Elementary School Advanced Academic Programs (AAP)

Fairfax County Public Schools offers a continuum of advanced academic services at the elementary level. Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) provide challenging learning experiences for all students that build on individual strengths and optimize abilities.

Continuum of Advanced Academic Services in FCPS

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 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. 

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.

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

Part-Time Services, Grades 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. 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. 

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.


Contact the Advanced Academic Program Office