Media Tips

Media Tips are listed in chronological order.       November 26, 2014

Professional marine biologists from Under the Sea, a local organization that promotes awareness of the aquatic environment while encouraging stewardship and conservation, will visit seventh grade science students at Frost Middle on December 1, 2, 4, and 5. Under the Sea educators will lead programs on aquatic life, bringing sea animals to life in an effort to help students deepen their understanding of aquatic ecosystems and the importance of conservation. Several of the animals featured in the program are facing difficult times as a result of overfishing and other activities that impact their habitat. As part of the conservation portion of the presentation, the instructors offer suggested actions that students can take to reduce the negative impact that humans can have on marine ecosystems and the environment. The program was made possible thanks to a grant from the Frost PTA. Contact principal Eric McCann at 703-426-5700 or or news liaison Amy Smith at

Edison Academy will formalize its partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local #26 at a ceremony scheduled for noon on Tuesday, December 2.  The partnership, which will benefit students in the Electrical Construction and Engineering Program at Edison Academy, is designed to make students aware of careers and opportunities for advancement in the field and is expected to include career fairs, guest speakers, tours of  business sites, and job shadowing opportunities.  Information about potential paid or unpaid internships and apprenticeships will be provided to students, and the academy and union will work together to develop a workforce readiness employability skills program.  As part of this program, students will participate in mock interviews, hear guest lectures on workforce readiness and employability skills, and view skills demonstrations specific to the curriculum.  Professional electricians from IBEW Local #26 will be encouraged to support students in career and technical competitions and contests as mentors, volunteer judges, or to help with fundraising.  Contact academy administrator Shawn Heilemann at 703-924-8100 or or news liaison Genie Williford at


The joyful sounds of children singing will once again fill the halls of CALIBRE, Franconia Elementary's business partner, on Tuesday, December 2, at 12:30 p.m. For more than seven years, Franconia students have performed a variety of vocal and instrumental concerts for CALIBRE's staff. Twenty-two sixth grade students have written a script and produced and choreographed a holiday-themed musical that they will perform for CALIBRE employees on December 2. Among the songs included in the musical are "Frosty the Snowman" and "Jingle Bell Rock.”  Music teacher Linda Rezek supported the students as they learned musical strategies.   Contact principal Terri Edmunds-Heard at 703-822-2200 or or event liaison Linda Rezek at

Historical figures Teddy Roosevelt, Carrie Nation, Susan B. Anthony, and Alice Paul, plus Usta B. A. Greenhorn, will come to life at Rocky Run Middle as history department teachers take seventh grade students on a study of the Progressive Era. On Tuesday, December 2, beginning at 8 a.m., using a format based on "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" as a lead-in, students will hear first-hand from the people who were leaders during the Progressive Era. Bringing these characters to life is a great way to learn about historical figures and gives the students a conceptual way of tying together the information from their textbooks and history.  Contact principal Anthony Terrell at 703-802-7700 or or event liaison Jamie Sawatzky at

Annandale High will host a Music Major Night for students who are interested in studying music and their parents on Wednesday, December 3, beginning at 6 p.m.  Music professors from Virginia colleges and universities, including James Madison University, George Mason University, and the University of Mary Washington will be on hand, along with current students majoring in music in college, to discuss their experiences.  Contact principal Vince Randazzo at 703-642-4100 or or event liaison Angela Ammerman at

Lake Braddock Secondary will present a free Guitar Ensembles Concert on Wednesday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m.  Fifty guitar students will present seasonal music selections along with music from the classical repertoire.  Included will be Pachelbel’s Canon in D, “Carol of the Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” the introduction and fandango from Luigi Boccherini’s String Quintet in D Major, plus music by famed guitarists Chet Atkins, Glen Hansard, and Andy McKee. Contact principal Dave Thomas at 703-426-1000 or or event liaison John Graham at

The Woodson High Symphonic Band will present its annual Holiday Tunes for Tots performance, featuring traditional holiday favorites as well as current popular music, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 3, and Thursday, December 4.  There will also be a 7 p.m. performance on December 3. Special guests will include Minions, Elsa from Frozen, a penguin from Happy Feet, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, Minnie and Mickey Mouse, a ballerina, elves and toy soldiers, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Santa Claus. Admission is $3.  Contact principal Dan Meier at 703-503-4600 or or event liaison Melinda McKenzie Hall at

Herndon High presents Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up, a Fantasy in Five Acts, on December 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. and December 6 at 2 p.m.  This version of the childhood favorite by J.M. Barrie, was adapted by John Caird and Trevor Nunn.  The classic tale of Peter Pan, set in turn-of-the-century England, follows Peter, Wendy, and her brothers Michael and John, on their quest to Neverland as they tangle with pirates, lost boys, mermaids, braves, and the notorious Captain Hook. The Darling children finally return home to become adults, but Peter Pan returns for more playmates and stories. This family-friendly journey of childhood imagination and adventure is enhanced with Flying By Foy technology, enabling student actors to soar above the stage. Admission is $10.  Contact  principal William Bates at 703-810-2200 or or event liaison Zoe Dillard at

The Choral Department at Rocky Run Middle will present its Winter Concert on Thursday, December 4, at 7:30 p.m.  Performers will include members of the Advanced Women's Choir, Women's Choir, Mixed Choir and Show Choir performing “Dona Nobis Pacem,” “The Winter Gift,” “Gloria Alleluia,” “Chapua Kali Desemba,” “Best Day of My Life,” and  “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!”  Contact principal Anthony Terrell at 703-802-7700 or or news liaison Charlie Fontz at

The Sounds of the Holidays dance concert will be presented by South Lakes High dance students and members of the school’s Fusion Dance Company on Friday, December 5, at 7 p.m.  This family friendly dance concert will celebrate the sounds of the holidays with performances set to favorites like “Winter Wonderland,” “Carol of the Bells,” and “Jingle Bells,” along with  “Come Together,” “Autumn Leaves,” and a jazz version of The Nutcracker. There is a suggested admission donation of $5.  Contact principal Kim Retzer at 703-715-4500 or or event liaison Lisa Girdy at

The Daniels Run Singers from Daniels Run Elementary will sing holiday songs and carols at Fairfax City’s Festival of Lights on Saturday, December 6, at the Sherwood Community Center. The group is an auditioned honor chorus comprised of 41 fifth and sixth graders that rehearses before school once a week.  The vocal musicians are preparing to sing in the Virginia Organization of Kodaly Educators’ choral festival in January and have performed locally at Fairfax City School Board meetings, retirement homes, the Kings Dominion Choral Festival, and the Lamb Center. Michelle McCarten directs the Daniels Run Singers. Contact principal Adam Erbrecht at 703-279-8400 or or event liaison Michelle McCarten at

Annandale High students are involved in several community service projects with the Annandale Rotary Club.  The school’s Just World Interact Club joined forces with the Rotarians to sponsor a purple pinkie activity to raise awareness about the eradication of polio. The group collected $179, enough to provide the oral polio vaccine to 179 children in the only three countries where the polio virus is still active: Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. In those countries, children who have been vaccinated have their pinkie fingers dipped in a purple dye to show they have received the vaccine.  Also, eight members of the Annandale High Key Club—Alan Vargas, Berta Tarquis, Yenifer Osorio, Kimberly Gutierrez, Aya Eltahir, Hawa Ehsan, Sabrina Huan, and Erica Arias worked with the Annandale Rotary and Annandale Christian Community for Action to deliver donated furniture to needy households in the Culmore area of Falls Church. Contact principal Vince Randazzo at 703-642-4100 or or event liaison Catherine Mounteer at

Students in Matthew Randolph’s sixth grade science classes at Canterbury Woods Elementary recently completed their study of the solar system by building and launching water rockets. The students learned about various aspects of the solar system and the important role rockets have played in man’s understanding of the solar system. Students spent some time learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion and how they affect the design and construction of rockets that are launched to study the solar system. Each student created a rocket using two-liter soda bottles, cardboard, and some duct tape. They then launched their rockets and calculated the altitude of each one using clinometers and a little trigonometric calculation. Contact principal Barbara Messinger at 703-764-5600 or or news liaison Janette Hershey at

Dogwood Elementary turned its annual Thanksgiving luncheon into a learning experience by combining it with a Family Math Fair. After lunch, parents came to the classroom to learn math games to play with their children. Each family was able to take home a math game that could be played at home in an effort to reinforce math skills while having fun together. Contact principal Mie Devers at 703-262-3100 or or news liaison Linda Martin at

Students at Forest Edge Elementary recently had the opportunity to meet author Gary Karton, a former reporter who wrote the children's book, The Last Akaway: A Spirit Animal Adventure.  While he shared excerpts from the story, he also shared an important message with the students about his childhood.  Karton struggled with dyslexia as a child and reading was difficult for him, but  the words of a third grade teacher made him see the gifts in his struggle. She told him, "You see and learn differently from the other kids.  But different is good.  This is your gift, even if it doesn't feel like it."   Through his book, Karton conveys that every child has a special power or gift. After his presentation, students were given the chance to ask questions and meet the author for autographs.  Contact principal Kim Price at 703-925-8000 or or news liaison Jayashree Neelakantan at

Each year, Forestville Elementary’s Sister School Committee coordinates Thanksgiving dinner basket donations for a nearby school whose families that are in need. This year, Forestville provided dinner baskets to families at Dranesville Elementary, a school with a growing free and reduced lunch population.  A significant portion of Dranesville students also receive Friday backpack program food.  Thanksgiving baskets included vegetables, corn bread mix, pie filling, soup, rice, cooking oil, fruit, soup, and gift cards for main dishes plus centerpieces or decorations, festive tablecloths, staples, and favorite family Thanksgiving recipes from donating families.  Contact principal Todd Franklin at 703-404-6000 or or news liaison Tara Dutton at

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Mentor Club at Frost Middle was established to build healthy relationships, promote social and emotional well-being, and build confidence among students. The club encourages mentor-type relationships that minimize language barriers, as DHH students communicate using different types of communication including American Sign Language, cued speech, and spoken language. Recently, club participants competed in a relay race consisting of activities such as: scooter races, dribbling between cones, hooked arm partner stands, and building and breaking down cup pyramids. Following the race, the students participated in an ice cream social. Contact principal Eric McCann at 703-426-5700 or or news liaison Amy Smith at

Through the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, the Glasgow Middle after-school program is partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI ). Students recently participated in the Ending the Silence presentation, where they learned the warning signs of mental illness and where to seek help.  They also listened to a college student’s personal story of getting help for depression. Contact principal Penny Gros at 703-813-8700 or or event liaison Christine Jones-Monaccio at

Open campus is a new program offered through the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program at Glasgow Middle. Once each quarter, students participate in an activity of their choice for 90 minutes. These activities are supervised and hosted by teachers, and include sports, video games, social time, science experiments, and movies. All students are eligible to attend open campus if they have modeled appropriate behavior throughout the quarter. Being able to attend open campus encourages students to exhibit the three Glasgow Panther principles: kindness, commitment, and safety. The goal of open campus is to build community and inclusively celebrate successful positive behavior over a period of time.  Contact principal Penny Gros at 703-813-8700 or or event liaison Sarah Beck at

Over 30 students in level 1 English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) at Herndon Middle recently participated in a lesson about the meaning of Thanksgiving in comparison to customs in their native countries as part of reunification intervention groups that began in September. Students created thank you cards for individuals who have helped them in their transition to the U.S. while enjoying a Thanksgiving feast of ham, turkey, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, pecan and pumpkin pies, and hot apple cider. School administrators and finance technician Joan Carboni and her husband contributed to the preparation of the meal andevent with group leaders and students. The students meet weekly for lessons related to their experiences as new students to the U.S. with social workers, counselors, and ESOL teachers.   Monthly lessons are conducted by representatives from Northern Virginia Family Services who specialize in reunifying families in the Northern Virginia area. Contact principal Justine Klena at 703-904-4800 or or news liaison Mary Siler at

Members of the Key Middle Key-to-Key Peer Helping class recently heard from guest speaker Ashley Counts, a FCPS graduate who acts as a global messenger for Special Olympics. She shared the story of how her experience with Special Olympics helped her connect with people and become part of a community that has shaped her life in positive ways. Her mentors, Gail Whalen and Sandy Schwartz, who are Special Olympics coaches, shared information with the students about how they became involved with the program and how the students could also become involved as volunteers. The students provide support in assigned classrooms at Key Center four days a week and meet as a class on Fridays to learn more about specific disabilities, careers in special education, and disability awareness. They also act as ambassadors to promote sensitivity and tolerance of differences among their peers at Key Middle.  Contact principal Ann Smith at 703-313-4000 or or news liaison Dianne Hardbower at

Seven classrooms of students at Lake Anne Elementary are participating in Bridging the Americas (Unidos por las Aves), a cross-cultural environmental education programthat partners students in grades 2-8 in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, and Vermont with classes in Latin America and the Caribbean. The students learn and exchange information about the migratory birds that winter in Latin America and return to the U.S. and Canada each spring to breed.  Here, students have the opportunity to closely examine some of the preserved specimens of migratory birds.  Contact principal Brendan Menuey at 703-326-3500 or or news liaison Sue Garrison at

At Colin Powell Elementary, the PennGlass Café provides an opportunity for fourth and fifth grade students to sample the book choices for the current quarter's book club.  Students can read the first five pages of each book in order to get a taste of what’s to come while enjoying snacks based on the books. The students then wrote in their menus whether or not their brains were hungry for more and why.  Contact principal Linda Clifford at 571-522-6000 or or event liaison Jamie Penney at

First grade students at Waples Mill Elementary recently participated in an activity called now and then. In this project based learning opportunity, the students interviewed an adult from another generation about the past to learn about holidays and traditions, family life, transportation, school, and technology. Students were introduced to this project through the book Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold, the part autobiographical, part fictional story of a young girl’s childhood experience in New York City. The book was published based on a story quilt; as part of the activity, students learned about quilts and the stories they tell, made invitations, researched the past and made comparisons to the present, and devised interview questions. These activities will culminate into a class quilt that tells the story of then and now, reflecting what the students learn in their interviews.  Contact principal Linda Thetford at 703-390-7700 or or news liaison Judith Carlson at

Recently, Whitman Middle peer mediators Tre’mon Morris-Brash, Samiyah Williams, Owen Chong, Ruth Hailemeskel, Kiara Pascual, Zoha Raja, and Racheal Appiah attended the 23rd annual Peace It Together Summit at George Mason University. Whitman students were able to meet other middle school students  while learning about conflict resolution and restorative justice practices. When the students returned to Whitman, they appeared on the morning TV show and shared what they learned with the rest of the school. Highlights included problem-solving using the D.E.C.I.D.E. model, and identifying personal conflict styles and the differences between individual and group problem solving. Contact principal Jean Bell at 703-660-2400 or or event liaison Thembi Rudisel at

Whitman Middle recently celebrated its third annual Military Family Appreciation Night based on the theme Service and Sacrifice.  Approximately 30 percent of Whitman students come from military families. The featured speaker was U.S. Navy Cdr. John E. Eaves, Jr., who spoke about the support he and his family received from another Navy family when they were newly stationed in Japan. Military spouses received flag lapel pins and students were awarded Whitman dog tags.Principal Jean Bell read a Presidential Proclamation designating November as Military Family Month, and the school’s Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band performed the “Star Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” and the “Armed Forces March.” Dinner was served by Whitman teachers who are veterans.  Contact principal Jean Bell at 703-660-2400 or or event liaison Saundra Perry at

At Woodley Hills Elementary, teachers Christine Fisher and Colleen Hooper are offering a Student Leadership Academy program for the second year.  Forty sixth grade students have committed to the 30-week program that provides opportunities for college exploration, college visits, and special speakers who were the first college graduates from their families. The students will also explore computer coding programs, and plan to develop games and stories using the coding.  The goal of the program is to ensure that students will be college-bound after they graduate from FCPS.  Contact event liaisons Christine Fisher at or Colleen Hooper at

At Woodley Hills Elementary, sixth grade student members of the Heart of the School subcommittee, part of the Student Council Association, pose with some of the 900 cans and boxes of non-perishable food items collected as part of the school’s Thanksgiving food drive. The food was collected to benefit local families and will be distributed through United Community Ministries.  In January, the committee will sponsor a Pennies for Patients drive to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Contact event liaison Elizabeth Walter at

FCPS has announced the winners of its WebStar Awards for the first quarter of the 2014-15 school year.  WebStar Awards are presented quarterly to three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school that best demonstrate usefulness of content, clarity of design, frequency of updates, ease of navigation, adherence to FCPS web policies, and use of the FCPS template.  Winners are Hayfield Secondary: John Finneman, curator, and Martin Grimm, principal; Twain Middle: Megan Farrelly, curator, and Baek Chong, principal; Belvedere Elementary:  Karen Baxter, curator, and Cecilia Vanderhye, principal; Bren Mar Park Elementary: Laurie Marichak, curator, and Jason Pannutti, principal; and Floris Elementary:  Jason Covey, curator, and Gail Porter, principal.  Contact the FCPS Department of Communications and Community Outreach at 571-423-1200.


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Mary Shaw

Last Updated

November 26, 2014