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Monday, September 20, 2010

School board member Sandy Evans wants to hear from constituents

Got an issue or question about your child’s public school experience? You can bring it directly to Fairfax County school board member Sandy Evans at one of her upcoming community sessions, held jointly with State Del. Kaye Kory. Here is their schedule for October:
  • Oct. 2 - 10 a.m.-12 p.m., George Mason Regional Library, 7001 Little River Turnpike, Annandale.
  • Oct. 9 - 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Oct. 9, Woodrow Wilson Library, 6101 Knollwood Drive, Falls Church.
  • Oct. 30 - 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Thomas Jefferson Library, 7415 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church. 
One issue that has come up already is overcrowded and late school buses, says Evans, who represents the Mason District, which covers most of Annandale. She has been in contact with FCPS Transportation Services, and says, “I have been assured that these problems have been or will soon be fixed. Please let me know if you continue to see serious problems.”

Evans urges parents and other community members to take an interest in the Annandale Regional Planning Study Committee, formed by FCPS to seek solutions to overcrowding at Annandale High School and Poe Middle School. The committee has started with two appointees from eight high schools: Annandale, Falls Church, Stuart, Lake Braddock, Edison, Lee, Woodson, and West Springfield.

 A second, related ad hoc study group is looking at how to establish the attendance area for a new school being built at the Lacey site in Annandale, scheduled to open in fall 2012. It is also considering whether the school should be K-5 or K-6. Demolition of the existing building on the site is scheduled to start in October.

 This group has two appointees from these schools: Poe, Jackson, Glasgow, Holmes and Frost middle schools and Annandale Terrace, Beech Tree, Belvedere, Braddock, Columbia, Sleepy Hollow, Westlawn, and Woodburn elementary schools.

 “This study is important to a number of schools in Mason District,” Evans says. “I urge community members to follow the proceedings and express their views to their school’s representatives on the committee.” To learn more about the objectives of the committees, see who represents your schools, and explore background documents, visit the Regional Planning Study section on the FCPS website.

 The Annandale study committee’s meetings are open to the public. The group will meet Oct. 13, Oct. 27, Nov. 10, Dec. 1, and Dec. 15. All meetings are at Annandale High School, 7-9 p.m.

Another issue of importance to Evans is making school lunches more nutritious. “I’ve started to hear from parents who would like to work on improving our school lunches,” she says. “While significant improvements have been made in recent years, I’d like to see what more we can do to make sure our lunches are both healthy and appetizing for our students.”

This year, FCPS added more fresh fruits and vegetables, asked food suppliers to reduce added salt and sugar, and eliminated table salt in cafeterias. “Chocolate milk was eliminated because the vender was unable to provide a product without high-fructose corn syrup,” Evans says. “I've heard different views on this decision, with some parents welcoming it wholeheartedly and others telling me they prefer their children drinking chocolate milk to none at all.”

Noting that FCPS Superintendent Jack Dale has decided to form a School Nutrition Task Force of parents, nutrition experts, and school food service staff to look at this issue, Evans says, “I’ll monitor the work of this group and look forward to some innovative suggestions.”

Evans urges parents to take part in a forthcoming FCPS Education Summit on the topic, “What Do Our Students Need to Succeed in the World After High School?” It takes place Oct. 16, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at Robinson Secondary School. The keynote speaker is Ken Kay, president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a group in the forefront of the movement to prepare children for the global economy. Parents, students, teachers, principals, and business and community leaders have been invited to the summit, and student leaders will be asked to represent their school at the event.

Finally, Evans urges community members to contribute books to Poe Middle School. The school is collecting books suitable for middle school readers for its DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) period. You can bring books to the Poe office, 7000 Cindy Lane, Annandale, 22003.

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