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Monday, May 21, 2018

School news: Excellence rewarded

An occasional series highlighting programs and activities at schools in the Annandale/Mason District area. The information and photos here are from Fairfax County Public Schools and individual schools.

The Voices Now team from Holmes Middle School performed their play at Arena Stage.
Spanish immersionGlasgow Middle School will become the first FCPS middle school to offer a Spanish immersion program during the 2018-19 school year.

The program will serve as a continuation for students who participated in Spanish immersion in elementary school. Immersion students will receive Spanish language arts instruction and will take math and science courses in Spanish for half the day and will have instruction in English for language arts and social studies during the rest of the day.

Outstanding educator – Heather Hale, a teacher at Weyanoke Elementary School, has been named the 2018 Outstanding Northern Virginia District PTA Educator of the Year.

Weyanoke PTA president Mike Woltz praises Hale for welcoming parents into her classroom via multiple meet-and-greets at the beginning of the year, welcoming Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) and grandparents as volunteers, and holding a Coffeehouse Poetry Day for families. He also points to Hale’s use of multiple communications channels – including personalized notes, emails, meetings, and a Twitter account – to help parents understand what students are learning.

Students on stage – Students from Holmes and Glasgow middle schools performed plays at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., that they worked on with professional actors as part of Arena’s Voices of Now Festival. This year’s theme was “Where do I fit in?”

On May 17, 15 Holmes Middle School students performed a play called “Crash Course” based on autobiographical information they learned about one another throughout the year. 

A group of Glasgow students performed a play called “Map Quest” at Arena Stage May 18, which was about the experiences of students who came from other places, reports Principal Shawn DeRose. One student told the story of the first friend she made at Glasgow after moving from San Diego. Others shared what they and their families sacrificed to immigrate here from Vietnam, Somalia, and Iraq.

Students from the Glasgow Middle School Theater Group performed at Lake Braddock Secondary School’s Mayfest Playfest May 12, an annual event that showcases original script writing, ensemble performances, and individual performances. Glasgow received a trophy for excellence for their performance of excepts from “13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview,” by Ian McWethy. Arielle Else received a certificate for Outstanding Acting.

The Braddock Elementary School PTA board was recognized by Volunteer Fairfax for contributing more than 1,000 hours of service to the community.
Outdoor classroomLowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has awarded a Toolbox for Education grant of nearly $5,000 to Sleepy Hollow Elementary School for the an outdoor classroom project.

A fence around the outdoor classroom is scheduled to be installed after Standards of Learning testing is completed, reports Principal Eric Johnson. As it’s so close to the end of the year, a groundbreaking will be delayed until fall, when students will start planting activities.

Jump StartGlasgow Middle School will host a free Jump Start program for rising 6th-graders on Aug. 6-7 and Aug. 8-9 to prepare them for their transition to middle school.

Sixth-graders will be assigned an 8th-grader to serve as a mentor during their first year at Glasgow. Students selected to be mentors are good role models and positive leaders on campus.

During the Jump Start program, 8th-grade leaders will guide the younger students through a series of team-building activities that will give them a chance to meet and interact with their new peers. Incoming 6th-graders will take a guided tour of Glasgow and have to a chance to get their questions answered before school begins.

Jump Start is designed to alleviate any anxiety and concerns students may have about attending middle school and get them excited about the opportunities that await them at Glasgow.

Each two-day session runs from 8 a.m.-noon. Students can register online for either session.

Tech grant – Capital One awarded Holmes Middle School a $10,000 grant May 17 to promote technology integration. The grant was presented at the company’s headquarters in McLean, as the students in the school’s Capital One Coders club showed off the apps they created.

Science stars – Glasgow Middle School students scored wins in the Robert H. Herndon Memorial Science Competition sponsored by the Aerospace Corp. Mera Seifu won first place for her essay titled “Why We Shouldn’t Ignore Pollution,” and Nardos Demilew won second place with her essay, “The Negative Consequences of an Artificial Intelligence Dominated World.”

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