Media Tips

Media Tips are listed in chronological order.       October 29, 2014

Students in the FCPS College Partnership Program will participate in college visits on Monday, November 3, and Tuesday, November 4, designated as holidays for all FCPS students.  The students will visit Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland on November 3, then will go to Christopher Newport University and Norfolk State University on November 4 for information sessions and campus tours.  Recently, 42 College Partnership Program seniors and their parents visited Virginia Tech, where they had the opportunity to hear from a student panel featuring diverse backgrounds and academic interests. Of that group, 23 have been offered admission to Virginia Tech.  Contact director Marcy Kneale at 571-423-4421 or or event liaison Justin Simmons at

The South County Middle theater department presents Dracula, based on the 1897 Gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 6, and Friday, November 7.  This family friendly production about the vampire Count Dracula tells the story of his attempt to move from Transylvania to England.  This production is presented by eighth grade drama students; there is an admission charge.  Contact principal Marsha Manning at 703-690-5500 or or event liaison Alexis Rose at

During a unit on insects with a focus on ladybugs, Karen Couch’s third grade students at Bren Mar Park Elementary learned about the life cycle of a ladybug. In late September, the class received ladybug larva, then were able to watch the larva develop into pupas before the mature ladybugs emerged. Once the ladybugs reached the adult stage, the students were able to release them and watch them fly away.   Contact principal Jason Pannutti at 703-914-7200 or or event liaison Karen Couch at

Members of the Best Buddies club at Carson Middle recently celebrated their annual kick-off. Students participated in many different activities including games and arts and crafts. Best Buddies is a club that is dedicated to establishing and creating one-to-one friendships and leadership development for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Students are paired with mentors to begin and maintain lifelong friendships that help provide a bridge to a successful transition into the real world.  Contact principal Augie Frattali at 703-925-3600 or or news liaison Tracy Bromberg at

To celebrate Colonial Day at Centreville Elementary, students dressed in costumes from the period; played Colonial games; made candles out of beeswax and necklaces out of buffalo sinew, bone, and glass bead; and learned rope tying.  Authentic learning was the order of the day. Teachers will be able to reference the material and experiences from Colonial Day as they move forward with the Virginia Studies units from Eastern Woodland Indians to Jamestown, through Colonial Virginia and even into the American Revolution.  Parent volunteers and the school PTA supported student learning throughout the day.   Contact principal Dwayne Young at 703-502-3500 or or news liaison Cindy Luck at

Clearview Elementary is working toward certification for its atrium garden by Audubon at Home, a program of Audubon, an organization that protects birds and wildlife and their habitats.   Under the guidance of instructional assistant Janette Siebs, students have already taken several steps, including providing a water and food source for animals and planting native plants in the garden.  Students are observing species interacting with their environment in the atrium, as well as documenting the sightings. One of the many goals of the Audubon at Home program is to encourage students and the community to become stewards of the environment; creating an eco-friendly sanctuary for native plants and animals is another. The school hopes to earn its certification soon with the involvement of teachers and students.  Contact principal Kimberly Willison at 703-708-6000 or or news liaison Lakisha Batts at

Kindergarten students at Coates Elementary recently enjoyed a special pumpkin day with 160 pumpkins donated by a local Home Depot and delivered to the school.  The students picked their own pumpkins, then participated in a series of rotations where they learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin, characteristics of a pumpkin, and estimated and counted the number of seeds in their pumpkins.  Contact principal Toni Rose at 703-713-3000 or or news liaison Katie Boxer at

Fifth grade students in Jeri Thomas’ class at Deer Park Elementary created and participated in an archaeological dig recently. The class was divided into three groups and each created a fictional culture. The students were asked to think about all of the things that define a culture, such as background, themes, food, shelter, clothing, economics, art, recreation and leisure, politics, communication, and general beliefs. Once the students decided on their cultural boundaries, they created their own artifacts to leave behind for another culture to discover. The students worked like anthropologists and archaeologists to interpret the artifacts from each other’s fictional cultures. This activity provided a hands-on experience to answer some of the essential questions about how ancient cultures can influence modern times.  Contact principal Carol Larsen at 703-802-5000 or or event liaison Jeri Thomas at

Dogwood Elementary recently hosted a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) training for FCPS science lead teachers.  The teachers tackled a real world problem of designing a drinking cup for kids who wanted their own cup at school.  The cup had to hold 50 ml of water for at least 30 seconds and allow the child to drink from it without drips.  It also had to be easily reproducible.  By participating in a STEAM problem-solving activity themselves, the teachers learned about the process and are now able to share this approach to learning within their own classrooms.  Contact principal Mie Devers at 703-262-3100 or or news liaison Linda Martin at

DeSean Jackson of the Washington Redskins visited Dogwood Elementary recently to bring attention to Anti-Bullying Month. He shared with fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students the importance in believing in themselves and not what others may say. Jackson said that when he was younger, some people said he was too small to play football, but through practice and determination he made it to the NFL and did not let the bullies change his dream. He also encouraged students who are bullied to let an adult know. The students were able to ask questions about Jackson’s life and his profession. Contact principal Mie Devers at 703-262-3100 or or news liaison Linda Martin at

All three levels of the Professional Television Production classes at Fairfax Academy recently developed and presented original horror films they created based on two sentences given to them by their teacher, Matthew Balthrop.  The goal of the project was to fully portray the two sentences via a short horror film. The students were responsible for every aspect of the film from concept to completion, including directing, filming, some acting, and editing.  The films had to be under two minutes in length and maturely deal with a story topic, such as horror. In addition, student filmmakers collaborated with the academy’s Musical Theatre and Actor’s Studio class to fulfill the need for actors in some of the films. Student filmmakers screened their short films for the entire class and gave each other constructive criticism based on what they have learned so far in class this year.  The students were also required to professionally respond to a question and answer interview session from fellow classmates and the teacher regarding their horror film and the film making process.  Contact academy administrator Diego Wilson at 703-219-2226 or or news liaison Erin Bloom at

Tigers Help is an ongoing project at Fairhill Elementary where students donate their extra food from lunch to the local food bank Food for Others. Last year, the school donated almost 4,000 pounds of food; and this year students and staff members are off to a great start, collecting 438 pounds of food in September alone. Students put their extra food in a special location in the cafeteria, and parent volunteers bring the food to Food for Others. Contact principal Pamela Clayborne-Morgan at 703-208-8100 or or event liaison Erica Campbell at

The Freedom Hill Elementary Physical Education Club hosted its annual Pumpkin Prediction Fun Run recently. Over 25 students in grades 4-6 participated in the one-mile jog. The winners were not based on speed but rather how close to their predicted time they finished. Winners Mary Margaret Lusick and Filippo Marzinotto each received a pumpkin for being only seconds away from their predictions. Nataly Hernandez and Bryan Pineda were awarded honorary Good Sport pumpkins for their efforts, improvement, and positive spirit. Contact principal Scott Bloom at 703-506-7800 or or event liaison Ian Dowling at

Frost Middle was recently the beneficiary of a day of work by Volunteer Fairfax.  Students, parents, and community members arrived to work with PTA beautification chair Alice Slayton Clark and seventh grade science teacher Lamepa Bromell to clean up the mulched beds in front of the school and in Frost’s two courtyards.  Volunteers planted new bushes as well.  Several Eagle Scout projects are taking in place at Frost over the course of the school year.  Contact principal Eric McCann at 703-426-5700 or or news liaison Amy Smith at

Ten students from Key Middle’s JROTC Mentoring Program recently participated in a campout with Edison High’s Raider Cadets in Prince William Forest Park. Students learned how to cross a suspension rope bridge, administer first aid in the wilderness, and navigate the forest with just a compass and a map. The JROTC instructors, Col. Stevenson Reed and Sgt. Christopher Lee, also set aside time for an early morning workout and a fun campfire session where the students made s’mores.  The campout was funded by a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant from the U.S. Department of Education.  Contact principal Christopher Larrick at 703-313-3900 or or news liaison Mary Anne Sherwood at

At the first tournament of the DC Urban Debate League, the Longfellow Middle Debate Team captured the trophy for the sixth best team—Antonio Bravo, Nikhita Pamidala, and Ian Choi—out of 64 teams competing. Debater Serin Bok was recognized as the tenth best speaker of the day and three more students placed in the top 25 out of more than 190 participants in the tournament.  Longfellowhad the second highest percentage of wins at this tournament among competing schools.Eighteen debaters represented Longfellow, 11 of whom werecompeting in their firstdebate. The seven veteran debaters were split up and asked to mentor two new debaters each in this tournament. Returning eighth grade students who served as mentors to Longfellow’s new debaters included Bok, Ritika Shrivastav, Zoe Treibitz, Samantha Yap, Nina Talwar, Antonio Bravo, and Nihal Khurana. Contact principal Carole Kihm at 703-533-2600 or or event liaison Bruce Wilson at

Members of the Marshall Academy Cyber Security Club toured the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center recently.  The center is a 24-7 cyber situational awareness, incident response, and management center that is a national nexus of cyber and communications integration for the federal government, intelligence community, and law enforcement. Students heard from a panel of DHS employees who conduct vulnerability assessments of other agencies and related entities.  They were able to ask questions and gain additional insight into how it all works behind the scenes. Contact academy administrator Jeff McFarland at 703-714-5582 or or news liaison Shelli Farquharson at

Marshall Academy Aerospace students attended the ninth annual Aviation Education and Career Expo at the ProJet corporate hangar at Leesburg Executive Airport. Students had the opportunity to interact with more than 40 aviation vendors who represent diverse aviation and aerospace careers including U.S. military and national security assignments; emergency medical airlift; law enforcement; aircraft maintenance; government; medevac; and avionics repair. Contact academy administrator Jeff McFarland at 703-714-5582 or or news liaison Shelli Farquharson at

Mount Vernon High recently hosted College and Career 101, a college and career planning event for Mount Vernon Pyramid students and their families. This pyramid-wide event was the first of its kind, and was planned and implemented by the Vertical Leadership Team made up of counselors from Washington Mill Elementary, Riverside Elementary, Whitman Middle, and Mount Vernon High. Cliff Hickman, West Potomac Academy counselor, shared information on the courses offered at the West Potomac and Edison Academies and the value of career certifications in the current job market.  A Northern Virginia Community College counselor discussed the NOVA Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program. Additionally, attendees learned about FCPS College Success Programs and the International Baccalaureate curriculum. The evening concluded with a question and answer session for participants. Contact Mount Vernon High principal Nardos King at 703-619-3100 or or Whitman Middle principal Jean Bell at 703-660-2400 or or event liaison Matthew Johnson at

Silver Strings musicians from Spring Hill Elementary performed recently for residents at Sunrise of McLean, and will continue to perform there throughout the school year on a monthly basis. These fifth and sixth grade students played several pieces and produced scary sound effects on their instruments to the Halloween poem, “The Dance of the Thirteen Skeletons.” The residents especially enjoyed the theme from Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” This ensemble is one of many conducted by orchestra director Ruth Donahue. Contact principal Roger Vanderhye at 703-506-3400 or or news liaison Ruth Donahue at

The Strolling Strings of Spring Hill Elementary is an elite performing group of sixth grade student violinists and violists who stroll while playing as cellists and bassists remain in place.  These musicians recently performed a Halloween concert  for the school.  Over the course of the year, the Strolling Strings play for every grade level at least once. A question and answer period is included at the end of each performance.  Younger audience members learn that a violin bow generally contains 150 to 200 horse hairs, that stringed instruments are usually made of maple and spruce, and that practice is necessary for a musician to sound good. Contact principal Roger Vanderhye at 703-506-3400 or or news liaison Ruth Donahue at

West Potomac High's marching band won first place in the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association (VBODA) marching assessments, held recently in Virginia Beach. West Potomac won the Group VI open, the largest band category. Its 162 members performed "The Future is Now," including music from 2001, The Jetsons, Oblivion, and Star Trek, receiving superior ratings.  Contact principal Alex Case at 703-718-2500 or or event liaison Penny Bauer at

El Poder de Ser Mujer (The Power of Being a Woman) and Multicultural Family and Education Center has selected FCPS Family and School Partnerships  to receive the Community Services Excellence Award for contributions made by the office and the parent liaisons to empower Latino families and students. The award was presented to selected parent liaisons (representing all parent liaisons) at the organization’s recent Leadership Conference for Latina Women. Individual recognition went to: Ruth Azimi (Bonnie Brae Elementary, Robinson Secondary), Ana Bauserman (Fairfax High, Chantilly High), Miriam Bolanos (Hybla Valley Elementary), Rosario Carrasco (Frost Middle, Poe Middle), Hellen Cortez (Cunningham Park Elementary), Aleida Goetchius (West Springfield High), Dinora Gonzalez (Annandale High), Martha Martinez (South Lakes High), and Stella Zoccoli (Saratoga Elementary, Lake Braddock Secondary). El Poder de Ser Mujer is an initiative that seeks to empower Latina women in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area by motivating them to develop their full potential and talent through educational programs.  Contact event liaison Robin Hamby at 703-204-4330 or .


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Mary Shaw

Last Updated

October 29, 2014