Dust Off the Backpacks

Dust Off the Backpacks

Elementary schools prepare for Sept. 4 opening.

Clifton Elementary

7010 Clifton Road

Clifton, VA 20124


Enrollment: 375

Principal: Arthur Polton


Web site: www.fcps.edu/CliftonES

Back to School nights: Morning Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, Monday, Sept. 24; Afternoon Kindergarten, Grades 4-6, Wednesday, Sept. 26.

Principal Arthur Polton is ready to welcome his new students at Clifton Elementary with open arms and plenty of fun activities during the year.

"We are planning to have our third annual Innovation and Invention Fair in February," Polton said in an e-mail. In addition to the imagination-stretching invention-fest, Polton said each grade will have special events during the year, including a Bead Day in first grade classrooms, a Native American celebration in second grade, a Chinese Festival for third graders, a Colonial Day for fourth grade students, a Medieval Day for fifth graders and a Western Day for sixth grade students.

Students will also be able to participate in "Operation Sandwich," in which they can make sandwiches for those helped by the Lamb Center in Fairfax.

For the upcoming school year, Polton said his teachers will be working hard to meet the new academic achievement goals adopted by the Fairfax County School Board, which strive to equip children with "essential life skills" and a sense of responsibility to their community. He also hopes for the school to become a Responsive Classroom school.

Six new teachers will greet students this fall, including a reading specialist, a PE teacher, a GT resource teacher, two classroom teachers and an ESOL teacher, Polton said.

Fairview Elementary

5815 Ox Road

Fairfax Station, VA 22039


Enrollment: 600

Principal: Easter Lancaster


Web site: www.fcps.edu/FairviewES

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.

Gunston Elementary School

10100 Gunston Road

Lorton, VA 22079

(703) 541-3600

Enrollment: 620

Principal: Tonya Cox

Email: Tonya.Cox@fcps.edu

Web site: www.fcps.edu/GunstonES

Back-To-School Nights: Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Tuesday, Sept. 4 will be a day of celebration for Gunston Elementary principal Tonya Cox and her staff.

"We will be offering the Foreign Language in Elementary School program to our first grade students this year," Cox said in an e-mail. "Yayoi Bourne will be teaching Japanese 30 minutes per week in our first grade classes … in future years, a new grade level will be added each year until all our students will have the opportunity to participate."

A slight change in the time of the school day, as school will let out five minutes later. On Mondays, students will be in class from 8:25 a.m. until 12:35 p.m., and the rest of the week the students will be released at 3:05 p.m.

The school has grown slightly over the summer, with the addition of one modular classroom, bringing the total at Gunston Elementary to seven.

For teachers, this year's focus will be on aligning their curriculum to the newly adopted achievement goals outlined by the Fairfax County School Board, which include a more holistic approach to teaching to better prepare children for their future.

The number of staff at Gunston has grown and will continue to do so as enrollment numbers increase. Cox said a new kindergarten teacher will join the staff this year, and new speech and language pathologist and upper grade teachers are expected.

Halley Elementary

8850 Cross Chase Circle

Fairfax Station, VA 22039


Enrollment: 625

Principal: Janet Funk


Web site: www.fcps.edu/HalleyES

Back-to-School Night: Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m.; Grades 4-6, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.

Principal Janet Funk said she and her staff at Halley Elementary are looking forward to another successful year of teaching eager students.

For the second year, Halley will be involved in the Olweus Bullying Prevention program, which began in January. The program teaches children how to avoid bullies and why being a bully isn't a good idea. Last spring, students wrote and performed a rap about bullying, a favorite among students and parents.

No physical changes will be made to the school this year, Funk said, and enrollment is slightly lower than in recent years. Parents who have not yet enrolled their students are encouraged to do so before the first day of school to allow principals to better prepare their teachers and classrooms.

Looking ahead to the 2007-08 school year, Funk said the school will remain committed to the academic success and positive character development of all their students. "Our mission is to create a rich learning environment in which students are provided with opportunities for individual growth and success in each area of development," Funk said in an e-mail.

A few new faces can bee seen at Halley this year, as two new general education teachers have joined the staff, along with one special education teacher and two preschool class-based special education teachers.

Lorton Station Elementary

9298 Lewis Chapel Road

Lorton, VA 22079



Principal: Susan Garrison


Web site: www.fcps.edu/LortonStationES

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

The school day at Lorton Station has expanded by five minutes, said principal Susan Garrision, meaning students will start their day at 9:05 a.m. and stay in class until 3:45 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

In addition, Lorton Station has become a split feeder school, the result of both the realigned boundary at South County and Hayfield Secondary schools. Lorton Station is also now part of Cluster IV, instead of Cluster V, she said.

Nearly 1,020 students are expected this year, but no physical changes are anticipated, Garrison said.

There will be a concentrated focus on mathematics this year, she said, as a way to better prepare students for lifelong learning. "We've decided to bring in a math consultant to help increase our student engagement in learning math, we want to make it fun for the kids," she said.

New staff members will continue to be added to the school as enrollment numbers climb and teachers take other positions. So far, eight new staff members and teachers have been added to Lorton Station for the new school year, Garrison said.

Newington Forest Elementary

8001 Newington Forest Ave.

Springfield, Virginia 22153

Telephone: 703-923-2600


Principal: John Kren

Email: 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 this summer 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.

Sangster Elementary

7429 Reservation Drive

Springfield, VA 22153


Enrollment: 720

Principal: Gail Kinsey


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.

Silverbrook Elementary

9350 Crosspointe Drive

Fairfax Station, VA 22039


Principal Robert Holderbaum


Web site: www.fcps.edu/SilverbrookES

Back-to-School Night: Kindergarten through second grade, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m.; Third and fourth grades, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.; Fifth and sixth grades, Thursday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m.