When Fairfax County School Board Chair Isis Castro learned that it was "Take Your Legislator Back to School Week," she picked up the phone and called one of her favorite legislators, Delegate Kris Amundson (D-44).
They contacted a couple of local schools, Fort Hunt and Bucknell Elementary Schools and asked if they could come to the school to visit. Both Carol Coose and Joanne Jackson, principals at the respective schools, looked forward to the visits, which were originally scheduled for September 18; they had to be delayed because of Hurricane Isabel.
Rescheduled for last Tuesday, Amundson and Castro arrived at Fort Hunt promptly at 9 a.m. They met Coose and Assistant Principal James Meier, and then proceeded on their tour.
When Coose told Amundson to let her know where she'd like to stop, Amundson said, "I'd like to go in at least one or two primary classes."
They stopped at the next classroom, which happened to be the first grade Spanish Immersion class taught by Patricia Friginal-Mooney. Children sat in groups working with charts and color blocks to learn the names of primary colors in Spanish.
Without hesitation, Amundson joined a couple of students, Glenn Rushing and Ryan Scott, on the floor. She then started asking them questions in Spanish. Not quite sure what to make of this woman who happened into their classroom, they sat, mesmerized, as she helped them find their colors. After a few minutes, Amundson got up and visited with the teacher.
"They don't even realize they're learning," she said.
THE NEXT CLASS they visited was one of the art rooms, and in an attempt to explain who they were and why they were there, Castro said that she (as school board chair) asks for the money, Amundson (as delegate) helps get the money, and then they give it to Mrs. Coose to buy things for the school.
Coose said, "It was great to have Mrs. Amundson and Mrs. Castro visit Fort Hunt last week and talk with the students about their roles in the community. It is always important that our young citizens are aware of the importance of our elected leaders and how their support affects our schools.
"We loved showing them our newly renovated building, our children and staff hard at work and our wonderfully enriched academic curriculum."
A tour of the library impressed Amundson. She hadn't seen it since the renovation was completed. They then visited the gym and a few other classes, before Castro and Amundson departed for Bucknell.