Posted on June 20, 2012
About Our People
* Master Police Officer Lou Munoz, who works as the school resource officer at Westfield, has been named the 2012 Distinguished School Resource Officer (SRO) by Fairfax County Public Schools.
Munoz, who has worked as the SRO at Westfield for six years, is praised by principal Tim Thomas for his ability to build and nurture relationships with students. “Students do not hesitate to seek his assistance,” states Thomas. “He is visible, approachable, accessible, and personable.” Munoz is a regular attendee at extracurricular events and serves as a mentor and role model to Westfield students, which enhances his ability to connect with students.
Thomas cites efforts by Munoz to help maintain the integrity of the instructional program during the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007 when the school became the focus of local, national, and international media. His efforts to coordinate security with the FCPS Office of Safety and Security and security staff members at Westfield were integral to supporting students, staff members, and the community, says Thomas. Several months later, Munoz participated in a panel discussion related to the prevention of gun violence which also included members of then-Governor Tim Kaine’s review panel on the Virginia Tech shootings along with parents of some of the victims. “I am very appreciative of Officer Munoz’s willingness to contribute to such a controversial topic,” says Thomas.
Munoz is praised for his work with students in the Fairfax County Police Department’s (FCPD) diversion program, which allows first time offenders to participate in an educational program that reinforces the need for positive decision making. Says Thomas, “Parents always appreciate his efforts and they comment positively on the frank but compassionate manner in which he supports all types of students.” Munoz also participates in a program at the juvenile detention center that focuses on bullying, sexting, cyber bullying, and other negative teen behaviors. And along with the SRO from Stone Middle School, he offers a self-defense seminar for 11th and 12th grade female students at Westfield. Prior to prom season, Munoz arranges for an officer from the FCPD crash reconstruction unit to speak to students and provides a distracted driver simulator for students to use, all in an effort to avoid impaired driving.
In addition to his duties as SRO, this year Munoz took over the reigns as the junior varsity basketball coach at Westfield. “I often wonder in amazement how he can juggle so many demands along with those of his own family,” adds Thomas. “But he does so with the highest level of professionalism, integrity, efficacy, and skill.”
* Several Adult High School Completion (AHSC) staff members recently presented at the 2012 Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) national conference in Norfolk. Jocelyn Kendall and Debbie Hill, GED/ABE specialists, facilitated a “show and tell” session highlighting the latest GED-related outreach strategies.
Ann Wyllie, FCPS GED chief examiner, and Jan Buckner, AHSC transition specialist, collaborated with a Northern Virginia (NOVA) Community College representative to present a unique and seamless transition program (Adult Career Pathways or ACP) from FCPS’ AHSC to NOVA. Marylee Nicholas, National External Diploma Program (NEDP) education specialist, and Rita O’ Connor, NEDP accessor, teamed with other NEDP colleagues to present, discuss, and share new NEDP methods and materials.
* John Hiltz, social studies teacher at Stuart, presented a paper at the SITE 2012 (Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education) conference in Austin, Texas, in March. The paper was entitled “Principal Leadership and Instructional Technology Support Networks.”
The paper was based on Hiltz's 2011 dissertation and discussed how principals can influence the structure of the social networks (i.e. the patterns of interaction) that teachers form as they work to integrate technology into their classroom instruction. The paper also included a number of leadership best practices which will have a positive influence on a successful technology integration initiative.
* Jason Pittman, a science focus teacher at Hollin Meadows, and Bonnie Keller, a science teacher at Lanier, have been selected as Educators at Sea for the 2012 Nautilus Exploration Program, which offers them the opportunity to explore the geology, biology, archaeology, and chemistry of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Pittman and Keller are among a group of 12 educators from across the U.S. to be selected for the program.
The Nautilus Exploration Program, administered by the Ocean Exploration Trust, will take place on the exploration vehicle Nautilus in July and August. The educators, who represent public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and museums, will stand watch alongside scientists and take part in live interactions with audiences on www.nautiluslive.org and at the Nautilus Live Theater in Mystic, Conn. Prior to their on-board activities, the Educators at Sea will participate in an intensive training workshop and attend sessions hosted by scientists, engineers, and science communicators at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, where expedition leader Robert Ballard is professor of oceanography. Ballard is best known for his discovery of RMS Titanic.
* Carol Horn, coordinator of Advanced Academic Programs at Fairfax Ridge, recently presented at the National Association for the Gifted's National Research Summit, held May 30-31 in Washington, D.C.
Her presentation, "School Programs That Work With Promising Learners From Poverty," discussed the FCPS Young Scholars Program, which identifies students from diverse cultural, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds who are not likely to be considered for gifted programs using traditional methods of identification, and who are less likely to pursue advanced levels of learning without intervention.
* Cheri Collins, strings teacher at Floris and Coates, has written an article in the May 2012 issue of American String Teacher titled, "Teaching Tips K-12: Contact Point Technique." The article discusses a string instrument's contact point, which is the particular place, in relationship to the bridge, where the bow has to contact the string in order to get the best tonal result. Many great master teachers believe that by learning how to make the string vibrate with the bow, in addition to mastering contact point bow placement, the tonal result can make a machine-made student instrument sound closer to a hand-made professional instrument.
* Beth Roach, (left in photo) resource teacher at Haycock, and Fairfax Ridge-based staff members Jenny Iovino, (second to left in photo) educational specialist, Courtney Bitar (center in photo), instructional coach coordinator, Shannon King, (second to right in photo) educational specialist, and Tina Lane (right in photo), educational specialist, have all achieved certification as adaptive schools agency trainers. In order to achieve agency trainer status, the trainers had to: attend adaptive schools training; observe the training through a trainer’s lens; and attend a five-day Advanced Adaptive Schools workshop.
All the trainers co-trained during the 2011-12 school year with Jane Ellison, the co-executive director of Thinking Collaborative: Maximizing Capacity in Individuals and Organizations, which provides the adaptive schools training. They are now certified to conduct the training in Fairfax County Public Schools.
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