Fairfax County School Notes

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

  • Approximately 100 Belvedere Elementary  students will participate, along with a parent- or teacher-buddy runner, in the 2012 Metropolitan DC Jingle Bell Run-Walk for Arthritis at Pentagon Row in Arlington on Saturday, December 8. As members of the school’s Sole Sisters and Boys Run programs, the students have been preparing since October for the competition. Sole Sisters and Boys Run instill self-confidence in students and encourage a positive attitude toward staying fit.
  • Fifth and sixth grade boys and their parents from the South Lakes High Pyramid  are invited to attend the Boys’ Leadership Conference at Dogwood Elementary on Saturday, December 8, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Boys can choose three hands-on workshops to attend; all are designed to inspire their interests and encourage them to make positive choices in school and during their free time. Included will be workshops on career awareness, communication, creative problem solving, music, and leadership skills. Parents will be able to attend workshops on topics such as adolescent development and understanding the growth mindset as well as a panel discussion presented by high school boys. The event is free for parents and their sons; registration is available online.
  • Warm Hands, Warm Hearts, the annual drive for warm mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves, will be held at Fairview Elementary during the week of December 10-14. This event helps students learn the importance of caring and developing empathy for others through charitable acts of kindness. A winter scene will be set up in the center of the school surrounded by baskets for the items, which will be donated to a local charity.
  • Poplar Tree Elementary  is one of several FCPS schools that will participate in the annual Fairfax County Police Department’s (FCPD) Santa’s Ride for the Children Toy Drive for Fairfax Hospital on Tuesday, December 11, beginning at 9 a.m. Students will line up outside the school to watch the FCPD motorcycle squad escort Santa, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and assorted elves for the visit, designed to thank the students for participating in the toy drive.
  • More than 400 vocal musicians from Marshall High Pyramid  schools will hold a vocal music concert on Thursday, December 13, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Vienna. Students from Freedom Hill Elementary, Lemon Road Elementary, Shrevewood Elementary, and Westbriar Elementary will perform choral music; the Kilmer Middle and Marshall High choirs are also scheduled to perform. The concert will conclude with a performance of “Sleigh Ride” by all the student choruses.
  • Fifth grade students in Kahn Tyler-Smith’s class at Deer Park Elementary are sending holiday cheer to Americans serving in Afghanistan. Members of the class are creating holiday decorations and pictures, and writing letters and poetry to be included with photos and treats in a package destined for the U.S. State Department’s Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). The PRT, composed of diplomats, military officers, policy experts, and specialists, is working to improve security and help with reconstruction and economic development. This community service effort was sparked by a parent of one of Tyler-Smith’s students who has a friend serving on the PRT.
  • Club de Lectura, a Spanish reading club to build literacy skills among native Spanish speakers, is underway at Groveton Elementary. The club meets on Tuesdays at 3:45 p.m. and includes students from Groveton, Sandburg Middle, Hayfield Secondary, Edison High, Mount Vernon High, and West Potomac High. Students practice talking, reading, and writing with a teacher or tutor who provides guidance and instruction. Funded by Title III and Prospera Initiatives, the Prospera Hispanic Leadership Program builds bilingual leadership skills and workforce skills, and creates positive role models in the community while encouraging middle and high school students to work as tutors with elementary students. The Groveton students work with mentors from West Potomac High on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 2:45 p.m. and receive academic help with reading, math, and writing assignments.
  • The Mason Crest Elementary  Tigers are reading with a purpose—to send their principal to the roof. The students are challenged to collectively read for 1,000 hours between December 1 and January 31, 2013, and send their reading achievement through the roof. If they succeed, principal Brian Butler will fill his end of the bargain and make an overnight stay—in a tent—on the school roof. Parents will help track minutes read, and the students are also being encouraged to use myON Books, an online collection of books. When students log on at home with their personal ID, the school can track the minutes they spend reading.
  • Rocky Run Middle is sponsoring a Rocky the Snowman Christmas gift program for its neediest families. In the school office, a Christmas tree is decorated with snowman cards denoting what a particular child wants for Christmas, whether it is a warm jacket, trousers, shoes, etc. Staff members remove one of the snowmen and purchase and wrap the gift. As with food drives held at the school, Student Services coordinates the operation and delivers the gifts, making sure that the recipients’ names are kept confidential.
  • Students at Virginia Run Elementary are trying to earn Victorious Viking Slips for positive student behavior as part of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program. This school-wide program promotes a positive learning approach to discipline while improving the school climate; teaching students to be responsible members of the school community; and reducing challenging student behaviors in a proactive, positive, and consistent manner. Students who earn Viking Slips will receive public recognition weekly on the school news show morning announcements and certificates of leadership. They will also have their pictures posted on the Victorious Wall of Fame in the school lobby.
  • Santas for Sandy, a drive for the victims of Hurricane Sandy who live in Sea Bright, NJ, is under way at Glasgow Middle. The school is working with the Sea Bright Police Department and community to collect small appliances, clothing, household items, toys, and baby items through December 14. Sea Bright was one of the most heavily impacted areas hit by Sandy. The school will make arrangements to deliver the items December 15 and 16.