The history of Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences dates back to shortly after the founding of Fairfax County Public Schools in 1870. For the first 76 years of its history, the public school system in Fairfax County was segregated by race. School system records indicate that a one-room schoolhouse for white children at Bailey’s Crossroads existed by 1874, when Louisa A. Ball was employed as its teacher. The earliest records of a school for African-American children at Bailey’s Crossroads date to 1886 when Harriet J. Farrier was hired as its teacher. When the current Bailey’s Elementary School building on Knollwood Drive opened on September 2, 1952, only white children from the surrounding community were admitted. At that time, African-American children from our area attended a small two-room schoolhouse on Lacy Boulevard. It would be four more years before these children moved into a modernized brick building, Lillian Carey Elementary School. All racially segregated public schools in Fairfax County were closed at the end of the 1965-66 school year, marking the beginnings of the ethnically and culturally diverse Bailey’s Elementary school community we know today.
By the late 1980s the student body of about 500 included children whose families had emigrated from some 40 different countries and spoke two dozen different languages. Only a handful of students were native English speakers. Bailey’s was one of a few Fairfax County schools that initiated a partial language immersion program in Spanish. Due to the efforts of Bailey’s multicultural PTA to positively address issues of equity and quality in education, the Fairfax County School Board in a series of votes in 1991 and 1992 agreed to make Bailey’s the first elementary magnet program in the County. The magnet program emphasized interdisciplinary, hands-on instruction with labs for math and science, a performing arts program, a school museum, the use of new technologies, enhanced teacher coordination, and strong parental involvement. Baileys drew hundreds of out of boundary students to join those from the local area. Bailey’s excellent programs annually attracted hundreds of visiting educators from across the United States and around the world to observe the school. A Presidential Advisory Board formally studied Bailey’s and found it to be "an educational, social and cultural haven for students from all backgrounds" The school grew to over 1,400 students by 2014 prompting Fairfax County to develop another building on Leesburg Pike to house an “Upper School” with grades 3 to 5, while continuing to use the older Knollwood Drive building for the “Lower School” with grades pre-K to 3.
For whom was the Bailey’s Crossroads community named?
In 1999, Bailey’s Elementary School entered into a partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Changing Education Through the Arts Program (CETA). As a result of this partnership, our teachers are inspired to find new and innovative ways to integrate the arts throughout the curricula.
Bailey’s Upper Elementary School
During the early 2000s, enrollments in the Bailey’s Crossroads community rose dramatically and area schools quickly became overcrowded. Our sister school, Bailey’s Upper Elementary School, opened on September 2, 2014. Our schools partner to educate approximately 1,300 students from the surrounding Bailey’s Crossroads community, with children from pre-school through 2nd grade at Bailey’s Elementary School and children from 3rd through 5th grade at Bailey’s Upper Elementary School.