City of Fairfax Schools Allocates Over $230,000 in Instructional Grants to City Schools
September 27, 2017
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.”
StrategicPlanSY2016-2022FINAL approved 2_17
Daniels Run Elementary School Counselor Attends Summer Spanish Language Program in Guatemala with City of Fairfax Schools Grant
September 25, 2017
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.”
Daniels Run ES First Graders Become Fairfax Connection Cover Story
February 28, 2017
Daniels Run ES first graders in Ms. Novak’s class were challenged by their teacher to create sample obstacles for the America Ninja Warrior television show. The host and show were so impressed by the six and seven-year olds’ work they showcased the cardboard creations on their website. This week, the Fairfax Connection profiled the students and their obstacles on their cover.
The project-based learning lesson was created by the teacher after hearing her students talk about the show during snack time. The students worked in groups all while identifying shapes and using engineering skills to problem solve. Using the school’s Innovation Space, the first graders worked with classroom volunteer Alan Friedman to create the obstacles.
DANIELS RUN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 2017 STATE OF THE SCHOOLS REPORT
February 15, 2017
Adam Erbrecht, principal of Daniels Run Elementary School (DRES) and his staff set out with one goal this year; to be a positive difference in the lives of each of their students. With this goal in mind, the administration and staff at DRES created a School Improvement Plan that supports students and creates opportunities for all students to learn, grow and thrive.
Presenting to the City of Fairfax School Board on Monday, February 6, 2017, Principal Erbrecht highlighted student achievement, the new Innovation Space, the efforts to support students in need with Responsive Instruction and the Positivity Project.
“We’ve been working hard so we don’t leave any stone unturned for our students,” said Erbrecht. He showed pass rates for the Virginia Standards of Learning averages for his students: 83 percent in reading, 92 percent in math and 86 percent in science. In addition, Erbrecht was proud of his kindergartners who had a 92 percent achievement for reading goals.
DRES launched the Innovation Space this year. The Innovation Space is an independent classroom for all students to rotate throughout the school year to work on age appropriate challenges using everyday household items. The challenges are designed to encourage students to collaborate and think creatively all while solving complex problems. For example, Victoria Novak’s first grade class used cardboard tubes and pool noodles to identify shapes and create obstacles for the popular “America Ninja Warrior” (see profile of class in the Fairfax Connection).
Erbrecht also spoke of the partnership with the Positivity Project, a 501 c3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping America’s youth build stronger relationships by seeing the character strengths in themselves and others. The Positivity Project and DRES helps students to identify, appreciate and articulate character strengths in themselves and others. Assistant principal Valerie Hardy has seen a difference, “Having students see the strengths themselves and helping them zoom in on power, perseverance and commitment.”
Daniels Run ES Launches Innovation Space
September 8, 2016
This year Daniels Run Elementary School launched “Innovation Space”, a classroom dedicated to bringing innovation to students. The space will offer every student in the school an enrichment program to become inventors, collaborators and problem solvers. Students will take everyday items such as cardboard rolls, legos, pipe cleaners and egg cartons to solve complex challenges to improve existing objects or create entirely new products. The Innovation Space is a similar offering as the Providence ES STEAM Lab, a dedicated classroom that brings additional science, technology, engineering, math and the arts to Providence students. Both of these enrichment opportunities are possible because of support from the City of Fairfax, allowing the two schools to have some of the only supplemental programs in the county. We are excited to prepare our students to become the next generation of leaders and innovators!