Public Schools in the Washington, DC Area

Note: For comprehensive and current information on schools and programs, we advise that you contact the school district directly.

In some districts, students coming from foreign countries are referred from the neighborhood school to a central registration office. To avoid this confusion, Foreign Service families returning from overseas should tell school officials that they are U.S. citizens returning from abroad.

District of Columbia

District of Columbia law requires children to attend private or public school from age 5 to age 18. For further information:

  • Director, Special Education


For statistical information on schools in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Education's School Report Card. This web page provides individual school report cards by pulling down the list of counties, then schools. A variety of demographic and statistical information helps to paint a portrait of a school, including programs within that school. The School Report Card will allow you to compare information about schools.

In addition, to participate in any public school sport activity, the student must have the Virginia Standards of Learning exams (SOLs), which are required of all students graduating from Virginia high schools. Foreign Service high school students take note: If you will be returning to Virginia and will graduate from a Virginia high school, you will be required to take these exams (certain tests, such as Advanced Placement (AP) and the International Baccalaureate (IB), may be substituted for the SOL exam).

FLO is aware of several cases of returning sophomores and juniors who have been required to take SOLs (with little advance notice) over course material that may have been taken overseas or never taken. Therefore, upon return to a Virginia school, it is imperative that the student meet early in the school year with his/her guidance counselor to discuss possible SOL exams. The type of diploma the student will receive and the date of transfer into the school system are factors in determining the number of tests required for graduation. The Virginia Department of Education's web page, Guide to Graduation Requirements, provides further information.

City of Alexandria

Arlington County

Fairfax County

  • Academic Programs - Fairfax County Public Schools include instructional and special instructional programs, curriculum, guidance and career services, after school programs, resources, and life-long learning programs.

City of Falls Church

Fauquier County

Loudoun County

Prince William County

  • Online Coursework – For high school credit for any student enrolled in an accredited high school.
  • "Find Your School" – Type in your address to view the assigned elementary, middle, and high school for that address 

Stafford County


Maryland law requires children to attend private or public school from age 5 to 16.

The Maryland Department of Education specifies what students level of knowledge should be in the four content areas of language arts, math, social studies, and science from grades K - 12.

Maryland developed a new assessment system in 2003 designed to meet the requirements of the federal legislation "No Child Left Behind." Visit Maryland's Assessment webpage which explains how the state curriculum standards will be assessed in order to be in compliance.

Anne Arundel County

Howard County

  • Pupil Services
    (410) 313-6822

Montgomery County

  • Enriched and Innovative Instruction
    (301) 279-8529

Prince Georges County

Extended Day Programs in the Public Schools

For working parents, public school districts offer "extended day" programs whereby children can remain at school, with supervision and a variety of after-school activities, until parents arrive for pick-up at 6 pm.

Additional Resources

  • The Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) - Information about returning to Washington, DC. Links to preschool resources, schools and county programs, organizations for parents, toys stores/book stores/restaurants, libraries, and more
  • Washington Post Education Page - Highlights the latest information about Virginia, Maryland and District of Columbia schools. Click on the School Survey map for an alpha listing of schools. Click on the school of choice for a wealth of information, broken down by subject area. This is a great way to compare stats on Washington area schools.
  • Great - Provides information for public, private and charter schools nationwide
  • - Offers a free detailed school report on almost any school in the country using public information sources

FLO Weblinks for Education Options for Foreign Service Children (K-12)

Education Options Main Page 
Education Allowances 
Homeschooling and Online Education 
Choices for High School: IB and AP  
Private Schools in the Washington, DC Area 
Summer Camp Resources


Information provided by the Family Liaison Office
Contact the Family Liaison Office