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Elementary Schools Prepare

With the school year fast approaching, schools prepare for new students.

As parents and students hit the back-to-school sales for crayons, colored pencils, binders and backpacks, Herndon's elementary school principals, teachers and staff are preparing for the rush of new students.

Dusting off countertops, positioning desks and making the classrooms colorful, some of the teachers are just as new to the schools as their students.

THIS YEAR CLEARVIEW Elementary School will see new teachers in the third, fourth and sixth grade gifted and talented programs, a new preschool teacher and a new teacher for an English for Speakers of Other Languages course. Grades first, fourth and fifth will also each have one new teacher.

The school also welcomes a new assistant principal, Chris Lazun. Lazun acted as assistant principal at Kilmer Middle School over the summer and served as a gifted and talented teacher at Bull Run Elementary prior to that.

The school is projected to have 500 students this fall, not including those enrolled in the school's year-old Head Start program and its existing preschool program.

A federally funded program, Head Start is designed for primarily low-income families or children with disabilities. It operates as an enrichment program that is designed to get children ready or even ahead scholastically by the time they reach kindergarten so they can enter mainstream schooling.

This year the sixth grade classes will mirror middle and high school classes, with students rotating from one class to the next while also intermixing. In addition there will be a new sixth grade gifted and talented class.

"One of our goals is to increase communication with parents by using blackboard and the 'Keep in Touch' system

with Fairfax County Public Schools," said Elaine Wellner, principal.

Clearview partners with BestEra, which manages international trade logistics.

Back-to-School Night is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. Clearview is located at 12635 Builders Road in Herndon and can be reached at 703-708-6000.

CROSSFIELD ELEMENTARY School is expecting an enrollment of 760 students from the Herndon and Reston areas.

Along with welcoming new students, the school also has a new assistant principal Gail Porter, as well as a new librarian, new category B teacher for special needs students and new teachers for first grade and physical education.

Crossfield has met all goals for No Child Left Behind the last three years in a row, according to preliminary test results for the 2004-2005 school year that were released last week.

The school ranked higher than the rest of the Fairfax County Public School system in all categories in addition to ranking higher than the state average, according to the report.

Back-to-School Night will be Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. for grades kindergarten through third, and Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. for grades fourth through sixth.

Crossfield is located at 2791 Fox Mill Road in Herndon and can be reached by calling 703-295-1100.

THIS YEAR DRANESVILLE Elementary School has 13 new teachers scheduled to teach everything from physical education and special education to helping with classroom instruction.

"We are excited about working with our students, parents and the community to ensure that our kids achieve at their highest," said Willye Nance, assistant principal.

The school is projecting an enrollment of 700 to 750 students and should not be overcrowded, according to Nance.

Last year the school began an official partnership with Northwest Federal Credit Union. Prior to the formal partnership, the business would hang student's art work on the walls of its Herndon office throughout the year. With the partnership the business plans to get even more involved by reading with students weekly, among other things.

In the past the school has been fully accredited through the Standards of Learning assessment tests, scoring well in all areas, according to Nance.

Back-to-School Night is scheduled for Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. and a Family Fun Night will be held Oct. 14 at 6 p.m.

Dranesville is located at 1515 Powells Tavern Place in Herndon and can be reached at 703-326-5200.

FLORIS ELEMENTARY will begin a new tradition this year for grades four, five and six. Classes will mirror a middle and high school schedule where students will mix from different homeroom classes to attend specialty courses including strings, physical education, band and music on a block schedule.

Other changes include new teachers at almost every grade level, as well as an additional gifted and talented teacher and new music teachers for the additional music classes.

The school's projected enrollment is 800, and although the building capacity is 750, the school should not feel overcrowded, said principal Karen Siple.

The end of this summer also marks the end of renovations on the school after the roof collapsed over a weekend in 2003.

In addition to requesting students spend the summer reading, — as opposed to watching TV or in front of the computer — Floris teachers were also required to do summer reading. To be prepared for this year's Standards of Learning testing, teachers were asked to read "Instructional Strategies that Work."

The school holds business partnerships with Baja Fresh, EDS, a scientific government contracting company and CFC, a business that works primarily with electricity and finance.

Floris has scheduled an open house for Friday, Sept. 2, beginning with a newcomers reception at 9:30 a.m. Children can meet teachers between 10 and 11:30 a.m.

Back-to-School Night is scheduled for Sept. 20 for kindergarten through second grade, and Sept. 27 for third through sixth grade. Both events are scheduled to run from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Floris Elementary is located at 2708 Centreville Road and can be reached at 703-561-2900.

FOX MILL ELEMENTARY, which also includes students from Herndon and Reston, is expecting 690 students this fall.

After celebrating its 25 year anniversary in June, the school is ready to put another year under its belt with a new principal, Pat Sheehy, leading the way.

A former teacher, Sheehy also served as an elementary school counselor for 13 years with FCPS before becoming an assistant principal for Colin Powell Elementary School and Bonnie Brae Elementary School.

She received a bachelor's degree from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., a masters degree in counseling at San Diego State College and an educational specialist degree in administration and supervision from the University of Virginia.

"I'm very excited and delighted to be the principal of Fox Mill," she said. "I look forward to working with students, a wonderful staff and parents. What I enjoy most is having the ability to make an impact on children's lives."

Another way the school hopes to impact students' lives is through an English as a Second Language class that is slated to begin this year, according to Sheehy.

Back-to-School Night is scheduled for Sept. 21. Morning kindergarten and grades one through three are scheduled from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m., followed by a Parent/Teachers Association meeting from 7:15 to 7:45 p.m., and then afternoon kindergarten and grades fourth through sixth can meet their teachers from 7:45 to 8:30 p.m.

Fox Mill is located at 2601 Viking Drive in Herndon and can be reached at 703-262-2700.

HERNDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL has a lot to be thankful for. In spite of the day-labor site debate monopolizing town staff and elected officials' time, the Town Council voted to approve FCPS' request to add a "quad" to the school's list of existing trailers. The quad will offer four classroom spaces that are connected with enclosed hallways.

Although a town ordinance was created to discourage more than five trailers on the school's property at one time, the council agreed to approve the quad because FCPS officials committed to placing the school at the top of a list for a modular expansion to be built as early as 2007 or no later than 2009. The modular expansion would have bathrooms and running water and be very similar to the school building, but cheaper and quicker to create than a renovation, according to FCPS officials.

The quad allows for the school to extend its existing half-day kindergarten into a full-day class. This will create two more teaching jobs and bring the number of the school's kindergarten classes up to four.

Returning again this year will be Herndon's Head Start program.

The school also plans to expand its compacted math curriculum to third through sixth grades. Compacted math is an accelerated math program in which students learn up to two grade levels of math in one year.

There will also be one more special education class.

The school will have new teachers in first, second, fourth and sixth grade and welcomes Linda Hajj, a new assistant principal, who was formerly an assistant principal at Lane Elementary School in Alexandria.

Expected student enrollment this fall is projected at 725 students.

"We aim to expand and challenge the academic program," said Carolyn Gannaway, principal, about the school's goals. "We challenge all of our boys and girls, to reach higher academic achievement for every child."

An open house is scheduled for Sept. 1, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. for kindergarten students, and 3 to 4 p.m. for first through sixth grades. Back-to-School Night is scheduled for Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.

Herndon Elementary partners with the Mining Management Service off Elden Street, which is part of the Department of the Interior.

The school is located at 630 Dranesville Road and can be reached at 703-326-3100.

THIS YEAR HUTCHISON Elementary school students will have more than new teachers and staff. The school will open a new library, art room and computer lab.

Adding to staff will be a new special education teacher, one first grade teacher, two fifth grade teachers and one sixth grade teacher. There will also be five education interns on campus from Marymount University.

An instructional coach will also join the school to update and assist teachers on efficient and quality teaching practices, as part of an effort by FCPS to place instructional coaches in the learning community.

Projected enrollment is 635 students this fall.

Principal Sheila Kearney said staff aim to "continue to explore possibilities of inquiring research and higher level thinking skills with students, to help kids be strategic thinkers."

Hutchison holds partnerships with Outback Steakhouse, NGA in Reston, Floris United Methodist Church and

Forestville Elementary.

An open house is scheduled for Sept. 1 at 11 a.m. to noon and Back-to-School Night is scheduled for Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. There will also be a coffee for parents at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 9. During this parents can walk their children to class and then attend the coffee hour to learn about programs offered through the school and become further acquainted with staff and the campus.

The school is located at 13209 Parcher Avenue and can be contacted at 703-925-8300.

MCNAIR ELEMENTARY will welcome a new principal this fall, Stephen Hockett, former Hunters Woods principal in Reston, for six years.

"I'm very excited and looking forward to working with the staff as they continue to build a strong instructional program," said Hockett about his change of schools. "As an educator, I'm very child-centered and the teachers I've met seem to be the same way."

McNair's former principal, Susan Benezra, left the position this summer because of personal reasons, according to FCPS' public relations department. Benezra will be working in the department of financial services as a special projects administrator with FCPS.

From Laguna Beach, Calif., Hockett taught second through sixth grade for nine years, and then joined FCPS as an assistant principal at Hunters Woods before being promoted to principal.

Hockett said he is looking forward to working with a culturally diverse student body, which he says is a "unifying factor that brings a multitude of experiences to share."

Joined by two assistant principals — Olivia Toatley, who has been assistant principal at McNair for six months and Phyllis Sledge, who has been an assistant principal at McNair for four years, Hockett said he's ready for the school year to begin.

In addition to a new principal, McNair also has 29 new specialists, resource teachers and classroom teachers.

With one outdoor module, which consists of restrooms and four classrooms, the school's projected enrollment of 940 students fits the building capacity, according to school officials.

This year the school hopes to expand its extracurricular activities, as well as the "Young Scholars" program that focuses on helping children express their thinking, according to McNair officials.

Back-to-School Night is scheduled for Sept. 20 for third through sixth grades, and Sept. 22, for kindergarten through second grade, from 7 to 8 p.m. for both nights.

McNair is located at 2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive and can be reached at 703-793-4800.

OAK HILL ELEMENTARY school is slated to have between 900 and 975 students this year, making the school more crowded than usual, according to principal Marie Merenda.

But, an addition of 10 new teachers will help manage the children and add to the school's 80 teacher population.

In addition to filling staff, the school has also filled its third through sixth grade gifted and talented program.

The school also has an after school program scheduled to be fun, but challenging for students. Called the "Lego League," the program is set to challenge students through competition in the math and science fields.

Back-to-School Night is scheduled for Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. for grades four to six, and Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. for kindergarten to third grade.

Oak Hill is located at 3210 Kincross Circle and can be reached at 703-467-3500.