School Notes

School Notes

St. Ann School hosted a Fannie Mae Foundation Help the Homeless mini-walk Oct. 28 to help prevent and end homelessness. More than 227 students and adult walkers raised $5,165 -- including $2,000 from the Fannie Mae Foundation -- for Borromeo Housing, an Arlington nonprofit organization that provides long-term and comprehensive transitional housing for homeless single mothers and their children. The Fannie Mae Foundation is also donating an additional $1 per registered walker for Hurricane Katrina relief.

The mini-walk is one of nearly 700 mini-walks being hosted across the Washington metropolitan area as part of the Fannie Mae Foundation Help the Homeless Program. The program culminated with the 18th Annual Help the Homeless Walkathon on Saturday, Nov. 19, on the National Mall. Funds raised through the mini-walks and the walkathon will benefit the nearly 180 local beneficiary organizations that work every day to provide services to homeless people and to prevent and end homelessness.

Students from Gunston Middle School in Arlington will partake in a festival of the Spanish Language happening in D.C. on Dec. 8-9. They will celebrate the 400th anniversary of "Don Quijote de la Mancha." The marathon will be hosted by Poet Luis Alberto Ambroggio, Rei Berroa and Teatro de la Luna Artistic Director Mario Marcel. The students will perform poems they have written in Spanish or recite selected poems by published authors.

Adapting to the Post-High School World. When people with psychiatric diagnoses turn 18 , by law, they are emancipated from their families. Learn what parents can do to make this tranisition smoother. The meeting features a panel presentation by Arlington parents who have experienced the transition. The meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mt. Olive United Methodist Church, 1500 N. Glebe Rd. Visit

H-B Woodlawn Chamber Singers from Arlington will join Grammy Award Winner The Washington Chorus as the 2005 "Side by Side" partner high school chorus. They will perform in the annual "Music for Christmas" concerts at John F. Kennedy Center and the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, MD. The Kennedy Center performances are Dec. 18 at 5 p.m. and Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. The Strathmore performace is Dec. 23 at 8 p.m. The Chamber Singers will premiere a lively madrigal "There is No Rose," commissioned from Brian Bartoldus, a composition student at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA. Tickets are available from the Washington Chorus Box Office at 202-342-6221 or securely online at Tickets can be purchased from Kennedy Center at 202-467-4600. Tickets range from $19-$56, with student, senior and group discounts available.

Long Branch students, staff, and community members collected $5,000 during their mini-walk for the homeless on Oct. 12. The Fannie Mae Foundation matched that amount, bringing the total amount collected to $10,000, all of which is being donated to the Reading Connection. The Reading Connection is an Arlington based non-profit organization dedicated to bringing books and a lifelong love of reading to children in a housing crisis. The activity was coordinated by guidance counselors Brenda Kahan and Benta Sims, teachers Alyssa Watkins-Dove, Rocky Belk, and Meredith Grasso, and members of the PTA for their work in making this event happen.

Approximately 70 teachers participated in the educator’s reception at the Clarendon Barnes & Noble on Oct. 17. Dr. Mark Johnston, assistant superintendent of instruction was the keynote speaker for the event. Break-dancers from Barcroft provided entertainment for the evening. ThinkFun Games hosted a Math Dice Competition for teachers and students alike. Representatives from ThinkFun Games were on hand to talk with teachers about all of their teaching tools. Teachers received gift bags filled with educational materials and enjoyed refreshments from Bertucci’s throughout the evening.

Nearly 200 parents and students attended Abingdon’s first ever Library Night on Oct. 17. The theme for the evening was, "The Magic Of Reading." Students were treated to a magic show from Chuck Magic and books were given away as door prizes. Everyone enjoyed free pizza and drinks, and students were given bonus library check-out time. Abingdon’s next library night is Nov. 17. The theme will be "Wild About Reading" and will feature a guest speaker from the Long Branch Nature Center. Future library nights are scheduled for Jan. 10, Feb. 8, March 16, and April 27, and are organized by library media specialist Kristy Nienstedt, lead reading teacher Bobbie Moyer, and Title I teacher Susanna Smith.

Williamsburg eighth graders in Margaret Feldman’s English classes, and Jamestown kindergarten students in Emily Rekstad, Laura Hansen, Fran Doud, and Sara Pugh’s classes have joined efforts via distance learning technologies. ITCs Carolyn Griglione and Camilla Gagliolo are spearheading the "Sharing Live" project to enhance students’ understanding of community relationships, literacy skills, and character traits. The year-long project has the kindergartners meeting their eighth grade buddies every few weeks via two-way audio and video. Eighth graders teach and mentor kindergarten students about assigned topics, and the kindergartners present information learned back to the eighth graders. The kindergartners will have the chance to meet the eighth graders later this year.

Under the direction of ITC Camila Gagliolo, the Jamestown fifth grade students are producing a weekly podcast. Podcasting is similar to radio reporting in digital format and is posted on the internet at each Tuesday. Students use microphones in the school’s TV studio, a G5 Macintosh computer and an iPod with a recording device attached to it. They record projects produced pieces they have writen, including poetry and short stories in conjunction with Jamestown’s school wide writing initiative.

On Oct. 12, Key fourth and fifth grade students, and their families, learned more about audiobooks during a Family Literacy Night event in the school library. Library sciences supervisor Liz Hannegan led the presentation. The event was coordinated by school librarian Lois Deringer.

The artwork of two Drew preschool students will be published in the VDOE’s 2005-06 FUNdamental Calendar of Activities and Ideas for Early Childhood Parents and Educators. The students, who are both in Bonnie Greer’s early childhood special education class were the only APS students selected to have their art published. The Department of Education has awarded the class with $100 to purchase classroom supplies and materials. The calendar has been distributed to classrooms, teachers, students, and parents who have an interest in early childhood activities. Drew art teacher Connie Usova worked with the students as well.

Students from the Career Center’s animal sciences program participated in the National Park Services annual celebration of Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday on Oct. 15. This is the third year that students from Scott Lockhart’s and Cindy Schall’s classes have taken animals to Teddy Roosevelt Island as part of the celebration. Students brought domestic rabbits, ferrets, and sugar gliders, and taught visitors how these animals compare to similar wild animals found in D.C., Virginia and Maryland (wild rabbits, ermine and flying squirrels). They also built bird houses and learned about birds from staff of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia.

On Oct. 14, 85 Jefferson sixth graders participated in an interactive "Exploration" field trip at Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, VA. The students explored unknown territory by searching for natural resources, mapping the area, collecting scientific data, and using teamwork to overcome "obstacles" such as weather and disease. The field trip was the introductory experience for an interdisciplinary unit on exploration.

Students from McKinley and Swanson have collected 2,300 stuffed animals that are being shipped to Bear Hugs With Love, a non-profit organization, which will deliver the stuffed animals to shelters in the Gulf Coast region. The Allied Van Company will ship the items at no cost to the school.

On Oct. 5, students from Aachen, Germany spent the day at Nottingham, as part of a yearly exchange between Nottingham and their sister city of Aachen. Every year students and parents from Aachen visit families in the Nottingham community for a week. They visit the sights in the area and the students spend at least one day at Nottingham learning about American culture. This year 26 families participated in the program and even included three families from the Tuckahoe community. The second half of the exchange will occur during Spring Break, when students from Nottingham travel to Aachen to experience the German culture.

To celebrate the re-opening of the Washington-Lee athletic field, Arlington marching band students at Washington-Lee, Wakefield and Yorktown participated in a Band Showcase on Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. The athletic field at War Memorial Stadium had been closed since July 11 while Arlington County installed a new synthetic turf on the stadium field.

More than 25 teachers participated to make Gunston’s Annual Hispanic Heritage Night, a cultural fiesta attended by nearly 400 Gunston families. Staff members Amanda Ercilla, Marlene Perez and Caitlin Chapuis organized the event.

Representatives from the John Lyon VFW (Veteran’s of Foreign Wars) Post 3150 in Arlington, donated 650 mylar trick or treat bags for students to use during the annual Key halloween parade. Safety tips are printed on one side of the bad. The VFW distributes the bags in conjunction with the National Crime Prevention Council.

Campbell parent and professional actor, Ann Timmons, and 12 fourth and fifth grade students meet weekly for an after-school enrichment program titled Adventures in Shakespeare. This wonderful opportunity is an extension of Campbell’s Arts Alive Enrichment programs and will culminate at the end of the year in a performance by the students.

Thirty-eight Campbell fourth and fifth grade students in Gina Cozzini’s and Wade Turner’s classes recreated Archimedes’ final experiment in their classrooms. Students predicted what would happen to a pendulum when released and made observations as it first made parallel lines and then ended with a perfectly elliptical orbit. They noted the friction between the point of the pendulum and the sand on the table and participated in discussions on potential and kinetic energy.

Hoffman-Boston has been awarded a grant from the Wachovia Tutoring Partnership to continue its successful Book Buddies program. Book Buddies matches community volunteers with students in need of remedial support in reading. Each volunteer works with one student twice a week throughout the school year. Reading specialists Carole Ebert and Cynthia Barron are coordinators of the program. They are responsible for training the volunteers, creating individualized lessons and scheduling the tutoring sessions. This is the fifth year Book Buddies has been sponsored by Wachovia.

Yorktown held one of three planned school- wide ROCSFest (Respect Others Community and Self) on Oct. 11. This event was organized to promote self-respect among the schools’ students, faculty and staff. Peer facilitators in the leadership and diversity classes were trained to lead groups in activities promoting self-respect. All students and faculty participated in this event which took place with an adjusted schedule. The next ROCSFest will take place on Dec. 13.

Chaperoned by English teacher Dr. Nancy Walton and Kate Lawrence from the Media Center, 13 of Langston’s English students enjoyed a matinee performance of BORN YESTERDAY at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 18. The play’s main theme, the importance of education, interwoven with its emphasis on proper grammar and language usage echoed classroom activities. Back at school the next day, all attendees tackled vocabulary assignments with a newfound relevance.

Thor Nilsen, an associate professor at Telemark University College in Norway, visited APS during his trip to the US from Sept. 30 – Oct. 5. He and his team visited us last year and wanted to return. A total of 11 university students, who are seniors in the teaching training college visited Key and Arlington Science Focus. They observed teaching techniques to learn more about the organization of an American school and viewed classroom teaching techniques.

On Oct. 13, police detective Rick Rodriquez talked with Arlington Mill students about how to be prepared for an emergency. His visit was part of the nationwide Be Ready, Make a Plan effort.

On Oct. 20, Randolph joined hundreds of schools across the county in celebrating its after school programs. Under the direction of after-school activities coordinator Bridget Kraft, Randolph participated in Lights On! After School, a national event geared toward recognizing the importance of after-school programs as a venue for keeping kids safe, inspiring kids to learn and providing enriching activities. More than 140 children participate in more than 20 clubs each week at Randolph.

Jamestown’s fifth grade chorus performed at the United Nations Day celebration on Sun. Oct. 23 in Ballston Common Mall. The chorus is led by music teacher Darnell Wise- Lightbourn.

In recognition of its efforts to make good sportsmanship a priority in the classroom and on the field, Yorktown has received the 2004-05 Virginia High School League’s (VHSL) Wachovia Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award. Students involved in athletics and extracurricular activities at Yorktown as well as coaches/sponsors and spectators, are encouraged to demonstrate appropriate behavior at all Yorktown events. The sportsmanship program is an extension of the school’s ROCS (Respect Others Community and Self) program.

Gretchen Teel participated in the Fair Lakes 8K race on Sept. 11. Race proceeds from the 8K benefited the Inova Kellar Center. Librarian Jeffrey Brady and resource teacher Kathy Pool ran and finished the Army 10 mile race on Oct. 2. Because part of the course was rerouted due to security concerns, Brady and Pool ended up running over 11 miles that day.

Career Center commercial arts teaching assistant and enrichment, and adult education photography teacher Andrea V. Uravitch has a special exhibit of her animal imagery sculptures now on display at Virginia Tech’s Perspective Gallery in Blacksburg, VA. The show runs through Dec. 7.

Oakridge fourth grade students in Katie Drechsel’s class ate the state of Virginia on Oct. 5. As part of the fourth grade SOL standards the students have been studying the geography in each of the five regions of Virginia in a unit culminating with the making of edible maps. With the help of classroom parents, students molded peanut butter dough into the shape of Virginia and added different candies for each region. Sugar sprinkles were used for the Tidewater (because it has the lowest elevation), all the way to candy corns for the Valley and Ridge (with chocolate sprinkles, skittles, and chocolate chips for the other regions). Students used blue gel icing to add the four major rivers, and a red hot to mark the capital, giving them a visual representation of the basic geography of Virginia.

Students in Andrew Paparella’s sixth grade American Studies class at Swanson spent Oct. 11 - 12 traveling back in time to the technological era of the 1600s. In order to understand the cultures that shaped early American history, students read about different approaches to similar problems faced by Native Americans and Europeans when they first met. These problems included communication, and finding things for cooking, making clothing, and making and firing weapons. Students simulated the difference between using spoken and sign language to communicate rather than writing and reading to communicate. They compared the making of woven baskets to the casting of iron kettles. They cut material for clothing with simple-edged implements versus scissors. Students even simulated the manufacture of a musket and lead ammunition as compared to the making of arrows; these students then attempted to fire them at targets to test out these different weapons’ capabilities. After experiencing these technological differences, students had to determine the benefits and drawbacks of Native American versus European technologies and explain which method would be better suited for life in North America 400 years ago. This activity was the opening of their unit of study on the cultures and colonies of the Atlantic coast in the 17th and 18th centuries. Students will focus on the cultural fusion and diffusion that occurred as a means of survival for Native American and European peoples in one of the three regions of British settlement: New England, Middle Atlantic, and Southern.

Taylor students and staff kicked off their school-wide reading and physical fitness incentive program, Get Fit & Stay Smart: Read & Walk Across America on Oct. 11. The new program aims to encourage the two healthy habits of recreational reading and exercise and is the brainchild of reading specialists Mary Stoopman and Lynne Stein, along with physical education teacher Michelle Breedy. To kick-off the program, children’s author and illustrator Kevin O’Malley visited Taylor on Oct. 11. O’Malley presented five sessions to the children during the day, instilling enthusiasm for reading and writing in the students. Taylor parents had the chance to meet him that evening, when he talked with them about how important it is that their children to learn to read for enjoyment. The Get Fit & Stay Smart: Read & Walk Across America program, will run from October through May. Each month students will be exposed to literature and authors from a different geographical region of the United States, starting in October with the New England States. At the same time, the children will be encouraged to exercise at a pace to "walk across" the same region. The number of books read and the hours of exercise students complete during the month will be converted into miles at the end of each month to see how many miles the students have "read" and "walked" across America.

The Tuckahoe community celebrated their new partnership with Sport & Health Clubs and Project Fit America (PFA) on Oct. 12 with kick-off activities. As part of the partnership, Tuckahoe students, parents, and community members now have $15,000 in fitness equipment at the school, have received training in using the equipment properly, and will continue to receive physical education curriculum support materials. As the sponsor, Sport & Health has donated funds to pay for all three of the components of the PFA program. Earlier this month Tuckahoe teachers completed a day-long training event led by a PFA fitness trainer on how to properly use the equipment.

Last spring, more than a dozen sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students at Swanson spent time after school painting a mural in the foyer of the school. Going by the name "Swanson Artists Alliance," the group of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, first sketched their ideas for the mural design. Principal Chrystal Forrester and assistant principal Mary Beth Pelosky, along with the five parent advisors involved in the project, chose aspects from almost all the student designs and incorporated them into one design. The mural, which took about two months to complete, contains colorful images representing the school’s logo, "Scholarship, Service, and Spirit."

On Oct. 17-19, Barrett students participated in grade-level mini-assemblies in the school’s Discovery Lab and hands-on math and science workshops in the classroom, led by NASA Educational Specialist Norman "Storm" Robinson, III. Robinson’s visit was one part of NASA’s Aerospace Education Services (AESP) Program during which professional educators, knowledgeable about aerospace sciences, mathematics and technology conduct workshops for educators, present assembly programs and work with students in the classroom.

Students had the opportunity to touch an authentic suit worn by an astronaut in space, hold meteor and lunar rock samples, and view additional artifacts related to the past, present, and future of NASA’s exploration of space.

Members of Kenmore’s newly-formed "Paws for a Cause" extracurricular club raised more than $300 during a bone drive on Oct. 14 - 17. Club members sold paper bones for $.50 each during lunch each day. Students purchased a total of 602 bones, collecting $301. Sixth graders purchased 282 bones, winning the competition. The money is being donated to the Humane Society of New Orleans. The new club is sponsored by special education teacher Bruce Merrill.