Back To School On Tuesday, September 6

An estimated 177,629 students will begin the 2011-12 school year on Tuesday, September 6, in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) — the nation’s 11th largest school system.

Students will attend 138 elementary schools (grades K-6), 19 middle schools (grades 7 and 8), 3 middle schools (grades 6-8), 4 secondary schools (grades 7-12), 21 high schools (grades 9-12), 7 special education centers, 2 alternative high schools, and 48 alternative programs.

Three of these schools are magnet schools: Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences, Hunters Woods Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences, and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST).

Fairfax County high schools are among the most challenging in the United States and were cited by Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews in May 2011 as among the top high schools in the country, based on their ability to challenge average students with Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.

Full-day kindergarten will be offered at all FCPS elementary schools for the first time in the 2011-12 school year.

Email services

FCPS offers an e-mail notification service for parents, students, and community members interested in receiving timely information from the school system. Called Keep in Touch (KIT), the service can be accessed from the FCPS home page.

KIT Basic is a service that automatically sends emergency messages and information about their children’s school directly to parents and guardians.  KIT Plus is a self-subscribing service that allows anyone to receive information of his or her choice about the school system.  More information is available here.

Information available online

A full complement of information about FCPS is available on the school system’s Website, including school supply lists (available on individual school Websites), Back to School Night information, lunch menus, transportation information, cable television schedules, information on academic programs and special education, and information on each school.

The FCPS Website includes a 24-7 boundary locator service, which allows a user to type in an address and learn the elementary, middle, and high schools attended by students living at that address.

FCPS 24-7 Learning is used by students, parents, and teachers to access homework and class assignments, participate in secure online journaling and collaborative work groups, view class calendars, and explore links to enrichment activities; it is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

weCare@School is a wireless emergency care information service that enables parents to securely access and update their children’s emergency information via FCPS 24-7 Learning; the service updates this information in the student information system and makes that information available to emergency personnel on handheld devices.

Family Connection provides online tools for selected middle and all high school students and their parents. Research tools for colleges and careers support students as they set goals for the future. High school students can plan college application activities and view college acceptance histories for their high schools. Middle school students at select sites can investigate careers, create resumes and set goals as they prepare to select high school academic plans.

Registering your child for school 

What are the age requirements for admission to school?  Virginia law requires the following:  A child who has reached age five on or before September 30, 2011, must be enrolled in kindergarten for the 2011-12 school year unless the parent or guardian notifies the local school principal that he or she does not want the child to attend.

A child who will be six years old on or before September 30, 2011, must attend school.

How do I find out which schools my children will attend?  To determine which schools serve a particular residence, use the boundary locator service or call 703-329-9831.  If you have questions concerning boundary information, call 571-423-2330, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

What do I need to enroll my child in school?

After scheduling a registration appointment at the school, the natural or adoptive parent or legal guardian (a photo ID of the parent or guardian will be required) must bring an original birth certificate, a withdrawal slip or report card from the child’s previous school, and proof of residency in Fairfax County (usually a lease or deed) to the local school office when enrolling a child.

A certificate (Commonwealth of Virginia School Entrance Health Form MCH-213) of a recent (within 12 months) physical examination by a licensed physician is required for all students being admitted for the first time into elementary school.   A transfer student entering elementary school must provide either a record of a physical examination completed prior to enrolling in the previous school or a record of a physical examination dated within the past 12 months.

Virginia law requires that every new student be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, mumps, measles (rubeola), German measles (rubella), and hepatitis B; objections to this requirement that are based on religious or medical grounds may be discussed with the principal.

Virginia law also requires that all students entering sixth grade receive a booster dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) vaccine if at least five years have elapsed since the last dose was administered.

Female students entering sixth grade are required to have the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.  However, parents or guardians may opt out of immunizing their child for the HPV vaccine.  HPV is the only immunization for which an opt out does not require a medical or religious exemption.

Students born on or after January 1, 1997, are required to have been immunized against chicken pox.

Evidence of a negative tuberculin test administered within 90 days or a normal chest X-ray administered within 90 days is required for all students who have resided in foreign countries for five months or more during the last five years (with the exception of those countries listed on the current Exception List for Tuberculin Skin Test.

Where can I go to register my child?  You can register your child at your neighborhood school unless a language other than or in addition to English is spoken in the home or you are not the child’s natural or adoptive parent and the parents do not reside in Fairfax County.  In those cases, you should make an appointment at one of the four Student Registration centers located in Fairfax County.  All centers provide registration and English proficiency assessment services; call one of the registration centers listed below to make an appointment.

Registration centers are at the following locations:

Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

  • Dunn Loring Center for Parent Services, 2334 Gallows Road, Dunn Loring (extended hours August 29-September 1 and September 6-8, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.), 703-204-6740.
  • Lake Anne-Reston Registration Center, 11484 Washington Plaza West, Suite 310, Reston (extended hours August 29-September 1 and September 6-8, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.), call 703-668-0690 to make an appointment.
  • South County Government Center, 8350 Richmond Highway,
  • Suite 123, Alexandria (extended hours August 29-September 1 and September 6-8, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.), call 703-704-6017 to make an appointment.

Parents are urged to register new students as soon as possible in order to avoid large crowds and long lines in late August and early September.