Advanced Academic Programs

Our Advanced Academic Resource Teacher

Our Advanced Academic Resource Teacher (AART) collaborates with the school staff to offer a range of advanced academic services that builds upon students' individual strengths and skills. 

To learn more about the levels of service and the county-wide Advanced Academic Programs, please read below.

Continuum of Advanced Academic Services in FCPS

FAQs: Continuum of Services

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is committed to challenging all students through talent development efforts and differentiated instruction to meet the needs of advanced learners. 

FCPS offers a continuum of advanced academic services for all students in Grades K-12. The continuum of services approach recognizes unique student needs. It focuses on matching students to services, not labeling students. Through the continuum, students have:

· Many entry points for deeper learning opportunities in specific areas of need.

· A cluster group of students with similar academic needs.

Teachers and staff work together to provide the following levels of service at the elementary level:

Access to Rigor, Grades K-6 (Level I) 

All students have opportunities to think critically, reason, and problem-solve.  Teachers in Grades K-6 use:

  • critical and creative thinking (CCT) strategies in their lessons.
  • materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework a least of once per quarter.

Because Access to Rigor is for all FCPS students, there is not a screening process.

However, student responses to these lessons are used as part of the identification process for Levels II-IV. Parents may also practice these strategies during family conversations and activities. 9 critical and creative thinking strategies

Subject Specific Advanced Differentiation, Grades K-6 (Level II)

Some students are strong in a specific subject area. Classroom teachers may adjust instruction for students in these area(s) by:

  • Providing different assignments and resources in those subjects,
  • Grouping students by their strengths, interests, and readiness, and
  • Using more materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework.

The AART collaborates with classroom teachers to provide additional challenges through lessons and resources within the general education program.

Students are re-evaluated for subject specific differentiation each year at the local school.

Part-Time Services, Grade 3-6 (Level III)

Some students have advanced academic needs in multiple subject areas in addition to specific subject differentiation. They need part-time AAP services.  In part-time services:

  • Students work with other students that have similar academic needs through weekly pull-out classes or weekly co-taught lessons with the AART and classroom teacher.
  • Teachers provide frequent opportunities to use materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework in Language Arts, science, social studies, and/or mathematics.

Part-time services continue through Grade 6. Once identified by the local screening committee, students do not need to be evaluated each year.

Full-Time Services, Grades 3-8 (Level IV) 

Some advanced learners need a full-time advanced academic program with differentiated instruction in all four core content areas (Language Arts, mathematics, social studies, and science). Students eligible for full-time AAP services:

  • Are cluster grouped with other students that have similar academic needs
  • Have full-time use of materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework in Language Arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, and
  • Use curriculum that is differentiated through acceleration, depth, and complexity of content.

Students access full-time AAP services at a Local Level IV program or a Level IV Center.

Full-time services continue through Grade 8. Students do not need to be evaluated each year.

AAP at Fox Mill

For Fox Mill students, we offer Local level IV services for 3rd and 4th grade students. Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, Local Level IV services will be offered for 5th grade. Beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, Local Level IV services will be offered for 6th grade and our transition to Local Level lV programming will be complete.

The Level lV program is offered at the Oak Hill ES center. Students currently have a choice of remaining at Fox Mill for the Local Level IV program or attending Oak Hill ES.

The screening for this level of service occurs in the fall for students who are new to FCPS and in the spring for all other students. The deadline for fall screening is early October for students new to FCPS. The deadline for spring screening is December 15th. Additional information is available in the Parent Information Packet published on the FCPS website. 

Young Scholars

The FCPS Young Scholars model seeks to identify and affirm, from an early age, students with high academic potential from groups historically underrepresented in advanced academic programming. The goal of the model is to eliminate barriers for Young Scholars’ access to and success in advanced academic opportunities in elementary, middle, and high school.

Twice-Exceptional (2e)

Some gifted students with advanced learning needs may also have a learning disability. Twice-exceptional (or “2e”) students need strengths-based instruction while receiving advanced programming. The FCPS continuum of AAP services provides multiple entry points to meet student needs while also supporting their learning challenges. FCPS has created a 2e handbook to help schools and families understand how to identify and serve 2e students.



In the spring, the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) is administered to all FCPS first grade students. In the fall, the CogAT is administered to all FCPS second grade students. During the fall testing cycle, the NNAT and/or Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) may be administered to students in grades 3-6 who do not have an ability test score or to select students who are requesting a one-time retest. The one-time retest option for the NNAT or CogAT test is an option for families who feel their student did not perform well on the ability test for a variety of reasons.

Parents/Guardians may request a one-time retest of either the CogAT or NNAT. FCPS policy permits one retake of one ability test per student. Please submit the request to the local school by contacting the Advanced Academics Resource Teacher (AART) or assistant principal.

An initial second-grade screening pool for AAP Level IV is established using the test results from first and second-grade testing. Parents of students in the second-grade screening pool receive a letter notifying them that their child will be screened for the full-time advanced academic program. Parents may decline screening.

Students who are not in the second-grade pool will not receive notification.

The Level IV screening file for referred students is prepared by the local school Advanced Academic Programs screening committee and submitted to the FCPS central selection committee. Eligibility decisions are made by the central selection committee and reviewed by an oversight committee. Parent/guardian(s) are notified by mail regarding eligibility by late March to mid-April.

Parent/Guardian Referrals for Full-Time AAP Level IV 

FAQs: Full Time Level IV Screening

Parents or guardians of students not in the second-grade screening pool may initiate the full-time AAP Level IV screening process by completing and submitting an Advanced Academic Programs Level IV Referral Form to the local school principal by December 15th of the current school year for services beginning the following school year. Second grade students not in the pool and all students in grades 3-7 are screened only by referral. Forms are available on the FCPS website.

Note: Please do not wait for test scores before submitting a referral for your student as there will be no referrals for Level IV screening accepted past the published deadline. If you are waiting for test scores and would like your student screened for Level IV, please submit the referral by the published deadline (even if you have not received the test scores for your student).