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?

The first thing that I reminded Andy about was that most Fairfax County Schools (FCPS) are very good, so even a “traditional program” was an academically-challenging one. Further, all elementary schools offer advanced learning strategies for all children in grades K-6 and this is considered “Level I” of the Advanced Academic Programs available at FCPS.

In addition to Level I, at Level II, all kids in grades K-6 have the opportunity to receive more advanced lessons in their own areas of strength within their regular classrooms.

Once kids show that a higher level of advanced academics would be suitable for them, starting in grade 3, they can apply to a part-time (Level III) program offered in their base school; or a full time (Level IV) program – possibly housed in a different school (or “Center”).

Andy found that a Local Level IV school was a great option

For Andy, a school that offered a Local Level IV gifted program would allow all of her children to be together through their elementary school years and still get the level of academics that each of them needed.

So far Andy’s school search was easy to fulfill

To fulfill Andy’s ideal school search, I pointed her to the official Fairfax County Schools website to find the list of elementary schools that contained a Level IV Advanced Academic Program (AAP). Once she found the schools that met her needs, she could create a short list of possibilities. But, when she found out that there were about 30 elementary schools to choose from, she felt that she needed to apply another set of criteria to help her narrow down the list further.

Andy had more criteria to apply to her school search

Andy’s new criteria was to find schools with foreign language immersion programs; specifically Japanese. She found that there was one elementary school which was a Local Level IV advanced academics center that also offered Japanese as a partial-immersion program. Andy was very excited about this option so she visited the school, determined that it was a great choice, and she was finally ready to find a home within the attendance area of her chosen school.

Time to find a home for Andy’s family

Once Andy was ready to find homes for sale in her desired school’s boundary, she logged-in to the Home by School map and found exactly what she was looking for in a home.

Find Homes INSIDE the elementary school boundary

Homes INSIDE the elementary school boundary

After using the Home by School map (see above image), Andy discovered that choosing a school with a gifted program and finding the perfect home for the whole family was actually a fun thing to do – and not “overwhelming and complicated” as she once feared.


  • Andy wanted an elementary school where all her children could attend together
  • One of Andy’s criteria was to have advanced academic programs available in the school
  • There are 4 levels of advanced academic programs offered at Fairfax County Schools
  • Andy found the right school after selecting a Local Level IV school that also offered a language program
  • Once Andy found the right school, she used the Home by School Map to find the right home

Next Step

There’s no need to struggle to find the right home in the right school boundary.  Come on in and give the Home by School map a try. :)

Homes for sale INSIDE the school district

Homes INSIDE the Fairfax City School District

2 Responses to “How to choose an elementary school with gifted programs”

  1. Sylvia August 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    I’m a little confused. I believe the only elementary school in Fairfax County that has both partial immersion Japanese and Local Level IV is Great Falls Elementary. Am I incorrect? The map above makes it look like this is offered in the Daniel’s Run or Providence School District. Both of these schools I don’t believe offer Japanese or Local Level IV. Can you clarify which school you are referring to in your article? Great Falls is a very expensive living area whereas the map above shows a more reasonably priced area to live in.

    • Marina Brito August 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

      Hi Silvia,

      Indeed, it was Great Falls Elementary School that I used as an example for this article.

      And you are right, the image on the map does not correspond to the Great Falls Elementary School boundary. The image of the map corresponds to the Fairfax City Schools District.

      I simply used that image as an example of what our home search by school is like – with homes INSIDE of a boundary (once you log into the site). I apologize if it was confusing to you. I will update the image with the one that corresponds to the Great Falls School Boundary.

      Thanks for your question. :)


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