Elementary Schools Gear Up For New Year

Elementary Schools Gear Up For New Year


As families and the school system prepare for the upcoming year, several elementary schools have new faces and programs for students.


Starting its second year with renovations on the gym, library and front office, Cardinal Forest continues to work collaboratively as part of a school team with the community. It will combine activities with its business partner, Fresh Fields Whole Foods Market in the Old Keene Mill Center, starting with an ice cream social on Aug. 29 .

The student body numbers are about the same as last year, holding a consistent four classes at each grade level, one to six. The Back-to-School Nights will be Sept. 10 for kindergarten to third grade and Sept. 18 for grades four to six.


The student population at Crestwood is 580 this year, up from 480 last year. To cope with the increase, additions are limited to another first-grade class, an English-as-a-Second-Language teacher and a Step Up language arts class, but no trailers. The business partner is Prosperity Bank, and the community partners are VFW Post 7327 and the Women’s Club of Springfield.


The school's Open House is Aug. 29, 2-3 p.m.


Mark Boyd, assistant principal, is the newest addition at Fairview Elementary School. He was previously a fourth-grade teacher at Rose Hill Elementary in Alexandria before taking on the increased responsibilities as assistant principal.

"I just found the right match," Boyd said.

Fairview is continuing with "target and guided reading," which is a county and school initiative, and continues to have a business partnership with Bank of America.


Communities on Hooes Road and Bonnie Mill are the reasons for increases in the student body at Forestdale. It added another first-grade class last winter and will add another fifth-grade class in September, and another teacher. Principal Terri Cavender was glad Forestdale didn't need another trailer, though.

"We're adding a fifth grade. We were able to move around," she said.


Garfield is among several volunteer schools in Fairfax County to take part in the Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools (PASS) in the state. It creates partnerships among educators, businesses and communities to help boost standards of learning (SOL) performance in Virginia's lowest academically performing schools.

Maureen Marshall is the new assistant principal.

"We were picked by the governor as a model school," she said.

Each school has a passing rate of at least 70 percent in either English or mathematics, according to information released by Fairfax County Public Schools.


Halley Elementary will be participating in Lead Fairfax, a program that gives a teacher with administration certification the opportunity to work as an administrator before taking an administration job. It is also participating in Designing Positive Learning Environments for Students through Johns Hopkins University, a program that works at preventing and resolving troubling behaviors in students. Halley is starting off the school year with a Kickoff Family Barbecue from noon-1:30 p.m. on Aug. 29, followed by the Open House from 1:30–2:30 p.m. Back-to-School Night is Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. for kindergarten and second and fourth grades, and Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. for first, third, fifth and sixth grades.


Hunt Valley has a new assistant principal this year, Mary McNamee. Its Open House is Aug. 29 at 2 p.m., and Back-to-School Night is Sept. 12.


Kings Glen is holding its Open House on Aug. 29 from 1-2 p.m. and Back-to-School Night on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.


A new assistant principal is the highlight of the coming year for Kings Park Elementary, and her name is Janet Cummings. Everything else is about the same as last year, including the enrollment, which continues to hover around 750 children.

"We're excited to welcome about 750-plus children back to Kings Park," said principal Mary Agnes Garman.


Full-day kindergarten is a substantial step Lynbrook is taking this year, with one additional kindergarten teacher and one additional first-grade teacher. The student body will remain around the 480 mark, though.

"We are starting full-day kindergarten. We're excited about that," principal Mahri Aste said.

One area they’re focusing on in their curriculum is English, with an increased use of the Guided Reading Program.

"We're going to really focus on our English scores," Aste said.

Lynbrook continues to utilize its one trailer in the back and doesn't anticipate getting more in the near future, but Aste noted the “no vacancy” status in the building.

"We're using every available space," Aste said.


The first day at Newington Forest includes lessons for the parents as well, according to principal Donna Lewis, in the form of a workshop.

"We invite all our parents to come in with the kids for workshops on 'How to Help Your Kids Get Off to a Good Start,'" she said.

The school has had this in previous years as well.

In addition, it is introducing only one new teacher, a sixth-grade teacher from Massachusetts. Lewis is excited about the lack of turnover.

"One new teacher. We haven't had turnover," she said.

On Aug. 29, there will be Kindergarten Orientation at 10:30 a.m. and Open House for the rest of the school at 2 p.m. Back-to-School Night is Sept. 24 for kindergarten through second grade, and Sept. 25 is grades three through six.


Students of North Springfield will have a new playground to look forward to this year. Although it was completed last year, the only day it was open for play was the last day, and then it rained. So students are gearing up this year to take full advantage of it. According to vice principal Eric Johnson, there were other improvements as well.

"They redid our blacktop," he said.

The business partner is the Washington Post Plant, which contributed $2,000 last year for field trips and provided tours of the plant to certain classes.

"They have mentors that read to classes," Johnson said.

Their Open House is Aug. 29 from 2-3 p.m., and the Back-to-School Night is Sept. 12, 7-9 p.m.


It's like a brand new school for students at Orange Hunt this year, with a complete renovation expected to be completed by the first day, Sept. 3, according to principal Janet Barbee.

"We're coming to the end of our construction. We're going to be a beautiful new school," Barbee said.

One feature at Orange Hunt that is coming to an end is the open-classroom concept, which started in the 1970s. Individual classrooms are being created instead.

"This used to be a completely open school. Times have changed, instruction has changed," she said.

Orange Hunt is welcoming a new assistant principal, Valerie Malloy, to the school, and the enrollment is going to be around 880 students, according to Barbee.

Open House is Aug. 29 at 2 p.m., and Back-to-School Nights are Sept. 9 for kindergarten through three, and Sept. 10 for grades four through six. Both nights start at 6:30, and each grade has staggered times.


Ravensworth is one of 14 schools in the area that are offering the Spanish Immersion Program, where students spend half the day completely in Spanish.

"We continue to have our Spanish Immersion Program," said

assistant principal Alice Alexander.

The student body has increased slightly, but it did not require any more trailers or classroom space, according to Alexander.

"We have a little increase," she said.

The Open House is Thursday, Aug. 29, from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and Back-to-School Nights are Sept. 18 and 19, from 7-9 p.m.


This year marks the first time enrollment at Rolling Valley is down, due to the fact that English-as-a-Second-Language students who were previously attending from other school districts are returning to their appropriate schools. Principal Gayle Andrews is looking forward to getting some of the space back from the slightly crowded conditions she experienced the last few years.

"We're going to have just enough space for everyone," she said.

Rolling Valley is also having a non-categorical class this year for students with various disabilities.

"They may have different types of disabilities," she said.

An additional teacher and assistant are coming to handle that class, plus an additional teacher for another class that has yet to be determined.

The Open House is Aug. 29 at 2 p.m., and Back-to-School Night is Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m.


An increase in the student body because of an increase in the base population and the gifted-and-talented students has prompted Springfield Estates to add three new trailers: one classroom, one band and strings, and one music class. It had 608 students last year and expects more than 100 this year. Principal Susan Garrison credited the surrounding neighborhood with the increase.

"The community's changing, younger families," she said.

The school will add 11 or 12 new staff members, four of them teachers, to meet the increasing needs. Kindergarten through second grade will be following a "vertical curriculum," which is a thematic approach using similar themes for each grade, but a different level of curriculum.

"It's a different way of organizing. We hope it's going to allow more flexibility," she said.

The Open House/Ice Cream Social will kick things off Aug. 28, followed by two Back-to-School Nights, Sept. 10 and 12.


With the opening of Sangster Elementary School and its gifted-and-talented (GT) program, White Oaks is dropping its GT classes to eight this year. In turn, the enrollment is going from 850 to 800 students, according to principal John Tozzi.

"We've had some drop," he said.

White Oaks is continuing the character-education and asset-building programs to keep students away from the "at-risk" behaviors.

"We'll be expanding on that this year," Tozzi said.

The Open House is Thursday, Aug. 29, at 4 p.m., and the Back-to-School Nights are Wednesday, Sept. 18, for grades four to six, and Thursday, Sept. 19, for kindergarten through three and GT students.