the opportunity to be challenged is by attending a high school offering a high-level program of courses.  Two of those programs are the Advanced Placement program (AP), and the International Baccalaureate (IB).  Continue Reading…

Fairfax County High School Rankings – by 2011 SAT scores

SAT scores are one measure to get Fairfax County High School Rankings

SAT scores are one measure to get Fairfax County High School Rankings

Most of us, at one point in time, have set a goal to lose some weight.   And the goal is not so much to lose “some” weight, but usually, the goal is a measurable goal. It’s usually: “to fit in my skinny jeans”, or better yet, “to lose 21.5 lbs. by Thanksgiving”.

Setting measurable goals is very important if one is determined to succeed

Setting measurable goals (and measuring them periodically) allows us to see our progress and to figure out how much do we still have to work to achieve our goal.

One of the ways high school students measure their progress toward being ready for college is their SAT score

SAT tests are standardized tests, and are administered by The College Board. The purpose of the SATs is to measure a student’s proficiency and readiness for college.  Most colleges require prospective students to provide their SAT score as part of their admissions package.

Average SAT scores can be used to compare high schools

At the high school level, the average SAT score for the school is one way to compare how well one high school prepares their students for college.  When we review the Average SAT scores by high school, it gives us a parameter to help us compare high schools.

Below is a table ranking all of the Fairfax County High Schools by their average 2011 SAT test results.   It’s important to note that, this year, there were 9 schools (out of 26) that improved their scores from last year’s (2010) average, and their improvement is noted in the last column. Continue Reading…

Fairfax County Public Schools ranking vs nearby districts

How does Fairfax County Schools compare to other districts?

How does Fairfax County Schools compare to other districts?

Kids love to compare. From when we are little, we learn to make decisions by comparing attributes.  Who runs faster?, Who is older?, Who is taller?

When we grow older, we still love to compare. Which way is faster? Which grocery store is cheaper? Which school district is better?

In this post, we analyze three points of data to help you compare one school district to another.


Continue Reading…

The Top 10 FAQs for Moving to Fairfax VA

The DC area reminds me of a revolving door. People from all parts of the US (and the world) are often moving to Fairfax VA (a suburb of Washington, DC) due to their job assignments.

The DC area revolving glass door

People are often moving to Fairfax VA due to job relocations and military orders

With military and government personnel plus a fair bit of private-sector employees always on the move, we’ve had plenty of opportunities for answering their relocation questions.

Here are three of the Top 10 FAQs (frequently asked questions) for Moving to Fairfax VA: Continue Reading…

My friend D won the lottery!

As D’s Mom scrambles to buy school supplies on the day before school starts, she’s feeling flustered among the throngs of last-minute shoppers at the office supply store… but among all the commotion, she’s happy that things turned out as she hoped for: her daughter had won the lottery.

D’s family found out that D had won the lottery

D got into language immersion

Congrats to D who got into Language Immersion!

Even though it’s not the lottery where you win lots of money, for D’s family, it’s a better lottery: It’s where D won the opportunity to attend an elementary school outside of her attendance area.

See, D’s attendance area dictated that she go to her neighborhood elementary school (i.e. her base school).  And her base school is a great school, but D’s family was hoping for her to attend another school that had a language immersion program not available at her base school.

How did D get on the list for this language immersion program?

D’s family put her name into the language immersion lottery at the new school many months in advance.  And they waited, and waited… and waited. When they didn’t hear from Fairfax County Schools up until the end of August, D’s Mom went out and bought the school supplies requested by D’s base elementary school.

But, almost at the last minute, on Saturday afternoon before school started, they were notified that there was a spot for D in the language immersion program!  And they were all very excited.  But there are downsides to winning the lottery…

There are some downsides to winning the lottery

One of them is that there is no bus transportation available for kids who live outside of the school boundary, so D will have to be driven back and forth to school.

Another downside is scrambling at the last minute to buy supplies for the new school.  As D’s Mom wondered: “Why did they wait to let them know at the last minute?”

There could be many reasons for the wait, but one that I can think of, is that the language immersion program must be available to all the children who live within its elementary school boundary.  Only when there are available spots, they can be given to children from outside the boundary.  Sometimes, it’s not clear until the last minute who will be attending the program, since some parents are also waiting on other placement decisions.

The good news is that winning this lottery is a very big opportunity for D to enrich her education starting now and affecting the rest of her life.

Congratulations, my Dear D!

And Happy New School Year, Everyone! May you learn lots this year and, above all, enjoy your journey. :)

Photo by atoach on

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