Academic Honesty Policy

Academic Honesty Policy  - Mt. Vernon HS and Whitman MS

Philosophy on Academic Honesty

Fairfax County Schools encourage students to demonstrate the ability to work interdependently within groups to increase productivity and achieve common goals. Students should act responsibly and ethically. To develop academic honesty in all students, FCPS views cheating and plagiarizing as unacceptable behaviors that have moral and legal implications. Cheating is violating established rules and codes of ethics. Plagiarizing is falsely claiming authorship. Cheating and plagiarism are serious offenses.

As member of Fairfax County Public Schools, Whitman Middle School adheres to the guidelines,
regulations, and policies set forth by the district.

Implementation of the Academic Honesty Policy at Whitman Middle School

The Academic Honesty Policy is in place at Whitman Middle School to reinforce our mission, vision, and
values. Whitman empowers all students to pursue the highest academic standards and engage in
interdisciplinary learning by striving to exemplify the characteristics of the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate.
We foster an environment where our students are able to embody the IB Learner Profile by becoming
critical and creative thinkers who make ethical decisions in our global society.
Whitman believes that all students can learn and be successful, given the appropriate supports, and that
it is important to help students learn from their mistakes and failures. To be successful, Whitman Middle
School feels it’s important to instill the value of academic honesty in our students and ensure that
everyone understands their responsibilities and expectations from FCPS, as well as the additional
responsibilities and expectations from Whitman Middle, which are explained below.

Student Responsibilities:


  • Submit all assignments/assessments that adhere to the academic honesty policy and honor code.
  • Contribute to an honest academic environment: behaving responsibly and honestly during assessments and in-class activities, and avoiding discussions/activities that would give other students an unfair advantage.
  • Avoid cheating by completing one’s own work and not permitting others to copy their work.
  • Avoid plagiarism by using quotation marks for statements taken from others, by acknowledging information and ideas borrowed from any source, and by consulting faculty members about questionable situations.
  • Notify a staff member if you become aware of a situation where cheating or plagiarizing has occurred.
  • Use sources in the prescribed manner.
  • Avoid “cutting” and “pasting” from computer text without proper attribution.
  • Document borrowed materials by citing sources.

Teacher Responsibilities:


  • Be very clear and concise with students about what constitutes an academic honesty violation.
  • Ensure students understand when it is okay for them to collaborate with others and when they must work on their own.
  • Give instruction on legitimate partner and group collaboration – ensure students understand all involved must be contributing and working together.
  • Provide students with instruction about cheating and plagiarism throughout the school year, particularly when working on essays, projects, or assessments.
  • Provide examples and scenarios for discussion.
  • Provide students with the definitions provided by IBMYP literature for academic honesty, cheating, and plagiarism.
  • Academic Honesty – an authentic piece of work based on one’s original ideas and the work of others being fully acknowledged
  • Cheating:
  • Collusion – supporting another student in gaining an unfair advantage on assignment (i.e. allowing them to copy your work)
  • Any behavior that gives a student an unfair advantage or affects the result of another student (i.e. using notes when not allowed, copying another student’s work, etc.)
  • Plagiarism – representing the ideas and work of another person as your own; using the ideas or words of another person without properly citing them
  • Teachers will instruct students on the proper and acceptable way to cite
  • research and other people’s ideas and words in their work (i.e. using footnotes, having a works cited page, using MLA format, using APA format, etc.)
  • Teach students the difference between summarizing and copying straight from the text.
  • Teach or review the correct use of sources and citations when assigning work.
  • Structure conditions during testing to alleviate the possibility of cheating.
  • Help students learn from their mistakes when an act of cheating or plagiarizing occurs.


Administrator Responsibilities:


  • Ensure that all stakeholders have a voice in the development of school-wide policies
  • Publish and make available the Academic Honesty Policy to community members.
  • Support teachers in addressing academic honesty violations.
  • Support teachers with educating students about academic honesty.
  • Track student violations of cheating and plagiarism in order to identify trends and patterns that need to be addressed
  • Parent Responsibilities:
  • Support students in adhering to the Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Be familiar with the Academic Honesty Policy and what constitutes cheating and plagiarizing.
  • Help to create and contribute to an honest academic environment.
  • Student Rights:
  • In the event that a student is suspected of violating the Academic Honesty Policy, he/she has the following rights throughout the situation:
  • The student has the right to explain his or her actions.
  • The student has the right to ask for further clarification if unclear about why certain actions are considered cheating or plagiarism.
  • The student has the right to demonstrate his/her knowledge and skills by completing the assignment without cheating or plagiarizing.
  • If a violation occurs, the student has the right to have a parent, teacher, and/or administrator present when discussing the incident.

Consequences for violating:

If a student violates the Academic Honesty Policy and engages in an act of cheating or plagiarizing, the
parent, student, school counselor, and administrator must be informed. In addition, the student must
accept responsibility for their actions and the accompanying consequences:

1st Offence

  • Parent notification.
  • Teacher-student conference and review of Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Discipline referral is written for records.
  • The student will have the opportunity to redo the assignment/assessment.

2nd Offence

  • Parent notification.
  • Administrator-IB Coordinator-Parent-Student conference and review of Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Discipline referral and Administrative Detention.
  • 0% will be given on the assessment/assignment in violation.

3rd Offence

  • Parent notification.
  • Head of School-Parent-Student conference and review of Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Discipline referral and suspension.
  • 0% will be given on the assessment/assignment in violation.
  • The student will be removed from any honor societies and/or class office for the remainder of the school year.
  • School personnel must document the violations in any letters of recommendation or records.

The consequences above are guidelines for violations of the academic honesty policy and all situations
involving academic dishonesty are viewed on an individual basis. The goal in every situation is to ensure
that the student is learning from his/her mistakes in an effort to maintain an environment that fosters
growth, academic integrity, and the characteristics of the IB Learner Profile.


Reviewed and Updated

The academic honesty policy is to be reviewed annually by teachers and staff at both Mt. Vernon and
Whitman Middle and updated as needed.
Written by Nate Beard and Koli Short - IB coordinators at Mt. Vernon and Whitman Middle, March 2017.
Reviewed by . . .
Approved by . . . 
Made public on . . .

IB MYP - News and Updates

IB Learner Profile Trait of the Month:

Each month here at Whitman we encourage students to practice and develop one of the ten IB Learner Profile attributes. These are characteristics of that promote internationally minded people who, recognize their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better more peaceful world. The IB Learner Profile attributes are significantly aligned with the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate.

The IB Learner Profile trait for the month of September is INQUIRER. An INQUIERER develops their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives. Teachers will be connecting lessons and activities to these characteristics, and engage them in learning opportunities that will help our students develop as INQUIRERS.

Service Learning/ Community Service:

Whitman students are encouraged to devote some time out of their day for service. As members of the local and global community, the IB programme requires units of study where students are able to make a connection between classroom learning and its impact on the community. Teachers in each subject area will be connecting learning experiences with possible community activities. Students who participate in service-learning activities are asked to keep track of their engagements and hours to qualify for individual recognitions and awards for exceptional examples of devotion to the community. Here are some opportunities approved and provided by FCPS:




Community Service and Reflection Log

As an IB world school, all students at Walt Whitman Middle School are required to devote at least 15 hours to their community. Students are asked to participate in community service activities and log their hours on this form and return to their Social Studies teacher by June 1st. All hours logged during students 7th grade school year and over the summer will count towards their 15-hour requirement. Students that complete 15 hours will be recognized and awarded at the awards ceremony at the end of the year.