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Smiling About the SATs

School Starts With Good News

Schools With Highest Scores

As reported by Fairfax County Public Schools, these high schools scored higher than the county system’s average SAT score. FCPS averages scores of only those students who are enrolled at the school where the test is administered. The College Board includes test scores of students who take the test at a site other than their base school.

VERBAL

TJHSST 733

Langley 601

Woodson 587

Madison 575

McLean 573

Marshall 573

Lake Braddock 566

West Springfield 566

Robinson 559

Oakton 558

FCPS 557

MATH

TJHSST 756

Langley 624

McLean 613

Woodson 599

Madison 594

Lake Braddock 587

West Springfield 585

Oakton 582

Marshall 580

FCPS 575

Source: Fairfax County Public Schools, 2003

School started Tuesday for hundreds of hopeful, and sometimes tremulous, new students and, in Dranesville District, one new elementary school.

Principals and School Board members were beaming over gains in SAT scores that showed Langley High School students the top-scoring students at any base school in the county.

Only Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) showed higher scores.

McLean and Marshall High Schools also scored well and McLean placed third in math scores among Fairfax County high schools.

Marshall’s scores also rose appreciably.

“I’m really pleased about the SAT scores, particularly seeing schools like Falls Church and Marshall” reach higher scores, said Providence School Board Representative Ernestine Heastie.

“It shows our commitment to good schools,” she said. “We are strengthening the curriculum and the results are showing.”

And at the user end of those scores, in the parking lot outside Langley High School, a new resident of Great Falls filled out a stack of forms to enroll her son as a freshman.

Mal Hee Lee said she moved to Great Falls from Howard County because of Langley’s reputation.

“I heard about this school,” she said. “This is the best around here.”

Her daughter, Jane, is a first grader at Great Falls Elementary. Her sons, Jae, will be a Cooper Middle School seventh grader and Hon, the eldest child in the family, is in ninth grade.

Langley Principal Bill Clendaniel said four times during orientation, parents approached him to say that Langley’s reputation and SAT scores were the reason they moved into the school’s attendance area.

“Nobody is moving to Fairfax County because the roads are terrific,” he said. “They are moving here for one reason: the schools.”

Clendaniel said parents make the difference at Langley, which claims the highest average SAT scores among Fairfax County’s

23 base schools.

“The interest and involvement on the part of the parent community really does set us apart,” he said.

Outside Clendaniel’s office on Tuesday morning, PTSA Co-President Demetra Matthews was proving his point, helping three Langley students figure out the logistics of attending classes at Marshall Academy during the first period of the day.

Gus Pappas enrolled in auto technology at Marshall, Will Claybaugh in Chinese language, and Oliver Palmer in network design and engineering. All were working out glitches in their schedules with Matthews’ help.

At Colvin Run Elementary, Dranesville District School Board Representative Jane Strauss and FCPS Superintendent Daniel Domenech toured the new school after all the students were in class.

Strauss was exultant that all bus runs were uneventful. Even the bus from Fox Run subdivision in Great Falls, where parents had been concerned about the length of time their children would be on the bus, reached the school in 35 minutes.

Principal Sandra Furick was zooming from one section of the gleaming new building to another, “exhilarated,” she said, now that the first day of school had actually arrived.

By mid-morning, there had been no glitches, she said.

More than 60 walkers from Shouse Village arrived uneventfully after Dranesville District Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn’s office intervened to get a crosswalk in place on Towlston Road. When it wasn’t completed last week, “We just kept calling [VDOT],” Mendelsohn said.

A police officer will be present during the first week of school but by next week, Mendelsohn said he hopes a crossing guard will be provided for Shouse students who walk.

The Kiss and Ride zone, which has a separate entrance off Trap Road, also worked well, said assistant principal Ernie Leighty, and VDOT engineers are monitoring the traffic flow through the light at Route 7 and Towlston Road to allow 13 school buses to emerge from Towlston Road and turn left on Route 7.

But Leighty said he wasn’t yet ready for a sigh of relief.

“We will exhale at the end of the day, when the students are home safely,” he said.

But for many, many children, and many, many grownups, the first day of the school was just as it always was: exciting, scary, and fun.

One kindergarten class at Colvin Run walked single file behind their teacher, who was showing them how to walk quietly through the hall.

Each child had his or her index finger pointing straight up and pressed tight against their lips, something adults with cell phones have long since forgotten.