I don't know if it is the diverse mix of cultures or an influence from the attitude of the administrators but the students at this school are polite and respectful. Something you don't often see from teenagers these days.
I decided to rate this school as great because I think it is a great choice for my children. I have another child that attends Thomas Jefferson High School and had I known then what I know now, I would have had her attend Falls Church High School.
Unfortunately the greatschools.org rating for this school is artificially low. The scores are based on the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) scores. This school has a large number of Latino immigrant children for whom their first language is not English. I you look at the publicly available SOL results, you'll see that with the exception of this group the other kids do as well or better than at some of the other Fairfax County High Schools. This school is smaller and more personal than those schools. Teachers love the attitudes of the students and fight to get a job here. If you want diversity of experience with a first class education, then this high school is for you.
My middle daughter has had a great experience at this school. She is a very bright girl who has gone all they way through FCPS's version of a GT Program (a full-time program where you attend a "center" in an elementary school that may not be your own). She has had many opportunities to participate in sports and extracurricular activities. They have a large selection of AP classes, which has given her more choice in what AP's she wants to take.
Like all public schools, it was not great for my oldest daughter who had some special needs but fell into a gray area--her grades were too good to get much in the way of extra services and she was well-behaved in class (but she was really just zoning out). She not attends a private school that meets her unique special needs but does not provide her with the wealth of opportunities she had at FCHS.
There is not always too much homework but the teachers all seem to assign projects at the same time--the end of the marking period. I think they should spread this out a bit. My daughter at times became completely overwhelmed.
While my personal experience has been that the kids are polite and well-behaved in school, when participating in after-school activities, many of the students do not comply with FCPS policy on drug and alcohol use and it is often ignored by the school. Like all schools in NoVA, parents look the other way when it comes to their child's illegal activities as long as they have great grades and get into a good college.
The staff are always friendly and go out of their way to make you feel more comfortable. The school population is relatively small meaning it's easier to make it onto sports team and try new things. Having a smaller class body also make it easier to make friends. Teachers really push for good grades and to study hard which is great! The only downside is that the school is really rundown and it's in serious need of a renovation. New technology will help improve the school and moral.
Great school! Falls Church HS has a broad range of Honors and AP curricula, including various excellent computer science (CS) offerings. The diverse student body ranges from all economic strata, cultures and races. The school encourages focus on academic success, and college preparatory education. The school offers college placement exam prep classes, hosts various tutoring programs by Honor Society members (National, Math, Language, etc), and Saturday study. FCHS' technology, CS and STEM education & extracurricular offerings are getting national attention, and has witnessed widespread participation by girls through its Girls in Tech (GiTech) club. FCHS has an active CyberPatriot team competing in cybersecurity competitions, 3D Game Design (working on the Unity game engine), and a strong Robotics Club providing project-based learning opportunities, getting students to work in cross-disciplinary teams. Robotics hosted an NXT/Sumobot Competition in October 2014, fielded a FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team, and several VEX Robotics Competition teams (one advanced to the Virginia State Tourney in 2015). Students participate in DC area Hackathons such as PilotDC at Microsoft.
Falls Church High School is a great place to go to school! In general the teachers genuinely care about the success of their students and are willing to stay after school to help us. Because FCHS is smaller than other FCPS schools, there are increased opportunities to participate in sports and clubs. The smaller student body also results in a stronger sense of community. One downside is that we have not been renovated in a long time and the school is becoming worn down.