Appropriate Rigor For All

Curriculum Rigor


Parents clamor for entry into Advanced Academics in Fairfax County. It’s understandable, with the value our residents place on education. What is desired is true academic rigor with a curriculum and teachers differentiating based on their abilities.

There is a place for the students who perform in an overall advanced sense, or who are exceptional in domain-specific areas. Parents also express a need to include and enhance rigor for every student at all levels.


Raising curriculum rigor, as well as expectations, serves a student, regardless of where they begin.  Authentically engaging with parents to reflect on program offerings, curriculum breadth versus depth, and the expectations of our parent community is essential for the next School Board.


Top-down initiatives and mission creep in the expectations of classroom teachers puts more on their plate every year. An earnest conversation with educators and administrators by the next School Board about how to best serve a diverse student population while focusing on academic achievement and improved rigor will benefit both students and teachers.

Data-driven decisions need to guide how we improve and expand curriculum choices and rigor. We also need a transparent understanding of how children are learning and whether they are mastering content.

At the heart of advanced academic classes and curriculum is the need to offer and meet the differentiated needs of students in one of the nation’s largest school systems. There are exceptional learners who need to have an accelerated model to meet their potential.

This does not diminish the fact that parents of all students want appropriate rigor for their children. Students in Fairfax County generally achieve at high levels – so moving the bar becomes more difficult and, thus, even more important to keep in focus.

Often, the model of ‘more’ equals harder just means “more”. It’s time for a discussion about what rigor means, the value of volume versus quality of homework and what delivery looks like in a diverse school community by child, by need.

Parents should not have to feel they need tutors to help advance the learning of their child. Elevating appropriate rigor for all students is the way to meet students where they are and help them achieve their own potential.

a child has potential, not limits!