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Education Notebook - 01/22/03

Mediation Conference

<bt>Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will co-sponsor the 11th Annual Northern Virginia Regional Student Mediation Conference for students, teachers, counselors, administrators, parents and community volunteers from nearly 250 schools in the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area, March 11-12, in conjunction with the George Mason University (GMU) Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR), at GMU. The conference will focus on mediation in secondary schools on the first day and on elementary schools on the second day. The theme of the 2003 conference is "Conflict Resolution Skills: The Power to Make a Difference."

The keynote speakers for the two sessions are Sonia Amir, Miss Maryland 2000, and Elizabeth Lowery, a graduate student from ICAR and former peer mediator at Annandale High School, respectively.

The following workshops will be offered: an introduction to the mediation process; managing the mediation process; mediating complex situations; building peaceable schools and communities; mediating groups; marketing mediation; improv and conflict resolution; contemporary dialogues on mediation; an overview of the mediation process and program implementation; and restorative justice.

Registration deadline is Friday, Jan. 24. For more information, contact Marjorie Bleiweis, FCPS Safe and Drug-Free Youth Section, at 703-876-5247.

<sh>School Vouchers Discussion

<bt>The Northern Virginia Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State is sponsoring a presentation and discussion on school vouchers/credits and the First Amendment, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Tysons-Pimmit branch of the Fairfax County Public Library, 7584 Leesburg Pike. The event is free to the public. The meeting will present both sides of the school vouchers/credits issue, and questions from the audience are welcome.

Speaking in favor of vouchers will be Don Soifer, executive vice president of the Lexington Institute. He has written several articles on education reform, school choice, special education and charter schools, which have appeared in national newspapers and magazines. He has also testified before the U.S. Congress.

Speaking against vouchers will be K. Hollyn Hollman, general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs. She is a member of the District of Columbia and Tennessee bars and a frequent speaker at church-state issues seminars in the context of state and federal legislation and court cases.

For more information, call Sanford Cohen, at 703-893-4192.

<sh>Teachers Fairs

<bt>Fairfax County Public Schools will hold two teacher job fairs, Saturday, Feb. 8, and Saturday, March 8, at Oakton High School, 2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, seeking teachers, librarians and counselors for the 2003-04 school year. Teacher candidates are encouraged to attend.

The school system offers support programs to new teachers, including mentoring, professional development and the Smooth Transitions program, which offers, among other things, interest-free transition loans and apartment housing discounts.

The fairs will be from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The February fair is for elementary-school and special-education teachers, and registration runs through Feb. 4. The March fair is for secondary-school and special-education teachers, with registration from Feb. 12-March 4.

Call 703-750-8533 to schedule an interview. Preregistration is required. Snow days are Saturday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, March 15, respectively.

Directions to Oakton High and more information about the fairs are available on the school system Web site at www.fcps.edu, or by calling Terri Czarniak, coordinator of recruitment, at 703-750-8519.

<sh>Scientists Wanted

<bt>Fairfax County Public Schools is seeking retired scientists, engineers and other individuals with science backgrounds for the RE-SEED (Retirees Enhancing Science Education through Experiments and Demonstrations) Program. RE-SEED is a project that trains volunteers to work with science teachers in county middle and high schools and professional/technical academies. Persons with backgrounds in life sciences, physics, chemistry, geosystems, physical science, engineering physics and robotics are needed.

Volunteers assist teachers in the development, setup and

implementation of experiments and demonstrations designed to help students investigate basic scientific concepts and apply these concepts to everyday situations. New volunteer training will take place on Feb. 20.

For further information, contact Sharon DeBragga, coordinator for Fairfax County, at 703-227-2388, or via e-mail at Sharon.Debragga@fcps.edu.

<sh>FCPS Events Calendar

<bt>Wednesday, Jan. 22, 7 p.m.

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

Thursday, Jan. 23, 8 a.m.

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

Thursday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m.

School Board regular business meeting, capital improvement plan and Principal of the Year recognition. Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church.

Monday, Jan. 27, 7 p.m.

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

Tuesday, Jan. 28, 7 p.m.

School Board public hearing, budget, if needed. Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church.

Wednesday, Jan. 29

Second grading period ends for standard calendar and modified secondary calendar, Fairfax County Public Schools.

Thursday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m.

School Board work session, finance and budget. Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church.

Thursday, Jan. 30-Friday, Jan. 31

Student holidays for standard calendar and modified secondary calendar, Fairfax County Public Schools.

Friday, Jan. 31

Student holiday for modified elementary calendar, Fairfax County Public Schools.

Saturday, Feb. 1, 9 a.m.

Superintendent's retreat for the School Board. Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.