Advanced Academic Programs

Bull Run offers students all levels of Advanced Academic Programs (AAP), including a Level IV center as an option in grades 3-6. Here is a description of each of the four levels of service: 

Level I: Critical and Creative Thinking Lessons, Grades K-6

The first level is provided to all students in kindergarten through grade six and consists of model lessons that are designed to teach critical and creative thinking skills. The lessons are modeled in all classrooms by Advanced Academic Resource Teachers (AARTs) and the thinking strategies are then used throughout the year by classroom and other teachers who work with students. Student responses to these lessons are used as part of the identification process for Levels II-IV. Parents may also practice these strategies during family conversations and activities.

Level II: Differentiated Lessons in Areas of Academic Strength, Grades K-6

The AART collaborates with classroom teachers to provide additional challenges through lessons and resources that extend and enrich the Program of Studies. Screening for this level of service is ongoing throughout the school year.

Level III: Part-Time Advanced Academic Programs, Grades 3-6

Students identified by our local Advanced Academic committee work directly with the AART each week in a small group setting. During this time, students are challenged with enrichment and extension activities developed to enhance grade-level curriculum.

Level IV Center

Bull Run houses an Advanced Academic Program (AAP) which draws identified gifted students from a number of neighboring elementary schools including Centre Ridge, Centreville, Deer Park, London Towne, Virginia Run. Currently there are multiple classrooms at each grade level from grades 3 through 6.

Students in the AAP center study the same Fairfax County Program of Studies curriculum as do students in the base school with instructional techniques that are designed to match the educational learning styles of gifted students.

All AAP students are instructed one year ahead in math and are engaged in a Mathematics contest called "Continental Math." Additional language arts, science and history units for gifted students, designed by the College of William and Mary's Center for Gifted Education, are part of the enriched AAP curriculum. Higher level thinking skills are stressed through class discussions and project-based learning which allow students to learn to work together to solve problems.

Technology is used as a tool for learning with all students. Students use computers for word processing, creating graphs, spreadsheets, and databases, designing multimedia presentations, and to access the Internet for research. 

AAP Level IV Screening Updates for 2021-22 School Year

Due to the ongoing pandemic, there are some adjustments to the Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) Level IV screening processes for the 2021-22 school year. Below please find some important notes for parents.

Additional information about the screening process will be shared through local school newsletters. Local schools will also communicate opportunities for parent information sessions on the AAP continuum of services and the screening processes for AAP levels II-IV.

Timeline for Submitting an AAP Level IV Referral

  • The window for Fall AAP Level IV referrals, for students in grades 3-6 NEW to FCPS, is September 8, 2021 through December 15, 2021 close of business. Referrals will not be accepted after December 15, 2021.
  • Referrals for AAP level IV screening will be collected between September 8 through December 15, 2021.
  • Referral forms are emailed to the Advanced Academic Resource Teacher (AART) and principal at the local school. The email will count as a digital signature for the referral. 

Note: Referrals will not be accepted past December 15, 2021. A deadline of December 15, 2021 gives local schools time to organize and submit screening portfolios to the central office.

Testing Updates:

  • The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) will not be offered this school year.  
  • The one-time retest option for the Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test (NNAT) or CogAT test will not be available this school year. 
  • There will be a process for students without an abilities test on file to take the NNAT in December 2021. Local schools will determine which students require the NNAT and will reach out to families to schedule safe and socially distanced testing.

Note: While private testing that follows guidelines may be submitted, testing is only one type of data considered. All ability tests are considered within the larger context of the overall screening portfolio. FCPS does not encourage families to seek additional testing beyond what FCPS provides to all students.

Parent Input:


referral form is required for any student (grades 2-7) whose parent would like them screened for full-time services but is not in the 2nd grade screening pool. Parents will be notified by the local school if their second grade student is in the pool by November 1, 2021. Parents whose child is in the pool may submit the referral form but are not required.


Parents may submit:

These optional materials should be submitted to the Advanced Academic Resource Teacher at the local school when submitting the referral form.


Awards, certificates, and letters of recommendation will not be part of screening files.


For more information about Advanced Academics services, contact: