Advanced Academics Overview
The Advanced Academics program is designed to provide students with opportunities to broaden their knowledge in specific subject areas, pursue their intellectual curiosity, develop and refine their critical thinking skills through rigorous and unique learning experiences. Advanced classes - Honors and Advanced Placement ( AP) - are available to all students in ninth through twelfth grades.
Students explore content topics in a highly detailed and contextualized manner at an accelerated pace and with an emphasis on application and conceptual understanding. Honors classes are offered in the following subjects: Algebra I, Algebra II, Precalculus and Trigonometry, World History and Geography, US/VA History, Biology, Chemistry and Geosystems.
Advanced Placement (AP)
Students experience college-level curricula in high school and are expected to prepare for and take the AP exam in May for that course. The rigor of AP classes allows students to develop their college academic skill sets and readiness. In addition, students who earn 3, 4 or 5 out of 5 on AP tests may earn college credit. West Potomac offers AP courses in Studio Art, Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Comparative Government & Politics, Computer Science, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Environmental Science, French, Human Geography, Physics, Psychology, Spanish, Statistics, US History, World History, European History, US Government & Politics.
An additional 0.5 points is added to the GPA calculations of students who take year long honors and/or AP courses. Students who also take the AP exam for the AP course they are enrolled in receive a 1.0 point bump to their GPA.
This program seeks to nurture and support the academic potential of gifted students from underrepresented groups to ensure that they have access, opportunity, and success in Honors and AP classes. Students identified as Young Scholars are received mentoring and tutoring support throughout the school year.
Twice Exceptional (2e) Learners
Twice-exceptional (2e) learners are students who have the ability to think, reason, and problem-solve at very high levels, and they also have special education needs.
FCPS wants to provide 2e students with classroom settings that recognize and encourage their intellectual strengths. At the same time, FCPS aims to offer these students flexible instruction and accommodations designed to support their areas of need. For example, teachers may:
- provide extra help with planning and organization,
- modify learning materials and/or environments,
- offer flexible timelines, or
- provide alternative learning experiences.
These practices help the 2e learner successfully access the many advanced learning opportunities that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) offers.
Dual Enrollment (DE) is an opportunity that allows qualified high school students to earn college credits through Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). DE courses are taught at Fairfax County High Schools by FCPS teachers who are also NOVA approved faculty.
Advanced courses ( Honors, Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment) in high school are better equipped to handle the demands of college/university and often achieve greater academic success. At West Potomac High School, Advanced Placement (AP) , Honors, and Dual Enrollment courses offer students opportunities to delve extensively into specific content areas, develop and advance critical thinking and literacy skills, and expose themselves to the rigor, curricular expectations and assessments that are synonymous with college-level classes.
AP students who take the end of the course subject test in May and receive a score of 3 or above, are often awarded college credit or advanced standing at most colleges and universities. Likewise, students who enroll in Dual Enrollment courses who obtain a grade of C or above receive credit for those courses at Northern Virginia Community College. Beginning in ninth grade, students enrolled in honors courses begin acquiring skills, knowledge and habits that are requisite to success in AP and Dual Enrollment classes.
Here are just a few more reasons to sign up for our most rigorous course offerings:
- Gain the Edge in College Preparation
- Get a head start on college-level work.
- Develop the organizational and study habits necessary for tackling rigorous coursework.
- Stand Out in the College Admissions Process
- Demonstrate your maturity and readiness for college.
- Emphasize your commitment to academic excellence.
- Broaden Your Intellectual Horizons
- Explore the world from a variety of perspectives, most importantly your own.
- Assume the responsibility of reasoning, analyzing, and understanding for yourself.
West Potomac offers over 20 AP courses and exams across six academic departments. For Dual Enrollment (DE), West Potomac presently offers Dual Enrollment English 12, which meets Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) requirements for college freshman-level English and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s requirements for English 12. Placement tests are required by NVCC for enrollment in DE courses.
West Potomac has an open enrollment policy for advanced classes. Students who are intellectually curious about the subject, a willingness to work hard, and manage their time wisely should consider taking these courses. Before deciding on an AP course, students are invited to attend the recruitment fair course sessions in January AP, talk to their counselor or current teacher of the prerequisite class for the AP subject of interest.
Please direct questions about Dual Enrollment class to Kelly Ashton , the English Department chair, Susie Britton, the Assistant Principal for English,or Kevin McMahon , Director for Student Services.
Advanced Academics Coordinator
- Biology Teacher, HS
AP Test Coordinator
- History & Social Studies Teacher, HS
Students with Disabilities Coordinator
- Learning Disabilities Teacher, MS/HS
Twice Exceptional Liaison
- Learning Disabilities Teacher, MS/HS