International Program


Academics for International Students

Founded in 1961, the Fairfax Christian School hosts the Washington, D.C., area’s premier international student program for lower, middle and high school students. Located just twenty–five minutes from downtown Washington, D.C., the Fairfax Christian School campus is located on an enchanting wooded campus in the heart of America’s wealthiest jurisdictions, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties.

The Fairfax Christian School’s international student program is unique. Our English as a Second Language (ESL) program uses a university–prep curriculum. 

Students go beyond the basics taught in a standard English language program. 

At the Fairfax Christian School, students receive an intensive, comprehensive curriculum that ensures students read, write and speak at a university level. Students take TOEFL–prep classes and Advanced Placement (AP) classes for university credit.

Fairfax Christian School’s international students receive a foundation that makes them well prepared to enter and compete in America’s top universities.

The Fairfax Christian School is also the home of USA Compete. Students can take classes in American Culture (including etiquette) and American Economic Freedom. This allows students to explore and develop a foundation far beyond a standard ESL program. Students will assimilate quickly into American life and gain cultural knowledge that will enable them to thrive in American university systems.


"The English as a Second Language teachers all have university degrees and teach classes to the American students too.  This is a great program with great results." — FCS International Parent

Learning English Well

For over 50 years, the Fairfax Christian School has taught international students English well enough to secure acceptance in the the top US universities. Our highly comprehensive English as a Second Language program allows international students to master reading, writing, grammar, phonics and speech.  

What is ESL?

ESL is an acronym for English as a Second Language. You may also see the acronym ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). In America, both terms are used interchangeably to describe an English language program.

Why is Fairfax Christian School’s ESL program different?

Unlike most ESL programs, which teach students the minimum amount of English to function, the Fairfax Christian School has a university–prep ESL program that prepares our students with university–level English.

The Fairfax Christian School also has courses in TOEFL–prep, American Culture, American Economic Freedom and the Advanced Placement (AP) Program where students can take university–level classes for university credit while attending the Fairfax Christian School.

Which students are in the program?

Our intensive, comprehensive ESL program enables Middle and High School students to work at a university level. Because the Fairfax Christian School is a university–prep school, students can begin to take university level classes in 9th grade.

What is the International Student (ESL) Fee?

Students enrolled in our ESL program pay an ESL fee for their first two years at The Fairfax Christian School. Because ESL classes are small (usually 3–8 students) with individualized attention, the Fairfax Christian School employs extra staff to ensure our ESL students are quickly learning English.


“Just got over a 100 on the TOEFL! Thanks to my great teachers and the program at the Fairfax Christian School.” — FCS Student

English as a second language (ESL) courses

The Fairfax Christian School offers 23 different ESL classes to accommodate every level of international student.  All course work is done for high school credit.

Reading with Phonics (Levels One through Level Six)

Students begin with basic phonics, a systematic approach to the English language, and focus on comprehension with oral and silent reading. Spelling and vocabulary are integrated into the program. Level six is equal to university level reading.

Grammar and Writing (Levels One through Level Six)

Students begin with basic grammar skills and end with complex research and writing practice that will prepare them to complete research papers and creative writing assignments at a university level.

Speech (Levels One through Level Four)

Proper pronunciation and diction are emphasized in these courses which include oral drill, oral presentation and oral debate. Students are taught to express themselves and make oral arguments in English.

ESL Science

Designed for students with limited English skills, students can study science with hands–on classes. This allows students who do not yet have their English skills on grade level to take science and have a solid introduction to an American–style science class. Students also learn science from an American historical perspective which will help them better comprehend university level science curriculum.

ESL History

These courses, taught for students with limited English skills, allow ESL students to begin to explore both American and World history from an American perspective. Students are given a foundation that will help them better understand American history and culture as it relates to domestic and global issues.

Foundations of Western Civilization

Students are not required to be Christians to attend the Fairfax Christian School. This introductory course, taught for students with limited skills, gives international students a working knowledge of the Bible. Students learn Biblical principles that influence western thinking and Bible stories which are used in common cultural reference.

TOEFL Prep (Level One and Level Two)

Students prepare for the TOEFL iBT examination (Test of English as a Foreign Language). This exam is required for all international students for admission into top English speaking universities worldwide. The classes have an intensive review for reading comprehension, vocabulary with idioms and Greek and Latin roots, and teach writing skills and oration.

American Culture

In this course on cultural literacy, students gain a competitive advantage by having a working knowledge of American culture. Students review the highlights of American history and geography and understand the fundamentals of American politics, sports, art, music and customs – especially those which are referenced most in popular culture. They learn what movies and television shows to watch and why they will improve their cultural literacy. They also have a comprehensive study of American etiquette.

American Economic Freedom

The free–market is the foundation of American Economic Freedom. Students study the basic economic principles that have led to the success of American economic freedom. Students learn to write business and marketing plans and have interactive projects.

After students complete or place out of ESL courses, they take courses with our American students. 
Students must have a 90 on the TOEFL iBT to complete the ESL program.