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Monday, September 7, 2015

New school schedules will have impact on commuter traffic

Watch out for school buses and students Tuesday morning.
You might want to leave for work extra early Tuesday morning, the first day of the school year, as traffic is likely to be worse for commuters due to a new bell schedule for Fairfax County schools.

Parents can expect some glitches, too, as everyone adjusts to new school schedules as a result of the school board’s approval of later start times for high schools in response to research showing adolescents need  more sleep in the morning.

Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay (Lee) warns of significant delays for commuters and school buses. “I’m expecting a lot of chaos,” he told the Washington Business Journal. “Their world is getting ready to be turned upside down.”

Start times for the three high schools in Mason District – Annandale, Falls Church, and Stuart – have been moved up from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. 

To accommodate that change, middle schools are starting earlier, at 7:30 a.m. Most elementary schools will start at the same time as before but some will change.

Here are the start times for elementary schools in the Annandale/Mason area:
8:25 a.m. – Ravensworth
8:30 a.m. – Wakefield Forest
8:35 a.m. – Weyanoke
8:40 a.m. – Annandale Terrace, Bailey’s Upper, Parklawn
8:45 a.m. – Sleepy Hollow, Westlawn
8:55 a.m. – Braddock, Camelot 
9:05 a.m. – Bailey’s
9:15 a.m. – Beech Tree, Bren Mar Park, Canterbury Woods, Columbia, Mason Crest 
9:20 a.m. – Belvedere, Glen Forest, Mantua, Woodburn 

“As is true at the start of every school year, with more than 1,600 buses providing transportation to more than 130,000 students on over 7,000 separate routes, some adjustments and minor delays are to be expected,” states a notice to parents from FCPS.

The notice advises parents who experience continued problems with school buses to contact the  transportation supervisor responsible for their children’s school.

Among other changes for the 2015-16 school year:

•  Annandale High School has a new principal, Tim Thomas, who transferred from Westfield High School. This will be the first full year for the new principals appointed last spring: Penny Gros at Stuart High School and Shawn DeRose at Glasgow Middle School.

•  FCPS is beginning a community engagement process on how to address a significant budget shortfall projected for fiscal year 2017. Ideas for balancing the budget can be submitted online. Two community meetings on the FCPS budget have been scheduled: Sept. 9, 7 p.m., at South Lakes High School in Reston and Sept. 12, 10 a.m., at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria.

•  FCPS is converting to a new system, MySchoolBucks, for prepaid school meals. Parents with balances on the old system, MyLunchMoney, will be able to use the same password. Balances will automatically transfer to the new system. Food and Nutrition Services is shifting from polystyrene trays to recyclable cardboard.

•  New Student Information System Parent Accounts let parents access information about their child’s grades, attendance, class schedule, discipline incidents, and health information. Parents can use the same username and password for both the SIS Parent Account and FCPS 24-7 Learning (Blackboard). For more information about registering for a SIS parent account, see the FCPS video.


  1. Good and useful information as always - Thanks! As a bus driver. let me reiterate that the first few weeks of school might be a little crazy. Your child's bus might be late. Your teacher might be as well. But as soon as your child is on the bus they are in school, and we will take good care of them. A little patience and humor will help a lot.

  2. 4:55--Thanks for speaking up. As a teacher, I want to thank you for all you do and say that we do think often of the struggles you must face year-round, not only in the first few weeks of the academic year. You are unsung heroes; hang in there!