Best Elementary Schools in Fairfax County

A few weeks ago, we identified the Top High Schools in Fairfax County VA based on US News’s State rankings.

This week, we’ve been inspired by Northern Virginia Magazine, with their Best Elementary Schools article.  Their article covers several Counties, and here, we are focusing on the best elementary schools in Fairfax County.

Fairfax County Schools: Best Elementary Schools

NoVa Magazine’s Best Elementary Schools

In Northern Virginia magazine’s article, their staff poured through the School Report cards available on the Virginia Department of Education to extract the following four elements to determine their “Best Elementary Schools” list:

Best Elementary Schools* Methodology

  1. The 2010-2011 average SOL (Standards of Learning) tests pass rate –  This is the same calculation we use to help you compare schools.
  2. The Percentage of students who performed above average on the 2010-2011 SOLs (shows average of advanced proficiency)
  3. The 3 year 2008-2011 average SOL pass rate (shows long-term academic performance)
  4. Free/Reduced Lunch (shows the socio-economic breakdown of the school)

The Top 25% Elementary Schools

The result of the Northern Virginia magazine article is a list of 35 elementary schools (which is the top 25% of a total of 139 elementary schools).   The list is chock-full of great info, however, three downsides of the alphabetically-ordered list are:

  1. It’s hard to compare the schools side by side
  2. It’s hard to get perspective as to how these schools fit into the bigger schema
  3. Because it’s an alphabetical list, it’s hard to picture where they are in the County

1. It’s hard to compare the schools side-by-side

Because the schools are displayed on a long list, instead of using a table, it’s difficult to see how one school compares to another.    To be fair, it would be a veeeery long table and it would be difficult to digest.    To make the information easier to understand at a glance, the info must be broken down further – like, for example grouping the elementary schools which feed into the same high school.

This takes us onto the second downside of the list…

2. It’s hard to figure out where they fit within the bigger schema

With a list of 35 schools it’s hard to get the bigger picture as to how good their corresponding middle and high schools are.

This is where we got the idea of mixing and matching rankings.

So we mixed and matched rankings

The first thing we did was to take the US News Top High Schools list and grouped the Best Elementary Schools* by high school.   This way, we re-organized the once alphabetically-ordered list onto groups under each of the Top High Schools in Fairfax County.

The second thing we did was to add the 2010-2011 average SOL to the table so that it’s easier to compare the schools side-by-side.

Here is the result of our mix and match

The US News rankings for each of the corresponding 15 High Schools with Elementary Schools in Fairfax County listed as “Best” according to Northern Virginia Magazine:

US News Top High Schools & NoVa Magazine’s Best Elementary Schools

US News
Rank (Virginia)
School Name Average
SOL Score
# 3 Marshall High 96
Westbriar Elementary 98
Westgate Elementary 98
# 4 Mclean High 98
Chesterbrook Elementary 98
Haycock Elementary 98
Kent Gardens Elementary 95
Sherman Elementary 97
# 5 Robinson High 96
Fairview Elementary 95
# 6 Langley High 98
Churchill Rd Elementary 97
Colvin Run Elementary 98
Forestville Elementary 96
Great Falls Elementary 98
Spring Hill Elementary 97
# 7 Woodson High 97
Canterbury Woods Elem 96
Mantua Elementary 95
# 8 Madison High 97
Archer Elementary 97
Vienna Elementary 95
Wolftrap Elementary 97
# 9 Oakton High 98
Fox Mill Elementary 98
Mosby Woods Elementary 95
Oakton Elementary 97
# 11 Lake Braddock High 95
Sangster Elementary 97
White Oaks Elementary 94
# 12 West Springfield High 96
Hunt Valley Elementary 97
Keene Mill Elementary 94
West Springfield Elementary 94
# 13 Fairfax High 95
Fairfax Villa Elementary 97
Willow Springs Elementary 98
# 15 Chantilly High 96
Greenbriar West Elementary 98
Lee’s Corner Elementary 95
Oak Hill Elementary 97
# 16 Westfield High 94
Floris Elementary 97
Virginia Run Elementary 95
Unranked South Lakes High 90
Hunter Woods Elementary 96
Unranked Lee High 87
Springfield Estates Elementary 95
Unranked West Potomac High 87
Stratford Landing Elementary 96

This table gives you good information as to how each of these Best Elementary Schools in Fairfax County* fit within the bigger schema of their High School pyramids (i.e. which High School does each Elementary School feed into).
But, if you are not very familiar with Fairfax County, picturing where each of these schools is will be your next challenge.

3. It’s hard to picture where the best elementary schools in Fairfax County are located

To get a better idea as to where these schools are within the County (are they in the Northern end, or in the Eastern side near DC, or further West, near Dulles Airport?), we mapped each of the Fairfax County High School boundaries and highlighted the ones mentioned on the table above on our Fairfax County School Boundaries map:

Top High School boundaries with Best Elementary Schools in Fairfax County, VA

High School boundaries with Best Elementary Schools in Fairfax County

With this map, you can get an idea as to where each Fairfax County High School boundary is, and if it meets your criteria of where to live based on your desired commute or other location preferences (e.g. near water, near the airport, etc.).

Your Next Step

Now that you know where the Top High Schools and the Best Elementary Schools in Fairfax County* are, you will want to find out more about your favorite area to learn about transportation options, average home prices, and homes for sale.

An easy way to do this is to log into the Fairfax County School Boundaries Map, and select the boundary that interests you.

And don’t worry, if you need any help to refine your search, we’d be delighted to give you a hand.  Simply contact us via phone or email.

* Best Elementary Schools in Fairfax County refers to the schools selected within Northern Virginia Magazine’s article.

Map data (c) Google


2 Responses to “Best Elementary Schools in Fairfax County”

  1. Natalia May 19, 2015 at 11:31 am #

    This is nice of you to write up – but I want to point out one very important part of this information. Most of these elementary schools listed above are Advanced Placement (AP) centers – meaning that they have the most brightest youngsters go there starting in 3rd grade as they are transferred from their base school to attend the AP centers. This, of course, would skew the SOL score that is listed above! Of course these schools should have the highest SOL scores – we have sent all the smart kids to hang out together :)

    • Marina Brito May 19, 2015 at 11:43 am #

      Hi Natalia,

      You are absolutely correct. Many of these Top Elementary Schools are AP centers as well, but not all of them.

      For example, the top two on the list: Westbriar and Westgate. Westbriar is only the Level IV AP center for grades 3-4 (but not 5-6), so there are AP kids raising the test scores for the overall school.

      On the other hand, Westgate is not an AP center and it had the same pass rate (98) as Westbriar.

      Your thoughtful comment gives me an idea: when I update the post, I’ll note which schools are AP centers as well.

      Thanks so much for your note,

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