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Daniels Run Elementary School Welcomes Chinese Delegation Visit

Through a partnership with George Mason University, Chinese educators

Daniels Run Elementary School welcomes a delegation of Chinese educators.

Daniels Run Elementary School welcomes a delegation of Chinese educators.

visited Daniels Run Elementary School. The teachers and administrators observed classes, toured the school and spoke with administrators about programs such as the Innovation Space, Positivity Project and the Parent Resource Center.

“It was an honor to meet with the Chinese delegation and spend time with them as they learned about our educational system,” said Adam Erbrecht, principal of Daniels Run Elementary School.

 

Fairfax Community Helps DRES Continue to Build Literacy Garden

Volunteers at Daniels Run outdoor classroom. Photo courtesy of Volunteer Fairfax.

Volunteers at Daniels Run outdoor classroom. Photo courtesy of Volunteer Fairfax.

On Saturday, October 28 more than 20 volunteers came to Daniels Run ES to help build their outside courtyard Literacy Garden. The outdoor classroom is used for students to meet outside, read and learn about native plants. The day was organized by Lands and Waters, a strong partner and advocate for environmental education in schools. Through Volunteer Fairfax, Lands and Waters organized 20 volunteers including students to continue to build the courtyard.

 

Joining the team was City of Fairfax School Board Chairman Jon Buttram and Virginia State Delegate David Bulova.

DRES Teacher Integrates Flexible Seating

Photo of flexible seating options for Daniels Run Elementary School

Photo of flexible seating options for Daniels Run Elementary School

Using City of Fairfax Schools Innovation Grant to Transform Classroom

Students in Michelle Kamiyama’s 6th grade class were in for a surprise when they entered on the first day of school. The traditional chair and desks were gone. The students, many of whom were in her class in the 5th grade and “looped” with her this year, noticed a wide variety of flexible seating options.

“Their faces on the first day of school were priceless when they saw our classroom transformation,” said Ms. Kamiyama.

Kamiyama used funds from the DRES Innovation Grants from the City of Fairfax to partially support her flexible seating project. Over the summer, she raised the rest of the money and transformed her classroom.

Many classrooms around the country are shifting to flexible seating. The seating options allow students to move seats easily and choose the most comfortable seats for them. With the emphasis on collaboration and critical thinking, many lessons are adapting to have the students work in groups to solving problems. There is also benefits to allow students the ability to easily stand and move around to increase blood flow and expense energy if needed.

Photo of flexible seating options for Daniels Run Elementary School

Photo of flexible seating options for Daniels Run Elementary School

“The students love the different seating option and the ability to move seats as needed to help them be most successful,” said Ms. Kamiyama said. “The students are changing their seats daily and sitting with new classmates each day. It has been great to see the students build stronger relationships and collaborating with different groups.”

City of Fairfax Schools Allocates Over $230,000 in Instructional Grants to City Schools

The City of Fairfax School Board has allocated over $230,000 in instructional grant funding to its four city schools. The funds will support Professional Development, Intervention and Academic Support, Supplemental Materials and Innovative Practices.

“In these days of declining financial resources in school district budgets, I’m really pleased that we are able to continue target funds for student and staff learning; we know these funds support our schools’ efforts,” said Dr. Phyllis Pajardo, Superintendent of the City of Fairfax Schools. “We are proud to assist and enhance our schools as they focus on innovation, professional development, and academic support.”

The principals at the four schools work with the City of Fairfax Schools staff from project and material funding. The grants are divided into four main categories:

Professional Development:  Many administrators and teachers will tell you one of the most precious resources they have is time. By providing funds to support professional learning, collaboration time and money for substitutes, the City of Fairfax School Board can give them the gift of time. The grants allow staff to plan, meet as grade-level or subject-area teams, attend professional training and take time to create innovative lessons for students.

Intervention and Academic Support: Each year the four schools are able to offer additional summer programming to support transitions to new schools, strengthen academic skills, and close potential academic gaps seen throughout the school year. For more information on the summer programming, see article here.

Supplemental Materials: The City of Fairfax School grants support a variety of curriculum enhancement programs such as environmental education, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics), and high school SAT preparations.

Innovative Practices:  – During the June 2016 retreat, School Board members expressed a desire to bolster schools’ abilities to create and incorporate innovative practices. To progress this, innovative practices were added to the areas for which City Schools could request instructional grant funding (See Strategic Plan objective 2 at the bottom of this page). When DRES principal Adam Erbrecht requested $6000 of his school’s grant be designated for innovative practices, he knew just what to do: Ask his staff what they wanted. Erbrecht sent out a “request for proposals” to his staff and received over nine requests totaling $13,100. Instead of giving the green light himself, the principal turned the power back to the staff and had them analyze and review the proposals on what they felt would most positively impact the school. The challenge the staff found was that all the projects were worth funding. By combining the City of Fairfax Innovation Grant and a generous donation by the DRES PTA, all the projects received financial support. For an example of these Innovation Grants, please see article about DRES Counselor Emily Baldwin.

“We are thrilled to reward the innovative thinking of these groups and hope more can come from this in the future,” said Erbrecht. “We greatly appreciate the use of our City Grant Funds to foster these innovations.”

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Daniels Run Elementary School Counselor Attends Summer Spanish Language Program in Guatemala with City of Fairfax Schools Grant

Photo: DRES Teacher Emily Baldwin with Ingrid, her instructor

Photo: DRES Teacher Emily Baldwin with Ingrid, her instructor

Many elementary students attend summer school or summer camp. Through a grant from the City of Fairfax Schools, Daniels Run ES counselor Emily Baldwin spent two weeks of the summer of 2017 studying Spanish in Guatemala. Baldwin wanted to work towards building her Spanish conversational skills so she can better support her Spanish-speaking students and families that have limited English language.

Baldwin lived with a Guatemalan family and was immersed in the Guatemalan culture and Spanish language. Every weekday, Baldwin had five hours of one on one instruction with a teacher (pictured). She also lived with a family and ate all her meals with them, helping her practice what she learned in the morning.

“I left with better Spanish abilities, a deeper understanding of Guatemalan culture, and a greater respect for the challenges of living in a country when you do not speak the native language,” said Baldwin.  “I am so thankful to the City of Fairfax Schools that I was able to do this, and am continuing my Spanish studies here in the United States.”

 

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