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Middle School Prepares to Open Doors

Administrators are polishing the halls and programs that will be offered this year.

Area middle schools are preparing to welcome new and returning seventh- and eighth-graders with improved programs and services. Some schools are expanding their outreach to the parent community, and others are instituting new programs to enhance student education.

Longfellow Middle School will see its student population rise this year to 1,100 from 1,067 students last year, according to principal Vincent Lynch.

Even though enrollment is up, one of the school’s programs has been terminated. The school’s breakfast program has been canceled this year, due to a lack of participation on the part of students in previous years.

New programs at Longfellow include a second mobile computer lab, the Gifted Base program in the seventh grade is being replaced with the honors program in all core subjects, and teachers will work in small professional learning communities to coordinate their efforts to improve student success. Teachers will also be incorporating more technology into their recordation of grades and attendance this year.

Lynch said they are also hosting lunches before school starts to facilitate communication between parents and students with teachers and administrators. “Parents and students may come and have lunch with the administrators and ask any questions they may have,” said Lynch.

Lynch is especially pleased to announce that the school’s library now has new furniture — for the first time in 40 years. The old furniture was outdated and has needed to be replaced for some time.

Beginning next week Longfellow students can get a jump on the school year. “First-day packets may actually be picked up and completed on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 and 2, and students will receive their lockers immediately,” said Lynch.

Longfellow is looking for a replacement for its former assistant principal, who has returned to teaching at Kilmer Middle School. Interviews for his replacement will be held late this month.

Parents picking up and dropping off students will notice that the parking lot at Longfellow has been paved and restriped over the summer.

COOPER MIDDLE SCHOOL will welcome more students this year as well. According to principal Arlene Randall, the student body this year is expected to number “940, about 25 more than last year, so the population is growing.” In addition to having more students, Cooper will welcome about 10 new teachers when school begins in September.

Randall said that officials at the school are working hard to make sure everything is ready when the students return. A computer lab is being added to the library. It will be almost completely finished by the first day of school, according to Randall. New data lines are also being added to the school’s computer infrastructure.

Randall said the students can count on coming in and seeing a bright, fresh change. “We’re getting our lockers painted before the kids come in,” said Randall.

KILMER MIDDLE SCHOOL had expected to see a slight drop in student enrollment but, like the other middle schools, has seen an increase in students for the upcoming year. Enrollment started at 900 and is already up to 950, according to principal Paul Farmer.

The school is adding mobile computer labs this year as well as wireless networking. The school, said Farmer, is not starting new, “We’re just upgrading.”

Teachers this year will be using the Information Management System for grading and attendance, which is being utilized at schools around Fairfax County.

There are several new teachers at Kilmer this year, including a new assistant principal, Deborah Hernandez, who is coming from Madison High School.

Kilmer will also have a new band director, J.D. Anderson, who is shifting over from Longfellow Middle School. The school also has a new choir director this year.

Farmer said, “What I’m really looking forward to is that we are continuing our professional development communities.” That is a teaching model based on forming common assessments of students and intervention plans when a problem is detected. The model focuses on defining the essential knowledge that each student should know and requires teachers to work in tandem to ensure the students are at that level. “The true measurement is how much the student is learning,” said Farmer. Forming the common assessments, Farmer said, “really pushes the need for teachers to work together.”

Rachel Brown contributed to this article

<sh>Middle Schools at a Glance

<ro>Cooper

<lst>Staff

Administrators - 4

Specialists and teachers - 70.2

Guidance counselors - 4

Safety and security staff - 1

Instructional assistants/attendants - 6.7

Office support staff - 5

Custodians - 7

Enrollment

General education - 847

Gifted center - 0

Special education self-contained - 69

Total enrollment - 916

Supplemental Programs

English for Speakers of Other Languages - 24

Gifted and Talented school-based - 81

Special education resource assistance* - 116

*Students receiving multiple services are counted more than once.

Percentage of students by SOL Proficiency Level (2002-03) (Grade 8)

English - Writing

Pass advanced - 15

Pass proficient - 79

Fail - 6

English - Reading

Pass advanced - 29

Pass proficient - 62

Fail - 9

Mathematics

Pass advanced - 56

Pass proficient - 42

Fail - 2

History and social science

Pass advanced - 31

Pass proficient - 68

Fail - 2

Science

Pass advanced - 52

Pass proficient - 46

Fail - 2

Enrollment distribution by percent each race/ethnicity

White - 76.7

Black - 2.2

Hispanic - 2.5

Asian/Pacific Islander - 15.5

Enrollment distribution by percent each gender

Female - 47.4

Male - 52.6

Enrollment distribution by student characteristic

Economically disadvantaged - 0.7 percent

Limited English proficient - 2.2 percent

Students with disabilities - 13.2 percent

<ro>Kilmer

<lst>Staff

Administrators - 4

Specialists and teachers - 68.9

Guidance counselors - 4

Safety and security staff - 1

Instructional assistants/attendants - 8

Office support staff - 6

Custodians - 10

Enrollment

General education - 568

Gifted center - 300

Special education self-contained - 76

Total enrollment - 944

Supplemental Programs

English for Speakers of Other Languages - 69

Gifted and Talented school-based - 110

Special education resource assistance* - 107

*Students receiving multiple services are counted more than once.

Percentage of Students by SOL Proficiency Level (2002-03) (Grade 8)

English - Writing

Pass advanced - 23

Pass proficient - 65

Fail - 12

English - Reading

Pass advanced - 38

Pass proficient - 48

Fail - 14

Mathematics

Pass advanced - 48

Pass proficient - 43

Fail - 9

History and social science

Pass advanced - 28

Pass proficient - 64

Fail - 8

Science

Pass advanced - 50

Pass proficient - 43

Fail - 7

Enrollment distribution by percent each race/ethnicity

White - 63.5

Black - 5.9

Hispanic - 10.1

Asian/Pacific Islander - 17.8

Enrollment distribution by percent each gender

Female - 49.1

Male - 50.9

Enrollment distribution by student characteristic

Economically disadvantaged - 12.1 percent

Limited English proficient - 8.8 percent

Students with disabilities - 12.4 percent

<ro>Longfellow

<lst>Staff

Administrators - 4

Specialists and teachers - 75.5

Guidance counselors - 4

Safety and security staff - 1

Instructional assistants/attendants - 6

Office support staff - 5

Custodians - 6.5

Enrollment

General education - 746

Gifted center - 269

Special education self-contained - 52

Total enrollment - 1,067

Supplemental Programs

English for Speakers of Other Languages - 82

Gifted and Talented school-based - 181

Special education resource assistance* - 106

*Students receiving multiple services are counted more than once.

Percentage of Students by SOL Proficiency Level (2002-03) (Grade 8)

English - Writing

Pass advanced - 29

Pass proficient - 53

Fail - 7

English - Reading

Pass advanced - 38

Pass proficient - 50

Fail - 13

Mathematics

Pass advanced - 58

Pass proficient - 37

Fail - 5

History and social science

Pass advanced - 32

Pass proficient - 63

Fail - 4

Science

Pass advanced - 48

Pass proficient - 49

Fail - 4

Enrollment distribution by percent each race/ethnicity

White - 67.9

Black - 3.0

Hispanic - 6.4

Asian/Pacific Islander - 19.1

Enrollment distribution by percent each gender

Female - 47.8

Male - 52.2

Enrollment distribution by student characteristic

Economically disadvantaged - 6.1 percent

Limited English proficient - 8.0 percent

Students with disabilities - 12.1 percent

Facts from fcps.edu and www.schoolresults.org.