Education Notebook - 10/16/02

Education Notebook - 10/16/02

Restrictions Cancel Homecomings

<bt>Since Thursday, Oct. 10, all Fairfax County Public Schools' outdoor activities have either been moved indoors or canceled outright. The move was prompted by the recent sniper attacks in neighboring jurisdictions and was done in consultation with Fairfax County Police and in cooperation with other school districts in Northern Virginia. In addition, all field trips within the Washington D.C.-metropolitan area were canceled. The measures, which were not tightened after Monday night's shooting in Fairfax County, were to remain in place until the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 15, at which time the restrictions would be reviewed.

Indoor activities, the SAT testing scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12, indoor practices, dances and craft fairs were not canceled by the school system. However, three high schools — Marshall, Oakton and South Lakes — canceled all of their homecoming activities, including the dances.

All school-system Adult and Community Education classes continued as scheduled except for the "Behind-the-Wheel" driving instruction which was canceled through Monday, Oct. 14.

Besides the restrictions, county police and school-system security increased at the schools.

The shootings began the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 2. That Thursday, the school system asked that all outdoor activities be moved away from the streets, but did not put the tighter restrictions in place until Monday, Oct. 7, after a boy was shot in front of his middle school in Maryland.

Parents and interested community members can receive emergency messages from the school system by e-mail through the FCPS "Keep In Touch" program. To register, go to the school system's Web page at, and click on the yellow "Keep In Touch" box. Updates are also available on the FCPS hotline at 703-246-2500.

<sh>FEA Hosts Governor

<bt>Gov. Mark Warner (D) will attend the Wednesday, Oct. 16, session of the Fairfax Education Association (FEA) Representative Assembly to discuss his support of the Northern Virginia sales-tax referendum and the funding forecast for Virginia's schools. The meeting, located at the Northern Virginia Community College Cultural Center in Annandale, begins at 4:45 p.m., with Warner expected to speak at approximately 5:15 p.m.

Both the FEA, which is comprised of Fairfax County teachers and support professional, and its state affiliate, the Virginia Education Association, have endorsed the referendum.

In addition to Warner's visit, the FEA delegates will review and discuss the school-system's proposed FY 2003-04 budget with school administrators, focusing on raising the take-home pay of teachers and school employees. For more information, contact the FEA office at 703-352-7300.

<sh>College Fair

<bt>Fairfax County Public Schools will hold its annual College Fair Sunday, Oct. 20, 7:30-9:30 p.m., at Fair Oaks Mall, 11750 Fair Oaks, Fairfax. A College Night program is scheduled the following night, Monday, Oct. 21, 7-9 p.m., at Hayfield Secondary School, 7630 Telegraph Road, Alexandria.

The college fair features representatives from 400 colleges and information about admissions, testing, financial aid and college life will be available. The college night will feature admissions workshops for students. Both events are free and open to the public.

For a list of participating colleges, complete with links to the college's home pages, visit

<sh>Volunteer Workshop

<bt>The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia Inc., 3431-A Carlin Springs Road, Falls Church, will be holding a one-hour volunteer orientation workshop Monday, Oct. 21, from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Persons interested in volunteering with the Literacy Council can learn about adult literacy and English as a second language tutoring, computer lab aides and other volunteer opportunities. Call 703-575-7900 to register or log onto for more information. Walk-ins are also welcome.

<sh>Distance Learning Program

<bt>The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) partnered with Fairfax County Public Schools and Fujifilm to bring the science of Giant pandas to school children through a 30-minute video that was broadcast into classrooms nationally on Thursday, Oct. 10. The project, "Giant Pandas: The Science of Finding Food," was an effort to demonstrate the scientific methodology to students in grades six through eight.

Through the Fairfax Network distance-learning program, the satellite broadcast was available to more than 12,000 schools nationwide. The documentary took students behind the scenes with the National Zoo scientists to explore how the pandas find bamboo. It follows the researchers as they form hypotheses, collect data and interpret the information.

<sh>Foreign Language Grant

<bt>Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) received a $126,121 grant from the foreign language incentive program of the U.S. Department of Education to support its elementary foreign language immersion program. The grant is effective immediately.

FCPS has approximately 3,000 elementary-school students in 13 schools participating in its partial-immersion program. The students study French, German, Japanese or Spanish in addition to core subjects; students in the program learn math, science and health in the immersion language.

The grant will be used to provide staff development for teachers and to purchase enrichment materials such as books, videos and computer software to enhance the existing program.

<sh>Students Participate in Disability Mentoring Day

<bt>More than 125 high-school students from Fairfax County Public Schools will participate in National Disability Mentoring Day, Wednesday, Oct. 16, joining volunteer mentors individually or in small groups in area businesses.

This is the second year the school system has sponsored the mentoring day, which is intended to demonstrate job opportunities to students with disabilities. Many of the mentors have disabilities as well.

<sh>FCPS Events Calendar

<bt>Wednesday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m.

School Health Advisory Committee meeting. Devonshire Center, 2831 Graham Road, Falls Church.

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m.

Adult and Community Education Advisory Committee meeting. Pimmit Hills Center, 7510 Lisle Ave., Falls Church;

Advisory Committee for the Gifted and Talented meeting. Walnut Hill Center, 7423 Camp Alger Ave., Falls Church;

Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee meeting. Walnut Hill Center, 7423 Camp Alger Ave., Falls Church.

Saturday, Oct. 19

Hayfield Secondary, Class of 1982, 20-year reunion, Radisson, Alexandria;

Herndon High, Class of 1982, 20-year reunion, Hyatt Dulles, Herndon;

Madison High, Class of 1992, 10-year reunion, Holiday Inn, Tysons Corner;

Robinson Secondary, Class of 1982, 20-year reunion, Hilton Crystal City, Arlington.

For more information, call First-Class Reunions at 888-327-1984 or on the Web at

Sunday, Oct. 20, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

College Fair at Fair Oaks Mall. Opportunity for college-bound students and parents to gather information from several colleges. For more information, call 703-876-5248. Fair Oaks Mall, 11750 Fair Oaks, Fairfax.

Monday, Oct. 21

Second grading period begins for modified elementary calendar Fairfax County Public Schools.

Monday, Oct. 21, 7-9 p.m.

College Night at Hayfield Secondary School. Opportunity for college-bound students and parents to gather information from several colleges and to attend college-related workshops. For more information, call 703-876-5248. Hayfield Secondary, 7630 Telegraph Road, Alexandria.

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m.

Human Resources Advisory Committee meeting. Human Resources Center, 6815 Edsall Road, Springfield.

Thursday, Oct. 24, 8 a.m.

Professional Technical Studies Advisory Committee meeting. Walnut Hill Center, 7423 Camp Alger Ave., Falls Church.

Thursday, Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m.

School Board regular business meeting. Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church.