August 9, 2013
School staff members are returning to set up class rooms and getting ready for students!
Here are some important dates for our four schools:
Daniels Run Elementary School
August 16th – Kindergarten Safari 10:00
August 29th – Open House 1:00 – 3:00
Providence Elementary School
August 15th – Kindergarten Courtyard Safari 9:00
August 29th – Kindergarten and 1st Grade 12:00 – 1:00; 2nd – 6th grade 1:00 – 2:00
Lanier Middle School
August 28th – Eagle Fly By 2:00 – 7:00
August 30th – New Student Orientation (incoming 7th graders and new 8th graders) 9:00 – 11:00
Fairfax High School
August 27th – Rebels Reunite 3:00 – 7:00
August 30th – New Student/Parent Orientation 9:00 – 12:00
July 18, 2013
For many of us summer is a time to reconnect with our kids, get outside, and hopefully take time to reflect on the past school year. At our June school board meeting, I was so proud as the City of Fairfax School Board honored over 200 students for their many accomplishments this past school year. While I am never surprised at the success of our incredible kids, I continue to be impressed.
The City Schools’ staff and I met with the City School Board at our annual retreat last month to review the year and set priorities for the upcoming school year(s). In my next blog post, I will discuss some of our goals for the 2013-2014 school year, but for today I thought our community members would be interested in some of the many accomplishments by our city schools and students this past year.
In 2012-2013 our School Board and Staff:
- Worked with Fairfax County Public Schools to complete a successful boundary study that will mitigate overcrowding at both Fairfax High School (FHS) and Lanier Middle School (LMS) in the coming years
- Recognized over 350 exceptional students, staff, and school events – Continued our engagement with the City of Fairfax including involvement in the Fall Festival, 4th of July Parade, FHS Homecoming Parade, student work showcased in the Spotlight on the Arts, and having our students lead the Pledge of Allegiance at city council meetings
- Improved our communication with the community including launching a new website, writing multiple blog postings for Fairfax City Patch, increased our presence on Facebook and Twitter, and continued our award winning online newsletter CloseUp
- Cleaned up and restored school grounds at all our schools after the June 2012 derecho, including replacement of damaged bleachers at FHS
- Installed two new bathrooms at Providence Elementary School (PES)
- Extensive grounds clean up at Daniels Run Elementary School (DRES)
- Partnered with Lands and Waters to create a bioretention cell at LMS
Our schools and students also continued to shine. Here are just a few highlights of their many accomplishments:
- FHS was awarded a gold medal by U.S. News & World Report and named the 11th best high school in Virginia
- LMS Eco-Club was a first place winner for the Caring of our Watersheds Contest
- DRES was named for the sixth year as a Virginia Naturally School for their incredible work in their outside living classroom
- DRES students were first place winners at the NoVa Outside Green School
- PES was honored by FCPS with a Blue Ribbon for their amazing Mentoring Program
- Lanier Middle School after school specialist Julio Dejo received the FCPS Support Employee of the Year award
- PES launched their S.T.E.M. lab – one of the finest in the state to expose all students to not only science, technology, engineering and math, but critical thinking and collaboration as well
- Adam Erbrecht, principal of Daniels Run Elementary School was nominated for the FCPS first year principal of the year
- FHS Wind Ensemble participated in the exclusive Music for All Nations Festival in Indianapolis, one of only 16 schools from around the country invited
It is reflections such as this that remind us all how fortunate we are to be part a community such as the City of Fairfax. I look forward to the upcoming school year with anticipation and excitement. As always, we want to hear from you and there are many ways for us to keep in touch.
- Sign up for CloseUp – our e-newsletter
- “Like” us on Facebook to get pictures and timely updates
- Follow me on Twitter (@peternoonan)
July 8, 2013
The City of Fairfax Schools welcome students this summer for fun, learning and preparation for the upcoming school year. With camps and programs designed specifically to help bridge the summer gap, City of Fairfax schools are providing a number of ways for students to continue learning and be prepared in September.
According to the National Summer Learning Association, students can lose up to two months of grade-level equivalency in math skills. Johns Hopkins studied Baltimore Public Schools and noted that some students lose more than two months in reading achievement over the summer months.
To combat this loss, city schools worked with Fairfax County Public Schools and the City of Fairfax to create specialized programs to aid a number of students. The goals of the programs are to strengthen basic skills through learning opportunities that challenge students, review content and use critical thinking skills. For example, students entering kindergarten with little or no preschool experience will be able to participate in school routines and social activities at both Daniels Run Elementary School and Providence Elementary School.
For older students, subject-specific classes such as Algebra will be available to provide additional time and support. In addition, selected rising 7th and 9th graders will be given opportunities to ease the transition from one school to the new school. There will also be advanced academic boot camps to help prepare students to the rigors of AP/Honors classes at Fairfax High School.
In all schools, there will be a strong literacy and math focus. Project LIFT is a research-based summer reading program for 4th and 7th grade students. At the end of the school year, school librarians assisted students to choose high interest, appropriate reading level books to increase retention. Both elementary schools will be holding “reading parties” in their school libraries complete with pizza and stories for students to enjoy.
Fairfax High School is working to promote literacy with a community-wide book recommendation – Peak by Roland Smith. Students, staff and family members are encouraged to read about a teenager sent to Thailand to live with his estranged father. The father and son climb Mount Everest and learn to set goals, “climb high, sleep low”, collaborate and use critical thinking to stay alive in the harsh environment. In keeping spirit with the goal, City of Fairfax School Board Members and staff all purchased the book to read this summer and plan to discuss in the fall with FHS students and staff.
“Study after study show teachers need to ‘reteach’ information from the previous school year because of the amount of academic loss over the summer,” said Dr. Peter Noonan, Superintendent of City of Fairfax Schools. “Working with parents, we as a community – through the schools, public library and free City of Fairfax cultural programs – can provide a number of opportunities for students to learn and engage.”
For more information on summer programs, please contact the schools directly. School contact information can be found on our website www.cityoffairfaxschools.org.
April 29, 2013
City of Fairfax Schools were honored at the NoVa Outside School Environmental Action Showcase (SEAS) on Wednesday, April 24th. The showcase, held at George Mason University in partnership with Agrium’s Caring for the Watershed, celebrated students, teachers, schools and non-profits in their environmental stewardship and efforts. Attended by over 350 elementary, middle and high school students from over 40 schools, the day long event showcased student work and projects in a variety of environmental areas. Groups presented projects and participated in activities such as robotics, renewable energy techniques and learned about oil spill clean up.
Lanier Middle School (LMS) Eco-Team won first place in the Agrium’s Caring for the Watershed contest. Ten finalists presented proposals for watershed related projects based at their school. Students were judged on background knowledge, feasibility and creativity of the project.
“Students participated in this contest with great enthusiasm and passion,” said Faiza Alam, Special Education Science Teacher at Lanier Middle School.”They stayed after school for many days researching and preparing. The students identified the problem, collected and analyzed data and proposed a plan to fix the issue. It was a great experience to see students connect to their learning to real life issues and be such great environmental stewards.”
“Winning first place in the Agrium’s Caring for our Watersheds Contest is a major achievement for Lanier’s Eco-team,” said Dr. Scott Poole, principal at LMS. “Student teams from across Northern Virginia submitted proposals, and Lanier’s idea was chosen as best by distinguished panel of knowledgeable judges. I am proud that our students are doing so much to help our environment and school while learning a great deal at the same time.”
Daniels Run Elementary School’s Eco-Action Team was one of six schools to earn the NoVa Outside Green School Award for their presentation of ongoing work. Students dressed as recycling bins to highlight their waste reduction efforts, one of the initiatives they introduced at DRES. Other projects by DRES students include a vernal pool, composting, donations of food to a local food bank, submerged aquatic vegetation and creating a series of Earth Day videos with ‘green tips’ for the students and their families. All students in all grade levels at DRES participate in at least one environmental project each school year in addition to whole-school activities such as recycling and lessons in the vegetable garden.
“I am really proud of how well our students represented Daniels Run Elementary School,” said Lori Huberman-Hayes, Science Technology Resource Teacher and Eco-Action Team leader. “They were able to give so many details about all of our projects and they spoke with such pride of our school. The students really care about our environment and want it to be healthy place for plants, animals and people.”
“We are so proud off all the students that came to the Showcase at George Mason University,” said Elaine Tholen, NoVa OUtside Co-Founder. “Student ‘Green Teams’ from across the region had the opportunity to showcase projects they’ve been working on to reduce energy use, to increase plant and animal biodiversity on the school grounds and to decrease the amount of waste their school generates – just to name a few.”