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Votes

Dust Off the Backpacks

Springfield-area schools prepare for Sept. 4 opening.

Cardinal Forest Elementary

8600 Forrester Blvd.

Springfield, VA 22152

703-923-5200

Enrollment: 600

Principal: Karen Kenna

E-mail: Karen.Kenna@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/CardinalForestES

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. An effort will be made 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.

Crestwood Elementary

6010 Hanover Ave.

Springfield, VA 22150

703-923-5400

Enrollment: 500

Principal: Mary A. Person

E-mail: Mary.Person@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/CrestwoodES

Back-to-School Night: Thursday, Sept. 6, 7 p.m.

When classes begin at Crestwood Elementary on Sept. 4, new principal Mary Person said she'll be ready to give her new students a good year.

The school day will be five minutes longer, she said in an e-mail, so students will be leaving school at 3:05 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.

Two programs will return this year, as students will continue to participate in the Positive Behavior Supports program, which teaches students to respect others at home and in school, along with the Math Buddies program, using volunteers to help students learn math.

Enrollment is expected to stay at about 500 students, Person said, and no physical changes are expected at the school.

A few new staff members join the school this year, all of which Person said came "highly recommended and highly qualified."

Forestdale Elementary

6530 Elder Ave.

Springfield, VA 22150

703-313-4300

Enrollment: 420

Principal: Cheryl Toth

E-mail: Cheryl.Toth@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/ForestdaleES

Back-to-School Night: Tuesday, Sept. 25, 7 p.m.

Forestdale Elementary is one of a handful of schools expanding to a full-day kindergarten program this year, so the halls will be full during the afternoon of the first day of school, said Cathy Pullar, a spokesperson at the school.

"Otherwise, everything is still the same here," she said.

Renovations to the school were completed last year, so no further physical changes are expected for the 2007-08 school year.

For parents and visitors to the school, a new security system is in place to make sure the students are better protected, Pullar said. The security system will allow for keyless entry for the students, but all other visitors will have to be buzzed into the school prior to entering.

The theme for this year is New Year's Celebration, kicking off a year of enthusiastic learning for all students, Pullar added.

Seven new teachers and staff members have been added at Forestdale, she said, all of who are excited for the first day of school.

Franconia Elementary

6043 Franconia Road

Alexandria, VA 22310

703-822-2200

Principal: Merrell Dade

Email: Merrell.Dade@fcps.edu

Web Site: www.fcps.edu/FranconiaES

Garfield Elementary

7101 Old Keene Mill Road

Springfield, VA 22150

703-923-2900

Enrollment: 330

Principal: Maureen Marshall

E-mail: Maureen.Marshall@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/GarfieldES

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

The biggest goal for the upcoming school year at Garfield Elementary, according to principal Maureen Marshall, is adjusting the curriculum and teachers' teaching methods to incorporate Responsive Classroom practices.

"There are seven basic principals involved in Responsive Classroom techniques, which is an ideal program that links well with the new School Board goals. … [It] ensures that academic and social learning occurs simultaneously," Marshall said in an e-mail.

The new School Board goals focus on academics, essential life skills and responsibility to the community, and the Responsive Classroom program urges teaching to each child individually in order to best educate the whole child, she said.

The floor in the gymnasium has been replaced over the summer, Marshall said, but no other physical changes to the school are planned this year.

New at Garfield this year is the e-CART program, an assessment pilot with Northrop Grumman and improving instructional strategies with research-based methods from Robert Marzano, she said. Technology will be incorporated into the learning process as often as possible.

A handful of new employees will be welcoming students on the first day of school, including two new custodians, two new instructional assistants and Stephanie Almguist, an administrative intern sponsored by the LEAD Fairfax program.

Hayfield Elementary

7633 Telegraph Road

Alexandria, VA 22315

703-924-4500

Enrollment: 550

Principal: Barbara Vaccarella

E-mail: Barbara.Vaccarella@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/HayfieldES

Back-To-School Night: Thursday, Sept. 27, 6:30- 8:30 p.m.

"Inspiring Young Minds" will be the theme for the 2007-08 school year at Hayfield Elementary, said Michele Webb, assistant to Principal Barbara Vaccarella.

To further bring that idea into the classroom, Hayfield has received a $4,111 grant from the Italian Cultural Society to fund what is being called the DaVinci Project, a method of learning based on the teaching and techniques of Leonardo DaVinci.

The program, geared toward third grade students, will be integrated into science, math and art classes using methods modeled after Leonardo DaVinci's work. Italian specialist teacher Christiana Hawes will work with other teachers to create curriculum, and eventually the program will expand to all grade levels, Webb said.

No physical changes will be made to Hayfield this year, she said, and enrollment is expected to stay at the same level as recent years.

To go along with the school year's theme, teachers will be encouraged to inspire a lifelong love of learning in their students, Webb said.

Theresa Carhart has been hired as the new assistant principal this year, Webb said, along with a new sixth grade teacher, a new technology teacher and two new special education teachers.

Hunt Valley Elementary

7107 Sydenstricker Road

Springfield, VA 22152

703-913-8800

Enrollment: 600

Principal: Mary Barker

E-mail: Mary.Barker@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/HuntValleyES

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.

Island Creek Elementary

7855 Morning View Lane

Alexandria, VA 22315

571-642-6300

Enrollment: 770

Principal: Susan Owner

E-mail: Susan.Owner@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/IslandCreekES

Back-to-School Night: Monday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m.

A five-minute change has been made to the school day at Island Creek Elementary this year, and students will be staying a little longer before heading home each afternoon.

"Our bell schedule will be a little different Tuesdays through Fridays," said principal Susan Owner. Students will arrive at 8:25 a.m. each day, but Tuesdays through Fridays, they will be released at 3:45 p.m.

Island Creek will also introduce a full-day kindergarten program this year, Owner said, which makes for a longer day but does not increase the enrollment at the school or require any physical changes to the building.

A total of 16 new teachers and staff members have been added over the summer, Owner said, including Mary Tam, an assistant principal for kindergarten; two general classroom teachers, two kindergarten teachers and two instructional assistants.

Keene Mill Elementary

6310 Bardu Ave.

Springfield, VA 22152

703-644-6700

Enrollment: 590

Principal: Nick Rousos

E-mail: Nick.Rusos@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/KeeneMillES

Back-to-School Night: Tuesday, Sept. 11, K-3; Thursday, Sept. 17, 4-6.

Kindergarten has been extended to full day at Keene Mill, said principal Nick Rousos, giving those young students the advantage of more time in the classroom.

No other changes have been made to the curriculum for the upcoming school year, he said, and the school will continue to be a center for special education and GT students.

In response to the growing enrollment at Keene Mill, Rousos said his school will receive two additional classroom trailers this fall.

Looking to the new year, Rousos said his goal is to focus on vertically articulated math instruction and a "balanced literacy approach.

"Our endeavor is to accomplish this while making learning fun and interesting for all learners," he said in an e-mail.

Several teachers retired from Keene Mill over the summer after years of dedicated service, making way for the addition of 12 new teachers to the school, some of whom will be used in the expanded kindergarten classrooms.

Kings Glen Elementary

5401 Danbury Forest Drive

Springfield, VA 22151

703-239-4000

Enrollment: 500

Grade Levels: 4-6

Principal: Sam Elson

E-mail: Sam.Elson@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/KingsGlenES

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

Kings Park Elementary

5400 Harrow Way

Springfield, VA 22151

703-426-7000

Enrollment: 725

Grade Levels: K-3

Principal: TBA

E-mail: Kathleen.Walts@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/KingsParkES

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

Lane Elementary

7137 Beulah St.

Alexandria, Virginia 22315

703-924-7700

Enrollment: 680

Principal: Suzie Montgomery

E-mail: Suzie.Montgomery@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/LaneES

Back-To-School Night: Grades 1, 3 and 5, Monday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m.; Grades 2, 4 and 6, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 7 p.m.

Students at Lane Elementary, like many students across the county, will have five more minutes of school Tuesdays through Fridays, said principal Suzie Montgomery. Bus route changes have led to the change in schedules, and students will now be dismissed at 3:45 p.m.

Otherwise, expect more of the same from last year, Montgomery said.

"We are going to full-day kindergarten, but otherwise everything is the same as in the past," Montgomery said. "We'll have more kids in kindergarten than we've had in the past few years.

Enrollment is still expected to be around 680 students, she said, but no physical changes are anticipated.

There will be a continued focus on language arts and math this year in all curriculum, she said, changes that were implemented last year.

Fourteen new staff members have been added to the school, including teachers, instructional assistants and support staff.

Lynbrook Elementary

5801 Backlick Road

Springfield, VA 22150

703-866-2940

Enrollment: 400

Principal: Mary McNamee

E-mail: Mary.McNamee@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/LynbrookES

Back-to-School Night: Tuesday, Sept. 11, 6:30 p.m.

Like many schools across Fairfax County, students at Lynbrook Elementary will find their school day extended by five minutes for the 2007-08 school year.

Students will be in class until 3:05 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursday, said principal Mary McNamee.

In addition, teachers will be incorporating Responsive Classroom techniques in their curriculum this year, bringing together communication skills with their academic goals.

Students returning to Lynbrook will find shiny floors, courtesy of the "outstanding custodial staff" who brought a "spiff and sparkle" to the school during the summer's community based summer school program, McNamee said.

No other physical changes to the school are expected this year.

Language arts and math will continue to be at the center of educational achievement goals this year, she said, and teachers are hoping to strengthen their balanced literacy program with reading and writing workshops. Students will use math in "real world" situations to better learn those skills.

Several new teachers have been hired at Lynbrook for the upcoming school year, including Shirley Shannon, who will join the staff as an assistant principal.

Newington Forest Elementary

8001 Newington Forest Ave.

Springfield, Virginia 22153

Telephone: 703-923-2600

Enrollment:600

Principal: John Kren

E-mail: John.Kren@fcps.edu

Back-To-School Nights: Kindergarten through second grade, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m.; Third through sixth grade, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.

A new assistant principal is ready to greet students at Newington Forest Elementary, said principal John Kren.

John Coch has joined the staff at Newington Forest, leaving behind his former sixth graders at Silverbrook Elementary. Coch has been working as the principal of the summer school program at Newington Forest and has met many of his new students, Kren said.

No physical changes are expected this year, as enrollment has decreased a little, down to about 600 students.

"We will continue our 'Success by 8' program and full-day kindergarten," said Kren, Additionally, there will be three teachers who will continue to stay with their classroom of students onto the next grade level, what he calls "looping up" each year.

Newington Forest will a focus on math education this year, Kren said, to better prepare students for more difficult classes in the future.

North Springfield Elementary

7602 Heming Court

Springfield, Virginia 22151

703-658-5500

Enrollment: 550

Principal Alice Alexander

E-mail: Alice.Alexander@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/NorthSpringfieldES

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

Students at North Springfield will find a very familiar place that hasn't changed much over the summer, said principal Alice Alexander.

"Our school day has been extended by five minutes Tuesday through Friday, so students will be let out at 2:40 p.m., but everything else is the same," she said.

Enrollment has stayed the same, about 550 students, and no physical changes to the school are expected.

The goal for the upcoming year is to "personalize the 'No Child Left Behind' goals, to reach out to all students and make sure everyone succeeds, child by child," Alexander said. This will be reinforced by the school's long-standing character education program, which stresses kindness, responsibility and being a good citizen both inside school and out.

A few new staff members will join the faculty at North Springfield, including five new teachers in kindergarten, first and fourth grade, among others, she said.

Orange Hunt Elementary

6820 Sydenstricker Road

Springfield, VA 22153

703-913-6800

Enrollment: 845

Principal: Judy Ryan

Judy.Ryan@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/OrangeHuntES

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

703-426-3600

Enrollment: 550

Principal: Pam O'Connor

E-mail: Pam.O'Connor@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/RavensworthES

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.

Rolling Valley Elementary

6703 Barnack Drive

Springfield, VA 22152

703-923-2700

Enrollment: 530

Principal: Debra Lane

Debra.Lane@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/RollingValleyES

Back-to-School Night: Monday, Sept. 17, 7 p.m.

Rolling Valley Elementary students will start the new school year out with a new principal, to go along with their new crayons, markers and notebooks.

Debra Lane said she's excited to meet her new students and start the year off on the right foot.

In addition to the new principal, students will be in classes five minutes longer Tuesdays through Fridays, as they will be released at 3:40 p.m. this year, she said.

"Rolling Valley is excited to provide full-day kindergarten to students in the community," Lane said. Rolling Valley is among a handful of schools to expand its kindergarten program this year, as Fairfax County works to phase in all-day kindergarten across the county within the next few years.

To help parents keep in touch with their child's teachers and assignments, Rolling Valley will continue to utilize the Parent Portal, Keep In Touch e-mail updates and Blackboard technology, Lane said.

A math consultant has been hired to provide extra assistance to improve math curriculum and help those students who need more time or instruction, she said.

Enrollment has stayed steady for the past few years, with 530 students expected for the first day of school. No physical changes are expected this year.

In alignment with the newly adopted School Board goals, Rolling Valley will focus on life skills and instilling a sense of responsibility in the community in all students, Lane said. She also hopes to urge teachers to become more familiar using the Blackboard tool to help parents make sure students complete all assignments and prepare for tests.

Sangster Elementary

7429 Reservation Drive

Springfield, VA 22153

703-644-8200

Enrollment: 720

Principal: Gail Kinsey

E-mail: Gail.Kinsey@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/SangsterES

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.

Saratoga Elementary

8111 Northumberland Road

Springfield, VA 22150

703-440-2600

Enrollment: 750

Principal: Patricia Conklin

E-mail: Patricia.Conklin@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/SaratogaES

Back-to-School Night: Kindergarten, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 7 p.m.; Grade 1 and 3, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m.; Grade 5, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 8 p.m.; Grades 2 and 4, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m.; Grade 6, Wednesday, Oct., 17, 8 p.m.

Principal Patricia "Pat" Conklin said students at Saratoga will find their school the same as when they left it in June.

"Everything is pretty much the status quo for this year," said Conklin.

A slight alteration has been made in the school's hours for this year. Students will arrive at school by 8:30 a.m., 20 minutes later than usual, and be dismissed at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Conklin said. The dismissal time is 25 minutes later than last year.

In physical education classes, students will soon be able to enjoy a rock climbing wall the school's PTA purchased last spring, Conklin said. No other physical changes to the school are planned this year, and the wall should be installed soon.

Student achievement and safety will continue to be the top priorities for Saratoga as the 2007-08 school year begins, Conklin said. To help meet those continuing goals, three new classroom teachers have been hired, along with two special education teachers, one physical education teacher, one FECEP teacher and one additional art teacher.

Springfield Estates Elementary

6200 Charles C. Goff Drive

Springfield, VA 22150

703-921-2300

Enrollment: 650

Principal: Mary Randolph

E-mail: Mary.Randolph@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/SpringfieldEstatesES

Back-to-School Night: Wednesday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.

An extra five minutes have been added to the school day on Tuesdays through Fridays at Springfield Estates, said principal Mary Randolph.

Students will be dismissed at 3:25 p.m., she said.

Teachers will continue to use Responsive Classroom techniques with their students, Randolph said, to provide a more well-rounded education of the whole child, not just an academic focus.

With 650 students expected for this year, Conklin said the school may consider a boundary study to alleviate some of the overcrowding. Otherwise, no physical changes are expected.

For the new school year, Randolph said she is hoping to encourage more parental involvement throughout the year.

A few teachers retired over the summer, and new teachers have been brought in for first and second grade, along with an office assistant.

West Springfield Elementary

6802 Deland Drive

Springfield, VA 22152

703-912-4400

Enrollment: 425

Principal: Kathryn Woodley

E-mail: Kathryn.Woodley@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/WestSpringfieldES

Back-to-School Night: Monday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m.

Students who ended classes at West Springfield Elementary in June will find their school very much the same when they return on Sept. 4.

No changes have been made to the curriculum or school day this year, said principal Kathryn Woodley. Enrollment also remains steady at 425 students.

The only change is the installation of a quarter-mile track, purchased through a year-long fund-raising campaign, she said. The field will be dedicated at the school's Back to School picnic on Friday, Sept. 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

With better preparing students for the future in mind, the goals and themes for the upcoming year are "Together Toward Tomorrow" and "Continuous Improvement for Student Achievement," Woodley said in an e-mail.

Two new teachers have been hired for the 2007-08 school year.