School Notes

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

  • The No Worries Now Prom, a prom for teens with life-threatening illnesses, will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 11, at Top of the Town in Arlington.  A senior SHOUT (Students Helping Others United Together) project of West Potomac High senior Sara Sanders, the Washington, D.C., prom was organized by Sanders and her classmates, who wanted to ensure that critically ill students enjoyed the prom experience.  Top of the Town has donated space, and Superb Cuisine Catering is donating the food.    No Worries Now throws proms for teens with life-threatening illnesses, many of whom may not live long enough to attend their own proms.
  • On Tuesday, June 12, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center will bring its program of greater understanding, appreciation, and protection of bird migration to students at Lake Anne Elementary for a third and final visit during the 2011-12 school year. On previous visits, scientists from the center set up stations on the school playground. They collected birds with a net, showed bird banding, and weighed and measured birds in front of the students. Students also learned about visual bird characteristics and how to use a checklist to find birds. They learned about the art and science of nest building by looking at real bird specimens, then tried to build a nest without using their hands. Students listened to bird calls and created phrases of their own, then participated in a bird beak relay of matching beaks to birds.  The June 12 visit will teach the students additional information about bird migration.  Founded in 1991, the center is located at the National Zoological Park in Washington, DC. You can find more information here.
  • The Mustang Singers of Franconia Elementary will perform a production of Annie for students and families on Wednesday, June 13, at 2 p.m. Sixth grade students have practiced for months under the direction of music teacher Linda Rezek to bring the familiar characters of Miss Hannigan, the orphans, and Annie to life. Fourth grade teacher Harold Jackson will guest star as Daddy Warbucks.  Among the songs to be performed are  “Tomorrow,” “Hard Knock Life,” and “NYC.”
  • Girl Scout Cadette Troop 6974’s Silver Award project is a community service project in the form of a school-wide day of support for animal awareness at Longfellow Middle.  Animal Awareness Day, set for Thursday, June 14, will include an informational campaign with in-school announcements and posters, word-of-mouth advertising, and support by fellow students who will wear the color orange.  The focus of the troop’s Silver Award project is to spread awareness of animal cruelty around the world.  Troop 6974’s members are all eighth grade students at Longfellow, and have spent many hours researching animal abuse, developing an informational campaign, and rallying classmates to participate in a show of support for this issue. Troop members Priya Miller, Nadia Mushtaq, and Christine Li will lead their fellow students in Animal Awareness Day activities.
  • On Saturday, June 16, Chesterbrook Elementary staff members and families will work with the Falls Church Water Authority, Lands and Waters, and other community organizations to help further develop an outdoor classroom located in a meadow on the Falls Church Water Authority water-pumping site at 1804 Kirby Road in McLean. The workday will take place from 9 a.m. to noon.  This is a community effort to recreate a natural habitat where students can work and learn. Sessions will resume again in the fall on the third Saturday of the month through November. All community members are welcome, especially Chesterbrook alumni who attend Longfellow Middle or McLean High.The outdoor classroom offers hands-on opportunities for students to apply environmental and natural science concepts. This project is part of the Falls Church Water Authority’s environmental stewardship efforts and community partnership activities.
  • Fourteen Fairfax County public schools have been recognized with awards from the  Eco-Schools USA program, hosted by the National Wildlife Federation. Silver Award winners are Centreville Elementary  , Churchill Road Elementary, Colvin Run Elementary, Lake Anne Elementary, Lanier Middle and Spring Hill Elementary.   Bronze Award winners are Belle View Elementary, Bull Run Elementary, Churchill Road Elementary, Daniels Run Elementary, Eagle View Elementary, Forestville Elementary, Keene Mill Elementary and McNair Elementary.  To qualify for the awards, schools must set up an eco-action committee, conduct an environmental review of the school, develop an action plan, monitor and evaluate the plan, link environmental issues to the curriculum, inform the whole school and community of the activities, and develop an eco-code as well as complete a self-assessment. Eco-Schools is an internationally acclaimed program that provides a framework to help educators integrate sustainable principles throughout their schools and curriculum.
  • Two Longfellow Middle students, Ramya Ravi and Sneha Ravi, have been accepted into the University of Michigan summer enrichment program at the Michigan Engineering Zone. The program is designed to help students identify the connections between middle school concepts in science, math, and English and the real world, technology, and engineering. Students will follow a curriculum that begins with identifying and understanding the structure of plants and finishes with researching the cutting-edge technology currently being developed that both mimics and utilizes photosynthesis in alternative energy capture, storage, and transfer. Admission to the program is based on academic merits and essays, honors and awards, and extracurricular activities. The Ravis are among 50 students accepted this year.
  • Kim Rutledge, a biology professor at Northern Virginia Community College, has been selected as the June MentorWorks Mentor of the Month.  For the past four years, Rutledge has mentored Jamal, a student at Columbia Elementary.  Jessica Terpstra, coordinator of Columbia’s mentoring program, states, “Kim has been a reliable and steady figure as well as a positive role model.”  Jamal shares that they have common interests such as dinosaurs and reading.  He feels Kim has “helped guide him in life to do the right thing and to be a good person.”