The school has been named a candidate for the program, effective March 1 2018, according to a new release issued by the school system. According to the program’s website, IB classes aim to nurture and develop students between 3 and 12 into “caring, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning.”
Two years ago, Belvedere Elementary School (6540 Columbia Pike) was the first Fairfax County public school authorized as an IB PYP school.
According to the school system, schools selected to participate in the program are driven by a common vision: a commitment to high-quality, challenging and international education.
The school will receive on-and-off-site consultation from the program. Teachers will have access to IB’s online curriculum center, which includes teaching materials and participation in online forums. Since its introduction in 1997, the program is taught in over 109 countries around the world. Students are encouraged to strengthen their knowledge and skills across and beyond subject areas. Studies are guided by six themes of global significance.
For more information, contact the school’s principal, Mie Devers.
Melissa Green, a sixth-grade teacher at Dogwood Elementary School, has been selected to participate in a Library of Congress teacher institute this summer.
Green, who was one of over 300 educators to apply for the program, will attend the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute from July 31 to Aug. 4. She was one of about 20 applicants chosen for the session, one of five that will take place over the summer.
According to a Library of Congress press release, participants will “work with Library education specialists and subject-matter experts to learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom, while exploring some of the millions of digitized historical artifacts and documents available on the Library’s website.”
Primary sources are firsthand materials from history such as journals, letters and artifacts. This year’s program will look at primary sources from World War I.
“Students working with primary sources become engaged learners while building critical-thinking skills and constructing new knowledge,” according to the press release. “Teachers working in the Library’s collections will explore the largest online collection of historical artifacts with access to millions of unique primary sources for use in instruction.”
In addition to classroom teachers, school library media specialists and school administrators from across the country were also selected to participate.
Reston 20/20 Slams Fairfax County — In a detailed report examining Fairfax County’s proposal to allow a substantial increase in population density in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) zoning area, the Reston 20/20 Committee critiques the County’s motivation for the accelerated passage of the amendment. [Reston 20/20]
FCPS Free Lunch Program Underway — The Food for Every Child to Eat During Summer (FEEDS) program provides picnic-style summer lunches each day from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for all. Locally, they are available at Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive). [Fairfax County Public Schools]
91 Metro Stations, 91 Songs — An Alexandria man has worked for over six years to compile a series of songs about the stops on the Metro. His completed work, which includes a song about Wiehle-Reston East, spans eight albums. [Washington Post]
According to nonprofit Reading is Fundamental, some children can lose as much as three months of reading achievement over the summer.
RIF adds that that loss is cumulative and by fifth grade some at-risk students will be several grade levels behind.
The solution: Keep reading, of course.
Dogwood Elementary School principal Mie Devers recently loaded up the trunk of her Prius and went from neighborhood to neighborhood to pass out books to Dogwood students. Several teachers joined her as they passed out more than 50 books to students at apartment complexes and Southgate Community Center in weekly trips in July.
Books were donated by the school’s partner organizations, said Devers.
Dogwood is a Title I school, which means it has a high number of low-income and English as a Second Language students who are most at risk of falling behind.
“I feel this is a really important thing,” Devers told Reston Now. “Yes, it has to do with academics — we want the kids to come back to us in the fall where they were before. But I also want them to enjoy reading.”
Dogwood is also opening its library on Wednesday afternoons (1:30 to 5:30 p.m.) so students can check out books and enjoy read-aloud time with the school librarian, along with a craft project, said Devers.
Photo: Dogwood students and some of their new books/Credit: FCPS
“The Dogwood administration, my co-workers, mentors, and everyone at Dogwood has truly become part of my family and has made this year so wonderful,” said Attanasio. “There hasn’t been a day that I have been in school where I haven’t felt encouraged and supported. I am so grateful and am looking forward to everything that is to come.”
Dogwood administrators say Attanasio comes to school knowing who each child is – individually, culturally, and developmentally.
Dogwood principal Terry Dade says Attanasio begins the day with a morning meeting that allows students to connect with each other and lets Attanasio determine if the students have any problems or issues that need to be addressed. Student transitions from one lesson to another are seamless, says Dade.
“One of my favorite observations … was the ‘silent dance party’ that she has students perform before they transition to their next center or activity, ” says Dade.
Dade said that Attanasio is able to help her students meet challenges. More than 75 percent of her students receive free or reduced lunch, an indicator of poverty.
“Dogwood students come to school every day with baggage that many other students across the county do not carry,” Dade said. “For the vast majority, poverty is a way of life, English is a second language, and post-secondary education is a mystery.”
One of the strategies Attanasio uses is quality communications with parents, meeting with 100 percent of parents during parent-teacher conferences twice a year and sending home notes to the parents of each student, highlighting something they did well that month.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in curriculum and instruction from the University of Connecticut, Attanasio came to Dogwood in September 2013. She said she had a “metaphorical backpack” that she felt was full of everything she needed.
But after meeting her class of 16 students and feeling the responsibility of having to meet their social, emotional, and academic needs, Attanasio said that suddenly her backpack felt empty.
“It became clear to me that I would need a much bigger backpack to hold all of the things I wanted to teach my students this year,” she says. “I discovered that I didn’t have to fill my backpack alone. Administrators, colleagues, mentors, parents, and even my students helped me figure out what I needed to get the job done.
“My typical day is filled with small moments of joy and unexpected surprises: a kind note from a parent, two thumbs up from a colleague, or a student who was once reluctant but is now proud to share his writing with his classmates. These are the things that I celebrate and remember — the reasons I can hardly wait to come to school each morning.”
Photo: Courtesy of Christie Attanasio