Educational/Training News & Opportunities    

  in the Kingstowne Area!

The Chesterbrook Academy">

         Educational/Training News & Opportunities    

  in the Kingstowne Area!

The Chesterbrook Academy, which is  under construction across from the Manchester Lakes Festival

To learn about some of the Kingstowne area schools, click on the links below:

Fairfax County Schools in general: http://www.fcps.k12.va.us

Edison High School: http://www.fcps.edu/EdisonHS/

Lee High School: http://www.fcps.edu/LeeHS/

Hayfield Secondary School: www.fcps.k12.va.us/hayfieldss

Key Middle School: http://www.fcps.edu/KeyMS/

Lane Elementary School:  http://www.fcps.edu/LaneES/

  • (11/8/2002) An open house hosting approximately 20 area preschools will be held Thursday, Nov. 14, from 1 to 4 p.m.

    Families will have an opportunity to meet with representatives from many area preschools and gather information. It is geared for families looking to enroll their children in preschool beginning in the fall of 2003.

    Preschools in the Mount Vernon, Fort Hunt, Kingstowne and Franconia area are all participating in the fair, which is sponsored by the MOMS Club of South Alexandria.

    Join the fair at the Sunset Hills Baptist Church, at 3500 Franconia Road. For more information, call 866-206-9067, ext. 1594, or e-mail southalexmomsclub@onebox.com.

 

  • (7/6/2002) The Springfield Times reports on the continuing budget problems for Fairfax County Public Schools:

Arcom Publishing Inc. - Chantilly/Centreville Times

  • (6/30/2002) The Springfield Connection discusses the possibility of Charter schools starting in Fairfax County:

Connection Newspapers

  • (4/22/2001) The following articles comes from the Springfield Times:

 

The Springfield-Lorton area will get two new elementary schools if the Fiscal Year 2001 school bond referendum is approved as proposed by Superintendent Daniel Domenech.
The two new schools, Island Creek and Lorton Station elementary schools, will open in September 2003 and 2004, respectively. The new schools will educate the children moving into the Lorton Station area and new apartments in the Kingstowne area.
The referendum allocates $17.4 million for Island Creek, which would be located off Beulah Road, and $18.12 million for Lorton Station, which would be built near Interstate 95 and the Virginia Rail Express (VRE) station.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the referendum April 26. If voters approve the referendum, money will also be allocated to install modular classrooms at several area schools. Cameron Elementary School would receive an eight-room modular, Mt. Eagle a six-room modular and Silverbrook Elementary School a 10-room modular.

"Modulars are about one-third the cost" of building traditional classrooms, said Tom Brady, assistant superintendent of the county's department of facilities services.  "We can put in a modular within 18 months, brick and mortar may take up to seven years," Brady said. "[Modulars] rapidly address overcrowding."

Each modular will be equipped with restrooms and running water and has a lifespan of 25 to 30 years.  "They are permanent, but they still can be moved," Brady said. "As demographics and population shift, we can move the modular to a different location to perform the same mission, the same purpose," he said.

Two million dollars has been set aside for the planning of a south county secondary school, which is anticipated to be located off Silverbrook Road near Laurel Hill.  Domenech's proposal also renews money for Riverside Elementary and for the planning of future renovations at Edison High School. Lee High School, which is currently under renovation, will receive another $12 million toward completion of the project.

 

  • (4/2/2001) The following article comes from the Washington Post:

Fairfax Schools Plan Biggest Referendum, $380 Million List Targets Crowding, Aging Buildings

By Liz Seymour, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, April 2, 2001; Page B02

Fairfax County school officials will announce a list of nearly $380 million in school construction projects today that would help reduce crowding in the growing district and upgrade schools that are old and in disrepair. The list of construction, renovation and repair projects must be approved by the School Board and Board of Supervisors and then must be endorsed by voters in the Nov. 6 election. If it passes, it will be the most expensive school referendum in county history. Despite the cost, school officials said the bond referendum addresses only about one-third of the district's building needs. "That's just indicative of how huge our problems are and how far we've fallen behind," said Superintendent Daniel A. Domenech.

Fairfax schools are struggling with an enrollment that grows by 4,000 students every year and many schools that are at least 40 years old. In January, the School Board adopted a five-year, $1 billion capital building plan. "Considering we need about a billion dollars, this is just a small dent," School Board member Stuart D. Gibson (Hunter Mill) said about the referendum list. "This is our only tool to pay for facilities." The 2001 school bond referendum includes construction of three elementary schools and an addition to an existing school.

Modular classroom additions, which can be moved to other schools and are quicker and cheaper to build, are planned for 12 schools. The list also includes $2 million to begin planning a new secondary school in the southern portion of the county for students in grades 7 to 12. Nearly $201 million would pay for renovations and additions to 10 elementary schools and Lake Braddock Secondary School. The bonds also would allow the district to begin planning renovations at seven other schools. One of them is W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, where concerned parents have banded together to publicize the 40-year-old building's inadequate wiring, broken-down bathrooms and locker rooms and general disrepair. The referendum would include $1 million for planning the improvements there.

"Well, it's terrific news," said John Buescher, the PTSA president at Woodson. He said he had been unsure whether the school would make this year's list. "I think this community has worked hard to let our elected officials know the true situation at this school."

School officials also are asking voters to approve $22 million to upgrade the schools' technology infrastructure, especially wiring. Domenech said the district has fallen behind in replacing technology in the last few years because of budget constraints and can no longer delay the expense. "In a way, we are victims of our own success," Gibson said. "If the network is over capacity, then all the technology investment we've made in the last six years will essentially be useless." School Board member Mychele B. Brickner (At Large) said she was unsure whether she could support spending $22 million on technology when there are so many school construction projects that need to be financed.

"I have some real concern about that," she said. "We do have to do some technology upgrades, but we should also be setting adequate and appropriate priorities." After visiting so many schools in need of improvements, Brickner said she she is confident that the bonds will be approved in the November referendum. No school referendum proposal has ever failed in Fairfax County. She and the other 11 School Board members intend to campaign for voter approval in the fall. "All you have to do is speak from what you've seen," Brickner said.

  • (3/26/2001) The following article came from the Springfield Times.
Dip dims chances of extra money for schools

Fairfax County revenues for this year are lagging $7.5 million behind expectations, leaving a shrinking stash of cash for schools and other projects.
County finance chief Edward L. Long Jr. told supervisors on Monday that this could be one of the tightest budget years in recent memory, adding "We'll be lucky if we come out even."  Long and his staff had predicted a $14 million year-end surplus, but the drop in revenue coupled with a few extra expenses have whittled that figure down to $2.38 million--out of a total $2.1 billion spending plan for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Supervisors, who are just days away from holding three nights of marathon public hearings on next year's spending plan, called the revised fiscal outlook "scary" and "sobering."  Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock), chair of the board's budget subcommittee, said afterward that it will be a challenge to further assist the school system, which is pleading for more money to foot larger teacher salaries and boost school construction.  Without their normal year-end cash bonanza, supervisors will be forced to cut items from County Executive Anthony Griffin's proposed $2.3 billion spending plan for next year in order to fund other needs.  Griffin provided school administrators with more money than expected in his proposed budget, but they're still staring at a $22 million deficit, which doesn't even include new money for raises and building renovations.

School Board Chairman Jane Strauss (Dranesville) said the school system could not afford to cut millions of dollars from its own budget as it did last year, and Supt. Daniel Domenech has already said he intends to absorb any shortfall, meaning he'd increase class sizes before cutting other areas.  Adding to their concerns is a growing frustration among supervisors who are continually criticized for "cutting" school funding when, technically, they've almost always given the schools more money just not as much as requested.  Mitch Luxenberg, president of the Fairfax County Council of PTAs, acknowledged the misperception and said he's working hard to tone down the rhetoric from his members.

If the county's projected surplus holds up, 40 percent of it--about $1 million--would automatically be put into the county's rainy-day or reserve account.  That leaves roughly $1.4 million for the supervisors and schools to split evenly.  Last year at this time, county budget doctors projected a $15.3 million surplus, which later grew to $32.8 million. Supervisors gave $25 million to the schools and spent $7.8 million on other projects.  The sharp decline in this year's revenues--not to mention the revenue projections for next year's budget--can be directly tied to the shaky national economy, according to Long.  For example, the county has seen a drop in its return of interest on investments this year because of recent interest rate reductions and those returns are expected to fall even more sharply next year.

Local sales tax and personal property tax revenues, which account for the bulk of county revenues outside real estate assessments, are up slightly but well below their average annual growth.  The 7.5-percent growth in next year's proposed budget is driven mostly by the real estate tax since all other county revenue sources grew by a combined 1.5 percent.  The latest real estate assessments, which account for just over half of all county profits, are up an average of 11 percent countywide.

Supervisor Gerry Connolly (D-Providence) warned that assessments often lag about a year behind current economic conditions. The last time the county saw double-digit assessments, just before the early 1990s' recession, they were followed by negative assessments.  "But let's keep this in perspective," said Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn (R-Dranesville). "These are not real cuts. They're cuts from what we were expecting ... we're still going to spend about 8 percent more than we did last year."

Supervisor Michael Frey (R-Sully), who said supervisors are squandering millions on tax exemptions and frivolous programs, said he still intends to ask for a 1- to 2-cent reduction in the real estate tax rate despite the likelihood of being rebuffed by the board's Democratic majority.  Each penny on the real estate tax--which is now $1.23 per $100 of assessed value--is worth about $10 million.

 

  • (3/18/2001) The following article about Lee High School comes from the Springfield Times:
Construction crews, equipment and trailers are common sights on the grounds of Robert E. Lee High School these days as phase two of the school's renovation gets under way.
When the planned three-phase renovation is complete in late 2003/early 2004, the entire school will have been renovated.

"From top to bottom and side to side, the whole school will be renovated and added on to," said Skip Maginniss, vice president of BMK PC, the architectural firm responsible for the redesign.  Phase two, which includes renovating and expanding the media center, building new administration and guidance suites, updating the front of the school, adding an elevator and a second-floor addition, is projected to take 18 months to complete.

"Phase two will affect about 60 to 70 percent of the entire school," Maginniss said. The school's electrical system, plumbing, heating and ventilation components will be updated and the majority of the sprinkler system will be installed during this phase, said Dave Campbell, a project manager for the school system who is overseeing Lee's renovation.

At present, the 43-year-old school is not protected by a sprinkler system, but with the renovation the entire school will be brought up to code, Campbell said.

The media center will almost double in size and will be outfitted with a TV studio, where students enrolled in a film study and production class will film a television show, as well as a new computer lab, Maginniss said.

An additional 25 percent of shelf space will be added for the library's growing book collection, and new offices and workrooms will complete the renovated library. The library is slated for completion in October 2001, with construction occurring throughout the summer.

Ten more classrooms will be added during phase two, and nine instructional areas will be completed in phase three, Maginniss said. The new classrooms are designed to eliminate the trailers that currently supplement space.

"The hope is, and it looks like we have a fair chance, that what we planned three years ago will be sufficient when it is all finished two to three years from now," Maginniss said of projected enrollment. "If enrollment does not increase substantially, we should be fine," he added.  A second floor is being extended over one of the school's wings, adding four additional classrooms and a workroom, Campbell said. Some wings currently have two floors; others, only one.  Phase three, which is projected to take 12 to 16 months and should begin immediately after phase two is completed, will focus on the cafeteria, auditorium and gymnasium, Maginniss said. 

"The cafeteria will be completely redone, and the new classroom addition will include music areas for band and orchestra," Maginniss said. A lot of the work in phase three must occur over the summer because students utilize the space all school year.
Science and art classrooms were modernized as part of phase one, which was completed more than a year ago.

Chemistry teacher Richard Priest said, "They basically gutted it and started all over." His chemistry lab almost doubled in size, allowing room for new work stations, hoods, chemical supply rooms and Internet-ready computers at each station.  "We now have state-of-the-art hoods and an up-to-date chemical facility," Priest said.

Besides classroom additions and renovations, Maginniss said "all of the windows will be replaced, and of course the roof will be completely replaced. The parking lots will be redone with new landscaping."

For sporting facilities, new tennis courts were included in phase one, and new lighting for the football field will be installed during phase two, as well as concession stands and a new press box.

All of the projected completion dates are estimates, Campbell said.  "The dates are best-case scenarios. Sometimes we better those dates, sometimes we slip," Campbell said. The school system, though, is currently facing the problem of the local building boom, which can lead to a shortage of workers for a job. "There are not a whole lot of contractors out there right now; everybody is working," Campbell said, making it hard for school officials to find more workers if they find themselves slipping behind schedule.
The contract for phase two was awarded to R.J. Crowley Inc. in February, coming in at just over $14 million. Funding is provided from the November 1999 school bond referendum.
  • (11/5/2000) According to a recent Fairfax Journal article, he transportation operation in Fairfax County Public Schools has been selected as one of the best in the nation by School Bus Fleet, a Torrance, Calif.-based trade magazine that covers the school transportation industry.
        The Fairfax County bus fleet was profiled in the magazine's October issue as part of ``Great Fleets Across America," a special report on 50 exemplary school bus fleets, one in each state. The school bus operations were selected based on their excellence in safety, efficiency, maintenance, driver training, staff morale and innovation, according to Fairfax County school officials.

 

  • (11/5/2000) The Fairfax County Public Library is offering computer users free access to electronic books through Dec. 31, in a pilot partnership with netLibrary.
        The six-month pilot program gives users access to 1,500 e-books that they can search, preview and read over the Internet at any time. Users do not need any special equipment to read the e-books, other than a computer and Internet access.
        Topics of the e-books include careers, business, investing, computers, health, travel and more, including Cliff Notes, the ``Chicken Soup" series, Harvard Business School Publishing titles, ``The Complete Idiot's" guides and historical dictionaries.
        In addition to the 1,500 nonfiction titles, users have free access to an extensive list of netLibrary e-books in the public domain, featuring classics in literature and history.
        For details and to get started, visit the library's Web site at www.co.fairfax.va.us/library

 

  • (8/20/2000) Northern Virginia Community College plans to break ground on its new medical education campus Thursday, Aug. 17. In addition to working toward associate's degrees and certificate programs offered by NOVA, students may take classes offered by other entities at several levels:

    In cooperation with Fairfax County Schools, a health academy will be offered for 11th- and 12th-graders

    A bachelor's degree in health sciences will be available from George Mason University

    Virginia Commonwealth University will offer undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as continuing education classes

    Local officials have said they hope the new campus will serve as an anchor for a new industry in Springfield that combines medical and communications technologies called bioinformatics.
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(8/20/00) Fairfax County Public Schools offers a program to help low-income, non-English-speaking families registering new students in the school system.  The program aims to give families a helping hand with a variety of services so their children can start school on the right foot, the school system says.  Through Sept. 8, families that need help with enrollment and other services may go to Devonshire Center, 2831 Graham Road, Falls Church, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays. They will be assisted by Fairfax County Public Schools social workers as well as staff members of the county Human Services Department and the Inova Health System Partnership for Healthier Kids. Multilingual registrants and interpreters are available.
   

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(8/14/2000) The heads of the new Fairfax County School System clusters were announced: 

Cluster 4 (Mount Vernon, West Potomac): Calanthia Tucker, administrative officer in the superintendent's office. Supervises office of hearings and legal issues. Has been with Fairfax County schools since 1969. Has been assistant principal of Lee and Mount Vernon high schools.

Cluster 5 (Edison, Lee, Hayfield): Betsy Fenske, principal of Fort Belvoir Elementary.
 

  • (6/11/2000) Registration is being accepted for Camp Begin-Again, a free camp program for children ages 6 to 12 who have experienced the loss of a loved one.  Hospice of Northern Virginia sponsors the program, set for June 23 to 25 and again Aug. 25 to 27, both at Camp Highroad in Middleburg. Many traditional camp activities as well as supportive group discussions are planned.  For information, contact Kathy Persson at (703) 538-2043. 

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  • (6/11/2000) A Volunteer Program has been launched by the Fairfax County Public Schools' Office of Adult and Community Education.  Several volunteer positions are available, including administrative
    assistant, records manager, graduation coordinator, scholarship fund-raiser director, instructional assistant, English as a Second Language testing registration assistant, database developer and more.  To sign up, call (703) 227-2265. 

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(5/12/2000)

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(5/12/2000) Fairfax County Public Schools' Department of General Services was awarded the 2000 Governor's Transportation Safety Award for its school bus safety record in transporting nearly 105,000 students to and from school every day.  The department was awarded the 2000 Pupil Transportation Safety Award, one of 13 awards conferred this year through the Governor's Transportation Safety Award program. The award cites the department's School Bus Driver Training Center for meeting and exceeding the extraordinary demands of providing safe transportation support for Fairfax County Public Schools. 

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(4/30/2000) A new pre-school, the Chesterbrook Academy, is now enrolling students.  For more info, call (703) 921-9600.

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(4/30/2000) The Kingstowne Library is set to open on SAT, JUN 24.  There will be a ceremony at 10:00 a.m.  For more information to go to:  http://www.co.fairfax.va.us/library.

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(3/5/2000) FYI, the Lane Elementary PTA meets at the school on the first Monday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in the library. 

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(3/5/2000) Every Friday at 10:00 a.m., Borders Bookstore in Springfield has a free dance education program, Kinderdance, for children ages 2 and up.  For more information, call (703) 924-4894.

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(3/5/2000) Every Monday morning at 11:00 a.m., there is Storytime for kids at Borders Bookstore in Springfield.

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(4/2/99) The VA Department of Education has developed a web site which rates schools throughout the commonwealth.  To see it, click on:  http://www.pen.k12.va.us/html.reportcard.shtml

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bullet (3/12/99) The Fairfax County School Board is considering doing away with the elementary school "short" Monday session in favor of offering students a remediation and enrichment period without adding more instruction to the packed school day.  For the last 15 years, Fairfax County schools have been letting students off 2 and 1/2 hours early on Mondays to let teachers plan and prepare for the school week ahead.  The School Board is looking at hiring more than 300 instructional assistants to fill in the gap so teachers can still do their planning.
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bullet (2/5/99) The Fairfax County School Board voted last week to put a proposal for a $45,000,000 secondary school in the South county area on the list of Capital Improvement Projects (CIP). This is intended to relieve overcrowding at Hayfield Secondary School due to the rapid population growth in the area. Currently, there is an available site at the corner of Huntsman BLVD and the Fairfax County Parkway, known as the "Pohick Site." In addition, the School Board added $400,000 to the CIP budget to study building a new middle or secondary school in the area. The next required step towards getting the school built is to obtain funding in the form of a bond resolution. A bond recommendation will be presented to the School Board on 25 MAR 99, followed by a working session on 26 APR 99. There will be a combined meeting and vote on 29 APR 99. After that point, the bond proposal will go to the Board of Supervisors, which has the power to sell bonds.
bullet School Superintendent Daniel Domenech and the School Board are hoping to obtain $30,000,000 in state funds over the next two years as a result of GOV Gilmore's proposal to channel state lottery funds into Virginia's public schools. More word on this development will be coming in March.
bullet Interesting facts: According to the Springfield Connection, Fairfax County has only been receiving 4% of state education funds while the county has 14% of the state's student population. Fairfax County has the same number of students being educated in 550 trailers as Roanoke's County entire school population!

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