Fairfax County Public Schools
The Fairfax County Public Schools system serves all of Fairfax County.
Although measures were taken by Virginia as early as 1846 to provide public education in Virginia, a public school system was not established in Fairfax County until 1870, when the creation of such a system was enshrined in Article VII of the Virginia Constitution.
The county's public schools opened with an initial enrollment of 1034 students.
Milton D. Hall became the superintendent of the system in 1886. At the time, there were 78 schools in the county, all but six of them one-room buildings, and 3868 students. Less than a third of the county's children attended school.
W. T. Woodson was elected superintendent at the school board meeting held on March 5, 1929. At the time, there 4,986 students attending 65 schools in the system: 44 for white children and 21 for black children, and 29 of these were one-room schoolhouses.
The era of the one-room schoolhouse in Fairfax County came to an end on September 6, 1934, when the school board adopted a resolution to close the Sydenstricker School, moving its students to the Burke School.
FCPS switched from a 7-5 model, where children in grades 1 through 7 attended elementary school and children in grades 8 through 12 attended high school, to a 6-2-4 model in 1958. Children in grades 7 and 8 now attended intermediate schools.
In a 4-2 vote, the school board adopted a plan for desegregating the FCPS system on August 8, 1959. The plan called for desegregating one grade per year, starting with the first grade class in the fall of 1960. This plan was quashed by Federal judge Albert V. Bryan, who on September 22, 1960 ordered the admission of 19 students who had been denied under this plan.
W. T. Woodson's retirement as superintendent, effective in June 1961, was announced on November 1, 1960.
The availability of a new pot of state money created by Virginia General Assembly in March 1966 led to the creation of a pilot program offering free kindergarten in seven elementary schools starting in September, 1967.
In 1968 the system was decentralized by the School Board into four areas, each having its own administrator. Superintendent Funderburk's original plan for decentralization had called for the system to be split into five areas, and an outside report by consultants Cresap, McCormick and Paget recommended it be divided into three. The school board preferred the plan advocated by Cresap, McCormick and Paget, and Funderburk's displeasure at this was a significant factor in his January 9, 1969 departure.
Dr. Lawrence M. Watts was chosen as the next superintendent on April 29, 1969. Unfortunately, Dr. Watts had a bum ticker and died of a heart attack on June 15, 1970. Assistant Superintendent S. Barry Morris was named acting superintendent by the school board on June 18.
Seeking operational efficiency, Superintendent Robert R. Spillane created a third deputy superintendent position, overseeing the system's financial and support services, in 1985. The school board approved the appointment of John P. Hess to this newly-created position on November 7.
In 1995, the number of area offices was reduced from four to three due to budget cuts. Area IV superintendent George E. Stepp retired from FCPS and became the superintendent of the City of Fairfax Schools system.
Year-round schooling, which had long been discussed as a possible alternative to the traditional nine-month calendar, finally became a reality in 1996 when the modified calendar was implemented at Timber Lane Elementary School in Falls Church. Dogwood Elementary School in Reston became the second school to switch to a year-round calendar in 2000.
Domenech reorganized the school system from three areas to eight clusters.
In 2014, the school system was reorganized again, with the eight clusters becoming five regions.
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