Sandra Furick wants the students of Colvin Run Elementary School to appreciate what they have. That is why she is putting a strong emphasis on the school's Character Education program.
"It's a dynamic program, and we evaluate it every year to see how we can make it stronger," said Furick, principal of Colvin Run.
Last year the Colvin Run students collected bicycles for needy school children in Fairfax County. However, Furick wanted to make the program more than just donations.
"They can bring in bikes, they can bring in money, but what do they learn about these kids?" asked Furick.
Subsequently, over the summer Colvin Run's Student Council Association (SCA) donated $1,000 to the school's business partner ThinkFun! for the purpose of creating game mats for summer school children.
"The kids didn't really understand that there are kids in Fairfax County that didn't have games in their home," said Furick.
The game mats were a big hit, and Furick currently has a closet full of handmade thank you notes from the students who received them.
"That's the essence of service education," said Furick. "It's not just understanding needs, it's learning about the world."
Furick said it is her personal goal to convey this message to her students.
"I want to be actively involved in the service learning programs because I see where the children make connections," said Furick.
This is Colvin Run's fourth year of operation, and Furick's fourth year as principal. In its first year, the school opened with an enrollment of 667 students – it now has an enrollment of 830 students. Furick said that the Colvin Run faculty is constantly evaluating its curriculum and looking at ways to improve it.
"The classroom teachers are always coming up with new strategies, so looking at instructional programs is an ongoing thing for us," she said.