0
Votes

Counting Down the Days until September

Cascades Schools

The first day of school is still nearly a month away for children throughout the county, but the elementary-school principals are already back in their buildings to make the necessary preparations for the coming year.

Some are in their usual positions behind their office desk, while others have relocated to freshly painted classrooms to make way for finishing renovations. They have different philosophies when it comes to achieving their school’s goals, but they are all optimistic about their staff and the new programs that will be introduced this year.

TERRI FINN, principal of Sterling Elementary, has been temporarily expelled from her office to give way for ongoing renovations but is happy to make the sacrifice to see the work completed sooner. Finn is very excited about the needed renovations, which include new ceiling tiles and lights in 22 classrooms and offices, the repainting of doorframes, and the replacement of floor tiles in the third-grade hallway.

Sterling Elementary will also receive new laptop computers and wireless capability this year as part of the technology refresh cycle.

"It’s going to enhance all content levels in all grade levels," said Finn. "It’s going to enhance learning."

Several new staff members were added this year, including a new kindergarten teacher, a new first-grade teacher, two new second-grade teachers, two new English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, a new technology-resource teacher, a new special-education teacher and two new reading teachers. Finn is also relatively new to the school, having arrived last winter, but says that the welcoming atmosphere at Sterling Elementary made her immediately feel comfortable.

"I’ve only been here since January, but I honestly feel like this is home," said Finn.

The PTA president for the 2007-2008 school year is Steven Taylor who can be reached by e-mail at sespta@yahoo.com. Office hours during the school year will be from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the office phone number is 703-444-7450.

MORNINGS ARE BUSY at Forest Grove Elementary says its principal, Nancy Torresgrossa. Computer labs open before school for the use of students and their parents, breakfast is served on a daily basis and students who want to jumpstart their day can join the morning jogging club. Throughout the day, teachers at Forest Grove keep the children physically active to increase their mental activity, says Torresgrossa.

"[Forest Grove] is a very child-oriented place where kids love coming to school," said Torresgrossa, whose goal is to continue getting students excited about learning.

Last year, notable children’s book authors visited the school, including Eloise Greenfield. In addition, fifth-graders direct and anchor a daily morning show that’s viewed in every classroom.

Only a few new staff members were added this year, including one in fourth grade and one in fifth grade. The PTA president for the 2007-2008 school year is John Mosesso who plans to continue the organization’s free book distribution program and who can be reached through the school’s Web site. Office hours during the school year will be from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

DAVID STEWART, principal of Guilford Elementary, is proud of his school’s diversity and excited about the opportunities to learn from children of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

"We’re a very diverse community with 80 countries represented," said Stewart.

Stewart is also happy with Guilford’s renovations over the summer, including the painting of half the classrooms and the gym. In addition, Guilford also received refreshed computers and a wireless system with new laptops. The new wireless capabilities in the school, accompanied by the arrival of laptops, will provide teachers with an even greater flexibility and will increase the frequency of computer use, says Guilford.

Several new staff members were added this year, including a new kindergarten teacher, a new first-grade teacher, a new third-grade teacher and three new teachers in fourth grade. The PTA president for the 2007-2008 school year is Karla Blasquez who can be reached through the school’s Web site. Office hours during the school year will be from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the office phone number is 703-444-7420.

AT HORIZON ELEMENTARY, Principal William H. Raye says that his overall goal is to ensure that the school provides the best education it can for each student. In addition, he wants to see the school become more community-based through the increased involvement of parents in their children’s education. Horizon provides a "very calm and relaxing environment," said Raye.

Horizon will welcome several new staff members this year, including a new kindergarten teacher, two new first-grade teachers, a new second-grade teacher, a new third-grade teacher, two new fourth-grade teachers and two new counselors.

The PTA president for the 2007-2008 school year is Robin Mong who will continue the monthly market day fund-raiser. The market day program delivers prepared food to Horizon Elementary once a month for anybody who fills out an order form online at www.marketday.com or returns a survey to the elementary-school office. The PTA uses the profits from the fund-raiser to sponsor Odyssey of the Mind teams, after-school enrichment programs, school assemblies and possibly new playground equipment in the future.

Mong can be reached through the school’s Web site. Office hours during the school year will be from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the office phone number is 703-444-7402.

TIMOTHY MARTINO, principal of Sully Elementary, plans to continue to ensure that each child is provided with a safe and comfortable environment in which to learn. Martino believes that fostering warm and caring classrooms is very important for the academic and social well-being of the students.

"Sully is a really wonderful community that’s very child oriented," said Martino. He awards good character behavior as much as he does academic achievement.

Sully will welcome a few new staff members this year, but Martino would rather parents be the first ones to learn about the new additions. The PTO president for the 2007-2008 school year is Becky King who can be reached through the school’s Web site. Office hours during the school year will be from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the office phone number is 703-444-7470.

AT MEADOWLAND ELEMENTARY, Principal Laura Seck will continue to emphasize math and reading in student education, but is also excited to prepare her students for the global community. A visiting teacher from South America will visit each classroom in every grade above kindergarten twice a week to teach introductory Spanish, as part of Loudoun County Public Schools' elementary foreign language program.

"It teaches them about other cultures and prepares them for a global society," said Seck.

Seck’s goals this year are to improve SOL scores and to develop right-brain activity through more hands-on lessons. In addition, Meadowland Elementary is introducing the "Let’s Go Green" program to educate its students on environmental issues.

Meadowland Elementary will welcome a new third-grade teacher, a new fifth-grade teacher and an extra ESL teacher and assistant. The PTO president for the 2007-2008 school year is Bob Gannon who can be reached through the school’s Web site. Office hours during the school year will be from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the office phone number is 703-444-7430.