Photos: Langston Hughes Middle School Renovation Targets 2021 Completion

The $39 million renovation of Langston Hughes Middle School (11401 Ridge Heights Road) could be completed as early as August 2021.

The project, which began earlier this year, is in the first phase of construction. So far, the parking lot and bus loop were partially completed of the summer.

Originally constructed in 1979, the expanded school is set to be 189,000 square feet and serve 1,250 students, according to Hughes Group Architects. Fairfax County Public Schools officials estimate the project will be mostly completed by August 2021. 

The first phase of the project, which runs through December 2020, will include a two-story addition with an administration office, library, science and technology classrooms, communications and electrical rooms, as well as parking and other site work.

The second phase, which runs from January 2020 through December 2020, will improve the north entry point, renovation classrooms, and create a lecture hall and collaborative space. Demolition of the existing library and the north entry area is planned.

The final phase of the project, which runs through January 2021 through August 2021, will include upgrades to the performing arts and drama area, the gym, and locker rooms.

The project includes a central court called the “Hall of Nations” — a collaborative and flexible space meant to serve as an auditorium, a classroom or a breakout space.

Photos via FCPS

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Thursday Morning Notes

Collect for Kids Campaign Exceeds Goals — The annual campaign, a drive for backpacks or school supplies for students in need, raised more than $28,400 this year. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Campus Commons Moves Forward — “The Campus Commons project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro stop is moving forward after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave the final okay. It is the latest in a rash of approvals to redevelop office parks close to the Silver Line, but this particular project has provoked a new wave of opposition against long-planned changes–like new housing and offices–in Reston.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Fun at Reston’s Halloween House — “Children three through ten years of age delighted in Reston Association’s non-ghoulish Halloween House and Trick-or-Treat Trail at Walker Nature Center, held Oct. 25-26. Even though the association added more tickets for this year’s event, according to Katie Shaw, Nature Center Manager, advance times sold out once again before the weekend.” [The Connection]

Photo via Flickr/vantagehill

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As School Year Begins, First Phase of Herndon High School Renovation is Nearly Complete

Students who poured through the halls of Herndon High School on the first day of school yesterday were the first to take advantage of the school’s newest renovation features.

So far, phase one of the major renovation project is nearly complete. Improvements include a new entrance that requires entrances to pass through security and the main office, 65 classrooms, a new gourmet foods room, new science labs and additional classroom spaces.

The new library, which is part of phase one, is behind construction and is expected to open in the coming weeks. For now, students will use the old library, but services will be limited.

Phase two will include new locker rooms, art rooms, an expanded main gym, and a renovated auxiliary gym. Phase three will include a new wrestling and gymnastic rooms, renovated musics rooms and an auditorium, and upgraded baseball and softball structures. The final phase will feature updates to the cafeteria, a new food court design, and updates to the tennis courts and stadium press box.

More than 60 outdoor trailers are expected to remain until next year. School officials said only one trailer was removed over the summer in order to allow construction to take place. Because trailers are in place, a parking lottery will continue, with seniors given priority. The school is working with Herndon United Methodist Church to expand student parking opportunities.

The school’s special education office is now in the new wing of the building. A temporary boys locker room and school clinic is also in place as construction continues.

Photos via Herndon High School

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Lake Anne ES Recognized for Environmental Stewardship

Lake Anne Elementary School received its third Eco-school Green Flag, an honor given by the National Wildlife Federation to schools that champion environmental stewardship.

Lake Anne first received the award in 2012 and nabbed two additional awards during the first two years in the program.

Since then, the school has made changes to become more environmentally sustainable.

“Being an Eco-School permeates our school through energy conservation, recycling, water conservation, eco education, our bird houses, and our sustainable garden. Our students are eco stewards every day,” said Principal Jill Stewart.

The school has been involved in many environmentally sustainable projects, as told by Fairfax County Public Schools:

Since 2012, Lake Anne added a pollinator garden, a Monarch butterfly garden, a bird garden for all seasons, a mini meadow, a watershed garden for its dry pond, added solar panels to save energy, added raised beds to the courtyards, and started protecting bluebirds by adding a bluebirds nest box trail. The school also started a community edible garden to provide food for its families in the summer, established and grew a recycling program in the classroom and the cafeteria, participates in walk and roll to school once a month, and started a nature trail in the woods to facilitate nature observation. The school also certified its gardens with the National Wildlife Federation and the Monarch Watch program. 

More information about the award is available online.

Photo via FCPS

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Herndon School Earns Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence

Carson Middle School is among four schools in the state to earn the 2019 Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence — the highest recognition awarded for schools that excel in academics in the state.

The recognition, which is part of the Virginia Index of Performance awards, recognizes schools that go beyond state and federal accountability standards and achieve excellence goals set by the governor and the Board of Education.

The school met all state and federal achievement benchmarks and checked off on goals for elementary reading. Two schools in McLean — Chesterbrook Elementary School and Cooper Middle School — also got a nod from the governor, along with Longfellow Middle School in Falls Church.

In the county, 28 schools were named recipients of the Board of Education Excellence Awards and 22 schools earned the Board of Education’s Distinguished Achievement Awards.

Photo via FCPS

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South Lakes HS Food Pantry Offers Healthy Eating Workshops

The food pantry at South Lakes High School, which was established by the school’s PTSA in 2017, is now offering healthy eating workshops.

The workshops are funded by a $7,000 Delta Dream Grant from the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and aim to educate students about healthy eating.

Recently, nutritionist Kristen McGill of Giant Food gave a cooking demonstration and answered students’ question about how to eat healthy on a budget. Students learned about differing cutting techniques, how to make vegetarian chili, and the best and fastest way to cook rice. She also walked students through sources of healthy fats.

Students were given goodie bags with coupons, avocados, a wooden spoon, and informational material on healthy eating on a budget.

The pantry was created to help students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals — nearly 30 percent of the student population. The pantry is also open to South Lakes Pyramid students and their families.

Currently, the pantry needs the items below. Drop-offs are accepted at the school’s main office.

  • Toiletries
  • Canned goods
  • Boxed or dry goods
  • Cooking oil
  • Laundry detergent, dish soap

Photo via YouTube/FCPS

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Fairfax County Public Schools to Open Two Hours Late Friday

Public schools in Fairfax County will open two hours late tomorrow as wintry weather sweeps the county tonight and tomorrow morning.

FCPS announced the decision on Twitter around 6 p.m. today (Feb. 27) “based on the winter weather advisory in effect overnight.”

Locals can expect 1 to 3 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

File photo

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McNair ES Partners with College Board for Student Art Contest

Calling young artists. Sixth-graders at McNair Elementary School in Herndon have the chance to show off their masterpieces and compete in a contest.

Fairfax County Public Schools recently announced that the school partnered with the College Board to host an art competition.

Contestants can send their portraits to the College Board’s office in Reston Town Center (11955 Democracy Drive), where the art will get displayed. (The College Board is a McNair Elementary School partner, according to FCPS.)

After the votes are in, a representative from the College Board will deliver a certificate to the winner, who can expect to receive prizes and art supplies during the school’s graduation ceremony in June.

Image via Google Maps

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Herndon, Reston High School Students Win Peace Awards

Students from South Lakes and Herndon high schools are among the 22 students from Fairfax County public schools who won the 2019 Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County.

The award recognizes junior and high school students “who have made a positive contribution to their school or wider community by promoting mutual understanding and respect for all people,” according to the award’s website. Currently, the awards are given out to students in Fairfax and Frederick counties.

FCPS said the following about the winners from South Lakes and Herndon high schools:

Herndon High School: Lydia Goff, president of her school’s Best Buddies chapter, organizes monthly social events, one-to-one get-togethers and fundraisers for the 90 students in the program. She is also a leader in the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign to end the use of the demeaning ‘r’ word.

South Lakes High School: Sophia Liao founded the Young Democrats Club, serves on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and is a member of her school’s Student Council.  She organized a trip for students to go to China to volunteer at a panda center and organized her school’s participation in National Walkout Day in response to the school shooting in Parkland.

The awards began in Fairfax County in 2006 at Herndon High School and, by 2013, were offered to every public high school in the county. Each recipient receives a monetary gift, along with another one for a peace-focused charity of the student’s choice.

The winners will be recognized at a reception on March 10 at the Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax.

File photo

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Fannie Mae Volunteers Give a Helping Hand Around McNair ES

You may have noticed some new faces this February around McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive).

About 15 volunteers from Fannie Mae’s Reston office have been helping out at the school.

“As a new partner, the firm has offered to provide volunteers on a monthly basis as a way to give back to the Reston and Herndon communities,” according to Fairfax County Public Schools.

The volunteers have been busy supporting read-aloud initiatives and the school’s holiday luncheon, according to FCPS.

The school community can expect the volunteers to help through the end of the year.

Image via Google Maps

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Delayed Opening for FCPS Due to Ice Concerns Monday Morning

Fairfax County public schools are planning to open on a two hour delay Monday due to possible snow and freezing rain overnight.

A Winter Weather Advisory is now in effect, as forecasters caution of a potentially difficult morning commute.

More from the National Weather Service:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST MONDAY… * WHAT…SNOW, SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE INCH AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF LESS THAN A TENTH OF AN INCH EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALONG WITH PORTIONS OF CENTRAL MARYLAND, CENTRAL, NORTHERN AND WESTERN VIRGINIA AND EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST MONDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS WILL IMPACT THE MONDAY MORNING COMMUTE. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW, SLEET OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. EXPECT SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES, AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING. WHEN VENTURING OUTSIDE, WATCH YOUR FIRST FEW STEPS TAKEN ON STEPS, SIDEWALKS, AND DRIVEWAYS, WHICH COULD BE ICY AND SLIPPERY, INCREASING YOUR RISK OF A FALL. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&

The Virginia Dept. of Transportation is urging Northern Virginia residents to expect icy conditions and, if possible, telework Monday morning.

“VDOT asks that drivers be alert to a potential mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain to impact roads,” the transportation department said Sunday afternoon. “Crews have brined roads which will assist at the onset of the storm, but drivers are asked to prepare now for impacts to the morning rush hour.”

“If you must drive” in the morning, VDOT said, “add in extra time to drive slower.”

More via social media:

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‘Bake for Good’ Program Heading to McNair Elementary School

An upcoming program at a Herndon public school is going against the grain of conventional education by teaching students the value of community service and baking.

Students at McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive) can expect the Bake for Good Program to arrive at their school next month.

Meant for fourth- to sixth-graders, the free program teaches students “the value of giving back to their community while learning to bake bread,” according to Fairfax County Public Schools. Representatives from King Arthur Flour, the sponsoring organization, will present the cross-curricular program, which has three main goals: learn, bake and share.

“Students will use practical applications of math, science, and comprehension skills while learning how they can make a positive impact in their local community,” according to the FCPS announcement.

Each student will then bake two loaves of bread — one to take home and one to donate to LINK, which provides emergency food and financial help to people in the western part of the county.

The program begins at McNair Elementary School on March 12.

Image via Google Maps

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Reston, Herndon Schools Join Program Giving Students Free Snacks

Four schools in the Reston and Herndon areas are part of 39 Fairfax County public schools taking part in a new after-school food program that provides free meals or snacks to any student.

Fairfax County Public Schools’ Office of Food and Nutrition Services announced the sponsorship of the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program yesterday (Feb. 4).

One school in Reston and three in Herndon requested that the program provide them with meals. They include:

  • Herndon Elementary School (630 Dranesville Road)
  • Herndon Middle School (901 Locust Street)
  • Hutchison Elementary School (13209 Parcher Avenue)
  • Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive)

Alexandria topped the list with the most requests from 16 schools, followed by 10 in Falls Church.

The program is part of the Child and Adult Care Food Program, which is backed by the United States Department of Agriculture. It is managed by the Virginia Department of Health’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Photo via @fcpsnews/Twitter

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UPDATED: Fairfax County Public Schools Closed Friday

Updated at 6:55 a.m. — FCPS will be closed Friday.

Fairfax County Public Schools announced the closures this morning. School offices and central offices will open two hours late.

Earlier: Fairfax County Public Schools are taking no chances amid forecasts calling for a burst of snow during the Friday morning commute.

FCPS will open two hours late tomorrow, the school system announced Thursday night.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the area.

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO 3 PM EST FRIDAY… * WHAT…SNOW IS LIKELY. SNOW ACCUMULATION LESS THAN ONE INCH. THE BEST CHANCE FOR SNOW WILL BE BETWEEN 7 AM AND NOON FRIDAY. * WHERE…THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA. * WHEN…FROM 6 AM TO 3 PM EST FRIDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…WITH SURFACE TEMPERATURES WELL BELOW FREEZING FRIDAY MORNING, EVEN MINOR ACCUMULATIONS OF SNOW COULD CAUSE UNTREATED ROADS TO BECOME ICY. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… DRIVERS SHOULD PREPARE FOR ICY TRAVEL FRIDAY MORNING, AND PLAN FOR EXTRA TIME TO TRAVEL. WHILE IT IS NOT CERTAIN THAT SNOW ACCUMULATION AND ICY TRAVEL WILL DEVELOP AT THIS TIME, THE POTENTIAL THREAT IS THERE. PLAN AHEAD. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&

VDOT is asking drivers to proceed with caution Friday morning.

VDOT asks that drivers be alert to potential wintry weather that may impact commutes Friday morning. Light snow and extremely low temperatures may cause icy conditions.

Crews continue working overnight to treat roads for refreeze from earlier this week, and will also be staged tomorrow morning to treat roads for more light snow.

Photo by Twitter user @MrErrett

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Fairfax County Public Schools to Open Two Hours Late Tomorrow

Fairfax County public schools will open two hours late tomorrow (Jan. 31).

FCPS tweeted that tomorrow’s scheduled delay is due to dangerously cold conditions and the potential for icy spots. The county has been hit with snow, rain and gusty winds, this week, causing issues on local roads.

School offices and central offices will open on time tomorrow.

File photo

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