Dusting Off the School Bell

Dusting Off the School Bell

High, middle schools prepare for start of new year.

South County Secondary

8501 Silverbrook Road

Lorton, VA 22079

Principal: Dale Rumberger


Web site: www.fcps.edu/southcountyss

Back-To-School Night: Middle School, Monday, Sept. 25, 7 p.m.; High School, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m.

Entering its second year, South County Secondary School is incorporating a modified bell schedule to accommodate its 3,050 students, an increase of more than 500 students from last year.

To help ease the strain on the school, five modular classrooms and one double-wide trailer were installed on the campus earlier this spring, said principal Dale Rumberger.

However, not all physical changes to the school will make parents cringe — two basketball courts will be domed and insulated to allow for year-round use. Additionally, 500 lockers to accommodate new students are being installed in the hallways, and another 300 lockers are being added in the physical education department.

"We've made some revisions to the electrical and plumbing systems, but most of the changes are to our infrastructure so we can be set up as best as possible for the extra 500 students," Rumberger said.

The school will also have as many as 60 new staff members, including support staff, educational assistants, counselors, teachers and custodians, Rumberger said.

For the 2006-07 school year, teachers at South County will continue to make sure the needs of all students are met, starting with the distribution of class schedules and basic information at the Stallion Stampede, scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 29 starting at 4 p.m. The event, which Rumberger calls the first traditional event in the school's history, first took place last year to officially open the new school to the community.

In addition, this year will be the second year for an ongoing partnership between the school and the Lorton Arts Foundation, which is renovating a portion of the former Lorton Prison Site. Through the partnership last year, the school was able to secure drama and theater technology teachers who helped to produce the school's two full-length productions.

"We want to solidify what we did last year and identify what we need to improve on in order to determine what else we need to do," Rumberger said.

Starting the second year of the school is easier than the first year, he said.

"There are lots of things I don't have to worry about now, like when we're going to get the second floor of the building or how we unload 12 trailers of furniture," Rumberger said. "However, now we have to find ways to give the same specialness to the 500 new students as we gave to the first 2,400 last year."

Lake Braddock Secondary

9200 Burke Lake Road

Burke, VA 22015


Enrollment: 2,561

Principal: Linda Burke


Web site: www.fcps.edu/LakeBraddockSS

Back-to-School Night: grades 7-8, Monday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m.; grades 9-12, Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m.

Lake Braddock Secondary School is currently in the final stages of its three-year renovation project. The major areas of the school have already been completed, including the cafeteria, gymnasium, main office complex and theater, said Associate Principal Dave Thomas. The school still has about 50 classroom trailers on site, but Thomas said the entire middle school will be back in the main building by mid-October. The only section left for renovations will be the foreign language wing and part of the music wing.

Thomas said the entire project has turned out to be better than they had hoped it would be and "it's looking really nice." The football and baseball fields also have new grass this year. Renovation construction is scheduled to wrap up by next summer.

The school also welcomes about 25 new faculty and staff members, including two new middle school administrators and one new high school guidance instructor. Thomas said he's also excited about the five-day-a-week after-school program, which Taylor Dixon, the after-school program specialist, has worked really hard on improving. All middle schools in the county expanded after-school programs as part of a county-wide initiative last [school] year, and Dixon's has become "one of the models all the schools look to," said Thomas.

Robinson Secondary

5035 Sideburn Road

Fairfax, VA 22032


Enrollment: 4,300

Principal: Dan Meier


Web site: www.fcps.edu/RobinsonSS/

Back-to-School Night: grades 7-8, Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m.; grades 9-12, Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m.

Robinson is the only high school in Fairfax not going through a major renovation process. Associate Principal Rich Mondloch said the school will be offering a couple of new and exciting programs this year. About once a month, both general education and special education students get together for the Partners Club, where activities like dances or talent shows are scheduled. The club "is a real nice partnership" between the two groups of students, said Mondloch. The school has also scheduled a new program this year called Touching Bases." On Nov. 10, Veteran's Day, all parents are invited into the school to "touch base" with teachers about the academic or behavioral progress of their child. It's similar to an open house, said Mondloch, but a little more personalized to each student.

Robinson will also be performing a guided self-study for accreditation this year. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation agency will sit in at the school for two days in November to make sure the school is in compliance with academic regulations.

At Robinson's middle school level, the school has implemented a positive behavior support program. It's a way for all of the teachers to get together to handle student behavior with more consistency, said Mondloch. The middle school also welcomes a new assistant principal, Sharon Newcome, who came to Robinson from the City of Falls Church school system.

Woodson High

9525 Main St.

Fairfax, VA 22031


Enrollment: 2,084

Principal: Robert Elliott


Web site: www.fcps.edu/woodsonhs/

Back-to-School Night: Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 5:30 p.m.

W.T. Woodson High School has a new assistant principal this year. LeAnne Kannappel has joined the school from her previous position at Canterbury Woods Elementary, and will oversee the Deaf/Hard of Hearing program among her other duties.

Woodson High School’s renovation project bid came in $20 million over budget, so the contract will be re-bid in September. A ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony took place last June, even though the actual construction will not begin until October. School Board members assure the 2009 completion date will not be affected, even though the project will begin at least three months later than scheduled. The trailers have overflowed the front of the school, and they will account for some temporary changes to the school. Robert Elliott, Woodson's principal, wrote in an e-mail to the Connection that "over 30 relocatable classrooms are in place, so a number of classes will be located in front of the building." The student parking in the west parking lot will be shifted to the south due to the renovations as well, wrote Elliott.

Enrollment at the school continues to increase, with expected enrollment just under 2,200 in the coming year, including the Woodson Center.

Frost Middle

4101 Pickett Road

Fairfax, VA 22031


Enrollment: 1,060

Principal: Marti Jo Jackson


Web site: www.fcps.edu/FrostMS/

Back-to-School Night: grade 7, Thursday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m.; grade 8, Thursday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m.

As summer flies by, Robert Frost Middle School is bringing out lots claws for some Falcon school sprit with the new school year only weeks away. Ten new staff members will be joining the Frost family this year bringing “varied and rich experiences” said Principal Marti Jo Jackson, “We have the very best mentoring program. Frost’s enrollment is has not changed significantly despite the rapidly growing South County Secondary School. Our lead mentors have been reaching out to new staff.”

Newly appointed after-school program coordinator Debbie Metzker is helping in the expansion of their after-school programs. “We are eager to build our activities for our students,” said Jackson. Art, board game, chess, debate, and fitness clubs are a few activities the middle school has to offer along with a spelling and geography bee, Odyssey of the Mind contest and French/Spanish cultural events.

School information was compiled by Amber Healy, Lauren Glendenning, Carolyn Davidson and Michael O'Connell.