Fairfax County School Notes

Here are some people and events making news at your Fairfax County Public Schools.

  • With Thanksgiving Day just around the corner, many County schools are collecting food for families in need in their own communities. At Annandale Terrace Elementary, the SCA is sponsoring a food drive, with donations designated for Annandale Terrace families in need. Annandale High is collecting food for 25 Thanksgiving baskets that will go to AHS families; any extra items will go to the neighborhood food bank. Key Center will collect food to create baskets for 20 of its needy families, and Rocky Run Middle is holding a canned food drive for needy families, sponsored by the National Junior Honor Society and civics classes. At TJHSST, the Hispanic Alliance is collecting nonperishable food items for underprivileged families at Weyanoke Elementary. Marshall Road Elementary students support the Food 4 Thought program that provides backpacks full of nonperishable foods and drinks each Friday that last throughout the weekend; students collected 257 pounds of food during their fall festival. Other schools are holding food drives to help the community. Madison High students are holding a canned food drive to benefit Food for Others and are focusing on items in great need, such as pasta, dried beans, and canned tuna. Mantua Elementary is collecting donated goods to go to Food for Others, and Forestville Elementary is collecting enough food to fill 60 baskets for its sister schools. Island Creek Elementary students are competing to see which classes can bring in the most weight in nonperishable food to be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank in Lorton. At Stratford Landing Elementary, students are learning about food insecurity and are collecting canned goods as part of a service learning project. In the spirit of the season, a group of teachers will sponsor the Mount Vernon High Turkey Trot on Saturday, November 17, to raise funds to provide education-related assistance and incentives to students and support Student Government Association initiatives. The Glasgow Middle community will be contributing to the American Red Cross in support of the relief efforts for the victims of Superstorm Sandy through November 20. Students will be able to donate coins which will help the Red Cross provide shelter, food, and other assistance to those affected by the disaster.
  • As an extension of their civics curriculum, eighth grade students from Twain Middle will travel to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, November 20, at 9 a.m. They will visit the National Archives, where they will view the country’s founding documents, and go on a staff-led tour at the U.S. Capitol.
  • The third annual Turkey Trot will be held at Chesterbrook Elementary on Wednesday, November 21. As part of a schoolwide campaign to promote health and wellness, students can sprint, jog, or walk around the school’s track for 30 minutes. Math activities will also be included as part of this event. Parents are invited to participate with their children.
  • Cameron Elementary principal Jeannie McCurry was unprepared for the sight that greeted her outside her window this week when she saw two baby goats nursing from their mother. Pygmy goat Cookie apparently gave birth to two baby goats over the weekend, a surprise for the Cameron community, which was unaware that Cookie was pregnant. The goats will head to their winter home in Spotsylvania County this weekend.
  • Thomas Le of Centreville High and Madeleine Boel of Edison High, who tutor in their school’s writing center, received Burkean Parlor Grants from the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing for contributions to the writing centers. The grant covered travel expenses to the conference in Chicago, which Le and Boel attended with fellow tutors from their schools as well as Oakton High and West Springfield High. The Centreville and Edison students presented workshops on topics including working effectively with ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) students; using psychological principles to help improve tutoring sessions; and how tutors are perceived by students, teachers, and administrators. Earlier this fall, the groups attended the Northern Virginia High School Writing Centers Conference, a joint effort of the Northern Virginia Writing Project, George Mason University (GMU), and FCPS, that offered presentations from college professors and teacher consultants. Just during October, Centreville High’s Writing Center conducted 131 tutoring sessions. Tutors work with students who have writing assignments in many subjects, including science, history, and creative writing, and some students come in for help on college essays, resumés, and scholarship applications. The Centreville group is currently working with a group of ESOL students and last year, tutored a large number of students working on the science fair. Edison tutors update their work online and post updates on Twitter (@TheEWC).
  • Korean language students from Fairfax Academy who are members of Fairfax High’s HipHop and K-pop Club were invited to perform at the Fairfax Festival of the Arts earlier this fall. They played Korean instruments, sang, and performed both a fan dance and Gangnam-style dance. Television Production students from Fairfax and West Potomac Academies were invited to participate in Infocomm’s annual AVlympics program at GMU, where they met industry professionals, learned about career opportunities, and competed in Olympic-style contests. Infocomm featured the visit in a blog.
  • Lynbrook Elementary is fortunate to be a Reading is Fundamental (RIF) site to receive enough books for an additional book distribution this year. The distribution is based on the theme Enter the Kingdom of Reading; students will enter the library, decorated as a castle, and will be absorbed in activities that are designed to coincide with the theme. They will then be able to pick out their own book to keep. Funds for the extra book distribution are made possible by Macy’s for distribution through the national RIF registry.
  • SLAVA, the Russian Honor Society, and the Key Club at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) are joining forces to collect food for areas in New Jersey and New York that were damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The students are collecting warm clothing for children, toys, diapers, personal items, and towels. Teachers have volunteered to drive the items north for delivery. Donations will be accepted through December 12.
  • Thoreau Middle is working with the Heart of America Foundation to fill backpacks for students affected by Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey and New York as part of Operation Buddypack. Thoreau students are donating backpacks, hats and mittens, school supplies, and personal items that will be delivered to the students. The SCA and staff members are coordinating the effort at Thoreau.
  • Tanya Jones, Title I reading teacher at Weyanoke Elementary, has been awarded a community outreach grant by the Greater Washington Reading Council to support the Fairfax County Nurturing Parenting Program in Annandale. Parents attending these classes all received copies of four picture books to share with their children. The titles were carefully selected to reinforce key topics covered in the Nurturing Parenting curriculum. Each family received a copy of Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, which addresses rules and consequences and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which promotes discussion about developing empathy for others. Children’s books David Gets in Trouble and The Way I Feel each cover the topic of how to manage and communicate feelings. The grant also provided funding to cover the cost of four books for each child. Parents received a variety of handouts that highlighted the benefits of family literacy, reading tips for their children, and additional online resources. Research shows that when family literacy is encouraged, families become emotionally closer, and this closeness promotes a more supportive home environment.