The summer is coming to an end and Fairfax County Public School students will be lugging their backpacks back to school on Tuesday, Sept. 7. McLean, Langley and Marshall high schools have all been preparing this summer for the first week of school. Here is what each of them have planned:
IN ADDITION TO the eight new staff members that McLean High School is welcoming this school year, it is making adjustments for the large incoming freshman class.
While the average class size is in the low 400s, the incoming freshman class is made up of close to 500 students, said the newly-hired Principal Paul Wardinkski.
McLean has had to alter its bell schedule around in order to accommodate for the larger freshman class. Due to the block scheduling that McLean adheres to, students would attend six of their classes every other day while attending their fifth period class on a daily basis. While students will continue to attend their fifth period class every day, they will now be assigned to one of three different lunches as opposed to two.
Some students may have lunch first and then go to their fifth-period class, certain students may have lunch in the middle of their fifth-period class, while others will go to class first and then take a trip to the cafeteria.
Students were guaranteed to have the same lunch period every day up until this year. When McLean students return to school this year, their lunch period may differ everyday depending on the location of their fifth period class. The school will be broken off into different sections as certain parts of the school will be assigned to corresponding lunch periods.
In addition to the extra lunch period, students will now attend their seventh-period class daily as opposed to their fifth-period class.
McLean is still in search of a guidance director after the departure of Dr. Boggs Wright. Advertising for the position was reposted on Aug. 4 and closed on Aug. 10. Interviewing continued on through the week of Aug. 16 with the candidates that applied.
ALTHOUGH LANGLEY IS not experiencing as big of an incoming freshman class as McLean High School, it is still having to make some adjustments. Four temporary classrooms were built at Langley in order to accommodate for the 23 new teachers and the 50 to 75 student growth in the student body, said Principal William Clendaniel.
In order to make the new students feel welcome, the Langley PTA plans to make continued use of several programs. Programs such as the Buddy System not only help new families become familiar with Langley High School but also help to introduce new families to the Langley community.
In the Buddy System, families that are new to Langley High School are paired up with individuals who are familiar with the Langley community. These veteran families are available to answer questions about everything from where to go grocery shopping to where to find a doctor.
“High school a big place for a freshman coming out of one of the middle schools. Anything we can do to help them feel welcome is our job,” said Patty Gartenhaus-Bachner, Langley’s PTA president.
The PTA is also working to have the PTA newsletter sent electronically. Gartenhaus-Bachner said that once the email is set, the school and PTA would be able to communicate directly with the parents during emergencies.
Due to the success of the underwater submarine program last year, Langley High School has increased its educational enrichment funds for its teachers and students. These funds would be used to finance field trips or other educational programs that would further help Langley students learn outside the classroom.
MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL is doing its share to welcome its new students through the Preliminary International Bacheloriate program and freshman orientation.
The Pre-IB program was held at Marshall during July as students from feeder schools would study IB courses for three weeks. The program targeted minority students who were not sure if they could handle the IB program when they became juniors in high school.
“The Pre-IB program has been very successful because almost all of the kids have signed up for Pre-IB courses their freshmen year,” said PTA President Jackie McCauley.
Marshall will continue to sponsor the Professional Learning Community in order to give more academic attention to its students. The program is offered during the lunch periods and its designed for any students who wish to receive some extra help.
In order to get the freshmen oriented with the school, the administrators and teachers, the PTSA will sponsor a potluck dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 1. A representative from Booz-Allen and Hamilton will be present as well and speak in front of the incoming freshman class.
Students will be picking up their schedules on Aug. 26.