Branch Out

CONTACT INFORMATION: Marketing and Communications Office: 8:30–4:30 M–F
703-324-3100 TTY 711
12000 Government Center Parkway Suite 324
Fairfax, VA 22035
Ashley Atkinson
Editor, Branch Out

It’s Never Too Late

It’s Never Too Late

Learn more about educational opportunities for adults in Fairfax County.

By Alana Quarles, Branch Manager, Kings Park Library

Libraries and schools are both vital resources in providing spaces for people in a community to seek education. Just ask Rocco DeBonis, High School Librarian at the Fairfax County Adult High School (FCAHS). We sat down with him to learn more about the High School Equivalency (HSE) program and other lifelong learning options available at FCAHS, as well as how they work with Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) to help students achieve their goals.

Tell us about yourself and what the FCAHS program entails.
I am a High School Librarian at FCAHS. In my role, I curate and share open educational resources and county library resources with staff and students. There are two pathways to a high school credential at FCAHS. Students in the HSE pathway are working towards passing all four subjects on the GED exam. Students in the Diploma pathway are working towards completing the graduation requirements to earn a Virginia approved diploma.

How successful has the program been in recent years?
FCAHS was excited to celebrate 60 diploma graduates from the Class of 2023.

How does your role as Instructional Librarian differ from other instructors within the school and other librarian positions?
One of the things that makes FCAHS unique is that our programming is located in multiple sites across Fairfax County with limited space for a typical library's physical collection. Therefore, I spend a significant amount of time supporting instruction and assisting teachers and teacher teams as they plan, teach, assess and evaluate instruction and student learning. I help teachers incorporate literacy strategies that will support our bilingual emergent students and visit classrooms to support reading and writing instruction as well as student research.

What is your most memorable moment within your current position?
I was mentoring a student who needed to pass six exams in order to graduate on time. It was a grueling testing schedule, and she needed many pep talks along the way. The day of her sixth exam she left school convinced she’d failed that final test and would have to return for another semester of school. When we called to tell her she passed, she was so excited that she shouted and then cried out of joy!

Both Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and FCPL promote lifelong learning and literacy. How are they working together to encourage growth and goal achievement in FCAHS students?
Many FCAHS students might not be aware of the vast resources FCPL offers to all residents such as language discussion groups, fun events for children and teens, online language learning programs, help with job searches, bilingual texts, and most importantly, books! One of the best ways that students can prepare for earning their credential is to read as much and as widely as possible. That is why I am so excited that Emily Swain, the assistant branch manager of Kings Park Library, often visits our Springfield location to issue library cards to students so that they can check out books.

How can interested students contact you for more information?
Interested learners are encouraged to email or call 703-658-2736. You can also learn more by visiting

Fairfax Virtual Assistant