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Friday Morning Notes

County remains among the richest — the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Fairfax County ranks second as the richest county from 2013 to 2017, following Loudoun County. [U.S. Census Bureau]

It’s snow joke — With snow predictions looming, the Virginia Department of Transportation wants residents to stay safe by looking over its 2018-2019 “snow facts.” [VDOT]

Fine arts photography collection — The “La Lumiere DuBois VII” exhibit by Michael DuBois, who highlights his love of nature, opens today at the Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. The exhibit is open until  Jan. 6. [Reston Community Center]

“She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition” — Watch students from the Herndon High School perform a contemporary dramatic comedy tonight at 7 p.m. Parental guidance is recommended. [Herndon High School Theatre]

Photo by Susan Berger

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What’s Going On This Weekend Around Reston?

If you’re looking for somewhere fun and outdoorsy to take the kids this weekend, Saturday afternoon is Kids Day at Reston Town Center.

From 3-5 p.m., a children’s band, Rocknocerous, will be performing, with face painting, balloon animals, treats and costumed character appearances.

For something more indoors, author Laura Renauld will host a morning story time to read from her first children’s book “Porcupine’s Pie”. The event will be held at Scrawl Books at 11911 Freedom Dr. on Saturday at 11 a.m.

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)

  • This weekend is the last chance to catch The Diary of Anne Frank performed by Herndon High School’s theatre class in the school’s Black Box Theater. Performances are tonight and Saturday, from 7-9 p.m. and a matinee performance on Sunday from 2-4 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults and can be ordered at the door or online.
  • Saturday afternoon, Dorothy Moss, a curator of the National Portrait Gallery, will be hosting a discussion at the Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market Street). The event starts at 3 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
  • Saturday evening, the YMCA Fairfax County Reston (12196 Sunset Hills Rd) will be hosting its 19th annual community gala. The event starts at 6 p.m with a silent auction and cocktails, with dinner at 9 p.m. and dancing until 11 p.m.
  • On Sunday, the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and The Bird Feeder store are cosponsoring a free bird walk through Reston. The group will meet at Glade Drive and Twin Branches Road for a tour along the Glade Stream Valley Trail. The walk runs from 7:30-10:30 a.m.
  • If you’re feeling less outdoorsy, Professor Harry Butowsky will host a lecture on the History of World War II from 2-4 p.m. in the Reston Regional Library.

Photo via Reston Town Center

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What’s Going On In Reston This Weekend?

Ahead of Veterans Day on Monday, the Fairfax Jubil-Aires will perform patriotic a cappella barbershop tunes to honor those who currently serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The event is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. Below is a limited list of other events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.

  • Herndon High School’s advanced theatre class kicks off performances of The Diary of Anne Frank tonight at 7 p.m. and into the weekend at the school.
  • Celebrate international games week at Reston Regional Library with classic board games and some new options from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Vera Kochansky presents her autobiography of her father, Boris, who lived through the Holocaust. The event is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Scrawl Books.
  • Caitlin Teal Price, a DC-based photographer known for her photographs of people, offers a talk about her work at Greater Reston Arts Center on Saturday from 3-5 p.m.
  • Donna Ulisse, a veteran songwriter and singer, performs during the Bluegrass Barn Series at Frying Pan Farm Park on Sunday at 7 p.m.
  • Build a machine powered by an electric motor that rolls and goes home from 2-3 p.m. on Saturday, at Reston Regional Library.
  • South Lakes High School students are raising money for the school’s band by organizing a mattress sale at the school on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Take a drive into the history of World War II with this six-part series led by Professor Harry Butowsky from 2-4 p.m. at Reston Regional Library.

Photo via Reston Town Center

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Thursday Morning Notes

Official Herndon Town Council results are in  — Pradip Dhakal came in fifth place for the election, taking off Joe Plummer from one of the six candidates to take a seat on the council and sliding incumbent Bill McKenna to sixth place. [Reston Now]

Sharing mental health battles — Local first responders share their mental health battles in an effort to help others. [NBC 4]

Get your skates on — The Reston Town Center ice skating pavilion opens tomorrow at 11 a.m. for public ice skating and daily skate rentals. [Reston Town Center]

Herndon High School Theatre presents The Diary of Anne Frank — A performance of the play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett begins tomorrow. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. [Herndon High School]

Photo by Tina

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Herndon High School Band to Host Veterans Day Concert

Herndon High School’s band program is hosting a free concert in order to honor veterans on Nov. 7 (Wednesday).

The Tag Day Concert, which is set for 7 p.m.,  aims to celebrate and recognize members of the American military with patriotic songs, according to event organizers.

The concert will focus on World War II as the marching band prepares to go to Normandy, France to participate in a parade marking the 75th anniversary of D-day.

The band is raising money to offset the cost of next year’s trip.

The concert is free and concert-goers should park in front of the school and enter through door 11. The event will take place in the auditorium of Herndon High School.

Photo via Herndon High School Band/Facebook

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What’s Going On This Weekend Around Reston?

Lake Anne Plaza will become a melting pot of culture this Saturday as the Reston Multicultural Festival kicks off on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Attendees for this free event can enjoy arts, crafts, food, entertainment, shopping and other family-friendly activities. The program is available online.

Reston Farm Market is also celebrating it’s one-year anniversary under new ownership on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the market. The celebration features a fall festival with games, moon bounces, train rides and pumpkin pies. Admission is $10 per person and admission for kids under ages two and under are free.

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)

  • Enjoy free Zumba at Life Time Athletic (1757 Business Center Drive) today from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Zumba Pool Blacklight Party.
  • The Herndon Homecoming Parade is on Saturday from 9:30 a.m to 2 pm. on Elden Street. This year’s theme is Big Top. Bring a chair and support the Hornets in downtown Herndon.
  • On Saturday, you can also help remove what Reston Association calls an “English ivy overload” on RA’s open space by participating in the organization’s Habitat Heroes event. Volunteers will work in various areas near the Wiehle overpass from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • A green screen photo booth will be on-site at Reston Regional Library from 2-4 p.m. You can take your picture by placing yourself directly in a story.
  • The Northern Virginia Senior Olympics will hold a Twilight 5K on Saturday at 6 p.m. at South Lakes High School. Residents of Northern Virginia who are 50 years or older are eligible to sign up.
  • On Sunday, channel the seven chakras or energy centers within your body with this mindful painting workshop at Rise Well-Being Center from 2-5 p.m.
  • If you’d rather be out and about on Sunday, you can take part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Reston Town Center from 2:30-4 p.m. Registration is free and there’s no minimum fundraising requirement.
  • And the annual Reston Runner tradition is back on Sunday. Participants will run from Reagan National Airport back to Reston beginning at 7 a.m.
  • Lake Anne Brewhouse’s Saturday morning beer run is on at 9:45 a.m. The taproom opens at 10 a.m. for pretzels, coffee and beer.

File photo via Reston Community Center

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Major Renovations Underway at Herndon High School

Students will return to Herndon High School tomorrow (August 27) as a major construction project at the school, which has not been renovated since 1991, continues.

Between now and the 2022-2023 school year, more than 100,000 square feet of space will be added to the school. Renovations were approved as part of the FCPS Fiscal Year 2017-2021 Capital Improvement Program, which includes $310 million approved by county voters in a school bond referendum.

Currently, the second half of phase one of the project is underway, which includes adding a new wing to the back of the building and an addition to the front of the building where a new library, main office and administrative and counseling offices will be located. The school’s assistant principal Jim Hannon expects this phase to be completed by next fall or the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

Three other phases remain, which call for renovating locker rooms, art rooms, the gym, music rooms, the cafeteria, the stadium press box and tennis courts. 

School officials told Reston Now that parking continues to be a challenge this year. The number of spaces was slashed from 377 to 90, pushing the school to create a lottery system to accommodate student parking. Seniors who received a number between 1 and 100 in the recent lottery will receive spaces. Others must complete application forms to be entered into the lottery.

Photos via Fairfax County Public Schools

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This Weekend: Herndon High School Drama Boosters Club Presents ‘The Little Mermaid’

Middle school and high school students from the Herndon High School Drama Boosters Club will present “The Little Mermaid,” a full-length musical based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and the Disney film produced by Howard Ashman and John Musker.

Performances, which will take place at Herndon Middle School (901 Locust Street), are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday (July 27) and Saturday (July 27). A Sunday show will take place at 2 p.m. 

The club will also offer a backstage tour for young children before Sunday’s matinee from 1-1:45 p.m. After each show, cast members will be available for photos.

It’s an amazing experience, as students must really come together as a team in order to put on this full-length production in less than four weeks,” said Renee Maxwell, a drama booster.

Tickets are $10 for students and children and $12 for adults if purchased online. At the door, tickets are $12 for students and children and $15 for adults.

The complete cast is below:

  • Director: Raphael Schklowsky, Theatre Director, Herndon High School
  • Vocal Director: Jane Waldrop, Music Teacher, Clearview Elementary School
  • Tech Director: Lukas Funke, FCPS Employee (and former Herndon High student)
  • Assistant Director & Choreographer: Erin Maxwell, Rising Senior, Herndon High School
  • Stage Manager: Gigi Henriquez, Rising Senior, Herndon High School
  • Orchestra Conductor: Jeremy Shoop, Director of Music Ministries, Holy Cross Lutheran Church
  • Costume Designer: Maria V. Bissex, Owner, MVB Costumes

Photos via Renee Maxwell

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Graduations Held at Herndon and South Lakes High Schools

Hundreds of students from Herndon High School and South Lakes High School graduated this week. Herndon’s graduation ceremony was held on Wednesday at George Mason University’s Eagle Bank Arena.

For the second year, graduates of South Lakes High School held a graduation walk through the halls of feeder schools and SLHS.

Local students are headed to colleges throughout the country. The following is a breakdown of schools and places graduates are planning to soar off to. The school declined to release counts for each school.

2018 College Name — SLHS by Fatimah Waseem on Scribd

Photo by Kevin N.

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Friday Morning Notes

Silver Line extension to Dulles awaits test results — “The Silver Line extension project to Dulles International Airport is now waiting on test results that could determine whether it opens on time. Project director Charles Stark told the Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee… that three problems with concrete wall panels at five stations under construction had already been identified before news of a whistleblower lawsuit broke.” [WTOP]

A local kid’s message for President Trump — Disturbed by the murders of Buckley Kuhn Fricker and Scott Fricker late last year, 10-year-old Anya Moon pens a letter to President Donald Trump about gun violence. [CNN]

For Normandy — Five ensembles by current and former Herndon High School musicians will be featured in this family-friendly concert on Sunday. All proceeds will help the school’s band travel to Normandy to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day. [Herndon High School]

Registration for fall soccer is now open — The Great Falls-Reston Soccer Club is accepting application starting today for a variety of programs.  [Great Falls Reston Soccer Club]

Reston Pride Festival set for tomorrow — As pride month begins, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston is hosting Reston’s first-ever Pride Festival on Sunday. The event includes 10 performances, remarks by local politicians, exhibits, food, and music. [Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

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Black, Hispanic Students Face Higher Suspension Rates in Reston Schools

Consistent with national trends, black and Hispanic students are suspended at higher rates than their white peers in Reston schools.

Discipline disparities are especially prevalent at the high school and middle school level, according to federal data released by the U.S. Department of Education in late April.

In Fairfax County Public Schools, 40 percent of students are white, 25 percent are Hispanic, and 10 percent are black. But in-school and out-of-school suspensions are higher for black and Hispanic students. The dataset includes information for the 2015-2016 school year on more than 96,000 public schools.

Black students comprise 23 percent of total in-school suspensions and 26 percent of out-of-school suspensions. Similarly, Hispanic students comprise 41 percent of total in-school suspensions and 35 percent of total out-of-school suspensions.

White students, on the other hand, comprised 22 percent of in-school suspensions and 24 percent of out-school suspensions.

At South Lakes High School, black students are about twice as likely as white students to be suspended. They comprise just 13 percent of the total student population but account for nearly 35 percent of all in-school suspensions and nearly 37 percent of all out-of-school suspensions.

Disparities are evident among the Hispanic population at Herndon High School, where Hispanic students make up 39 percent of the total student population, but account for 64 percent of in-school suspensions and 54 percent of out-of-school suspensions.

In a statement to Reston Now, FCPS spokesman John Torre said the school system is concerned about the “disproportionality in school discipline, suspension, and expulsion rates between white children and children of color and is addressing those concerns by promoting and utilizing these alternative forms of discipline.”

At Herndon Middle School, Hispanic students, who make up 40 percent of the student population, accounted for 73 percent of in-school suspensions and 76 percent of out-of-school suspensions. White students made up 34 percent of the student population and accounted for 10 percent of in-school suspensions and 5 percent of out-of-school suspensions.

For black students, who make up 8 percent of the student population, disparities were not as evident. Black students accounted for 7 percent of in-school suspensions and just under 5 percent of out-of-school suspensions.

Major disparities were not as pervasive at Hughes Middle School, where 42 percent of students are white, 15 percent are black, and 26 percent are Hispanic.

White students comprised 8 percent of in-school suspensions and 14 percent of out-of of school suspensions. Black students comprised 27 percent of in-school suspensions and 28 percent of out-of-school suspensions. Suspensions for Hispanic students were in-line with their demographic makeup.

At the elementary school level, fewer overall suspensions were reported. Overall, racial disparities were also not as evident as they were in the middle and high school level.

Data in Fairfax County are in line with national trends. In 2015, 31 percent of students referred to police were black, even though they comprised 15 percent of the total school population. White students comprised about half of all students but only made up 36 percent of student police referrals.

Read FCPS’ entire response after the jump.

File photo via Karen Raffel

A few years ago, the School Board approved revisions to the district’s disciplinary regulation – Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) – to better align with best practices and reduce suspensions with the goal of keeping students in class by promoting alternative forms of discipline and reducing the length of suspension for certain offenses.  Among the changes: reducing the number of offenses which carry mandated consequences and increasing the focus on school-based interventions.

Suspensions have gone down significantly at the high school level.  Much of this can be attributed to the restorative justice training that administrators received as well as the addition of the Systems of Support Advisor position in all high schools. Out of school suspension declined from 5997 in 2009-2010 to 4103 in 2015-16.

Restorative justice continues to expand as an alternative to suspension for discipline incidents.  Currently, FCPS has five full-time restorative justice facilitators and is working to increase this number as more students are diverted into the program.  Between Sept. 2014 and June 2016, there were 1,086 participants in restorative justice for school discipline.

Restorative justice is a victim-centered process that gives victims a voice about their harm and its effects as well as about terms of repair (including accountability by the offender).  It’s an option not afforded by criminal prosecutions except for impact statements for the most serious crimes. Wider utilization provides some important outcomes to juvenile health in the community, including:

  • lower rate of court involvement and records for first-time offenders, particularly among juveniles of color
  • lower rates of suspension/expulsions in schools, esp. among students of color

One of the beneficial outcomes of restorative justice is an improved relationship between schools and parents of students involved in the discipline process. When compared to the traditional discipline process, parents feel as though the restorative justice approach provides additional transparency because they are fully involved in the process and are given a voice in the outcome, whether their child has been harmed or their child was involved in the harming.

The Alternative Accountability Program  has expanded and is now used countywide by SROs and police for juveniles involved in selected first time criminal activity. The police refer the youth for a restorative justice  conference as an alternative to filing a formal complaint with the court.

In high schools, System of Support Advisors (SOSA) have had significant impact.  SOSAs work closely with youth referred to in-school suspension to determine the cause of referral and prepare students to return to class, reducing repeat offenses.  They observe and work with teachers to help identify triggers and strategies for working with teens who are repeatedly disruptive, and they form relationships with teens and connect youth to other school resources (counselor, psychologist, social worker).

FCPS recognizes and is concerned about the disproportionality in school discipline, suspension, and expulsion rates between white children and children of color and is addressing those concerns by promoting and utilizing these alternative forms of discipline.

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Herndon High School Band To Travel to France for D-Day Anniversary Celebration

The U.S.S. Herndon took part in World War II’s Normandy invasion 75 years ago. Next year, Herndon High School’s marching band will return to the shores of Normandy to participate in a D-Day anniversary celebration.

The band is preparing to perform in the 75th D-Day Memorial Parade and Musical Salute  in June 2019. Roughly 200 students and chaperones plan to attend the event, which offers a salute to veterans.

The U.S.S. Herndon and the Town of Herndon were named after Commander William Lewis Herndon, a Navy officer who served in the Mexican-American War.

The U.S. Navy ship helped escort ships ahead of the invasion in France, took part in anti-submarine duty and screened landings, submarines and aircraft carriers. The ship also provided some fire support.

Fundraising is underway to make the trip possible. A kick-off celebration and benefit concern will be held on May 5 on the Herndon Town Green. The event will feature live performances by The 5:55, guest speakers, food and beer.

The band was recommended by the government and military organizers of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Hawaii based on their performance in 2013.

“Getting to represent not just Herndon, not just Virginia, but the entirety of the United States will be a life shaping experience for our students,” said Kathleen Jacoby, the band director at Herndon High School. “Not only are they connecting with current day Americans, but we’re asking them to time travel back to 1945 and put themselves in the shoes of the brave men who were on the beaches of Normandy.”

Here’s more from the band about the tribute:

As they march, the Pride will also be paying a special tribute to the brave men of the USS Herndon, the destroyer that led the Allied naval armada in the assault on France and named for CommanderWilliam Lewis Herndon, after whom the Town of Herndon, VA is also named. The USS Herndon was launched on 2nd February 1942 by the Norfolk Navy Yard, sponsored by Lucy Herndon Crockett, great-grandniece of Comdr. Herndon. The ship was nicknamed the “Lucky Herndon,” because it was never hit by enemy gunfire, despite being targeted by torpedoes, aerial bombardments, and well-fortified German shore batteries. The men of the “Lucky Herndon” were given 10 to 1 odds that they wouldn’t come out of D-Day alive. By contrast, Herndon effectively pounded enemy gun emplacements on Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, ahead of our first troop landings there, and was credited with firing the first naval shots of this campaign. Each member of the Pride will carry a photograph of a Herndon crew member who served during WWII, as they march in Normandy. The marching banner will have a photograph of the ship, and the band will wear baseball caps that say ‘USS Herndon’.

For more information and to donate, visit the band’s website.

Photos via Rini Dutta and William Craig Dubishar

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This Sunday: Screening of ‘Blind Boys of Alabama,” A Documentary Directed by Reston Native

Trace the story of the Blind Boys of Alabama, a legendary gospel quartet that blossomed after its members met in the 1930s at a segregated, state-run institute for the blind, this Sunday at Reston Community Center.

As part of the ReelAbilities Film Festival, an offshoot of the New York film festival, CenterStage will show the film, “How Sweet the Sound — The Blind Boys of Alabama,” at 3 p.m. at RCC Hunters Woods.

The documentary is directed and produced by Reston’s own Leslie McCleave. The independent filmmaker graduated from Herndon High School and was raised in Reston. The screening will be followed by a conversation with McCleave, who currently teaches film and video production at Emerson College in Boston, Ma.

The festival, run by the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, features films by and about people with disabilities. Screenings will take place at several venues throughout Northern Virginia.

Sunday’s screening is restricted to viewers ages 18 and above.

For more information about other screenings, visit the festival’s website.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Six things to know after the windstorm — All you need to know about trees, power outages, food safety, and more. Let’s hope things can get back to normal soon. [Fairfax County Government]

Tackling traffic on Sunset Hills Road — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on plans to realign the road today at 4 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Online voting for Reston Association elections is live — To cast a vote in the election for RA’s Board of Directors, visit RA’s website. Paper ballots were mailed yesterday. [Reston Association]

Travel “Into the Woods’ with Herndon students — Tickets are on sale for the performance by Herndon High School Theatre from April 13 through April 21. [Herndon Drama]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

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Nando’s PERi PERi Raises $12,000 for Local High Schools

Nando’s PERi-PERi, a South African-Portuguese restaurant chain, raised $12,711 for two local public high schools at its grand opening in November.

To celebrate its new location on 2120 Sunset Hills Road, the chain donated 100 percent of all sales, excluding alcohol and taxes, to the two schools. In 2019, Herndon High School will use funds to send the marching band to represent the United States at the 75th Commemoration of D-Day in Normandy. South Lakes High School will use the donations to send their marching band to Hawaii to perform at the 2017 Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade, in addition to supporting other program needs.

Though the two schools are traditionally rivals, Nando’s said students from the two bands happily came together to raise money through the fundraiser.

“Nando’s likes to be good neighbors, and we couldn’t be happier with the community turnout in Reston,” said Sepanta Bagherpour, Nando’s vice president of marketing. “Students and parents at both high schools worked so hard to spread the word in their community, and to show support for their schools.”

Photo courtesy of Seven Oaks Media Group

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