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What Are the Most Exciting Changes in Herndon Schools?

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William Bates, principal, Herndon High School

“Herndon High School is now a Kids at Hope School, which follows

the model that all students are capable of success, no exceptions.

We are putting a focus on improving instructional practices to

help students develop skills to succeed in the 21st century and on

collaborating together to find ways to better connect with students

and the community. Our goal is to help Herndon High School

students to become invested in and connected with their studies,

each other as peers, with their adult faculty members, as well as with the school as a whole. We will use a variety of tools to accomplish this, such as holding students and faculty accountable with written pledges, providing lessons on character during new, extended teacher advisory periods, and various programs that will increase student involvement in school as well as boost school pride.”

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Anne Quinn, principal, Herndon Elementary School

(pictured in the Serenity Garden, which was constructed in honor of Reema Samaha, a daughter of one of the faculty members of Herndon Elementary School, who was a victim of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.)

“Our biggest goal this year is to improve communication with our

Herndon Elementary School community. We are very excited about

offering home visits with families this year. Each teacher will do one

home visit, which will give us a chance to meet with about 10 percent of the student population. We are doing these home visits to see how we can better support students and families by getting their insight and ideas. Every year is another chance to improve and, with this new program, we hope to better address the needs of our students, faculty and the Herndon Elementary community.”

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Kathy Manoatl, Dranesville Elementary Principal—in the middle—with Assistant Principals Rae Mitchell and Dean Cicciarelli

“Our goal at Dranesville is to follow and expand upon the goals that Fairfax County has set for this year: “Dream, Design, Deliver,” which aims to move students into the 21st century. We are following the STEAM model, which focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. These subjects all provide the tools for every student to succeed. There is a perception that the culture of current academics is simply to teach students how to take standardized tests, but Dranesville pushes our teachers and students to cultivate skills that will do more than generate good test scores. A big change that we will undergo this year is that all students, no matter their teacher or grade, will be given access to the highest level curriculums available. We will have school-based Advanced Academics classes available from the third grade and up, but will have advanced math available for all grade levels.”

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August Frattali, principal at Rachel Carson Middle School

“We have two major changes that we are implementing this school year. First of all, we are allowing students to bring their own electronic devices into school to supplement the technology that we already have available. Teachers will be able to utilize technology in all classrooms anytime they want to instead of having to rely solely on the availability of a mobile lab, allowing students to use the technology in the classroom in ways that mirror the way that they use technology in everyday life. Secondly, Rachel Carson is changing and improving the way that we approach teaching in relation to standardized testing. When teachers are forced to teach only what will improve standardized test scores, their talents and passions are limited. We want to move above and beyond teaching that is catered to state tests in order to spark student interest in the subjects that they are learning and to give them skills that they can use in their future lives after they leave Rachel Carson.”

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Toni Rose, principal at Lutie Lewis Coates Elementary School

“We are definitely a growing school. It is only our fifth year this year and we are expanding to the point where we now have six classroom spaces outside of the building. We are working hard to maintain beautiful art and music spaces and classrooms. The PTA is growing and getting stronger; it has taken on the goal of creating and maintaining more after school programs, such as the chess club, art classes and extra science classes, including robotics.”

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Gail Porter, principal at Floris Elementary School

“Our theme for this year is ‘A Beautiful Mind—Learning for the 21st century.’ We are looking at research based ideas including the “five C’s”: critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, caring. We are teaching students with critical thinking so they can be prepared for 21st century jobs in the future. We will continue infusing technology every day in the classroom and are looking forward to the upcoming school year.”