Fairfax County School Notes

ffx-schools-logoHere are some people and events making news at your Fairfax County Public Schools.

  • Westfield High’s Children’s Theater will present its 13th annual Ho-Ho Holiday Show on Saturday, December 15, and Sunday, December 16, at 2 p.m. The show features five vignettes of favorite holiday stories including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Hanukkah Story, ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman. More than 100 students are participating on stage, behind the scenes, and as directors. Tickets are available at www.westfieldtheatreboosters.com, by calling 703-488-6439, or at the door.
  • A select group of civics students from Longfellow Middle will deliver speeches to a group of newly naturalized citizens on Monday, December 17, and Tuesday, December 18, at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Fairfax. After the newly naturalized citizens recite the oath of allegiance, the students will present their words of congratulations. Civics teacher Rich Schlobach will accompany the group.
  • Second grade students in Leanne Sullivan’s second grade class at Westgate Elementary will make Holiday Hope Chests on Monday, December 17. Students will decorate shoe boxes to serve as the hope chests and fill them with small toys, games, and books that they donate. The finished boxes will go to a local hospital for children who are spending the holidays there.
  • First grade students at Lynbrook Elementary will receive new toys, thanks to U.S. Army soldiers, on Tuesday, December 18. One soldier serves as a Big Sister to a Lynbrook student; she and the members of her platoon are donating 100 toys and funds to help Lynbrook families for the holidays. More than 84 percent of Lynbrook students qualify for free or reduced price meals.
  • A gingerbread museum of ancient history, constructed out of recycled and edible materials, will be constructed by fifth grade students at White Oaks Elementary on Tuesday, December 18, beginning at 9:15 a.m. Groups of students will construct replicas of ancient buildings and produce a display board with relevant information and pictures about the civilizations that used the buildings. Buildings will be constructed of paper towel rolls, pizza boxes, graham crackers, frosting and candy. The finished projects will be displayed for the rest of the school to admire, but not to eat. This project requires problem solving and cooperation among students in order to meet the challenge of designing and executing a visual representation of well-known ancient buildings.
  • Fourth through sixth grade students at Centreville Elementary are taking part in classroom geography bees, through Wednesday, December 19. The ten highest scorers will participate in the school-wide bee on January 15, 2013, and the winner of that bee will take a written test to determine if he or she will advance to the next level.
  • Cooper Middle students will hold their annual holiday party for students at Pine Spring Elementary on Wednesday, December 19, at 2 p.m. Forty eighth grade students from Cooper have been busy collecting and shopping for gifts and holiday supplies. They plan to arrive at 1:30 p.m. to decorate the Pine Spring cafeteria and set up crafts, cookie decorating, and a gifts station. Kindergarten students will arrive at 2 p.m. and sing holiday songs for the Cooper students. The two groups will then work together to make holiday cards and decorate cookies. At the end of the party, the older students will present each kindergarten student with a wrapped gift.
  • Native American Day will be celebrated by second grade students at Glen Forest Elementary on Thursday, December 20, beginning at 9:30 a.m.. The day will begin with an opening ceremony, then students will break up into groups for various activities, including making and playing Powhatan musical instruments, Sioux buffalo hide stories and Pueblo pottery. Hands-on activities will be provided to the students in an effort to accommodate multiple learning styles while teaching the cultural aspects of the different Native American tribes.
  • Reverb, a Washington-area a cappella vocal group, will perform Black History in Harmony at Spring Hill Elementary on Thursday, December 20, at 8:50 and 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Reverb is one of the most popular artist groups on the Washington Performing Arts Society’s roster. Since its start in 1990, the group has been named best a cappella group and best gospel-inspirational group by the Washington Area Music Association.
  • The Woodson High Orchestra is sharing the holiday spirit with an American military base in Jordan, and will be sending a recording of its holiday concert to the troops along with a number of goodie bags. The orchestra’s holiday concert on Thursday, December 20, at 7 p.m. will be videotaped for the troops; musical selections will include “Sleigh Ride,” “Christmas in Sarajevo,” ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Thank You Soldiers,” and “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Orchestra members are collecting hygiene items including sunscreen, men’s body wash, and contact lens solution; food items such as powdered drinks, dried fruit, and hard candy; and miscellaneous items including pens, flip flops, and carabiners. The public is welcome to attend this free concert.
  • A pre-celebration of the Japanese New Year will be held at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) on Friday, December 21, at 2:20 p.m. Students will make rice cakes the traditional way — with a mallet — and sell Japanese food and craft items. The highlight of the event is a calligraphy performance, featuring a group of students performing calligraphy on an 8×12 foot piece of paper while coordinating their movements with music and dance. Japan celebrates its New Year on January 1.
  • The Westgate Elementary SCA is holding a fundraiser, Jerseys for New Jersey, to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief. Westgate T-shirts are being sold with all profits going to the American Red Cross. On Friday, December 21, everyone who has purchased a shirt will wear it to school. Donations are also being accepted. The drive was started at the request of a staff member who is originally from New Jersey.
  • The Leprechauns of Lynbrook Elementary are trading in their pots of gold this holiday season to collect spare change as part of the relief efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The effort is derived from lessons in the book How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald D. Clifton, which teaches people to look at the positive moments in life and eliminate the negative. One Lynbrook first grade teacher’s family was affected by the storm and is still trying to recover. The effort began December 10 with a fundraiser at Silver Diner in Springfield and lasts through December 21; all proceeds go to the American Red Cross.
  • Fifth grade students in Amanda Shopa’s class at Beech Tree Elementary were challenged to write their own novels as part of National Novel Writing Month. The students wrote every day in November after setting individual goals of 2,500 to 40,000 words. They helped each other through writer’s block and cheered each other on while using what they had learned about story structure, character development, and goal setting. They also enhanced their technology skills by using the Young Writers Program site, which helped them choose appropriate user names, buddy people, navigate forums, send private messages, and update their daily goals. The students were able to meet young writers from around the world and got into word wars with other classrooms. After a month of typing, every student felt he or she had increased his or her typing speed. By the end of the month, the students had written a total of 336,786 words — more than 15,300 per student, and every student met his or her individual goal. The next steps are to have the students revise and edit their work; those who are interested can use CreateSpace to self-publish their books for private bragging rights or for public sale on Amazon.
  • Preschool students at Deer Park Elementary are developing social and problem-solving skills and strategies to help them make healthy choices as part of the twice-weekly Al’s Pals program. These short, puppet-led lessons include role play, music, art, reading, and movement. The main puppet, Al, is a positive role model for the kids. He is accompanied by two other puppets, one who is a risk taker and one who loves to sing. Preschool teacher Janine Goodchild was awarded a grant to bring Al’s Pals into the school; Deer Park is the first public school — as well as the first special education-non-categorical program — to use Al’s Pals. The program comes with companion materials for parents to reinforce at home what is being learned at school. Goodchild says the program is flexible so she can adapt the lessons to her students’ specific needs, and that she is seeing fewer behavioral issues in the classroom since beginning Al’s Pals.
  • Students on team #3 at Key Center are working on a service project for the Artemis House, Fairfax County’s shelter for families and individuals fleeing domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking. The students and their teachers Sandi Mulvey, Hope Cook, Stephanie Sher and Mary Harrison are baking and decorating cookies, then packaging them for the trip to Artemis House.
  • Students at Lynbrook Elementary have made their school a top five participant in the Marine Corps Marathon’s Healthy Kids Fun Run for the 13th consecutive year. A total of 323 Lynbrook students took part in the October 27 race, just short of the top spot by two participants. Lynbrook will receive a monetary donation to its physical education department from the Marine Corps Marathon’s partner, Sodexo. An assembly will be held for the entire student body in 2013.
  • Kindergarten students at Westgate Elementary recently celebrated their Writing Like a Scientist unit with a publishing party. Students in the four kindergarten classes wore lab coats and glasses, and some carried special scientist folders. They partnered up with six different classmates to share their observations, which included pictures, labels, and writing about leaves, acorns, squirrels, cotton plants, and other natural objects.
  • Latin students from West Springfield High won 21 awards at the Latin Convention held recently in Richmond. More than 1,700 Latin students from across the state competed in tests, projects, and other competitions. Winning awards were Elizabeth Hogue, first place in Impromptu Art; Stuart Pratuch: first place in Creative Arts: Textile; ninth place in Reading Comprehension: Prose test, tenth place in Mythology test, and tenth place in Modern Myth writing contest; Spencer Grewe, second place in Creative Arts: Maps, and seventh place in Mottos, Sayings, Quotes, and Abbreviations test; Jake Moffatt, second place in Creative Arts: Small Model, fourth place in Creative Arts: Pottery, fifth place in Couples’ Costume Contest, and sixth place in Mottos, Sayings, Quotes, and Abbreviations test; Madeline Sisson, third place in Creative Arts: Maps; Peyton Haynes, fifth place in Couples’ Costume Contest and fifth place in Creative Arts: Jewelry; Katrina Cooley, fifth place in Latin I sight reading, fifth place in Geography test, and tenth place in Pentathlon test; Kevin Murphy, sixth place in Boys’ Costume Contest; Kennedy Patterson, sixth place in Impromptu Art; and Robert Edwards, seventh place in Creative Arts: Board Games, and ninth place in Roman Life test.