Advanced Academic Programs

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Advanced Academic Programs

The Advanced Academic Programs provide challenging learning experiences that are designed to meet the unique learning profile of a broad range of advanced learners. Through a continuum of opportunities, students engage in complex subject matter, preparing them for more challenging and rigorous classes as they advance in grade level. Children identified for FCPS advanced academic services exhibit exceptional performance capability in academic, intellectual, and creative endeavors. In order to meet their needs and develop to their potential, these learners require a differentiated curriculum.


Bush Hill Elementary School 

Bush Hill believes in developing the strengths and talents of all students. Every student needs to be challenged and engaged in exciting learning experiences.

Bush Hill’s AAP offers a continuum of advanced academic services to meet a broad range of student needs. We take a holistic approach that uses a variety of assessments to determine the level of service to match the child’s current needs.

With the FCPS talent development model, all students in Bush Hill students will receive:

  • Critical and creative thinking lessons.
  • Access to AAP curriculum and strategies.

Some students need a differentiated curriculum to address their cognitive and social-emotional needs. These students receive additional AAP services based on:

  • Academic needs beyond peers at their grade level.
  • Strengths in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
  • A need for increased depth, complexity, and pace of instruction.

Students’ advanced academic needs may change over time. The AAP continuum of services develops and builds on students’ current strengths and talents.


Continuum of Services

Access to Rigor Services (Level I): All students in our community of learners receive instruction using 9 critical and creative thinking strategies. Students apply the use of mind mapping, questioning, encapsulation, point of view, visualization, decisions and outcomes, analogies, PMI, and fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration (FOFE) to their grade-level concepts.


Subject Specific Differentiation Services (Level II): Students identified by our local Advanced Academic committee receive differentiated instruction in a content area(s) of strength though AAP curricula resources, enrichment and/or accelerated curriculum opportunities. Instruction is delivered by the classroom teacher in collaboration with our Advanced Academic Resource Teacher (AART).


Part-Time Services (Level III): Students identified by our local Advanced Academic committee work directly with the AART each week either through pull out or push small group settings. During this time, students are challenged with enrichment and extension activities developed to enhance grade-level curriculum.


Full Time Services (Level IV): Students who are found eligible to receive these services through a central selection screening process receive a challenging instructional program in language arts, math, science, and social studies.


Subject Specific & Part-TIme Service Referral Document


What is the process for identifying students to participate in the Full Time (Level IV) Advanced Academics program?

Full Time Level IV Screening Timeline 

  • Fall: Students in grades 3-6 who are new to FCPS after February may be screened for placement beginning second quarter of the current school year. Referral Deadline: October 14, 2022
  • Winter: Students in grades 2-6 may be screened for full-time services to begin in the fall. All Level IV referral forms and optional materials are due to the AART at Bush Hill ES. Decisions will be mailed home directly from the AAP Office in the spring Referral Deadline: December 15, 2022



  • Multiple criteria are reviewed to determine eligibility for all FCPS advanced academic services. The local school committee determines student eligibility for part-time school-based services. The countywide central selection committee determines eligibility for full-time AAP Level IV placement.



  • In the spring, the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) is administered to all FCPS first grade students. In the fall, the CogAT- Custom Form is administered to all FCPS second grade students. During the fall testing cycle, the NNAT and/or Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) may be administered to students in grades 3 - 6 who do not have an ability test score. A second-grade screening pool is established using the test results from first and second-grade testing. Students in the second-grade pool are automatically screened for full-time AAP Level IV placement. Parents or guardians may exercise a one-time retest option during the fall testing cycle.



  • Parents or guardians of students not in the second-grade screening pool may initiate the full-time AAP Level IV screening process by completing and submitting an Advanced Academic Program Level IV Referral Form. Second-grade students not in the pool and all students in grades 3 - 7 are screened only by referral.
  • Forms are available on the AAP website and in the Parent Information Packet available at the local school. Parents or guardians of students who are in the second-grade pool will be notified by the school. Students who are not in the second-grade pool will not receive notification. The benchmark score used to create the second-grade pool will be published on the AAP website mid-January. Do not wait for test scores before submitting a referral for your student in grades 2-7 as there will be no referrals for level IV screening accepted past the December 15, 2022 deadline. If you are waiting for test scores and would like your student screened for level IV please submit the referral by the published deadline (even if you have not received the test scores for your student).

Level IV Referral Process

Click the link below to check out the referral process in addition to necessary documents.

Level IV Referral Document.pdf

Bush Hill Full-Time Information Session Recording

Level IV Full Time Services 

The AAP Full-Time Services for students in grades 3 through 8 offers identified students a highly challenging instructional program that follows the FCPS Program of Studies. Differentiation in the depth, breadth, and pace of instruction is designed to meet the needs of advanced learners with a strong emphasis on critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making. Students participate with the entire student body in school-based activities such as student government, physical education, band and strings, chorus, and other electives.


Curriculum Goals in the Full Time Advanced Academics Program

  • To provide for mastery and enrichment of the FCPS Program of Studies in all curriculum areas, at the pace, depth, and complexity appropriate for advanced learners
  • To develop an understanding of systems of knowledge, themes, issues, and problems
  • To develop thinking skills that foster independent, self-directed learning
  • To develop self-understanding
  • To develop leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills