Program Profile 2023-24
Fairfax County Adult High School (FCAHS) is a unique high school for adults 18 and older. FCAHS offers a pathway for learners to earn either a board recognized Advanced Studies, Standard, or Adult high school diploma; or the state board approved High School Equivalency (HSE), which for the state of Virginia is the GED®. Diploma and HSE test preparation opportunities are offered at multiple locations in Fairfax County including the Adult Detention Center (ADC). Learners at FCAHS are exempt from VDOE compulsory attendance policies, and all students are self-enrolled. Life experiences, for almost all learners, have interrupted their education, and these circumstances still present substantial obstacles that impede academic achievement and graduation. Many students are employed either part time or full time inside and/or outside the home. Additionally, many of the students enrolled at FCAHS have parenting and family responsibilities, and many students experience socioeconomic pressures such as housing, medical, and transportation limitations. Because of interrupted educational experiences, many students experience low literacy and numeracy skills, a lack of prior academic knowledge, and the requisite skills and resources for self-advocacy, all of which have negatively impacted continuous enrollment and personal academic success.
Given their educational background and life circumstances, adult students at FCAHS commonly take more than five years to complete the diploma or HSE program. Most students do not enroll as traditional full-time students. Most students enroll part time while maintaining at least part-time employment and/or assume responsibility for managing a household and family. In addition, the FCAHS student population has either not been successful in a traditional high school setting or may have never attended a traditional high school in the United States or in the learner’s home country. These factors have prevented FCAHS learners from completing their program of studies with their cohort peers.
One hundred percent (100%) of students enrolled at FCAHS are beyond compulsory school attendance laws. Additionally, during the school year 2022-23, approximately 20 percent of students enrolled in the diploma program at FCAHS have been enrolled in a U.S. school for less than two years and an additional 15 percent of students enrolled in the diploma program at FCAHS have been enrolled in a U.S. school for less than one year. Given that compulsory attendance laws do not apply to the enrolled students at FCAHS, students are intrinsically motivated by the individual desire and goal to complete high school and earn a diploma. This motivation is a powerful driver of student persistence despite the many challenges faced by adult students. During the school year 2022-23, 85 percent of the diploma student population and 11 percent of the HSE student population was below the age of 22. An additional 9 percent of the diploma student population and 21 percent of the HSE student population was aged 22 through 25. The remaining 6 percent of the diploma student population and 67 percent of the HSE student population was aged 26 or older.
The mission of FCAHS is to provide an opportunity for adult learners to identify their learning needs and to accomplish their goal of obtaining a high school credential. The vision of FCAHS is for all staff members to support adult learners in an environment that is safe, respectful, flexible, cooperative, equitable, technology rich, and engaging. FCAHS will provide the programming, tools, and resources to inspire lifelong learning and to empower learners’ personal, academic, and social growth.
The instructional program in the diploma pathway for all courses at FCAHS is based on the Virginia Standards of Learning and the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Program of Studies. While course offerings are not comprehensive in comparison to other high schools in the school division, course offerings are evaluated annually to ensure a pathway to graduation for students. Courses are offered at a variety of times and locations in Fairfax County to provide students with several flexible options because of the life responsibilities of adult students. Additionally, FCAHS offers adult students rolling enrollment with regular class start dates. The contracted and hourly teaching staff are certified in the content being taught, pursuant to state requirements. The teaching staff participate in regular professional development in best teaching practices including differentiation of instruction, blended learning, and the use of assessment for data-driven decision making. FCAHS offers one-to-one technology use for students. Additionally, many of the courses are taught in a blended format utilizing online instructional resources and course content. The increased use of technology and digital course content enables students to work independently while off-campus. Opportunities to work independently provide additional flexibility for adult students with many competing responsibilities. Counselors provide academic and college and career counseling and monitor students’ progress towards graduation.
The HSE pathway is for learners aged 18-21 who elect to enroll or any learner over the age of 22 who requires more than eight credits to earn a credential. The approved HSE in the state of Virginia is the GED®. The GED® consists of four subject tests including Reasoning Through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Science, and Social Studies. The HSE program offers learners academic support towards completion of their high school credential.
HSE test preparation opportunities are offered during the day and evening to meet the needs of the diverse population. Test preparation is three hours in length and offers a variety of instructional strategies to support success. Placement is based on CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems) reading and math goal results.
During the 2022-2023 school year, 855 students received instruction at FCAHS.
460 students received instruction at the FCAHS diploma program:
- Minority, 97%
- ELP, 87%
- Male, 58%
- School aged, 86%
271 students received instruction at the FCAHS HSE program. The following descriptive data excludes 124 learners who received instruction at the Adult Detention Center.
- Minority, 91%
- ELP, 34%
- Male, 34%
- School aged, 11%
During SY2023-24, FCAHS staff will implement the following initiatives that support the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate and FCPS Strategic Plan:
- To continue to support student academics, behavior, and wellness by utilizing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and focusing on effective instructional practices and supports in Tier 1 and Tier 2.
- All Collaborative Learning Teams (CLTs) will continue to use common summative assessments to drive high quality instruction and to assess and track student growth through common rubrics.
- Utilize innovative, engaging instructional strategies and technology tools and features to provide ongoing, intensive support for adult learners in multiple courses in the same period.
- To continue to increase the number of graduates and completers for all FCAHS by utilizing professional development sessions focused on effective collaboration in Collaborative Learning Teams (CLTs) and disciplinary literacy.
- To increase the number of learners enrolled in HSE preparation classes who take the corresponding GED® test.
- In SY2023-24, the chronic absenteeism rate for students enrolled will be reduced by five percentage points. (Caring Culture)
- In SY2023-24, 55 percent (55%) of the students who are enrolled in a course that requires verified credit/CTE credential, will pass the associated state required test. (Student Achievement)
- In SY2023-24, 55 percent (55%) of the learners who complete a sequence of GED® test preparation opportunities, will pass the associated GED® test. (Student Achievement)
1. In SY2022-23, the chronic absenteeism rate for students enrolled will be reduced by five percentage points. (Caring Culture)
Outcome: As of May 26, 2023, 179 of the 252 (71%) enrolled students had been absent for 10% or more of their days enrolled. This is an increase from the SY2021-22 (63%) baseline data. However, this is aligned with attendance trends across the division.
To address chronic absenteeism, FCAHS took the following steps:
- To address the reported barrier of transportation options for students, FCAHS utilized ESSER funding to purchase Metro Bus cards for students to supplement the Fairfax Connector/CUE passes. Additionally, FCAHS contracted with a taxi service to provide door to door service for students who reported that the bus passes were not convenient.
- Weekly student contact with students who have missed five or more days of absence to address overcoming barriers to attending school on a regular basis
- Focus on the importance of student attendance during new student orientations and schoolwide student meetings
- MTSS database to track counselor outreach
- Researched current practices in education related to attendance efforts for adult learners
- Registration appointments had an additional focus on attendance expectations
- Utilization of TalkingPoints with all our programs through increased staff, admin, and support staff usage.
- Change in attendance reporting procedures for our students to use a QR code instead of solely focusing on emails or calling in to report absences.
Administration will continue to share attendance messaging with staff on a routine basis. It is important to note that as part of the FCAHS Alternative Accreditation Plan, only unexcused absences will count in the chronic absenteeism calculation for VDOE accreditation purposes.
Therefore, we have spent resources and time advising our students to communicate with us when they may be absent.
2. In SY2022-23, 55 percent (55%) of the students who are enrolled in a course that requires verified credit/CTE credential will pass the associated state required test. (Student Achievement)
Outcome: While overall the EOC assessment pass rate of 55% for SY2022-2023 was unmet, student outcomes reflect significant increases and growth. We met EOC assessment pass rate goal of 55% in all four core subjects in at least one course (Algebra 1, Earth Science, USVA and World History 1 PBAs) or assessment area (Writing WorkKeys) and in CTE. All four core subjects also did not meet the 55% pass rate goal in one course (Geometry, Biology, World History 1 SOL) or assessment area (Reading Work keys/Reading SOL). However, in all four core subjects in all courses, pass rates increased from SY2021-22 to 2022-23.
Several interventions implemented this year have resulted in an increase across all tested courses and so should continue and be refined next school year. Most significantly the following 2022-23 school year interventions:
- Establishing and implementing a VDOE standards aligned GVAC in each course (Edmentum or another comprehensive yearlong curriculum)
- Using a station rotation instructional model to maximize face-to-face instruction for all students in each class period
- Accelerating literacy required for EOC assessment success by focusing face to face instruction on rigorous performance based summative assessments and tracking student progress with common rubrics
- Increasing alignment for SOL prep and remediation between day and evening programs through day and evening staff meetings dedicated to EOC assessment planning; ongoing weekly communication to evening teachers from CT leaders (yearlong) and administration (during testing); creating SOL blitz schedules, plans, and materials for remediation and relentlessly contacting students to ensure they can participate; providing on-site in-person SOL remediation for evening students by inviting them to day programs and allowing day teachers to work with students in the evenings
The goal of a 55% pass rate for all courses remains unmet and so should resume as the headline goal for 2023-24.
3. In SY2022-23, 55 percent (55%) of the learners who complete a sequence of GED® test preparation opportunities, will pass the associated GED® test. (Student Achievement)
Outcome: In SY2022-23, 32.7% of FCAHS HSE learners who were served in a GED® preparation opportunity (excluding ABE), passed at least one GED® test. On average, each learner who took at least one exam, took on average 2.24 GED® tests. The implications of these results for the next school year are to continue to focus on quality Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction for our GED® learners. The goal of 55% percent of learners who complete a sequence of GED® test preparation opportunities passing the associated GED® test remains unmet and should resume as the headline goal for 2023-24.