Summer Ends, School Begins

Summer Ends, School Begins

Elementary schools prepare to open doors Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Burke Center

9645 Burke Lake Road

Burke, VA 22015


Enrollment: 60

Principal: Jill Jakulski

Web site:

The Burke Center is focusing on student engagement in the learning process by connecting lessons and procedure to the newly adopted School Board goals, said principal Jill Jakulski, via e-mail to the Connection.

Burke Center welcomes two new teachers this year, Gary Ricci and Betsy Gross, and a new assistant principal, Latif Abdulalim. The assistant principal position is new to the school this year.

Cardinal Forest Elementary

8600 Forrester Blvd.

Springfield, VA 22152


Enrollment: 600

Principal: Karen Kenna

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Kindergarten-Grade 3, Monday, Sept. 17, 6:30-8 p.m.; Grades 4-6, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 6:30-8 p.m.

Cardinal Forest is happy to be one of the Fairfax County schools expanding to an all-day kindergarten program this year, said principal Karen Kenna. Three day-long classes are planned for the first year of the program, which Kenna calls "a wonderful addition to our expanding instructional program."

In addition, Cardinal Forest will introduce the "Olweus Bully Prevention Program," which trains teachers and students alike how to identify and avoid bully behavior and shows students what to do if they encounter a bully.

"This is a nice addition to our long standing, school-wide behavior program called POP, or Positive Outcomes Program," Kenna said in an e-mail.

A goal for this year will be to continue working on the collective responsibility program, Kenna said, in an effort to better prepare students for the future. There will be an effort to align the school's curriculum to the newly adopted goals established by the School Board earlier this year, which stress instruction on responsibility to community and life skills to educate the whole child, she said.

"It's an exciting time in FCPS and these goals will ensure that we are truly focusing on the development of the whole child," Kenna added.

A handful of new staff members, including new physical education, music, art and grade level teachers, will be on hand to greet students when classes start Sept. 4.

Cherry Run Elementary

9732 Ironmaster Drive

Burke, VA 22015


Enrollment: 525

Principal: Stephen Gossin

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Grades K-3, Tuesday, Sept. 11; Grades 4-6, Tuesday, Sept. 18.

Open House: Thursday, Aug. 30, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Cherry Run Elementary principal Steve Gossin plans to focus on helping students who have had trouble in the past with Standards of Learning tests this year. He said Cherry Run students typically do very well on the tests, and he hopes to have a 100 percent passing rate on the tests this year. Cherry Run welcomes a new art teacher, counselor, first-grade teacher, sixth-grade teacher and several new instructional assistants to the staff this year.

Fairview Elementary

5815 Ox Road

Fairfax Station, VA 22039


Enrollment: 600

Principal: Easter Lancaster

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Kindergarten and grades 1-3, Monday, Sept. 10; Grades 4-6, Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Starting her second year at Fairview Elementary, principal Easter "Bunny" Lancaster said she and her staff are ready to welcome back their students, equipped with shiny new crayons and eager to learn.

Fairview will continue its business partnership with Kaiser Permanente this year, bringing in health conscious assemblies and programs during the school year, Lancaster said in an e-mail. Teachers will continue to work in a Professional Learning Team setting, collaborating together to best serve their students.

No physical changes are planned for Fairview this year, she said, and students are continuing to benefit and learn from electronic SmartBoards which arrived at the school last year. "The technology gains in the past year are helping students prepare for citizenship in a global society," she said.

The theme for the 2007-08 school year is "Leading Tomorrow," which Lancaster said "evokes a vision of students preparing for leadership as contributing members in a global society." Teachers, in turn, are focusing on preparing students to meet the challenges of a rapidly-changing world with creativity and flexibility.

Hunt Valley Elementary

7107 Sydenstricker Road

Springfield, VA 22152


Enrollment: 600

Principal: Mary Barker

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Morning Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.; Afternoon Kindergarten, Grades 4-6, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.

The bus schedules for students at Hunt Valley Elementary will be slightly changed this year, said registrar Ann Rodriguez.

Students will arrive at the same time as in past years, starting their day at 9 a.m. They will leave school five minutes later than last year, with the instructional day ending at 3:40 p.m.

Other than that small change, students will return to the same school they remember from last spring, with no physical changes planned for this school year.

Hunt Valley has 14 new staff members ready to welcome back students this year, Rodriguez said, and eager to focus on this year's theme of "Building the Future, Child by Child."

School staff are encouraging parents who have not already registered their child for school to do so prior to the start of classes on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Kings Glen Elementary

5401 Danbury Forest Drive

Springfield, VA 22151


Enrollment: 500

Grade Levels: 4-6

Principal: Sam Elson

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Thursday, Sept. 6.

Kings Park Elementary

5400 Harrow Way

Springfield, VA 22151


Enrollment: 725

Grade Levels: K-3

Principal: TBA

Web site:

Back-to-School Nights: Kindergarten and Grade 1, Monday, Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m.; Grades 2 and 3, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 6:30 p.m.

Kings Park Elementary is eagerly anticipating the announcement of its new principal. The school is also welcoming a new assistant principal, Elise Passentino, along with seven new staff members.

Laurel Ridge Elementary

10110 Commonwealth Blvd.

Fairfax, VA 22032


Enrollment: 809

Principal: Linda Domina

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Morning kindergarten, Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m.; Afternoon kindergarten, Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 7:45 p.m.; Grades 1-3, Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m.; Grades 4-6, Thursday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m.

Orange Hunt Elementary

6820 Sydenstricker Road

Springfield, VA 22153


Enrollment: 845

Principal: Judy Ryan

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Morning Kindergarten, Grade 1, Monday, Sept. 10, 5:30 p.m.; Afternoon Kindergarten, Grade 2, Monday, Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m.; Grade 3, Monday , Sept. 17, 5:30 p.m.; Grade 4, Monday, Sept. 17, 6:30 p.m.; Grade 5, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 5:30 p.m.; Grade 6, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 6:30 p.m.

The Orange Hunt Owls will be returning to familiar faces this fall, said principal Judy Ryan.

This will be the second year students will participate in a Strategies Lab, where students work together with their classmates on problem solving and critical thinking activities, Ryan said in an e-mail.

"They will work with the Gifted and Talented teacher or instructional assistant practicing such important skills as perseverance, trial and error and higher level thinking strategies as they play games together," she said.

Enrollment will stay at the same level as recent years, with between 840 and 850 students expected when the school year starts. No physical changes have been made and none are expected this year, Ryan said.

Two new teachers have been hired at Orange Hunt this year to replace teachers who retired over the summer, Ryan said.

Once again, the Owls at Orange Hunt will continue to follow the motto: Orange Hunt school community/Working together/Leading every child to/Success! (OWLS), she said.

Ravensworth Elementary

5411 Nutting Drive

Springfield, VA 22151


Enrollment: 550

Principal: Pam O'Connor


Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Thursday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m.

The new principal at Ravensworth Elementary should look very familiar to returning students. Former assistant principal Pam O'Connor has taken a promotion to lead the school for the 2007-08 school year.

"We are looking forward to continuing our Spanish immersion program this year, which 45 percent of our students participate in," O'Connor said.

A small change will be made to the actual school day this year, as students will be released five minutes later than in past years. School will start at 8:35 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, she said.

No physical changes are expected this year at Ravensworth, and enrollment will be around 515 students, including a special education preschool class.

O'Connor said she hopes to instill in her teachers a sense that "my business is kids, that's what we're all here for," she said when asked about goals for the upcoming year. "We're looking to incorporate the new School Board goals of essential life skills and responsibility to the community and we want to better educate the whole child."

In addition to O'Connor, Ravensworth has a new assistant principal, Tim Paper, who has worked as a special education teacher at Groveton Elementary in Alexandria. Most recently, he worked in the Department of Accountability within the school system.

Five new staff members are at the school this year, O'Connor said, and all are ready to welcome students back to school on Sept. 4.

Sangster Elementary

7429 Reservation Drive

Springfield, VA 22153


Enrollment: 720

Principal: Gail Kinsey

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Grade 4, Monday, Sept. 10, 5:30 p.m.; Grade 5, Monday, Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m.; Grade 6, Monday, Sept. 10, 7:30 p.m. Kindergarten, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 5:30 p.m.; Grades 1 and 3, Monday, Sept. 11, 6:30 p.m.

Students at Sangster Elementary will be able to participate in the Foreign Language in Elementary Schools program this year, with first grade students taking Spanish classes for one half-hour a few times per week, said principal Gail Kinsey.

Students will be also be learning through an individualized differentiation method called Renzulli Learning, Kinsey said.

Those students who need a little extra time or help learning math will continue to benefit from the flexible math grouping and compacted mathematics taught at Sangster, she said.

The expected enrollment of 720 students is down a little from last year, Kinsey said, but no physical changes are expected to the school.

As for goals for the upcoming year, Kinsey said her school, like all others in Fairfax County, will be working to align with the new strategic goals adopted by the School Board, including academic, essential life skills and responsibility to the community. A community meeting will be scheduled in September to discuss those goals with parents, she said.

Several staff members have retired from Sangster, opening the door for a new librarian, five new classroom teachers, a new custodian, a new counselor, a Spanish teacher and a GT Resource teacher.

Terra Centre Elementary

6000 Burke Centre Parkway

Burke, VA 22015


Enrollment: 600

Principal: Michele Sims

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Grades K-3, Multiage, Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m.; grades 4-6, Thursday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m.

Terra Centre Elementary principal Michele Sims said she plans to enhance the school’s Positive Behavior Support (PBS) program that embraces the "three R's: be respectful, be responsible and be ready to learn." Terra Centre is adding the Foreign Language for Elementary Students program for first-graders this year. The school also plans to work with parents to offer electives for sixth-graders.

"Teachers will continue to differentiate instruction to provide academic emphasis based on students strengths, as well as areas of focus," said Sims, via e-mail to the Connection.

Terra Centre welcomes new specialists, but no new teachers this year.

White Oaks Elementary School

6130 Shiplett Blvd.

Burke, VA 22015


Enrollment: 770

Principal: Constance Goodman

Web site:

Back-to-School Night: Grades AM-K, 1-3, Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 6:30 p.m.; grades PM-K, 4-6, Thursday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

White Oaks principal Connie Goodman said she plans to put an increased focus on building community responsibility with her students in 2007-08. The White Oaks teaching model is to "build and develop the whole child," she said, by building character, civic responsibility, communication in addition to academic achievement.

The school welcomes one new special education teacher this year, and there is an additional Gifted and Talented classroom as well. The school is offering the Renzulli program this year — individualized programs set up through classroom computers to help with enrichment.