Middle School Honors

Middle School Honors Classes Overview

Honors classes, aligned with national standards for gifted and talented education, are open to all students who seek academic rigor.  Fairfax County offers open enrollment in Honors classes and parents may enroll their child in Honors science, social studies and/or English classes.  Students who have demonstrated high achievement, interest, and/or potential in one or more academic areas may be ready to take Honors classes.  Students eligible for full time Level IV center placement have the option to take full honors at their local middle school.  Enrollment in Honors classes takes place in the spring during the course selection process. At that time, parents/guardians may choose which science, English and/or social studies Honors classes will best meet the needs of their child.

It is important to note, Mathematics 7 Honors is an acceleration of mathematics curriculum which requires students to master the content assessed on the Mathematics 8 SOL assessment. Students who have not completed Advanced Mathematics 6 may need support and/or require additional effort and study to be successful. Both Mathematics 7 and Mathematics 7 Honors prepare students for Algebra 1 or Algebra 1 Honors in Grade 8.
The goal of Honors classes is to provide a consistent county-developed middle school curriculum that extends the Fairfax County Program of Studies (POS) in depth and complexity and meets the needs of a diverse group of learners. The curriculum is based on the Parallel Model, a model published by the National Association for Gifted Children and designed to develop high potential and challenge advanced learners.   The framework of the Parallel Model Curriculum encourages students to think conceptually; to make connections across time, place and subject; to perform as a practitioner or scholar in a discipline; and to self-assess and reflect on their learning and the learning process. Lessons provide “ascending levels of intellectual demand."  As a student becomes more advanced, task demand escalates to ensure that the student is appropriately challenged and continues to progress toward expertise.

The curriculum and instruction in Honors classes extends and enriches the FCPS Program of Studies through research-based practices designed to engage and challenge advanced learners, e.g. problem-based learning, research, and investigations.  Honors classes provide opportunities to build on individual academic strengths, develop critical and creative thinking skills, and prepare students for advanced coursework in high school, i.e. Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and/or Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. 

Teachers who teach Honors classes full time (5 sections) must hold a Virginia state or FCPS endorsement in Advanced Academics. Teachers teaching one or more Honors classes are required to complete a minimum of one course. Professional development sessions are provided for middle schools advanced academic teachers throughout the year. The purpose of these sessions is to provide teachers of Advanced Academic classes with strategies to engage and challenge a diverse group of advanced learners.  

There are two ways to access full-time advanced academic services in middle school: Center-eligible students may attend the Advanced Academic Programs Level IV center or choose to stay at their local middle school and select all Honors Classes (see pdfacrobat). 

This PowerPoint provides an overview of Advanced Academic Services in the middle school and includes specific examples of how different subject areas are differentiated for advanced learners using the Parallel Curriculum Model.


Parent Information Night Middle School Presentation acrobat

Level IV center eligible students choose to leave the Level IV center qualify for Honors English, Social Studies, and Science courses.

Students who decide to attend their local middle school should notify the Director of Student Services at the middle school and the Advanced Academic Programs office at (571) 423-4740.



Download MS Honors Brochure acrobat


Mathematics 7 Honors is open enrollment for all students; however, there are specific requirements for enrollment in Algebra I Honors in 7th grade.

Enrollment in Algebra I Honors in 7th grade is based on the following criteria:

  • Successful completion of the Advanced Mathematics Grade 6 curriculum or a year-long accelerated mathematics program
  • Score at or above the 91st percentile on the Iowa Algebra
    Aptitude Test (IAAT)
  • Score a pass advanced (500 or above) on the grade 7 mathematics Standards of Learning (SOL) test

Quick Links:

Advanced Academics

Boundary Locator

School Assignments

Level IV Service Locations


Teacher Endorsement

Military Families Relocating to FCPS


Grade Level Information

Frequently Asked Questions

AAP in Action

Contact Us


Dr. Carol V. Horn
K-12 Program Coordinator
Advanced Academic Programs Office
8270 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive - 4th Floor
Fairfax, VA 22031
703-279-5208 (Fax)

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Last Updated

April 28, 2016