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by Brooke Giles — June 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

As the school year comes to a close, activities are in full swing at Terraset Elementary School.

Friday, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., the school will hold its first farmers market.

The event will showcase students’ work throughout the year. On display will be a student-designed storefront garage sale featuring gently used toys, books, clothing, and recycled and repurposed items. The school’s Hydroponics Team will be selling the plants they’ve been cultivating throughout the year and members of the Green Team will sell room sprays, healthful fruit drinks and combined essential oils that they’ve made.

The underground, green school focuses on getting kids outside and learning about their environment. The students created their own business plan to organize the event.

“The event is run by the children, it’s not all the adults. I’m really proud of them,” said Jann Canestra, the outdoor learning coordinator.

Canestra runs the school’s Green Hour, where every child goes outside for an hour each day. She says the kids are enthusiastic about getting outside the classroom.

Principal Lindsay Trout will be on the grill for the event, which is open to both students and community members. The school is located at 11411 Ridge Heights Road.

Photo courtesy Fairfax County Public Schools

by Brooke Giles — June 15, 2017 at 1:15 pm 2 Comments

The school year in Fairfax County isn’t quite over yet, but schools are already looking forward to the generosity of the community to help equip students next year.

John Torre, Fairfax County Public Schools spokesperson, said schools involved in the Cornerstones Back to School Drive look forward to being able to provide backpacks and other supplies to any students that need them.

Cornerstones provides services for lower income families in the southwestern Fairfax County. The backpack drive is part of a partnership with Kids R First to provide the supplies to Reston-Herndon area students who qualify for free and reduced meals at school.

“The number of backpacks requested does not always match directly with the number of students in the free and reduced-price meals program because backpacks typically last for more than one year,” Torre said. “Students do have the option to not accept the donated item. The staff member may ask for a few extras to keep on hand for new students or as replacements for a worn-out item.”

Cornerstones community resource associate Nate King said that even though the official drive doesn’t start until August, donations are already coming in.

“It’s going really well, we have probably 50 backpacks already donated out of what we need,” said King.

Cornerstones is still waiting to get a quote from the schools to determine the exact number of backpacks they’ll need for this year, although they believe it will match last year’s number, 3,500.

“The basic idea behind the backpack program is that if a student needs one, they get one,” Torre said. “Of course, [that] depends on the generosity of the donors.”

In addition to backpacks, Cornerstones is accepting donations for underwear for elementary school aged kids and Payless ShoeSource gift card donations of $25.

Those interested in donating can register online or order bags online and have them shipped to the Cornerstones (11150 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 210) directly from Amazon for free.

For more information about the drive, call King at 571-323-9569 or email [email protected].

by Dave Emke — June 15, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

RA Slates Community Meeting — As a follow-up to the recently held district meetings, Reston Association will host a community-wide meeting for residents at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 28 at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). Feedback from the four prior meetings will be discussed. [Reston Association]

Open At-Large Seat on School Board — A special election will be held Tuesday, Aug. 29, to fill a vacancy on the Fairfax County School Board. The At-Large seat, vacated by Jeannette Hough last month, has a remaining term through Jan. 1, 2020. The filing deadline for prospective candidates is Friday, June 30. [Fairfax County Office of Elections]

Update in Substitute Teacher Solicitation Case — John Torre, public information officer for Fairfax County Public Schools, told Reston Now that a man charged earlier this week with soliciting a young girl for sex worked as a substitute teacher for FCPS for four days at two schools, and he is no longer a FCPS employee. The alleged solicitation did not involve any FCPS students, Torre added. [Reston Now]

by Dave Emke — June 9, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Dr. Scott Brabrand began his time at Fairfax County Public Schools in a Herndon High School classroom in 1994.

Brabrand, who on Thursday was confirmed as FCPS’ new superintendent, worked five years as a social-studies teacher at HHS before moving into administration. According to FCPS, during that time Brabrand “founded a Model United Nations Club at the school, mentored new teachers and proposed a new teacher education initiative, and redesigned the county’s U.S. and Virginia government Program of Studies to align with new state and national standards.”

Brabrand then became an assistant principal at Herndon High and an associate principal at Lake Braddock Secondary School before being named principal at Fairfax High School in 2005. He was promoted to FCPS cluster assistant superintendent in 2009 before leaving to become superintendent of Lynchburg City Schools, where he has been for the past five years. He was named Region V Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents this year.

“Dr. Brabrand brings a wealth of experience in education and a broad perspective to the job of superintendent,” said Sandy Evans, Fairfax County school board chair. “His collaborative leadership style and his knowledge of Fairfax County schools will be strong assets for him as the new superintendent. We look forward to working with him as we move forward to improve salaries for our teachers and ensure our students are prepared for college and beyond when they graduate.”

Brabrand has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service; a master’s degree in education from George Washington University; and completed his doctorate in educational administration as part of Virginia Tech’s Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program.

Brabrand’s tenure in the position will begin July 10 and he’s been contracted through the 2020-21 school year. His starting salary is $290,000, FCPS spokesperson John Torre confirmed.

Former FCPS Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza left the post in December, just months after getting a four-year contract extension. Dr. Steven Lockard has served as interim superintendent.

Photo courtesy Fairfax County Public Schools

by Kalina Newman — June 8, 2017 at 9:00 am 8 Comments

Fairfax County School Board Makes Referendum Requests — The Fairfax County School Board is requesting a school bond referendum for $315 million be placed on the ballot for the November general election. The money in the referendum would go toward a plan for a new elementary school in the Herndon area as well as construction, renovations and other work at numerous other schools. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Metro to Retire All 1000 and 4000 Series Railcars by July 1 — Months ahead of schedule, WMATA announced that they will retire their oldest and most unreliable metro railcars by July 1. This is to make room for the influx of newer, chicer 7000-series railcars. [WMATA]

McAuliffe Coming to Lake Anne — Gov. Terry McAuliffe is scheduled to be at Lake Anne Brew House (11424 Washington Plaza W.) at about 4:45 p.m. Friday. The governor will be honoring the brew house for its three medals in the recent Virginia Craft Beer Cup. [Lake Anne Plaza/Facebook]

Meteor Was Visible Across DC Area — A fireball that briefly lit up the sky at about 10 p.m. Tuesday was seen across the region, including in Reston. [Capital Weather Gang]

Fairfax County Government Warns Against Gas Station Scammers — Fairfax County officials say there have been 21 cases at 15 gas stations where account information has been stolen via Bluetooth and money has been robbed. The scam is new and high-tech, and there are no warning signs. [Fairfax County Government]

File photo courtesy Ryan Goff

by Dave Emke — June 7, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

Students who attend Herndon High School will be seeing some big changes in the fall — including more outdoor classrooms and fewer parking spaces.

Construction to expand the school is scheduled to begin during the late fall or early winter. The first phase — which will add an additional wing to the rear of the building and an addition to the front of the building where the new library, main office, and administrative and counseling offices will be situated — is expected to take about two years.

According to information distributed by the school earlier this week, they are already preparing for that first phase of construction, including by adding 46 new duplex and quad trailers that will be used to house displaced classrooms. There were already 27 trailers on campus to accommodate overall student growth, meaning the total number of trailers next school year will represent “more outdoor classrooms than indoor ones.” An outdoor restroom facility is also being brought in.

“Though construction will not actually be in full swing until December or January, staff will be packing up for the big move at the end of this school year. Our goal is to minimize disruptions throughout the next school year, so students will start the school year in the assigned trailers,” the school says in the statement. “While we cannot promise some immediate room changes will not happen occasionally throughout the renovation, we are working to reduce the impact of these changes as much as we can.”

The parking situation at the school will also be seriously impacted by the construction work, the school says. The number of available parking spaces for students will be slashed by three-quarters, from 377 to 90. A lottery system will accommodate student parking requests, with applications available beginning next week.

“Seniors will be chosen first based on parking availability on the school campus before this school year ends,” the statement reads. “In August, a second lottery will take place based on additional spaces acquired through our [community partnerships]. Juniors will be selected once all seniors have a space.”

Students are also reminded in the statement that parking on neighborhood streets is off-limits unless special arrangements have been made by the school. In addition, the school says, carpooling will be “strongly recommended” for athletic events, concerts and other major school activities.

The full renovation of the school, which is to include 138,558 square feet of additions and modifications that will expand the school to 431,000 square feet with a capacity for 2,500 students, will include:

  • Phase 1: Add an additional wing to the rear of the building. Add an addition to the front of the building where the new library, main office, and administrative and counseling offices will be situated.
  • Phase 2: Renovate locker rooms, art rooms and Gourmet Foods room. Expand the main gym and renovate the auxiliary gym.
  • Phase 3: Create new wrestling/gymnastics room, renovate music rooms and the auditorium. Update baseball and softball structures.
  • Phase 4: Modify the cafeteria, creating a “food court” design, renovate the stadium press box and complete tennis courts.

The addition was approved as part of the Fairfax County Public Schools Fiscal Year 2017-2021 Capital Improvement Program.

Rendering via Fairfax County Public Schools

by Dave Emke — June 2, 2017 at 9:00 am 42 Comments

New Schools Superintendent Tabbed — Dr. Scott Brabrand, the superintendent of Lynchburg City Schools, has been chosen as the finalist to become the new superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools. Brabrand previously worked at FCPS in numerous positions, including assistant superintendent. The school board will give its final decision on the hiring June 8. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Neurologist Charged with Distributing Pills — Ishtiaq Ahmad was arrested in Manassas earlier this week following a six-month investigation by the Prince William-Manassas-Manassas Park Narcotics Task Force. Ahmad, who also practices in Reston, is charged with distributing pain pills without performing medical exams. [Inside NoVa]

Details on Pedestrian Lighting Group Plan — In its most recent “Reston Today” video dispatch, Reston Association spotlights the work being done by the volunteer group to develop a plan to increase safety for walkers and bikers. [Reston Association/YouTube]

Restaurant Thanked by Fire Company — Vapiano (1875 Explorer St.) provided food for firefighters battling a blaze last summer. A-Shift from Station 25 recently presented the restaurant with a token of its appreciation. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Instagram]

Police Department Adds Another Former Journalist — Emilie Voss, a former television news anchor in Ohio, has joined the Fairfax County Police Department as the deputy director of the media bureau. Voss joins former WJLA reporter Julie Parker, who is the bureau’s director. [Fairfax County Police Department]

by Dave Emke — May 23, 2017 at 2:45 pm 1 Comment

Cornerstones is once again gearing up to collect thousands of backpacks to give out to students at local schools.

The annual drive is a partnership between Cornerstones and Kids R First. Nate King, community resource associate for Cornerstones, said the program collected about 3,500 backpacks last year and is aiming for the same number this year.

“We generally get a really good turnout,” King said. “It’s a combination of individuals, religious groups and businesses that help us out.”

Anyone wishing to participate in the drive is asked to register online to let Cornerstones know how many backpacks they or their group will be donating. Backpacks are being collected for elementary, middle school and high school students, with the high schoolers being the age of the greatest need.

Backpacks can be delivered to Cornerstones (11150 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 210) the week of Aug. 7-11. Volunteers will sort them out by schools, colors and sizes in the week that follows, and they will be distributed to the schools the week after that.

In addition to backpacks, Cornerstones is also requesting donations of new underwear for elementary school-age children, and Payless ShoeSource gift card donations of $25.

Donations go to all schools in the greater Reston-Herndon area, King said.

For more information about the drive, call King at 571-323-9569 or email [email protected].

by Dave Emke — May 18, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Hot Weather Continues Today — The DC area had weather hotter than nearly anywhere else in the country Wednesday, including a record high of 91 at Dulles International Airport. Temperatures are expected to be similar today and Friday. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has issued information to help people avoid heat-related illness. [Washington Post]

Bicycle Commuting Up in DC, But Not Here — A report shows that the nation’s capital now has the third-highest percentage of bicycle commuters among major cities in the nation, 4 percent. The number has nearly doubled from 2010. However, in Fairfax County, only about 0.3 percent of commuters ride to work. The difference is in part due to lacking infrastructure, says the Fairfax Alliance for Better Biking. [WTOP]

Cicadas Making Early Entrance — Thousands of the bugs have already turned up in the region, four years ahead of their regular schedule. The 17-year cycle on Brood X means this is just a precursor of a major emergence in 2021. [WAMU]

SLHS Track Teams Tops Again — The boys and girls track teams at South Lakes High School have won their conference championships. It’s the seventh title in a row for the girls and the fourth for the boys. [Press Release]

Commentary: Increased Class Sizes Will Hurt — An advocate for Class Size Matters says Fairfax County Public Schools’ plan to increase average class size by half a student per room will have “a negative impact on students’ ability to learn and succeed, and on teachers’ ability to teach.” An online petition is opposing the increase. [Reston Connection]

by RestonNow.com — May 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm 8 Comments

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) officially adopted its budget for FY2018 on Tuesday, with a 2.79-percent increase in funding for schools and nearly $2 million in additional funding for assistance to those suffering from mental illnesses.

County supervisors also voted to keep real estate taxes at the same rate of $1.13 per $100 assessed value of a property.

In a statement released around 11 a.m. Tuesday, following the BOS meeting, Chairman Sharon Bulova said “few changes” were made to the proposed budget that was previously advertised.

Though it falls roughly $47 million short of what education advocates told the County they needed, the superviors approved a 2.79-percent increase in funding for schools, bringing Fairfax County Public Schools’ annual budget to $2.17 billion for the upcoming 2017-18 school year. The increase is equivalent to an additional $53.4 million over FY2017. (more…)

by Dave Emke — April 24, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Local Students Excel at State Science Fair — Among the honorees at the 2017 Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair was Michael Gamarnik of South Lakes High School, who took third place in electrical and mechanical engineering for his project, “The Effect of Vortex Generator Angle on the Downforce of an Airfoil.” Rini Gupta and Shalini Shah of Herndon High School took third place in behavioral and social sciences for their project, “Effect of Binaural Beats with Isochronic Tones on PTSD & GAD Patients.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Baby Deer Should Be Left Alone — The Fairfax County Police Department’s Animal Protection Police is reminding residents that in almost all cases, white-tailed deer fawns found alone are not orphaned or abandoned. They should be left where they are, as their mothers will return for them. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Learning Facility Coming to Fox Mill Center — Ashish Gandhi and Sapna Chordia are opening a branch of Sylvan Learning later this year, offering tutoring programs and camps to kindergarten through 12th-grade students. They plan to open in June, in time for summer programming. [Fairfax Times]

by Dave Emke — April 6, 2017 at 9:00 am 5 Comments

Magazine Article Makes Case for Paid Parking at RTC — A breakdown of the paid-parking controversy at Reston Town Center that appears in the April issue of Washingtonian argues that “parking is never actually free” and that RTC “was designed so people could get there without a car.” [Washingtonian]

Fifth-Graders Debate School Issues — Students from Terraset and Forest Edge elementary schools recently worked on their speech-writing and public-speaking skills as they squared off in a debate. Topics argued during the event included school uniforms, homework and recycling. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

County Asks Residents to Report Potholes Properly — Sharing a news blast originally written last February, Fairfax County is reminding residents that they can call or use an online reporting tool to let VDOT know where potholes are in the county. [Fairfax County/Twitter]

Technology Services Company Moves to Reston — CDW has moved its D.C.-area headquarters, one of 24 offices nationwide, to Edmund Halley Drive. Among the features of the new space is a technology demonstration lab featuring the latest technologies from the company’s top partners. [CDW]

Fairfax County Republican Delegate Stepping Down — Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax), who has served the area in the Virginia House of Delegates since 1994, announced his retirement Wednesday on the House floor. Among his legislative contributions, Albo listed securing transportation funding for Northern Virginia, closing DUI loopholes, allowing marijuana-derived oils to be used to treat epilepsy, boosting punishments for child molesters and writing the language that banned smoking in restaurants. [Richmond.com]

by Dave Emke — April 4, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

County’s Eastern Portion Closing Business Gap — The western part of Fairfax County, including Reston and Tysons, continues to far and away lead the county’s commercial economy. But the quickest growing nonresidential properties of the county, according to newly released data, are in the Springfield and Alexandria areas. [Washington Business Journal]

Parents of Special-Needs Students Form Own PTA — The Fairfax County Special Education PTA is planning a meeting April 25 to vote on its bylaws and form an executive board. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Parking Controversy the Source of April Fool’s Fodder — At least a couple creative local residents decided to have some fun over the weekend with stories about what “happened” at the Town Center on April 1. [Restonian/Medium.com]

Grab a Free Ice Cream Cone — Today is “Free Cone Day” at Ben & Jerry’s, including the local shop at 11916 Market St. at Reston Town Center. The company has celebrated the annual event since 1979. Cones will be available from noon to 8 p.m. [Ben & Jerry’s]

by Dave Emke — February 28, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Morning Notes

Citizens Advisory Committee Meets Tonight — Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler is scheduled to speak at the Reston District Station’s Citizens Advisory Committee meeting tonight. The committee will meet at 7 p.m. at the Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive). [Fairfax County Police Department/Twitter]

Devyn Jones/SLHS AthleticsSLHS Indoor Track Records Set — Senior Devyn Jones (pictured) set a school record in the 55-meter hurdles (8.31 seconds) during the state indoor championships last weekend in Hampton. In addition, the team of Sophie Halkett, Aly Rayle, Jordan Anderson and Olivia Beckner set a school record in the 4×800 meter relay (9 minutes, 20.2 seconds). All five record-setters earned All-State honors, as did Sean Casey, Jack Eggeman, Mary Gregory, Stevie Jones, Alex Loukili, Timiebi Ogobri, Peter Sepulveda, Jack Watkins and Don’ta Whitley. [South Lakes High School]

Magnet Program Lottery Registration Underway — Parents wishing to enroll their students in the magnet program at Hunters Woods Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences, or other magnet programs in the county, must register their intention online. The lottery process began Monday and will end March 27, with the lottery itself to be held in early April. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Running Women Welcome in Group — Registration is now underway for the 2017 Reston Runners Women’s Training Program. The group will meet every Monday from April 24 to June 12. The Reston Runners Women’s 5K is set for June 17. [Reston Runners]

Photo of Devyn Jones courtesy South Lakes High School track and field/Mary Ann Magnant

by Dave Emke — February 24, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Lake Anne sunrise/Instagram user @AnneMusicMarkets

Lake House/Tetra Review On Schedule: Michael Sanio, RA Board of Directors vice president, said at Thursday night’s meeting that the independent review of the Tetra/Lake House purchase remains on track to be submitted by StoneTurn Group by midnight Tuesday. Sanio said RA’s Tetra Review Committee is “very pleased with the progress” that has been made, and that the review will be made public once it has been seen by all board members. [Reston Association]

South Lakes High Student Government Honored — The South Lakes High School SGA is one of 21 statewide that have been recognized with the Virginia Student Councils Achievement Award for 2016-17. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

SLHS Sophomore Selected for IT Award — Anika Kumar has been selected as a 2017 Virginia affiliate winner of the National Center for Women and Information Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing. Kumar, who became interested in computers when she took a class in middle school, has produced her own video game. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Teen Job Fairs Slated for March, April — The 2017 Fairfax County Teen Job Fairs and Resume Building Workshops will be held at Chantilly High School, Oakton High School, West Springfield High School and South County Secondary School. [Fairfax County]

Photo of Lake Anne sunrise this morning via Instagram user @annemusicmarkets

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