Schools Prepare as Summer Winds Down

Schools Prepare as Summer Winds Down

High, middle schools get ready for 2006-07 school year.

Robert E. Lee High

6540 Franconia Road

Springfield, VA 22150


Principal Donald Thurston

Web Site:

Back-to-School Night: Tuesday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.

With the renovations to Robert E. Lee High School completed last year, no new physical changes have been made to the school over the summer, said Principal Donald Thurston in an e-mail interview.

Enrollment for the 2006-07 school year is expected to by 1,887, with no new programs or changes to the curriculum in place. Thurston said that approximately 15-20 new staff members have been hired.

"Our goals remain the same as last year: to have all of our students be successful on the Virginia SOL examinations, to encourage all of our students to take challenging academic classes, to encourage all of our students to participate in the many activities and sports available at Lee High School, and to maintain a safe and secure environment for all," Thurston wrote.

Edison High

5801 Franconia Road

Alexandria, VA 22310


Principal: Gregory Croghan

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Thursday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m.

According to Principal Gregory Croghan, Edison High School has received a Teacher Leadership Grant that will focus on preparing increasing numbers of students to take advanced classes in 11th and 12th grade. "We already have one of the largest programs in the county and we want every student to take at least some advanced classes before they graduate," wrote Croghan, in an e-mail interview.

Edison is also expanding its after-school study program, so students will be able to stay after school in a central area to work in study groups and receive tutoring help.

For the first time, the Edison Academy, which offers Career and Technical Education programs to students from all over the county, will offer a course in Landscape Design.

Croghan wrote that while Edison has no new renovations or additions underway, the school will begin planning in January for a major renovation, which is slated to begin in early 2009.

Recent boundary changes were set up to reduce Edison's enrollment to 1,650 over several years. "Last year, we peaked at 1,809," wrote Croghan. "This year, we are projected to have 1,749 students and our current enrollment seems to support that number of students in 2006-2007.

Twenty-two new teachers have been hired for the high school and the Edison Academy, which Croghan described as typical for a staff of 175. Additions include a new Focus coordinator Angelina Prestipino; a new librarian, Pamela Hirsch; and a new ninth-grade administrator Carlyn Floyd.

"Returning teachers who have taken over as department chairs are Peter Lake, Math, Patricia Krewwett, English for Speakers of Other Languages and Ray Dicillo, Fine Arts," wrote Croghan.

Hayfield Secondary

7630 Telegraph Road

Alexandria, VA 22315


Principal: Bill Oehrlein

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Thursday, Sept. 28, middle school program, 5 p.m.; combined middle school/high school program in auditorium, 7 p.m.; high school program, 7:35 p.m.

According Principal Bill Oehrlein, Hayfield Secondary is ready to go for the new school year. "The faculty is ready," he said. "The teachers are all hired. We're just waiting for Labor Day to roll around.

Oehrlein reports a smattering of hirings over the summer, with only about 15 additions to the staff spread out through the various departments.

Enrollment at Hayfield is down with only 820 middle schoolers and 1,517 high schools expected to walk through the doors on Tuesday, Sept. 5. "It's our smallest year," Oehrlein said. However, he expects to add more students as the year goes on. In addition, he said that Hayfield will likely feel the effects of both the boundary study being conducted for South County Secondary this fall and the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) impact on Fort Belvoir. "I anticipate our numbers to be higher."

In the meantime, Oehrlein has set such key goals as improving student performance on the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests and Advanced Placement (AP) tests. While the final results of last spring's SOLs aren't in yet, students' performances on AP tests appear to be improving. The percentage of students who scored a 3, 4 or 5 (on a 5-point scale) on AP tests rose from 43 percent in 2005 to 46 percent in 2006.

"We're seeing a consistent increase in students getting the top AP scores," Oehrlein said.

In the middle school, Hayfield will extend its successful Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program from eighth through ninth grade. The object of the program is to provide increased instruction to C+ students. Oehrlein was enthusiastic about the program's performance last year. "Parents thought it was the best thing since classes were put together in the dinosaur days," he said.

Last year, Hayfield pursued certification from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation for its automotive technology program. Now, all automotive technology students will be able to apply for NATEF certification.

Recent improvements to Hayfield include the addition of a 60-car parking lot, the professional leveling and reseeding of some practice fields and new plantings to the flower gardens at the main entrance.

West Springfield High

6100 Rolling Road

Springfield, VA 22152


Principal: David G. Smith

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Tuesday, Sept. 19, 6:45 p.m., in the school auditorium.

West Springfield High School is one of 20 schools that received a teacher leadership development grant from the county, said Principal David Smith. Because of this, Smith said the school has about 60 teachers working on improving student achievement, a positive school culture and citizenship.

"They run the range of making sure we coordinate curriculum," said Smith. Under the program, the school is also trying to reach out to language minority parents and involve parents more as a whole.

In an effort to keep current with technology, Smith said the vast majority of teachers' desktop computers will be replaced with laptops by the beginning of the school year. This will allow more wireless capabilities for class instruction and other means, said Smith. The school also welcomes about 30 new faculty and staff members this year, including a new director of student activities, Tim O'Reilly. An all-weather artificial turf field in the school's stadium. The stadium was possibly because of a collaboration with the Springfield Youth Clubs, said Smith, and the finishing touches are being added now in time for the school year.

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