Education Notebook - 02/05/03

Education Notebook - 02/05/03

Superintendent Contracts Bill Fails

<bt>A bill submitted by Del. Gary Reese (R-67), formerly a Fairfax County School Board member, that would have required local school boards to provide notification of its intent to renegotiate a school superintendent's contract failed in the House of Delegates by a 28-70 vote Jan. 29.

The bill called for the local school board to announce at least 28 days prior to the board's scheduled action, its intention to renegotiate, extend or amend the contract. It also called for at least one public hearing if the contract changes included adjustments in compensation or the duration of the contract.

In January, Reese said he was taking the bill to Richmond at the request of the Republican-endorsed members of the Fairfax County School Board, Christian Braunlich (Lee), Mychele Brickner (At large), Rita Thompson (At large) and Tessie Wilson (Braddock).

The foursome were excluded in November when Democratically-endorsed members of the board renegotiated Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Domenech's contract, including extending the length of the contract and moving his annual bonus to base salary, an effective raise of $30,000, bringing the total salary to $246,982.

The four said they received 48-hours notice, by fax, of the contract changes while their counterparts, in some cases knew a week beforehand or longer. The four voted against the contract in protest of the way it was handled.

<sh>Language Immersion Enrollment

<bt>Fairfax County Public Schools is accepting applications for current kindergarten students for its partial-immersion foreign language program for the upcoming school year. Students enrolled in the program spend approximately half of each day learning mathematics, science and health in French, German, Japanese or Spanish. The other half of the day is spent learning social studies, language arts and reading in English. The program is offered in 13 elementary schools: Herndon Elementary in Herndon and Kent Gardens in McLean, French; Orange Hunt in Springfield, German; Floris in Herndon, Fox Mill in Herndon and Great Falls in Great Falls, Japanese; Bailey's Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences in Falls Church, Fort Hunt in Alexandria, Lake Anne in Reston, Laurel Ridge in Fairfax, London Towne in Centreville, Ravensworth in Springfield and Rose Hill in Alexandria, Spanish.

The program is open to Fairfax County residents and applications, which are available at all school-system elementary schools, must be received by Feb. 24. If applications are received in excess of available spaces at a specific school, students will be selected by lottery. Families will be notified after April 28 about selection or placement on a waiting list. Parents outside the school's regular attendance area will need to provide transportation for their children if they are selected for the program.

Parents interested in the partial-immersion foreign language program are encouraged to attend one of the remaining following informational meetings:

* Kent Gardens Elementary, 1717 Melbourne Drive, Feb. 11, 7 p.m., French, snow date Feb. 18;

* Floris Elementary, 2708 Centreville Road, Feb. 29, 6:30 p.m., Japanese, snow date Feb. 27;

* Fox Mill Elementary, 2601 Viking Drive, Feb. 20 at Floris, 6:30 p.m., Japanese, snow date Feb. 27 at Floris;

* Bailey's Elementary, 6111 Knollwood Drive, Feb. 13, 7 p.m., Spanish, snow date Feb. 20;

* Lake Anne Elementary, 11510 North Shore Drive, Feb. 12, 7 p.m., Spanish, snow date Feb. 19;

* London Towne Elementary, 6100 Stone Road, Feb. 6, 7 p.m., Spanish, snow date Feb. 19; and

* Ravensworth Elementary, 5411 Nutting Drive, Feb. 10, Spanish, snow date Feb. 18.

A separate application form is required for the Spanish program at Bailey's, call the school 703-575-6800, for an application. For more information on the program in general, contact the foreign language office at 703-208-7724 or on the Web site at

<sh>Interactive Educational Conference

<bt>Educators Ted and Nancy Sizer, authors of "The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract" will be keynote speakers for an interactive education conference, "Our Kids Deserve More Than 'Just the Facts,'" Saturday, March 15, from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., in the West Springfield High School auditorium, 6100 Rolling Road, Springfield.

The public is welcome to participate. The event is sponsored by Fairfax County Public Schools and The Fairfax County Council of PTAs.

Registration for the conference and more details, including an online book discussion Feb. 10-12, can be found at

<sh>High-School Courses Online

<bt>Fairfax County Public Schools will offer 14 high-school courses online through its Online Campus for summer school 2003. The Online Campus offers regular education courses that are traditional in-class courses, with mandatory daily attendance, midterm and final exams, and Standards of Learning (SOL) testing. The classes are offered at no charge to FCPS students, but require the approval of the local high school guidance counselor.

The Online Campus summer school offerings include English 10, 11, and 12, for new and repeating students; Spanish 1, for repeating students only; algebra I and II, for new students only; geometry, for new students only; biology I, for repeating students only; chemistry, for repeating students only; geosystems, for repeating students only; Virginia and United States government, for new and repeating students; Virginia and U.S. history, for new and repeating students; and world history and geography I, for repeating students only, and II, for new and repeating students.

The Online Campus offers choices for students who are homebound or home schooled, need a class or two to graduate on time, need to catch up, or need to work but want to complete the requirements for a high-school diploma. Classes are held with the expectation that students will read, write, work equations, participate in small group discussions, and communicate regularly with their teacher and classmates. For more information about the Online Campus can be found on its Web site at,

<sh>Sibling Support Workshop

<bt>Don Meyer, director of Sibling Support Project of the

Association for Retarded Citizens of the United States will be presenting a workshop, "The Sibling Support Project: Sibshops," sponsored by Fairfax County Public Schools, Thursday, March 13, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m., at Northern Virginia Community College Ernst Cultural Center.

The workshop will present information about issues faced by families and children when one child in the family has a disability. This training is intended for school-system staff and parents of children with disabilities.

For registration for parents and other community members,

call Leigh Webster at 703-246-8102 or e-mail,

<sh>Abbott Named ACTFL President

<bt>Marty Abbott, director of high school instruction and K-12 curriculum services for Fairfax County Public Schools, has been elected president of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages for 2003.

The council is the only national organization dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages at all levels of instruction.

Abbott is a member of the steering committee for the National Assessment of Educational Progress foreign language exam and has also served on many national task forces dealing with teacher assessment and foreign language standards.

She currently supervises a variety of areas of secondary school instruction for the school system.

<sh>FCPS Events Calendar

<bt>Saturday, Feb. 8, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Fairfax County Public Schools teachers, librarians and counselors job fair, focusing on elementary-school and special-education teachers. Preregistration required, 703-750-8519. Snow date, Feb. 22. Oakton High School, 2900 Sutton Road, Vienna.

Monday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m.

School Board public hearing, boundaries. Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church.

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m.

School Board public hearing, boundaries. Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road.

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m.

* Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities, Belle Willard Center, 10310 Layton Hall Drive, Fairfax.

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

Thursday, Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m.

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

Monday, Feb. 17

Washington's birthday holiday for all Fairfax County Public Schools.