Coates ES Principal Named County’s ‘Outstanding Principal’ of the Year

Jesse Kraft, the principal of Coates Elementary School since 2016, was named Fairfax County Public Schools 2019 Outstanding Principal.

Kraft was recognized for bringing people together and maintaining positivity wherever he goes. Josie Mani, a gifted education teacher who nominated Kraft for the award, said Kraft “has taken strides to make our community feel welcome and to partner with them as much as possible.”

“He maintains and active social media presence and even learned some Spanish so that he could further connect the school and community,” Mani wrote.

Kraft was recognized for gestures like flipping burgers at a school barbecue, offering fist bumps during the morning, and his frequent visits to classrooms. A teacher at heart, Kraft teaches positivity project lessons, offers quarterly grade-level assemblies and teaches upper level students about public speaking.

Parent Christine Crawford told FCPS that Kraft is “always visible at school and connects easily to students at all grade levels.”

Kraft also made sure all teachers were trained in classroom management techniques, which he says are key to a healthy learning environment.

It’s not the first time the educator and administrator was recognized for his accomplishments. He was named the county’s outstanding first year principal in 2010. In 2004, he was also nominated for teacher of the year.

He began his career in FCPS as a teacher at Newington Forest Elementary School in 1996, after which he served as an assistant principal at Westlawn and and Oak Hill elementary schools. In 2009, he was the principal at Providence Elementary School. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.

Photo via FCPS

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Stuff the Bus Event Set for Saturday in Herndon

Over the summer, Fairfax County has been holding several “Stuff the Bus” events throughout the county. The food collection partnership helps individuals who need support during the summer.

A local collection event will be held on Saturday, June 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Safeway (413 Elden Street).

According to last year’s Youth Results Survey, roughly 8 percent of Fairfax County Public School students reported going hungry in the past month due to lack of food at home. Nearly 30 percent of FCPS students receive free or reduced price lunches.

Other “Stuff the Bus” events are planned throughout the county.

The partnership is made possible with the help of Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services, Office of Public-Private Partnerships, MV Transportation, Giant, Safeway and other community partners.

Video via Fairfax County Government/YouTube

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Reston Association’s Design Review Board to Consider Colts Neck Underpass Project

The Reston Association’s Design Review Board will consider tomorrow (June 18) artist Ben Volta’s vision for public art at the Colts Neck Underpass.

Volta hopes to combine hundreds of drawings inspired by the concept of pathways to transform the underpass into a work of art.

His work draws from the following statement by Henry David Thoreau: “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

Seniors form the Hunters Woods Fellowship House and more than 800 students from Hunters Woods and Dogwood elementary schools, as well as Southgate Community Center, are working together to create the artwork.

Volta expects to use between 600 and 1,000 designs to construct the final project.

The complete proposal, which contains draft conceptual renderings of the project, is available online.

If the DRB approves the project, installation could be complete as early as September, Anne Delaney, executive director of Public Art Reston, told Reston Now.

Photo via Public Art Reston

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Legal Insider: States Began to Bar Employment-Related Marijuana Screening Tests

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

Some states are moving to not only legalize marijuana but also bar drug screening in employment for its use.

Nevada is such a state. Beginning next year, most employers in the State of Nevada will not be able to turn down a job applicant solely for failing a marijuana drug test. This is the result of a new state law, Nevada Assembly Bill 132, that is set to become effective on January 1, 2020. There is some discussion that a similar law will also be coming to Colorado and other jurisdictions soon.

Nevada’s New Law

The new law will not stop employers from testing job applicants for marijuana usage, and it will not bar them from refusing to hire applicants that test positive for other drugs. There are some exceptions to the new law.

It will not apply to physicians, emergency medical technicians, firefighters or those that have job requirements involving driving and in positions which could adversely affect the safety of others. A copy of the new law can be found here. It is likely to be the first of many similar laws that are enacted in states that have legalized marijuana usage.

Virginia Law Still Criminalizes Marijuana Use

While Nevada and other states have moved forward with decriminalizing marijuana usage and beginning to bar employment-related drug screening, Virginia still criminalizes marijuana usage. Virginia employers remain able to terminate employees for marijuana usage. Attorney General Mark Herring recently suggested changing these laws, which could be the start of a long process in Virginia.

Federal Law Remains Unchanged

Individuals should keep in mind that even as these states legalize certain drugs, these state laws have no effect on federal drug laws barring usage. Furthermore, federal employees and security clearance applicants/holders are still barred and can be fired for marijuana usage.

I suspect that this will likely change in the next 5-10 years, but at present federal employees and security clearance holders can lose their security clearances with even one-time use in a state or jurisdiction that has legalized marijuana.

Conclusion

If you are in need of employment, retirement or security clearance law representation, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Juice Bar Coming to Junction Square Neighborhood

A new juice bar is coming to the Junction Square neighborhood.

A company representative told Reston Now an opening date has not been determined yet.

On its Facebook page, Vb Juice Bar promises to transform the juice bar experience:

Vb Juice bar has entirely transformed the juice bar experience, offering total ingredient transparency by eliminating hidden fillers, unnecessary sugars, processed ingredients, and artificial flavors from its entire menu.

Our juices are made to order without any mystery ingredients. Just clean, healthy eating that tastes just as good as it makes you feel.

Recently, BurgerIM, a national burger joint, also announced plans to come to the neighborhood.

Photo via Vb Juice bar/Facebook

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Reston Association to Host ‘World’s Largest Swimming Lesson’

Reston Association will host the 10th annual “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson” at Lake Newport this month.

The event, which is set for Thursday, June 20, is a global public relations event that encourages the worldwide aquatics industry to build awareness about water safety and awareness.

The initiative was started by the World Waterpark Association in 2010, according to its website. It is set for 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

In a Reston Today video, Willa Suter, RA’s aquatics program manager, hopes the event at Lake Newport will be a success.

Video via Reston Today/YouTube

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Monday Morning Notes

Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors to Hold Annual Public Hearing Tonight — Attendees will learn more about RCC’s plans for the future, including a status report on the renovation of the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center and the center’s annual report and strategic plan. The hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. at RCC Hunters Woods. [Reston Community Center]

Flash Flood Watch In Effect Today — A flash flood watch is in effect from 2 p.m. through this evening. Widespread thunderstorms and showers are expected. [National Weather Service]

Route 7 Widening Project to Provide Traffic Relief Soon — “The $313.9 million project is designed to ease congestion on a section of Route 7 that links northern and western Fairfax County and includes the busy Tysons area, which is undergoing a massive transformation of its own. The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority provided $10 million in funding. Other money for the project comes from Fairfax County and the state.” [The Washington Post]

Overnight Closures of Dulles Toll Road and Dulles Airport Access Road Ramps Planned This Week — “The ramps from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road and the eastbound Dulles Airport Access Road to the southbound I-495 (Capital Beltway) general purpose lanes will be closed nightly Monday night, June 17 through Friday night, June 21 for bridge work as part of the Jones Branch Connector project, ” [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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