Fairfax City Schools CloseUp Newsletter logo

We get by with a little help from our friends

By Janice Miller, Chairman
City of Fairfax School Board

Each year, we take time to thank the community members who work with the schools because their hard work and dedication not only make what we do easier – it makes it possible.

Volunteers assist in classrooms, chaperone field trips, help improve the school grounds, mentor and coach children, raise money to fund student activities – and the list goes on and on.

Let me take a moment to publicly thank four community members.

Each of these individuals took on the responsibility of representing the City on Fairfax County Public Schools advisory committees. They attended many meetings, participated in the important work of each committee, and reported on the committee's work to the City School Board.

They include:

Joan Rizak, who represented us on the Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities,

Laura Welke, who was the City's representative on the Advanced Academic Programs Advisory Committee,

Pam Jones, who sat on the School Health Advisory Committee, and

Mitch Sutterfield, former Fairfax High School teacher and the City's delegate to the Superintendent's Advisory Council.

When these representatives reported to the Board about the work they did this year, I was struck by how much of their time this year was devoted to considering the impact of pending budget cuts on various programs.

All of our representatives advocated strongly for continuing to provide funding to support the needs of students.

I am grateful that we had such good people willing to volunteer their time to make sure that the City's perspective was included.

Two other strong advocates and community leaders are stepping down from their positions on the City School Board at the end of June.

Many thanks to the two School Board members who are retiring this year.

School Board member Julie Knight served for six years on our Board and Elisa Lueck served one two-year term.

Both of these Board Members worked hard to support our schools and should take pride in the continual improvement of both our school facilities and student achievement over the past few years. We are grateful for their service and will miss working with them.

Here's to a great summer! We'll talk to you again in July.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, send me an email: jmiller@fairfaxva.gov

We value your opinion

By Ann Monday, Superintendent
City of Fairfax Schools

Recently, the City School Board met with a group of community members to get feedback on how they communicate with their constituents.

We call this group our "critical friends" since they have all demonstrated an interest in our schools and are willing to share their opinions with us.

We were happy to hear that this group found the City Board to be responsive and accessible. That is one of the advantages of being a "small town" within the larger Fairfax County community.

I know that our Board members work hard to be sure that City families feel supported and that the perspectives of City residents are considered by decision makers in Fairfax County.

What we learned

The group also gave us some feedback about Close-Up Online. Many said they missed the paper version that had been mailed to their homes since 2001, but most understood that we needed to cut printing and mailing costs.

Others suggested that we try more and different ways of communicating using technology – including blogs, social media, and video streaming.

All agreed that communication is a complex process that requires more than one way to reach different constituencies.

What do you think?

If you would like to share your thoughts and suggestions about how the City School Board connects with the community, send me an email: amonday@fairfaxva.gov


We invite you to join us for upcoming School Board Meetings:

REGULAR MEETING #1, 7:30 p.m.

LOCATION: City Hall, Room 111
10455 Armstrong Street, Fairfax VA

1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance
2. Announcements
3. Annual School Board Organization
Click here to view all the items to be discussed.

1. Citizen Participation Sign up here: 703/293-7132
2. Update of Administrative Accounts: Ann Monday, Superintendent

ACTION ITEMS Items under this heading are discussed and voted upon by the Board.
1. Approval of Minutes – June 7
2. Approve Carry Forward of Funds

SUPERINTENDENT MATTERS The Superintendent may present other items for information.

BOARD MATTERS Board members may ask questions and introduce topics for further consideration.

Coming up in the next issue of Close-Up Online...

JULY 2010

Fairfax High School's Class of 2010 graduation and end-of-the-year awards will be our focus in the July issue of Close-Up Online.

Dates to remember:

June 18 Fairfax High School Graduation

Contact Us

City of Fairfax School Board

Chairman Janice Miller
703 691-1748

Vice Chairman Jon Buttram
703 385-4643

Julie Knight
703 691-3406

Elisa Lueck
703 385-7911

Toby Sorensen
703 591-5899

Jonathan Earley
Student Rep

You can also send an email to the entire School Board at schoolboard@fairfaxva.gov

City Schools Staff

Superintendent Ann Monday
703 293-7132

Mary Ann Ryan
Assistant to the Superintendent

Lynda L. Pierce
Clerk of the Board
703 293-7132

Hope Katz Gibbs
Director of Communication
703 346-6975

Daniels Run Elementary

Daniels Run Elementary School
3705 Old Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22030

Extra-Curricular Programs Help Close the Achievement Gap

By Kathy Mullenix, Principal
Daniels Run Elementary School

We are always very thankful for the support we receive from our community at Daniels Run, and we particularly appreciate the kindness and warmth we have felt this year.

On any given day at our school, you might find Daniels Run parents and members of our community volunteering as tutors in our classrooms, assisting in our library, or helping out with a special event. Others send in supplies for activities, help us chaperone our students on field trips, or prepare our Thursday Folders.

When we hold school-wide events like Read Across America Day, or a terrific fitness activity like Jump Rope / Hoops for Heart, our halls are full of willing family members and local citizens and leaders who read to our students or help assist in making the events progress smoothly. Some people spend hours with us over the course of the year, and others help for a few minutes when they can, but all of them are valuable partners in the education of our children.

Our PTA officers and members work diligently all year to make Daniels Run a terrific school, as well. They present evening events like our International Night, support our teachers with frequent treats and lunches, and even financially sponsor our terrific after-school partnership with the City of Fairfax Parks and Recreation Department. Their giving spirit and love for our children has an impact in our building every day of the school year.

Community groups and civic organizations also support and encourage our students. Just this month, the Optimist Club of Central Fairfax and First Virginia Community Bank surprised eight of our outstanding student-citizens with awards and certificates good for savings accounts. Earlier this year, the Rotary Club donated a dictionary to each our third graders, which provided them with a valuable educational tool for use at home and at school. We thank you all!

Providence Elementary School

Providence Elementary School
3616 Jermantown Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

Volunteers Make the Difference

By Jesse Kraft, Principal
Providence Elementary School

Providence is fortunate to have a robust group of parent volunteers. Every Tuesday, classrooms are descended upon by parents like Sonja Cummings who make sure our Weekly Folders are ready.

Our Book Fair was organized and run entirely by parent volunteers under the leadership of Deb Hertz, and we can't thank Denise Brice enough for supporting our office staff in getting tardy students to class.

And of course, our PTA Board, Cara Radoll, Dyan Schumack, Becky Whitacre, Alliah Humleker, Beth Dombrowsky, and Julia Hughes do so much more than lead our PTA.

They are present in our building and ready to support our teachers with a multitude of tasks. Beth Dombrowsky, Kara D'Arrastia, and Rema Smith put together a new yearbook that you will absolutely love, and Mrs. Dombrowsky and Cara Radoll also coordinated our Thanksgiving Luncheon – a huge event at Providence which draws in countless parents as volunteers and diners.

The library at Providence has a small team of faithful volunteers who have worked diligently to make copies, laminate materials, organize books, and assist students in the library. Elaine Sobelman and Eileen Gorman have been coming consistently twice a week for many years. When mountains of snow crippled our parking lot and bus loop, several parents came out to shovel us to a better place: Gene Lynch, Chantal DeFlumeri, Mike & Sheila Carney, Rob & Laura Zotian, Kay & Keith Hawkins, Pat Radoll, and Elaine Sobelman.

One of our school's greatest assets is Courtney Robinson. While no longer a Providence parent, she may clock more hours than anyone else. She produced our winter luncheon for teachers, organizes our book rooms, helped the counselors organize our celebration for our business partners, acts as a mentor to a student, and was closely involved with our annual essay contest.

There's no way to list everyone who has volunteered their time to make Providence the special place that it is. What I do know is that we're lucky to have such supportive parents, and we're happy to continue to nurture a school climate that welcomes them as partners.

Lanier Middle School

Lanier Middle School
3801 Jermantown Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
Tel: 703.934.2400

It Takes a Village

By Scott Poole, Principal

As the 2009-2010 School Year comes to a close, I would like to pass along our sincere thanks to a group of 8th grade parents that has been an integral part of the Lanier family for years:

Lisa Mountjoy – Lisa has served as our PTA Vice President for two years. She has done the fall Entertainment Book fundraiser for years and was in charge of ordering our new spirit wear this year. She has also gone out of her way to ensure that our students in need get the supplies they require to help set them up for success in school.

Laura Allsopp – Laura has served as our PTA Secretary for the past two years and has been an active member of our PTA for many more. She has been instrumental in helping plan our end-of-year 8th grade celebration and has repeatedly helped out with one of our largest annual community outreach events of the year, Live at Lanier.

Cathy Miller – Cathy has been in charge of one of the most meticulous and time-consuming tasks that a Lanier parent can have–editing the LMS PTA newsletter. She has been completing this important task for six years and has done an outstanding job! During this time span, she oversaw the evolution of our newsletter from a hard copy format mailed home to parents to an online version; in the process, she helped save a significant amount of money and labor. She will be missed.

Laura Welke – Laura has served the Lanier Family in a number of important ways. She has served as our PALS desk coordinator, helped organize Lights on Lanier, and spoken to parents about our Honors Program during Rising 7th Grade Parent Night. She also encouraged us to start a summer transition program (Early Start) for students new to Lanier. In short, she has always volunteered when needed.

On behalf of the students, staff and parents of Lanier, we thank and applaud these generous parents for their many contributions. We wish them all the best.

Fairfax High School

Fairfax High School
3501 Rebel Run
Fairfax, VA 22030
Tel: 703.219.2200

The Power of Parent Volunteers

By Dave Goldfarb, Principal
Fairfax High School

The amazing support of the Fairfax High School parent community is such a powerful force in supporting our students and staff. Parents serve as tireless volunteers supporting our school all year long, from preparing materials for the first day of school to serving as chaperones and managers at the All Night Graduation Party.

Parent volunteers are a major reason why FHS has been able to hold several quality events for parents, students, and staff. This dedicated group of parents coordinated with our Director of Student Services for the New Parent Orientation last August, organized Unite and Excite at our first home football game, provided support for our Rebel Round Up in the fall and spring, helped honor students for their strong academic performances, provided breakfast for our Career Day speakers, and coordinated a school-wide luncheon for Faculty Appreciation Day.

Their support is crucial to help retain so many fantastic teachers. In surveys, our staff has repeatedly indicated feeling very strongly supported by the community.

Shout outs go to these great volunteers:

Clai Jorgensen – Our retiring PTSA president, has been a driving force in that movement. It is rare that a night event, weekend program, or school-wide event happens without the support of Clai and the PTSA. In addition to her role as PTSA president, Clai sat on the school improvement planning committee, served as a member of the student services advisory committee, and served as a parent representative in the FHS hiring process. She was recently recognized with one of Fairfax High's Volunteer of the Year awards. Clai has an internal compass of judgment that always points in the direction of what is best for kids. Clai has left her fingerprints on our school and it is forever a better place because of her.

Shelly Bechert and Susan Kuck – These two leaders of our Academic Boosters team believe our students should be recognized not only for their academic and athletic achievements, but also for other marked improvements during each quarter. Shelly and Susan helped us celebrate student achievement at our Academic Lettering Ceremony in the fall and our Highest Honors Luncheon in the spring.

They also made possible our Rebels on the Rise breakfasts, where over 75 students nominated by staff for improvements made over a quarter are treated to an early morning celebratory meal. Shelly and Susan go above and beyond to ensure our students are recognized and honored for their achievements. Each quarter, the Honor Roll is displayed in the school's atrium and posted on our website, due to their desire to recognize student achievement.

Our Athletic Department relies heavily on parent support in two main areas: volunteering for game-day jobs and fundraising. Fundraising is a vital part of how we fund all that we do. Fairfax High School runs 52 teams and is financially self-supported. Our athletic boosters supplement what we make through gate receipts with concessions and fundraising events.

The NOVA Wrestling Classic has been one of the most successful and longest-running booster-sponsored events in the Northern Region. One of our wrestling parents, Grady Parker, has headed up the coordination of the concession for that event and the Northern Region Wrestling Tournament, as well. These events bring in a huge portion of the funds required to reach the boosters' goal and support Fairfax athletics.

Our Fine and Performing Arts departments are also dependent upon community support in terms of volunteering and fundraising. Our band, choral, orchestra and theater boosters work tirelessly throughout the school year and the summer to support our performing arts groups.

Whether it's providing cool drinks and lunches to our students during their summer practices, raising money for music, instruments, costumes and sets, chaperoning field trips, or giving logistical support (such as uniform cleaning, music inventory, etc.), these groups are vital to the success of our programs. Without our parent volunteers, our performing arts programs would not be able to excel as they do.

Jule and Joan Szabo – As parents of 12th-grade twin daughters, Jule and Joan have been heavily involved with our band boosters for the past four years. Jule has been president of the board for several years while Joan has served as the fund-raising chair. With their help, the band has grown in strength and stature in the community.

Both have been active helping with concessions at theatre events and providing food for field hockey team banquets. Fairfax High School recently recognized them as Volunteers of the Year.

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