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Shining a Spotlight On Chantilly High

It’s a bright, new year at Chantilly High, with new courses at both the high school and its academy.

One new program, a training opportunity in life/job skills, is for special-education students, ages 18-22. It’s comprised of two teachers, two assistant teachers and 12 students.

"IT’S MODELED after the Davis program at Marshall High School," said Chantilly Principal Jim Kacur. "It evolved because parents in the western end of Fairfax County wanted something in this area, so I offered to house it here."

Students in this program will be working at Dulles International Airport in entry-level positions. So, said Kacur, "They’ll be employable to continue working in their fields."

He’s also proud of the all-girls, engineering course at The Chantilly Academy. "It’s pretty neat, there was good interest and the school system supports it," he said. "This is the pilot year for it, but we’re hoping it’ll catch on and we’ll be able to continue it next year."

Chantilly High is bringing back team teaching for honors students in World History and English. "We didn’t do it last year, but the teachers wanted to do it again," said Kacur. "It’s a great way to integrate [these subjects], and it offers an opportunity for kids to experience a challenging curriculum in the combination of English and World History. And it’s a good, prep class for their AP tests."

THE THEME for this school year is "The Chantilly Way," in which both teachers and students are learning by doing. "We’re continuing to work as a Professional Learning community by allowing time for teachers to collaborate [via] our Friday, late-morning schedule," said Kacur. "And our learning seminar allows students to get extra help or to participate in enrichment opportunities."

He said the school’s focus is to keep working to improve its "academic rigor for students" and provide resources for the faculty to support student learning. "To do so, I’ve asked the community for $50,000 for funding for technology," said Kacur. "The school system bought each teacher a laptop, and I’m asking for money to purchase an LCD projector and an interactive, white board or Smart Board for each classroom, to go along with the laptops."

He’s asked the community to funnel this money through the school’s PTSA. "We usually get $5,000 a year for technology from the PTSA," he said. "And in the past, I’ve used this money to purchase computers for the library. But that won’t cover these items, so I’m hoping we can up the ante this year by asking directly. Parents would contribute through the PTSA’s Tens for Technology program."

As for the new school year, Kacur says he’s excited about all it holds and, so far, things are going smoothly: "We’re off to a great start."