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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It was a smooth opening day for Mason Crest Elementary School

Mason Crest staff give students tags to ensure they get on the right bus at the end of the day.
It was a historic day in Annandale, as Mason Crest Elementary School opened its doors to students for the first time this morning.

“We want to get them into class, starting a routine right away,” said Principal Brian Butler. “That’s why we’re telling parents to drop them off and then leave.” To ensure a smooth start, Butler was out in the parking lot directing traffic, while other staff, wearing red Mason Crest shirts, welcomed students at the front door.

Principal Brian Butler directs traffic in the parking lot.
The opening of Mason Crest has gone really smoothly,” said Mason school board member Sandy Evans, who visited the school on the opening day along with Fairfax County Schools Superintendent Jack Dale. “The principal and assistant principal have done a great job connecting with the kids so they would feel at home on the first day,” Evans said.

There are 430 students in the K-5 school. “That’s about 40 under what we had projected,” Butler said. There’s just one fifth-grade class, with 20 students, because fifth-graders were given the option to stay at their previous schools. Mason Crest’s enrollment area covers students who would have attended Annandale Terrace, Beech Tree, Belvedere, and Woodburn elementary schools. The average class size is 22 for kindergartners and 18-22 for the other grades, he said.

Heading to class.
There are two Head Start and four preschool special ed classes at Mason Crest, along with three mixed-age classes for students with intellectual disabilities and level 4 Advanced Academic services for students who chose to attend Mason Crest rather than the Advanced Academic Center at Belvedere.

From the left: Superintendent Jack Dale, Principal Brian Butler, Assistant Principal Diane Kerr, and school board member Sandy Evans.
The only problem on the first day seemed to be the ongoing construction to replace the playground and basketball court. The ground beneath the brand-new play area collapsed in July. Butler says it’s because “the storm drainage system failed.” The project is expected to be completed by October.

Everyone gathered in the gym so teachers could get them organized.
Students in Mrs. Scheurer's fourth-grade class.
A huge pile of dirt where the new playground will be.
Superintendent Jack Dale visits a first-grade classroom. When the teacher asked why they come to school, one student answered, "the delicious food."

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