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FALLS CHURCH CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Three Important Words
Lois Berlin, Superintendent “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
It’s hard to believe that a month has passed since I welcomed you back for a new school year at the Welcome Back BBQ and Convocation. Since that hot day in the stadium, the weather has noticeably improved, and you have all been busy doing what you do best – teaching and supporting our students. My favorite part of this job is when I am in the schools, seeing you interacting with students. This year after each visit, three words come to mind: excitement, frustration, determination. In the weeks and months to come, we will have discussions on an issue that is important to all of us – student growth. There are a number of questions that must be answered in order to clearly understand what we really mean when we refer to student growth. What are the components of student growth? How does our practice relate to student growth? How can we use Access to paint a clear picture of student growth? I hope to engage the school board, staff and community in discussions that will help frame what we mean when we refer to student growth.
IN THIS ISSUE
Summer Adventures Kudos Baby News Wedding Bells
Morning Announcements BBQ Feedback Financial Check-Up
Run for the Schools Retirement Check-Up Grocery Programs Science Speaker
Things to Know Community Calendar
In the meantime, I am thankful for your dedication, your commitment and your hard The excitement stems from your embrace work each and every day. of new approaches and opportunities. It is exciting for me to see your ongoing dedication to providing the best possible teaching and learning opportunities for all There are many measures by which of our students. FCCPS shows stellar success. These numbers and recognitions are worth The frustration comes from two places. repeating because they clearly show what Many are disappointed at the results of a good job we are doing as educators. last year’s SOL testing - a single measure • TJ Elementary’s SOL scores were so of our students’ success. So many of us impressive that the school received an worked hard last year to make AYP, and award for excellence. are feeling very frustrated at the results. It • The Class of 2010 had the highestis also frustrating to think about doing more ever SAT scores, and more students with less funding. The reality of our budget took the test. In a year when state and situation for FY2011 and beyond is that we national averages remained stagnant, really do have to do more with less. the GMHS combined scores rose 83 The determination is what makes FCCPS points over the previous year - to a a premier school division. I’m so impressed school record of 1795. with your determination to make sure that • Class of 2010 ACT composite scores all of our students succeed. It is clear in the were also well above state and way you are engaging students and each national averages. other in discussions on how we deliver in• The GMHS Summer PyGames team struction and gauge student achievement. (part of the Robotics team) won a competition to design an educational I am optimistic and conﬁdent that, despite computer game. Judges cited the fewer resources, we can meet the team’s “great game play, graphics, challenge of teaching every student scoring, and well-written essays.” successfully. I am also prepared to support • Seven GMHS students were named you in whatever way I can in that endeavor. National Merit Semiﬁnalists. I have often said that if any place can meet • Our On-Time Graduation Rate remains that challenge, it’s Falls Church. one of the highest in the state.
FCCPS Tops the Charts
• Five new Curriculum and Instruction Resource Teachers (CIRTs) who are serving FCCPS. Brett Sparrgrove, K-12 Career and Tech Ed; Kate Brodeur, 5-7 English; Elizabeth Rizzi, 8-12 English; Kristin White, 5-7 Math; Kim Cherry, K-4 Special Education. GMHS teacher Suzanne Planas who was honored by Cornell University as part of the Special Teachers are Recognized (STAR) program. She was selected by 2006 GMHS graduate Eric Brooks, a Cornell graduate because of her inﬂuence in is life. A one-time $4,000 STAR scholarship has been established in her name, and will be awarded to a Cornell student from Falls Church.
TJ teachers Heidi Lang, Lisa Allan, Cindie Carlson and FCCPS retiree Renie O’Neill at the Temple of Zeus in Greece. The Steubing family has many connections to GMHS: Larry Stuebing, Class of 67; Roni Stuebing Reynolds, Class of 68; Superintendent Lois Berlin; Mustang Mom, Jean Frankfourth; Vanessa Stuebing Engle, Class of 74; Lisa Stuebing, Class of 81.
If it’s summer, it must be time for another far-ﬂung trip for the TJ travelers. This summer globe-trekking teachers, Lisa Allan, Heidi Lang, Cindie Carlson, and longtime school psychologist, Renie O’Neill, journeyed to Turkey and Greece. Two of their favorite places were Athens and Ephesus in Kusadasi, Turkey.
Superintendent Lois Berlin escaped the August heat with a family reunion trip to Idaho. The Steubing family, which includes four GMHS alumni, enjoyed time together in Priest Lake, Idaho.
Aliyah Noelle Nelson thinks Grama Alice Nelson is funny.
Mt. Daniel teacher Alice Nelson became a grandmother on June 14th. Being with her granddaughter, Aliyah Noelle Nelson, made it a wonderful summer.
TJ teacher Cindy Bragg and her husband, Meredith, awaited the start of summer because they knew that a birthday was not far behind. Baby Cora arrived on June 24th, and weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces.
Adele “Bubbe” Eskin greets baby Esther in Paris.
GMHS teacher Jill McConnell and her husband, Tommy, welcomed a baby girl on July 9th. Lyla Michelle McConnell weighed in at 9 pounds, 11 ounces. Her big sister, Maria, thinks she is pretty cute!
MEHMS librarian Adele Eskin spent three weeks in Paris, France, visiting her daughter and son-in-law, awaiting the arrival of her second grandchild. The baby took her time arriving, and Adele had to extend her stay in Paris so that she could meet her granddaughter, Esther Rose Van Orman. Her birthday was August 25th, and she weighed 9 pounds.
INSIDE TRACK PAGE 2
Brian and Maureen Taylor take a celebratory carousel ride.
Courtney and Mark Sokolowski walk down the aisle after their wedding ceremony.
Doug and Liz Germer
MEH teacher Maureen Warﬁeld married ENS Brian Taylor on June 19th. The wedding took place in the gardens of Windmill Island in Holland, Michigan. The couple honeymooned in the Dominican Republic where the new Señora Taylor could practice her Spanish.
GMHS teacher Mark Sokolowski married Courtney Jo Andes on August 7th at the University of Virginia. Mark and Courtney met at UVA, where they were working on their Master’s Degrees in Education. After a honeymoon to St. Lucia, Mark is back in the GMHS science wing, and Courtney is a third-grade teacher in Fairfax County.
Liz Mackie, special education and student services director, married Doug Germer on August 21st at Rust Manor House in Leesburg. Liz’s daughters, Kaitlin and Brianna, were her bridesmaids. Liz and Doug are planning a honeymoon to Jamaica in November.
Stefanie Williams McMaugh surrounded by family and friends at her July 10th wedding to Chris McMaugh. In front is her daughter, Brooklyn, and far right is her sister, Scarlett Williams, a Mt. Daniel paraprofessional.
Breanne Rodino and her new husband, Damian.
On July 10th, daycare assistant director Stefanie Williams married Chris McMaugh at The Waterford in Fair Oaks, Virginia. The mother of the bride is Robin Williams, TJ daycare supervisor and outdoor classroom coordinator. Both Stefanie and Chris are graduates of GMHS, and are settling in with Stefanie’s daughter, Brooklyn, in Falls Church.
On August 22nd GMHS teacher Breanne Smith married Damian Rodino at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, VA. They honeymooned on Grand Cayman Island before returning to Virginia.
Jill Prince and her new husband, Todd.
The Chesapeake Bay Beach Club was the setting for the July 31st wedding of TJ teacher Jill Hocutt and Todd Prince. In August they traveled to Hawaii, where they visited Maui and Kauai.
Do You Take Your Morning Announcements with Coffee?
parents, community leaders and more. Here’s how you can get your info into Morning Announcements. 1. Make sure that the information on the FCCPS Google Calendar is correct for your events. Check date, time and location. 2. Alert FCCPS Communications staff if there is an event coming up that needs publicity. 3. Share photos of classroom events, school assemblies, visitors and any other special events with FCCPS Communications Staff. 4. Put a note in your class newsletter to make sure that all parents are receiving Morning Announcements. Interested people can easily subscribe. 5. Keep reading it, sending comments and correcting errors.
Have you had your daily download of Morning Announcements today? Seems like everywhere you go, people are talking about the photo of the day or “Caught on the Web.” It’s become a very effective communications tool that reaches many FCCPS audiences - staff,
Little City News
Welcome Back BBQ Feedback
Although it seems like ages ago, the Welcome Back BBQ and Convocation was just last month, and the post-event survey yielded some great suggestions. As always, everyone’s favorite things about the event are connecting with colleagues and enjoying a meal. The quality and variety of food provided by FCCPS food services received high marks. Many were delighted to have vegetarian options and cold watermel-
Kim Cherry and Denise O’Neil enjoy watermelon.
To receive news about Falls Church City beyond the schools, sign up for Falls Church eFocus the bi-weekly city newsletter. Click here to sign up. Anyone can become a fan of Falls Church City on Facebook. Click here to sign up. Sign up for daily updates, analysis and unlimited comments from the Falls Church Times, a local nonproﬁt online newspaper, published by Falls Church citizens. Pick up your weekly free copy of The Falls Church News-Press, or see it online at www.fcnp.com.
Thanks to the sponsors, no school money was spent, and many people have made an effort to thank the sponsors for their support.The sponsors were Apple Federal Credit Union, BJ’s, Elementary PTA, FCCPS Band Boosters, GMHS Athletic Boosters, GMHS PTSA, John Kwacala, Capital Asset Management Group (ING 403b), MEHMS PTA, Sysco Food Services, VALIC.
The view from above as the picnic begins.
on.Most respondents appreciated the change of venue, and were pleased that it was held at lunchtime. Most were uncomfortable in that hot sun, and a handful of folks did not come because of the sun, although a few said they loved the heat! Suggestions for next year include having the assembly portion inside, and the meal outside.
All enjoyed a picnic lunch, courtesy of FCCPS Food Services.
FCEDF Run for the Schools Raises Funds for FCCPS
More than 400 runners registered for the Falls Church Education Foundation Run for the Schools on September 15th. GMHS Wrestling Team had the fastest team ﬁnishing time, and GMHS Teachers on the Run ﬁelded the largest team. Also seen on the course were teams from MEHMS, TJ and the Central Ofﬁce Coconuts. Click here for the race results.
Runners hit the street for the annual Run for the Schools race in downtown Falls Church on September 12th.
GMHS to Host Scientist
George Mason High School is actively participating in the USA Science and Engineering Festival by hosting a “Nifty Fifty” speaker. On October 14th, astrophysicist Matthew Bobrowsky, University of Maryland, College Park, will be speaking about taking the cosmos into the classroom; what it means to be a scientist and what challenges he had to overcome. It’s all part of a national effort to get students of all ages to love and embrace science and engineering. For information about the festival, click here or contact GMHS science teacher Bryan Harris.
Retirement Check-Up with VALIC
Did you know that 46% of workers surveyed are not conﬁdent that they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years?* Your VALIC ﬁnancial advisor can help you feel more conﬁdent about a secure retirement. National Save for Retirement Week is October 17-23. What better time to meet with a ﬁnancial planner? FCCPS employees who are using VALIC for their 403B retirement plan can set up a free meeting with Mario Orozco, your
VALIC ﬁnancial advisor. He’ll help you take full advantage of the time you have before retirement. To contact Mario Orozco click here or call 571451-4405.
*Source: Employee Beneﬁt Research Institute 2010 Retirement Conﬁdence Survey
Giant, Safeway and Harris Teeter programs
It’s time to designate FCCPS schools on your grocery cards. Giant, Safeway and Harris Teeter have programs that send a portion of their sales to schools designated by the customer. Even if you have done this in the past, every program requires that you re-register every year! It is easy and won't cost you a penny. You'll need your grocery discount cards at hand.
Giant A+ Bonus Bucks www.giantfood.com/ aplus Use these school codes. GM 1925 MEH 2930 MD 1935 TJ 1938
Harris Teeter Together in Education www.harristeeter.com/community Use these school codes. GM 5693 MEH 5100 MD 5097 TJ 5098
Safeway Escrip www.escrip.com Use these school codes. GM MEH MD TJ 6654115 500016504 6540686 6577369
Free for Staff
Here’s a little-known FCCPS beneﬁt. All FCCPS employees and their families get free admission to all theatrical performances and sporting events at GMHS & MEHMS. Just show your employee ID at the gate and you’ll get in for free. One thing to note: the staff member has to be present to take advantage of this beneﬁt, which means teenagers can’t take a parent’s ID and request free admission. Follow the links to the Fall sports schedules. Varsity Football, JV Football, Girls Cross Country, Boys Cross Country, Varsity Volleyball, JV Volleyball, Golf.
Many generous community and staff donors supported the Family Assistance Fund’s school supplies drive. FCCPS social worker Susan Sinclair reported that, “we provided backpacks, school supplies and Staples gift cards to 40 students this school year. This has been our largest back to school drive ever!”
EZ Parking at CO
If you have had trouble ﬁnding a parking space at the Central Ofﬁce, here is some good news. The parking lot at 706 West Broad Street (next to the Burger King) is available for use by 800 W. Broad St. tenants and guests. The auto entrance to the lot is from W. Broad St., however, there is a short pathway between the parking lot and N. Oak St. Although the existing signange says that the lot is for 450 W. Broad, it will be altered in the near future to reﬂect that tenants of the Flower Building can park there. Start using it today!
The Falls Church City Public Schools Employee Handbook has been updated! It can be found on the FCCPS website. Click here. Hard copies are in school ofﬁces and libraries.
Newseum Teacher Open House Washington, DC, October 2, 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. Open House for all
teachers includes free admission with a valid ID and $10 admission for up to ﬁve guests. Click here for details. of similarly-sized markets throughout the country. Falls Church also ﬁnished ﬁrst in voting among all Virginia farmers markets regardless of market size.
USA Science and Engineering Festival October 23rd and 24th, Washington, DC.
Click here for information about this free, two-day Expo on the National Mall and surrounding areas that will feature over 1500 fun, hands-on science activities and over 50 stage shows and performances on four stages.
Farm Day October 9th Cherry Hill Park 10:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m. Enjoy life on the farm
with kid-friendly activities for the entire family to enjoy. Corn grinding in the barn, tours of the house, hay rides, and more. Click here for more info or call 703-248-5081.
MEHMS Night at the Mustangs October 15th Moore Cadillac Field at GMHS 7:00 p.m. MEHMS students
get in for $1 with a paying adult. Music students will play with the GMHS pep band and the mascots will race. Free popcorn for MEHMS students.
What Do You Think?
What’s your favorite thing about Fall? A. Back-to-School B. Apple cider C. Cooler temps D. Football season E. Turning leaves F. Other Click on your answer, and tell us why or call 703-248-5691 to reply.
Falls Church Farmers Market Recogntion as Best Mid-Size Farmers Market in America 300 Park Avenue, October 9th 10:00 a.m. With
BJ’s Grand Opening October 16th BJ’s is adopting TJ for its inaugural year. Grand Opening will feature a visit from the TJ Tiger and other TJ VIPs.
its 45 vendors, the Falls Church City market beat out hundreds Got news for Inside Track? Send it to Marybeth Connelly or call 703-248-5691.
Reading a printed version of Inside Track? To use the links, visit http://www.fccps.org/news/it/oct10.htm, or call 703-248-5691.
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