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Education Notebook

Makeup Day

<bt>Fairfax County Public Schools will be open on Friday, April 2, as a makeup day for the school day lost last Friday, Feb. 6. Monday, Feb. 16 will be a makeup day because the school system used its fourth snow day on Feb. 3. Feb. 16 had originally been designated as a holiday for all students and employees in honor of Washington’s birthday.

If the school system closes schools for inclement weather or any other emergency, the next makeup day will be June 21 for schools following the traditional calendar, March 24 for elementary schools following the modified calendar, and June 7 for secondary schools following the modified calendar.

See www.fcps.edu/cal.htm

<sh>Civil Liberties Essay

<bt>All 10th-12th grade high school students in Northern Virginia are eligible for the Civil Liberties Essay Contest, sponsored by the Northern Virginia Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.

Winning prizes, $300 for first place and $200 for runner-up, will be awarded in June.

Essays should address the student’s opinion or analysis of a current civil liberties issue and will be judged on clarity of thought, cogency of argument and eloquence of expression. Entries must be 700 words maximum. See http://members.aol.com/acluva for excerpts from last year's winning essays.

Essays must be typed and postmarked by March 31, mailed to: Northern Virginia Chapter of the ACLU, P.O. Box 19242, Alexandria, VA 22320-0242. Include a cover sheet with name, address, phone number and the name of the high school attended.

Winners will be notified by May 15.

Call the ACLU message line at 703-360-1096.

<sh>Limiting Self Expression

<bt>Should a school be able to ban insignias, Nazi and Ku Klux Klan symbols, Confederate flags and Malcolm X pictures?

The Virginia State Bar and its Litigation Section is sponsoring the 12th annual Law in Society Award Competition for Virginia High School students.

Students are asked to write an essay describing how far a school system should go to limit students' self-expression, in the interest of protecting them from gang violence and hate crimes.

Cash awards will be given to students whose essays show a superior understanding of the value of law in everyday life. The competition is open to all Virginia high school students 19 or younger. Entry forms and essay must be received by the offices of the Virginia State Bar by 4 p.m. on March 3, 2004.

Visit the Web site at www.vsb.org/publications/lawinsociety/index.html, e-mail lawinsociety@vsb.org or call 804-775-0586.

<sh>Telephone Hotline

<bt>The school system has established a new, toll-free telephone hotline for emergency messages, with information in three languages. The new number allows more people to use the hotline at the same time, reducing delays and busy signals.

The new number, 1-800-839-FCPS (3277) is effective immediately, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In the event of school closings or delays or other emergency situations, information can be obtained by dialing the toll-free number from anywhere in the region. Messages are available in English, Korean and Spanish.

<sh>Wishes for the New Chief

<bt>The School Board is scheduled to select the search firm that will find candidates to replace Domenech on Feb. 12.

The School Board will hold a public hearing on the search to replace Domenech on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at Jackson Middle School.

Call 703-246-3646 to sign up to speak. Citizens can also offer feedback to the Board by filling out a form online at www.fcps.edu (click on "Superintendent's Search")

Current information on the search for a new superintendent will be posted regularly on the site. Questions about the search can be addressed to School Board member Cathy Belter at 703-246-4772 or catherine.belter@fcps.edu.

<sh>333 Artists

<bt>Some 333 middle and high school students in Fairfax County Public Schools won regional awards in the Scholastic Art Awards competition, sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. Their work will be on display at Northern Virginia Community College’s Ernst Community Cultural Center from Friday, Feb. 6 through Thursday, Feb. 19. An awards ceremony is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m.