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by Dave Emke — October 2, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Three elementary schools in Herndon are part of a group of schools that have “adopted” a Houston-area school district recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Fairfax County Public Schools’ Region 5 — which includes Coates, Floris and McNair elementary schools in Herndon — is raising money to support Fort Bend Independent School District in Sugar Land, Texas. According to information provided by Coates Elementary:

As you are well aware, our nation has recently been impacted by devastating hurricanes in Texas and Florida. We have seen, and been deeply moved by, the images and footage showing this devastation and the impact it is having on families and children. Many FCPS parents, students, and staff have been asking themselves and each other, “How can I help? What can WE do to ease the suffering?” So we decided to start a fundraiser focused on helping schools and students!

Region 5, part of Fairfax County Public Schools, in Northern Virginia will “adopt” the Fort Bend Independent School District in Houston, Texas. Fort Bend ISD serves approximately 74,500 students from very diverse backgrounds which makes them a great match for us.

We are asking all Region 5 schools, made up of nearly 34,000 students, to team up and raise money to help children, families, and schools in Texas. We are a community of learners, and we are committed to supporting learning and families in our nation’s community.

A GoFundMe page set up for the effort shows a little over $7,000 has been collected as of Monday. The fundraiser has a $100,000 goal, according to the page.

Fort Bend ISD’s website reports that numerous schools in the district suffered flood damage during Harvey, and free meals and other services are being provided for students who are homeless or displaced as a result of the storm.

FCPS public information officer John Torre said while he isn’t aware of any similar projects taking place from other FCPS regions, there are other individual schools that have initiated their own hurricane relief efforts.

by Dave Emke — September 21, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Food Collection Helps Herndon Students — Nonprofit organization Food for Neighbors collected food on a recent Saturday at Plaza America, with items collected going to students in need at several county locations, including Herndon middle and high schools. The program is working to add other schools, including South Lakes High School, to its efforts. [Fairfax County Times]

County Task Force Rides Out Maria — Virginia Task Force One, Fairfax County’s elite urban search and rescue team, has been busy this past month assisting with efforts following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They were scheduled to go to Mexico to help following this week’s earthquake there, but instead find themselves waiting out Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. [WJLA]

Metro Lines Slow This Weekend — Work west of Foggy Bottom means the Orange, Blue and Silver lines are only scheduled to run every 24 minutes this weekend. The Silver Line will only run between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston. [WTOP]

New FCPS Superintendent Talks About Goals — Dr. Scott Brabrand says there’s work to be done in the district, including diversifying the workforce and scaling back demands on teachers. [Washington Post]

by Dave Emke — September 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm 37 Comments

The ballot for November’s Virginia election in Fairfax County includes the question of the $315 million public schools bonds referendum.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted in July to advance to question to the ballot. Absentee voting begins Friday, Sept. 22. Election Day will be Tuesday, Nov. 7.

According to information provided by Fairfax County, the bond funding would be used to:

  • Plan and/or construct two new elementary schools
  • Relocate one modular building
  • Plan additions at three existing high schools (Madison, Stuart and West Potomac) to add capacity
  • Plan and/or construct renovations of 10 elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools

One of the most expensive items on the list of projects to be funded is construction at Langston Hughes Middle School, for which more than $41 million would be budgeted. Another $1.3 million is on the list for planning renovations at Fox Mill Elementary School.

Click here for the full list of projects included.

The wording of the yes/no question is:

Shall Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money, and issue capital improvement bonds in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $315,000,000 for the purposes of providing funds, in addition to funds from school bonds previously authorized, to finance, including reimbursement to the County for temporary financing for, the costs of school improvements, including acquiring, building, expanding and renovating properties, including new sites, new buildings or additions, renovations and improvements to existing buildings, and furnishings and equipment, for the Fairfax County public school system?

The sale of municipal bonds is a form of long-term borrowing that spreads the cost of major capital improvements over the years facilities are used. This method of financing ensures that current and future users help pay for the improvements. If approved, these bonds will probably be sold to large investment banking syndicates that will have to competitively bid for them. Once bought, they are typically resold to financial institutions, which then sell them to investors.

Also on the ballot will be the races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and House of Delegates. To find your polling place, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Image courtesy Fairfax County Public Schools

by Dave Emke — August 30, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Karen Keys-Gamarra Wins School Board Seat — The candidate, backed by the Democratic party, received nearly 64 percent of the 70,198 votes cast (10.4 percent voter turnout). In the Hunter Mill District, Keys-Gamarra took almost 72 percent of the vote. The At-Large term to which she was elected runs through 2019. [Fairfax County/Karen Keys-Gamarra]

D.C. Congresswoman Calls for Metro Board to Step Down — U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), ranking member of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), has called on current members of Metro’s Board of Directors to resign to make way for the smaller five-member temporary board recommended by former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. [Eleanor Norton]

FCPS Changing Policy on Teachers Who Admit Sexual Transgression — Dr. Scott Brabrand, the new superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools, says FCPS will more promptly notify state officials about teachers who admit sex offenses to ensure those teachers are unable to find teaching positions in other school districts. [NBC Washington]

New Local Platform Matches Families with NanniescNanny, a hyperlocal web platform that matches families with nannies, is launching in McLean, Vienna, Falls Church, Tysons Corner and Reston. [McLean Patch]

by Dave Emke — August 28, 2017 at 4:15 pm 2 Comments

A vacant At-Large seat on the Fairfax County School Board will be filled in a special election Tuesday. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The position is nonpartisan; however, two candidates have been supported by political parties:

  • Chris S. GrisafeSupported by the Fairfax County Republican Committee. Has served as an appointed member of the FCPS School Bonds Committee, Superintendent’s Business Advisory Committee and Adult Education Advisory Committee. (Website)
  • Karen A. Keys-GamarraSupported by the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. Endorsed by the Fairfax Education Association, the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers and the Washington Post editorial board.   (Website)

The other candidates on the ballot are:

  • Sandra D. Allen, the Minority Achievement Program Representative at James Madison High School (Candidate Statement)
  • Michael H. Owens, a former teacher and PTA member (Facebook page)

For more information about each of the candidates, go to their websites or check out the video from a League of Women Voters candidates’ forum last week in McLean. (Allen did not participate in the forum.)

The special election was necessitated after Jeannette Hough, who was elected to the Board in 2015, stepped down from the position effective June 1. The term will run through the end of December 2019.

Voting will take place in each of the county’s 243 precincts. Officials remind voters that 160 of the precincts are in schools, which will be in session. While they will be open all day, those voters are encouraged to visit the booth before or after school hours.

To find your polling place, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.

by Dave Emke — August 28, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

School’s back in session for Fairfax County students.

Classes began for the 2017-18 year this morning at all schools in the county. For the first time in decades, the first day of school is the week before Labor Day, meaning students and their families need to get familiar with their new routines during the last week of August this year.

Fairfax County officials are reminding residents that more than 1,700 buses travel around the county each school day to transport students. Drivers must stop in both directions when they encounter a bus with flashing red lights, except when they are separated from the bus by a median.

Here are some more safety tips to keep in mind when driving during the school year:

  1. Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking or biking may show up suddenly and quickly; pay attention at all times.
  2. Drivers should not block crosswalks. Allow pedestrians plenty of space to walk safely.
  3. Pay attention to school zones, especially where they start and end. Those slower school zone speed limits are there for a reason. Follow the speed limit when the lights are flashing.
  4. Always stop when directed by a police officer or crossing guard.

To see more photos from and information about the first day of school, check out #FirstDayFairfax on Twitter.

by Dave Emke — August 25, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Silver Line Only Running To Ballston — There will be no trains Saturday or Sunday between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle. This means Silver Line trains are only scheduled to run between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston, where riders can transfer will need to transfer to the Orange Line to continue their trips. [WTOP]

DMV Looking at Change in Renewal Reminders — About 120,000 customers who have online DMV accounts, and whose vehicle registrations expire in October, will receive a yellow postcard as a renewal reminder instead of full-size packets. The state DMV is testing the efficiency of the change in an attempt to save costs. [Virginia DMV]

Former Local Teacher, Administrator Has New Job — Jennifer Hertzberg is taking over this year as the principal of Flint Hill Elementary School in Vienna. Among Hertzberg’s previous jobs were as a teacher at Floris Elementary School and an assistant principal at Forest Edge Elementary School. [Inside NoVa]

SLHS Grad Takes Football Coaching Position — Former South Lakes High School gridiron star Chris Royal, who had a stellar career playing at Marshall University, will be working this season as the cornerbacks coach at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Royal is also the older brother of NFL wide receiver Eddie Royal. [The Morehead News]

Time to Go Back to School — Pat Hynes, Hunter Mill District representative on the Fairfax County School Board, has issued a video statement welcoming students and their families to the 2017-18 school year. [YouTube]

by Dave Emke — August 22, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Fairfax County teachers, including in Reston and Herndon’s public schools, are in classrooms this week for training, preparation and a little fun before their students return to class Monday.

Take a look at some pictures that have been shared from the schools on social media so far this week as teachers and staff ready themselves for the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Welcome back, Terraset staff! Our friend and former Terraset student, Uche Agu was our special guest speaker this morning. He discussed his experience at TES and what our passion and purpose meant to him! 🙂

Posted by Terraset Elementary School on Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday’s solar eclipse provided a unique bonding opportunity for school staffs.

by Dave Emke — August 22, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Hot Again Today — Once again, Fairfax County emergency officials want to make sure residents are aware of the dangers of excessive heat. Temperatures are expected to again reach the 90s today, with a heat index topping 100. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Safety, Health More Urged for School Year — School starts next week, and Fairfax County officials want to make sure all the information residents need is being shared. Topics emphasized include the need to watch for stopped school buses, where to go for anxiety and stress relief, how to pack a healthy lunch and more. [Fairfax County]

‘Fake News’ Seminar Tonight — George Mason University’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, along with the Fairfax County library system, is sponsoring a workshop titled “News Blues and How to Defuse.” It will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at the Centreville Regional Library. [WTOP]

Herndon Firm Working on Tank Protection — Herndon-based Artis is working on Iron Curtain, defense technology that would protect US Army tanks from rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles. [Business Insider]

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

FCPS Social Emotional Wellness Systems Honored — FCPS was recognized for its work to establish a multi-tiered system of support for mental wellness, designed to complement its existing framework for academics and behavior. It includes services for the prevention, early intervention, and treatment of mental health and promotion of wellness. South Lakes High School is one of five in Fairfax County working toward the goal. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

September Event Will Benefit Brain Aneurysm Foundation — Tom and Nancy Susco lost their 25-year-old son to a brain aneurysm 10 years ago. They hold their annual “Running With Tim” fundraiser, scheduled for Sept. 16 this year, to honor his memory and raise money for the Brain Aneurysm Foundation and the Washington Regional Transplant Community. [Connection Newspapers/Susco8K.com]

Crab Wagon Coming to North Point Giant — Hooper’s Crab House, from Ocean City, Maryland, is visiting Giant stores in the area each weekend through October. It will be at the Giant at North Point Village Center this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it return Sept. 23. [Hooper’s Crab House]

Ballot Out for Best Reston Business Awards — Email list subscribers received their ballots for the 2017 Best Reston Business Awards at 10 a.m. Tuesday. If you signed up after that and missed it, don’t worry: It will be sent out again before the Aug. 15 deadline. [Reston Now]

by RestonNow.com — August 8, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

An event this weekend will help get kids ready for that dreaded time of year — the end of summer and the return to the classroom.

The “Back 2 School Bash” is an opportunity for families to receive important information to help prepare children of all ages and grades for the coming school year. Students and parents will have the chance to learn about resources, programs and services provided by community agencies and partnerships that will help with the transition.

The free event will feature local schools, government and nonprofit providers of services, resources and activities for Reston community members. It is co-sponsored by Fairfax County Public Schools, Cornerstones, Reston Community Center, YMCA Fairfax County Reston, and Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Service.

The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive).

Due to construction at the high school that is limiting parking, Fairfax Connector is offering free shuttles to the event. One shuttle will run between Dogwood Elementary and SLHS, and a second will run from Forest Edge Elementary School to Lake Anne Elementary School to SLHS. The first pick from Dogwood and Forest Edge will be at 10:45 a.m.

For more information, contact LaTanja Jones, collaboration and outreach director at Reston Community Center, by calling 703-390-6158 or emailing [email protected]. You can also follow the event’s Facebook page.

by Dave Emke — August 8, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Season Subscription Now Available for Players — The 51st season of Reston Community Players will include performances of “Aida,” “Peter and the Starcatcher,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Season tickets are $82 for adults and $72 for students and senior citizens. [Reston Community Players]

Telehealth Provider Expanding in Reston — An expansion of Avizia, who partners with providers to deploy and power system-wide telehealth, will bring 27 more jobs to the community. [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]

Reception for ‘Althea’ is Tonight — The latest public artwork installed on the Lake Thoreau spillway by the South Lakes High School STEAM Team will have its official reception tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). RSVP to [email protected]. [Reston Now]

Sobriety Checkpoint Planned for Saturday Night — A sobriety checkpoints will be conducted by the Fairfax County Police Department on Saturday from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. [FCPD]

BXP Senior VP Talks About Reston Gateway — In an interview with Bisnow, Boston Properties Senior Vice President Peter Otteni says the property between Reston Town Center and the future Silver Line Metro station will be “a great complement to Reston Town Center” that won’t have “as soft-goods-driven of a user base.” Rather, he says, it “will be much more food, entertainment and convenience.” [Bisnow]

Best Reston Business Awards Ballots Go Out Today — Don’t forget to sign up for Reston Now’s email list so you can vote in the 2017 Best Reston Business Awards. [Reston Now]

by RestonNow.com — August 7, 2017 at 11:30 am 2 Comments

It won’t be long before we see school buses on the roads and groups of kids shuffling off to school.

In a change from past years, students will return to schools in August. The Fairfax County Public Schools board decided last year to approve a new calendar that will start classes the week before Labor Day. According to FCPS, that change was made “to provide more instructional time before winter break, enhanced flexibility to help students and school staff members meet college application deadlines, and to end the school year earlier in June.”

The last day of the 2017-18 FCPS school year will be June 15. Graduations will begin June 7.

New teacher training will start one week from today, while full teacher workdays begin the Monday after that. One week later, on Aug. 28, kids will get to work.

Here are some more dates to remember as we head into the new school year.

  • Students will be off Friday, Sept. 22; Monday, Nov. 6; Tuesday, Nov. 7; Friday, Jan. 26; Monday, Jan. 29; Monday, April 2; and Monday, April 16 for staff work, planning and development days
  • Thanksgiving Break is slated for Nov. 23-24
  • Winter Break will run from Dec. 18-Jan. 1
  • Spring Break will be from March 26-March 30
  • Other observed holidays will be Labor Day (Sept. 4), Columbus Day (Oct. 9), Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 15), Presidents Day (Feb. 19) and Memorial Day (May 28)

FCPS has the equivalent of 13 days (78 hours) built into the calendar. A 14th missed day would not need required by state code to be made up; if there is a 15th missed day, April 16 would be considered as a makeup day.

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

Gas Line Break on Herndon Parkway — Emergency gas line repair work between Van Buren Street and Palmer Drive will keep one westbound lane closed throughout the day. [Herndon Police Department]

Still No Stop-Arm Cameras on School Buses — County supervisors have directed staff to work with Fairfax County Public Schools leadership to determine the status of the camera-installation program, and obtain a detailed timeline regarding when the equipment would be installed. Video-monitoring cameras capture images of vehicles being illegally driven past school buses that have their flashing red lights and stop-arms activated. [Inside NoVa]

Herndon Working With Comstock on Downtown Development — A comprehensive agreement on the downtown development is the town’s top priority, its new town manager says, and they hope to get it done this year. [Herndon Patch]

County Police Demonstrate ‘Pit’ Maneuver — The maneuver involves an officer using the police car’s front fender to touch the rear bumper of a suspect’s car, causing the other car to turn before coming to a complete stop. [WJLA]

by Dave Emke — July 17, 2017 at 9:00 am 7 Comments

County Remains Among Richest — U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2015 have Fairfax County’s median household income at $112,844, more than twice the national figure. The county trails only Loudoun County ($125,900) and the independent City of Falls Church ($122,092) in the national rankings. [WTOP]

Reston P&Z Committee Meets Tonight — The Reston Planning & Zoning Committee’s monthly meeting will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). Matters to be discussed include JBG/EYA’s project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. [Reston P&Z Committee]

Wanted: School Bus Drivers — Fairfax County Public Schools has 85 openings for bus drivers. A job fair will be held Friday, Aug. 11, at Stonecroft Transportation Center (4641 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly). [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Connolly Plans Telephone Town Hall Tonight — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) will answer questions by phone tonight beginning at 8 p.m. [Rep. Gerry Connolly/Twitter]

Gas Grill Safety Tips — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue wants citizens to be safe when they fire up the grill to make summer meals. With that in mind, they shared a video from the National Fire Protection Association that includes tips on where to place the grill, how to turn it on safely and more. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

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