Program Profile 2022-23

Program Overview

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 2021-22, approximately 19 percent of students enrolled in the diploma program at FCAHS have been enrolled in a U.S. school for less than two years, and 14percent 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 2021-22, 78percent of the student population was below the age of 22. An additional 11percent of the student population was aged 22 through 25. The remaining 11 percent of the 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 2021-2022 school year, 577 students received instruction at FCAHS.

     383 students received instruction at the FCAHS diploma program:

  • Minority, 97%
  • LEP, 86%
  • Male, 56%
  • School aged, 75%

     194 students received instruction at the FCAHS HSE program. The following descriptive data excludes learners who received instruction at the Adult Detention Center.

  • Minority, 88%
  • LEP, 45%
  • Male, 26%
  • School aged, 8%

During SY2022-23, FCAHS staff will implement the following initiatives that support the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate and FCPS Strategic Plan:

  1. 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.
  2. All Collaborative Learning Teams (CLTs) will develop and implement universal screeners to assess student growth and ensure high quality instruction for all learners.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. To increase the number of learners enrolled in HSE preparation classes who take the corresponding GED® test.


  1. In SY2022-23, the chronic absenteeism rate for students enrolled will be reduced by five percentage points. (Caring Culture)
  2. In SY2022-23, 55 percent of the students who are enrolled in a course that requires verified credit/CTE credential, will pass the associated state required test. (Student Achievement)
  3. In SY2022-23, 55 percent of the learners who complete a sequence of GED® test preparation opportunities, will pass the associated GED® test. (Student Achievement)

Data Narrative

1.  In SY2021-22, the chronic absenteeism rate for students enrolled will be reduced by five percentage points. (Caring Culture)

Outcome: As of May 27, 2022, 155 of the 228 (68%) enrolled students had been absent for 10% or more of their days enrolled. This is a significant decline from both SY2020-21 (50.2%) and the baseline for SY2021-22 (52%). However, this is aligned with attendance trends across the division.

To address chronic absenteeism, FCAHS took the following steps:

  • routine monitoring of teachers entering attendance accurately and in a timely manner
  • reminders to all staff about the importance of recording attendance
  • weekly student contact with students who have missed five or more days of absence
  • outreach to students who are at risk of being withdrawn due to absences
  • focus on the importance of student attendance during new student orientations and schoolwide student meetings
  • work with individual students to overcome barriers to attending school on a regular basis
  • MTSS database to track counselor outreach
  • weekly MTSS attendance meetings with administration and counselors
  • MTSS Data Dialogue to reflect on outcomes and plan for next year

The MTSS team will continue to research strategies to address attendance issues for adult learners and. MTSS team meetings will continue and will be in place at the beginning of school year 2022-23. Administration will also share attendance messaging with staff on a more routine basis.

2. In SY2021-22, 70 percent of students initially assessed will increase 10% on the universal screener assessment. (Student Achievement)

Outcome: Student were assessed in all content areas. The breakdown of the universal screener assessment scores per content area are as follows:

          Science: 47 percent of students met the goal.

          Math: 51 percent of students met the goal.

          English for ELs: 16 percent of students met the goal.

          CTE: 100 percent of students met the goal.

          ESOL: 54 percent of students met the goal.

          Social Studies: 93 percent of students met the goal

          Student Services: 33 percent of students met the goal.

Overall, this goal was not met. Two content areas, CTE and Social Studies, met the goal of 10% increase on the universal screener assessment.

3. In SY2021-22, 55 percent of the learners who complete a GED® test preparation opportunity for a content area, will pass the associated GED® test. (Student Achievement)

Outcome: In SY2021-22, 43.4 percent of the learners who completed a GED® preparation opportunity for a content area, passed the associated GED® test. This only accounted for one test per student. The average for each student was 2.4 tests per student. The National Reporting System data will be available in late July, 2022.

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 Math and RLA learners. We will continue to utilize the resource teachers and MTSS system that we built to support and guide teaching, planning, preparation, and use of data points to guide instruction. We will continue to enhance our caring and collaborative culture for both students and staff. We have also revised our goal process to make the goal more compatible with the GED testing system.