Why many FCPS school assignments are incorrect

Last week, one of our readers asked a very important question.  She wanted to understand why it was that a home for sale that she really liked had “funky” school assignments.

Home for Sale in Woodson HS boundary

Home for Sale in Woodson HS boundary

In her particular situation, the house that she was considering was in the Woodson High School boundary (she used the Home by School interactive app* to find it).

Once she found the house, she double-checked the schools on the home listing with the official boundary system at the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) website [1].

She double-checked the official FCPS school assignments

When she confirmed what the official FCPS school assignments were for that house, she found that while the assigned high school was Woodson, and the middle school was Frost MS (in the Woodson Pyramid),  the elementary school was not in the Woodson Pyramid.

Instead, the elementary school assigned to that house belonged to the Fairfax Pyramid.

Our reader was, rightfully, confused and wondered what that meant in the long run

  • Could it be that the assignments were incorrect?
  • Or perhaps that the middle and high schools would be re-assigned in the future to the Fairfax Pyramid?

The issue is due to the most recent boundary change

I explained to her that this fall, the boundary for Fairfax HS and Lanier MS will be changing [2].  As part of that change, many homes that used to fall within the Fairfax HS boundary will now belong to the Woodson HS and Frost MS boundaries.

However, this boundary change doesn’t affect elementary school boundaries

This explains why a home which up until this past school year had assigned an elementary, middle and high school all within the Fairfax Pyramid, starting this fall, will have an elementary school still in the Fairfax Pyramid, but the middle and high school will be part of the Woodson Pyramid.

This is the situation that our reader encountered with the home for sale that she liked.

But so far, we haven’t discussed why many FCPS school assignments in listings of homes for sale are incorrect…

Let’s see first which school assignments on homes for sale are Correct

1. The official FCPS boundary system is Correct.

2. Our home by school app should be correct, since we do our best to keep our maps of homes for sale by school boundary up to date (but please double-check with the official FCPS boundary system).

3. Some homes on the MLS (and, therefore, in websites with homes for sale) will have the correct assignments – but many won’t

So which school assignments are listed incorrectly?

Many, many homes for sale on the MLS have incorrect school assignments

  • Many homes that have been listed for a few months, will have last year’s (i.e. incorrect) school assignments
  • Many homes for which the listing agent entered the assigned school without checking the official boundary system, have incorrect school assignments
  • Many homes for sale don’t have any school information on the listing
  • Many homes for sale for which the listing agent used the new “auto-populate” feature of the MLS, and since the auto-populate feature simply finds “nearby” schools, and is not linked in any way to the official data from the school district, have incorrect school assignments

So, what are smart home buyers to do?

  1. The first thing is to be aware that school information on any website that shows homes for sale in Fairfax County is probably incorrect.
  2. The second thing to do is to double-check the school assignments of each home for sale that you are interested in with the official boundary system of the school district.
  3. The third thing to do is to use our Home by School interactive app*, which we work very hard to keep up to date to make your life easier when looking for homes for sale by school.

And a Useful Tip:

If you want a more detailed boundary drawn, for example, for an elementary school or a middle school, let us know and we’ll be happy to enable it for you.

* Access the Home by School interactive app

Access the Home by School interactive app (from a computer, not a tablet or phone) by logging into the site, accessing the Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries, clicking through to a high school boundary, and then clicking on the big, red button that reads “Find a Home”.

Fairfax County Map with high school boundaries
Click to access the Fairfax County Map (with UP-TO-DATE high school boundaries)


Log in to the Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries (a.k.a the Affordability Map) to see the location of each of the most UP-TO-DATE boundaries within Fairfax County and to choose your ideal boundary.

When you log in to the Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries, you will find:

  • UP-TO-DATE School boundaries
  • Photos and videos
  • Highlights of the area covered by each boundary
  • Transportation options
  • Statistics about housing
  • School rankings for schools in each boundary

See you on the other side!

If you haven’t subscribed yet, why wait?

The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA
The FREE No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA

Downloading The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA is free, and you’ll get access to our unique home-search (by school boundary).

Plus, you get the Fairfax County Real Estate Affordability Map, AND access to detailed information about each Fairfax County School boundary.

[1] Here is the official boundary system for Fairfax County Public Schools

[2] More about the 2014-2015 Fairfax HS boundary change (and how you can save 15%), and official info on the 2014-2015 boundary change

Image from MRIS


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