Archive - Special Programs RSS Feed

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

How to choose an elementary school with gifted programs

Fairfax County Schools has four levels of gifted programs

Gifted programs at Fairfax Schools

Last school year, I helped Andy find a home by school boundary. To start, Andy wanted a school that would be a good fit for all her children, so she had certain characteristics for the ideal school in mind. One of her children was very advanced in academics, another one seemed to want to follow in her sister’s footsteps and the third one was happier enjoying the regular pace of school.

Andy wanted all of her kids to attend the same school, if possible, so she asked me if there were some schools that offered “Gifted Programs” along with the traditional programs.

What kinds of gifted programs are available in Fairfax County Schools? Continue Reading…

How to choose your top 2 Fairfax school pyramids

Choose your top 2 school pyramidsWhen Kathy’s husband was transferred back to the DC area after an assignment abroad, their kids were in elementary school and middle school. Since the children were fluent in French, she was hoping to continue their bilingual education through a special program throughout their K-12 years.


Fairfax County Public Schools are organized into pyramids

School pyramids are simply a way to organize schools. The top of the pyramid is the high school, then one or two middle schools; and the base of the pyramid is made up of several “feeder” elementary schools.

Continue Reading…

Page 2 of 2«12
Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.