Lanier Middle School Honored Among 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
September 20, 2018
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Education Director Louisa Koch, Director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy James L. Elder, and Director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council Anisa Heming joined Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan today to congratulate Lanier Middle School, City of Fairfax School and Fairfax County Public School on their achievements at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C.
City of Fairfax Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Pajardo (2nd from left) joins LMS teachers and FCPS Region 5 Assistant Superintendent at the ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Lanier Middle School was nominated by Virginia Department of Education.
Lanier began its efforts to reduce its environmental impact during a renovation, which was completed in 2008. The resulting facility, funded by the City of Fairfax School Board, featured increased insulation, automatic water shut-offs, motion sensor lights, temperature controls in unoccupied areas, tinted windows with low-E glass on sunny exposure and thermally broken frames, high-efficiency lighting ballasts, and an “Economiser” on rooftop units. The school earned an Energy Star certification in 2015 and has saved more than $58,000 on energy costs from its energy conservation program. Lanier is currently phasing in Green Seal cleaning products and training and certifying staff members in green cleaning practices in an effort to further improve indoor air quality.
As a member of the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Eco-Schools USA Program, the school established an eco-team of students, staff members, parents, and community members to focus on environmental issues. Team members encourage energy, water, and paper conservation; recycling; and school grounds enhancement that considers sustainability issues. Lanier was the first school in Virginia and the third school nationally to earn the Green Flag award from the Eco-Schools USA program.
In the classroom, the school encourages digital submissions of work to reduce paper waste and offers online textbooks. The school courtyard was converted into an Outdoor Living Classroom, now an NWF certified wildlife habitat that includes various ecosystems, a vernal pool, a vegetable garden, and a dry bed stream, fully maintained by the eco-team. All grade levels use the Outdoor Living Classroom for learning and environmental stewardship. Seventh graders participate in a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience, testing the water quality in a local stream, learning about topography, biodiversity, and ecology. They follow up with a school watershed walk to identify runoff, erosion, and positive environmental practices, as well as identifying areas for improvement. Projects have included building a bio-retention cell and rain gardens; installing rain barrels, creating a vernal pool, installing water bottle refilling fountains, implementing a schoolwide recycling program, donating unused cafeteria food to a local food shelter, and installing a hybrid solar panel-wind turbine unit.
Environmental sustainability is also used as a focus for projects in art, Family and Consumer Sciences, physical science, and the school newspaper. In 2006, Lanier became the first middle school in Fairfax County to require all seventh graders to participate in an environmental stewardship project, which became the model for other Fairfax County Public Schools middle schools.
The school supports a number of health and wellness activities, including Walk to School and Bike to School Days, educating students about growing and eating healthy food, teams that participate in fitness activities, and initiatives to support mental health and a positive school climate.
Dr. Phyllis Pajardo, Superintendent of City of Fairfax Schools, said “The City of Fairfax Schools are very proud of the teachers, administrators, and students at Lanier Middle School for this prestigious award which reflects the high level of instruction, dedication, and professionalism the staff has for environmental education and stewardship. I look forward to celebrating with Lanier Middle School in Washington D.C. today and sharing its success with our community throughout the year.”
Ms. Rebecca Baenig, Assistant Superintendent, FCPS Region 5, said that, “Lanier Middle School is truly a lighthouse for all of Fairfax County Public Schools in practices to promote environmental stewardship and sustainability. This distinguished recognition as a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department Education is a result of an ongoing commitment and collaboration between the administration, staff, students, and the greater Lanier Middle School community. We applaud their intentional efforts to provide our students with authentic learning opportunities through which they are growing attributes outlined in our FCPS Portrait of a Graduate: communicator, collaborator, critical and creative thinker, goal-directed and resilient individual, and ethical and global citizen.”
At the event, 46 schools and six districts were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education. In addition, six colleges and universities were honored with the Postsecondary Sustainability Award. Representatives from honored schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions received sustainably crafted plaques in recognition of their achievements.
The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2018 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.
list of all selected schools and districts and summaries of each of the 58 honorees. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to meet the criteria for the award can be found here.
Lanier Middle School Welcomes Dr. Tammara Hanna as Principal
September 5, 2018
Fairfax County Public Schools and the City of Fairfax Schools are pleased to welcome Dr. Tammara Hanna as principal of Lanier Middle School. Dr. Hanna will begin later this month.
Dr. Hanna has over 25 years of public school experience, and has been a successful middle school principal in Stafford County since 2013. Most recently, Dr. Hanna has served as the principal at T. Benton Gayle Middle School, and Edward E. Drew Middle School. Prior to serving as principal, Dr. Hanna was an assistant principal at Andrew G. Wright MS. Dr. Hanna has taught in several Virginia school systems, including Fairfax County Public Schools. She has also taught and supervised teacher and administrative interns at Longwood University and Grand Canyon University over the last several years.
Dr. Hanna is a strong supporter of professional learning communities, school-wide literacy, and academic writing in all content areas. Dr. Hanna developed the first comprehensive intervention and enrichment program in Stafford County Schools which served as a model for the entire division. Her creative leadership around math instruction resulted in significant gains in student achievement across multiple subgroups. Dr. Hanna has led her schools through multiple renovation projects, and she has served on numerous school/community committees and focus groups over the course of her career. Her innovative and collaborative approach to school leadership is an excellent match for the Lanier Middle School Principal position.
Dr. Hanna earned her Bachelor of Science at Longwood University, and her Masters in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Lanier Middle School, Providence ES Place at GMU Environmental Showcase
April 17, 2018
The team from Lanier Middle School finished third in the Caring for Our Watersheds competition.
Students from Lanier Middle School and Providence Elementary School were honored for their innovative environmental solutions and creative use of recycled materials at the seventh annual School Environmental Action Showcase (SEAS) at George Mason University (GMU). More than 200 FCPS students from 18 schools attended the 2018 SEAS.
Teams from Lanier Middle School won third place for their Enhancing Our Outdoor Living Classroom project, and fourth place for their It’s Green, It’s Grass, and It Grows project.
Providence ES placed third in the elementary division of the Recycled Mascot Challenge.
Attendees shared the environmental stewardship initiatives they are leading at their schools; exhibited sculptures of their school mascots made of recycled materials in the Recycled Mascot Challenge; presented their ideas for watershed improvement in the Caring for Our Watersheds competition; experimented with computer engineering to collect environmental data; and engaged in hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) activities hosted by nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses. A team of students from Lanier Middle took part in a question and answer session on reducing plastic use with collaborated with local elected officials with a goal of developing ideas for sustainable policies.
SEAS is hosted by NoVA Outside in partnership with GMU’s Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center. Students had the unique opportunity to network and learn from students at other schools, to innovate new ways to enhance their green efforts, and to understand how their dedication and hard work contributes to regional and global efforts to ensure a sustainable future.
Lanier Middle School Expands 1:1 Program
October 2, 2017
LMS students receiving laptops for school year.
Over 400 students given laptop for the 2017-2018 school year
Lanier Middle School is accelerating their plans to expand the 1:1 technology program with help from funds from the City of Fairfax. The 7
th grade Cavaliers Team and 8 th grade Patriots Team are both participating in the LMS 1:1 program, up from one team in the 2016-2017 school year. Each student in the two teams is loaned a laptop to use throughout the school year to use on school projects, research and group assignments.
According to Janel Justice, the 7
th grade history and 8 th grade civics/economics teacher for the two teams, the 1:1 program “helps cater to the individual needs of the learner.” She credits the program to help with flexible time frames for each student, offering the ability to pace themselves at school and at home. The program also supports the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Portrait of a Graduate goal to contribute solutions that benefit the broader community.
Other teachers at LMS appreciate the opportunity for students to connect with current events around the world. Students are able to use a variety of tools to read articles or watch videos and are able to make connections which is essential for learning.
Another benefit of all students having access to technology is the ability to seamlessly work on group projects. In Ms. Justice’s class, students used Google Docs ® to collaborate on Westward Migration stories, plays or songs. Peer group-leaders helped assign roles and assured tasks were completed.
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