School Notes

Here’s a rundown of events and people making news at your Fairfax County Public Schools.


  • Finals of the Northern Region Wrestling Classic — a wrestling tournament run by Fairfax High parent volunteers, teachers, and staff members  — will be held December 10 at Fairfax High.  Sponsored by the Fairfax High Athletic Boosters, this is the 23rd year of the tournament, which gives student athletes an opportunity to compete with students from all over the state.  Awards are given to the top six teams and the outstanding wrestler; students compete in 14 weight classifications.
  • Marshall High’s Class of 2013 is hosting the second annual Holiday Shopping and Community Expo on Saturday, December 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Exhibits and upscale vendors will be selling holiday ornaments, fashion jewelry, handbags, holiday floral arrangements and wreaths, accessories, cosmetics, bath and body products, kitchen and cooking items, couture hats, clothing, toys, and children’s books.  Entertainment will be provided by the Marshall High Chorus and Orchestra.  Children can get their holiday photo taken with Santa, and a raffle will feature restaurant gift cards, hotel getaways, and vendor gifts.  Shoppers are asked to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank.  Admission is $2.
  • Franklin Middle is developing a yearlong character education and anti-bullying program based upon marshmallow Peeps thanks to a grant from Just Born, Inc., which makes the candy. During the morning of Monday, December 12, the company’s Peepsmobile will come to the school to show their recognition of the anti-bullying campaign.  The program is being created collaboratively by the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) committee, which includes school social workers, psychologists, counselors, teachers, and administrators.
  • Students in Wolftrap Elementary’s sixth grade will sing holiday songs to residents of Sunrise Senior Living in McLean on Monday, December 12, at 2 p.m.  They will also present the senior citizens with snowmen made by students as part of a sixth grade crafts project.
  • Hayfield Elementary’s Winter Concert on Tuesday, December 13, at 6:30 p.m. will feature student musicians in the intermediate and advanced band and strings and the chorus.  Among the musical selections are “Little Suite of Bells,” “Sing a Song of Winter,” “A Marshmallow World,” “Winter Fantasy” and“Bells, Bells, Bells.”
  • The musical talents of Franklin Sherman Elementary students will be showcased at the Winter Concert on Wednesday, December 14, at 2:30 p.m. Chorus members in the fifth and sixth grades will perform winter-themed songs under the direction of Brian Kirby.  The band and strings portion of the concert involves students in grades 4-6 who take weekly lessons at the school.
  • The Woodson High Chamber Ensemble has been invited to perform in the East Wing of the White House on Wednesday, December 14, at 8 a.m.   The students will perform “White Christmas,” Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, “Yuletide Season,” and a collection of Christmas carols.  The Chamber Ensemble competed against many student musical groups from across the country to earn a chance to perform at the White House; they submitted a resumé and performance tapes that were considered before the invitation to perform was issued.
  • Hayfield Elementary students will get special help on their reading and word skills from volunteer student athletes from Hayfield Secondary over the next three months.  The Readers as Leaders program, which meets next on Thursday, December 15, teams up the older and younger students in hopes of fostering a love of reading along with improving students’ reading skills.  The two schools are also teaming up again this year for the Hayfield Reads program, where eighth grade students and first grade students take turns walking to each other’s school for reading time.  Hayfield Secondary teacher Catherine Buffaloe established the program last year and it was such a success for both groups of students that it is continuing this year.
  • Renowned hypnotist Jason Linett will present a show as a charity event for UNICEF at West Springfield High on Thursday, December 15, at 7 p.m.  Sponsored by the school’s Interact Club — the service organization for young people aged 12-18 — Linett’s show features volunteers from the audience who will be hypnotized and given fun suggestions to explore.  The program is designed to showcase the subconscious talents of the volunteers and does not embarrass them in any way.  Linett is a board certified hypnotist with the National Guild of Hypnotists, the largest hypnotherapy organization in the world, and has a private hypnotherapy practice in Alexandria.    Tickets will be available at the door for $8; all proceeds benefit UNICEF.
  • Vocal musicians from Woodlawn Elementary will perform at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday, December 15, and Friday, December 16, at 10:30 a.m.  The students will sing near the large Christmas tree and will perform multicultural winter songs and songs about peace including “Shalom Cheverim,” “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” and “The Holly and the Ivy.”  The fifth grade chorus will perform on Thursday and the sixth grade chorus will perform on Friday.
  • A Mexican fiesta, complete with poinsettia crafts, will celebrate the culmination of the second grade unit on Mexico at Hayfield Elementary on Friday, December 16.  The fiesta, which will begin at 1 p.m., will also include Mexican hat dancing, Spanish bingo, and a Readers Theater of Mexican folktales.  Students will crack open a piñata at the end of the celebration.
  • The eighth grade girls chorus from Key Middle will walk to Key Center to present two Winter Holiday concerts for Key Center students on Friday, December 16.  The 30-member chorus will sing at 8:45 a.m. and again at 9:30 a.m.
  • At Chesterbrook Elementary, students are focusing on those in need during the holiday season.  Families have donated clothing and school supplies for needy students in our area, and the SCA collected more than 700 items during its fall food drive. All donations were given to the Salvation Army for distribution.  The school is currently holding a Toys for Tots and SHARE drive and are collecting new, unwrapped toys and personal hygiene items.
  • Ten Freedom Hill Elementary students participated in the third season of Guys on the Go, a running program for boys in grades 3-6 that also promotes a healthy lifestyle along with exercise.  The group bases its activities on the book “Kids Running — Have Fun, Get Faster, and Go Farther” by Carol Goodrow.  Each student pledged to run a total of 25 miles in the fall and logged their miles during their twice-weekly training sessions before school.  They recently participated in the Metropolitan D.C. Jingle Bell Run and Walk, where each member of the team successfully completed a 5K race and raised funds for the Arthritis Foundation.
  • An early childhood special education class and the FECEP-Head Start class at Halley Elementary have come together to form an Early Childhood Inclusion Program (ECIP) this year.  Students share all instructional time and are supported by their teachers and instructional assistants through a co-teaching model.  In this full-day program, students participate together in their preschool experiences while learning from each other.  Teachers note that students are learning fast and are achieving and reaching goals as a result of the opportunities in the inclusion program.  By helping each other out, they get additional opportunities to practice their own skills while increasing their confidence.  Teachers have also noticed that the students are very accepting of each other’s strengths and needs, and that they encourage, motivate, and help each other.  National Inclusive School Week is observed during the week of December 5-9 this year.
  • Students at Kings Glen Elementary have adopted a fifth grade classroom from Irving Elementary in Joplin, Mo., and are helping collect funds to replace equipment that was destroyed in an F5 tornado last May.  Money raised by the Kings Glen students will be used to purchase equipment that scans documents or books onto a board in the classroom.  Students have surpassed their initial goal of $1,000 and will be collecting donations until winter break.  Students in Pete Cookson’s sixth grade class hope to Skype with students from the Missouri school so they can meet the Joplin students and see how they have made an impact on each other’s lives.
  • The Sea Monsters, Lake Anne Elementary’s First Lego League team, placed first in mechanical design at the state tournament held recently at James Madison University. The team also placed second in robot performance in Division 1 and second overall at the regional tournament held at George Mason University. Team members are Alex Desroisiers, Nico Lagendyk, Sara Leong, Evan Luczko, Andrea Pezo, Andrew Phillips, and Giselle Walter. This is the sixth year that the Sea Monsters have competed in the state tournament; the team has placed first or second every year.
  • The Oakton High Choral Department will present Sounds of the Season, a winter choral concert, on Thursday, December 15, at 7 p.m. The concert will feature performances by all of the Oakton choral ensembles including Madrigals, Chamber Choir, Select Women’s Ensemble, Men’s Choir, Jazz Choir, Show Choir, and the student-directed a Cappella Groups performing seasonal music selections as well as general concert works. Student instrumentalists from the Oakton music department will contribute their talents and accompany the choirs on various selections, helping to add to the spirit of the season. Admission is free and the concert is open to the public.


  • The Oakton High debate teams participated in a tournament at James Madison University where students who make up two Novice Policy teams made it into the quarterfinals: Jack Lloyd and Xander Fulton, and Anee Nguyen and Amitav Kamani. Nguyen and Kamani also won third and fourth place in Novice Policy Speaker Points for the entire tournament.  Shinar Jain won third place in the Junior Varsity division of the Lincoln-Douglass debate. Breana Tate took second place in the Novice Lincoln-Douglass division. Both girls made it to the semifinals.
  • Jennifer Campbell, transcript assistant at Westfield High, has been selected as the Secondary Level Volunteer of the Year for the Virginia PTA. Her PTA service has spanned 17 years through her volunteer work at Cub Run Elementary, Stone Middle, and Westfield High, where she held various positions on the PTA executive committee for 11 years, including president, vice president, and secretary.