As the number of local students who vape soars, Fairfax County Public Schools doubling down on how to decrease the use of e-cigarettes.
In September, Fairfax County Public Schools pursued more stringent measures if a student was caught vaping on campus. Additionally, the school board also classified vaping as a prohibited activity in the school system’s student rights and responsibilities handbook last year.
Lucy Caldwell, the school system’s communication director, said that FCPS also works with the Fairfax County Health Department to develop a toolkit for students to provide educational information about the health impacts of e-cigarettes.
Stemming the rise of e-cigarettes — which some see as a safe alternative to smoking — is a nationwide challenge. The number of youth who are e-cigarette users jumped by 1.5 million between 2017 and 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No change was found in the use of other tobacco products during this time.
A recent survey administered by FCPS found that one in five students vaped recently.
South Lakes High School held four parent sessions through the Parent Teacher Student Administration or administration-sponsored meetings to help parents partner with the school on addressing this issue, according to SLHS Principal Kim Retzer.
The school also has a substance abuse prevention specialization who provides support for students and resources for parents, Retzer told Reston Now.
“South Lakes deals with students vaping as do other high schools in the area,” she said.
At Herndon High School, Principal Liz Noto says that the school is working with FCPS’s Student Safety and Wellness Office to educate the student body about the issue. Like other schools, HHS also finds ways for students seeking to quit vaping.
Photo via Unsplash/Tbel Abuseridze
Sprint is gearing up for several community engagement events in order to educate residents about a 125-foot monopole and ground equipment that is proposed at Herndon High School (7999 Bennet Street).
The company is seeking the county’s approval to build at 91-by-35-foot structure enclosed with a telecommunications facility. The project heads to the Fairfax County Planning Commission for a public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s more from Sprint on why the project is needed:
The project will help Sprint bring improved coverage to your community. The shaded section below shows the approximate area that will receive enhanced network strength with the proposed wireless facility. The new facility will improve Internet connectivity speed and voice connectivity–especially inside homes and buildings–and help your area respond to the increasing demand for quality wireless service. Users outside of the shaded area may also see improved service as the new facility off-loads some of the traffic from the existing facilities in the area.
A community balloon fly will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 8 a.m., with a rain date of Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 8 a.m. A community meeting is set for Monday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. at Herndon United Methodist Church (701 Bennett Street).
More information about the project is available online.
Photo via Sprint
The Town of Herndon has a number of openings for local advisory committees, boards, and commissions.
Town residents are encouraged to apply to open positions in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) — which aims to promote safe walking and bicycling in the town — and the Fairfax County Athletic Council. One resident will represent the town on the athletic council, which is an advisory body that sets policies and priorities to improve sports programs in the county.
Middle and high school students can also serve on the Herndon Youth Advisory Council, which advises the council on issues and decisions relevant to youth. Students who either live in the Town of Herndon or attend Herndon Middle and Herndon High schools are encouraged to apply.
Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel said the youth council is a critical way to engage Herndon’s youth, especially as the town’s population increases in number and diversity.
“This is a great way for middle and high school students to develop lifelong habits of community activism,” Merkel said. “The voices of our young people are important and need to be heard.”
Applications are available online and at the clerk’s office in the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street).
Image via Town of Herndon
Several local schools were acknowledged by Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Braband and the Fairfax County School Board for bridging achievement gaps in English and math.
Lake Anne Elementary School was one of the top schools in the county to achieve the greatest reduction in the English achievement gap.
Awards were given based on school performance in the 2018-2019 school year and revised accreditation standards approved by the Virginia Board of Education in 2017.
Photo via Facebook
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant will help the Herndon High School 21st Century Community Learning Center, which will provide afterschool programming to improve academic performance and support developmental wellbeing.
Students will receive guidance on college, careers, life skills, community involvement, and cultural awareness. An eight-week program will supplement the school-year program.
The program will be open to between 50 and 60 students. The success of the program will be measured through objectives like improved reading and math skills, increased family engagement, reduced dropout rate, and increased emotional and social learning competencies. Rising ninth-grade students will also be involved in the center.
The grant from the U.S. Department of Education covers 32 percent of the total cost of the three-year program. Additional funding will be provided from the following community partners:
- Herndon High School
- Fairfax County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services
- Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services
- Childcare Resources
- Herndon United Methodist Church
- Town of Herndon
Cornerstones will help develop the curriculum and activities for the project.
Photo via FCPS
The deadline to participate in Herndon’s Homecoming Parade is approaching.
Monday (Sept. 23) is the last day for organizations to register for representation in the parade on Saturday, Oct. 19. Those wishing to simply watch the parade may line up at 9:30 a.m. around Elden Street on the day of the parade.
“Into the Future” will be this year’s parade theme. Participants are welcome to join the parade with a vehicle-powered float, walking float or a group of people, the application form said.
There will be prizes for floats that demonstrate outstanding creativity and adherence to the theme for the following groups:
- School Group
- Performing Group
- Civic Group
- HHS Class Float
- Show Group
Parade organizers want floats to be presentable from both sides, fit the theme and appeal to a wide variety of age groups.
Anyone wishing to volunteer and assist with the parade may sign up online.
More than 58 units and around 1,300 participants took part in the 2018 parade, according to the event website.
Photo via Herndon Parks and Recreation
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
Honoring the Greatest Generation — Students from Herndon High School’s marching band reflect on their travels to Normandy, France, where they performed in the festivities commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. [Fairfax County Public Schools via YouTube]
HawkEye 360 Closes on $70 Million Deal — The Herndon-based company, which uses formation-flying satellites, closed on a $70 million financing round led by Airbus, which bases its North American operations in Herndon. [DC Inno]
StreetShares Raises $30 Million — The Reston-based company raised nearly $30 million in fresh debt funding. The company specializes in small-business loans to veterans. [Washington Business Journal]
Photo via Dario Piparo/Flickr
Students at Herndon and South Lakes high schools will go home with a school-issued laptop in the fall as part of a new countywide initiative when schools begins in late August.
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) plans to issue a computer to all high school students in the county through FCPSOn. By 2023, all students in the county could go home with laptops.
School officials say FCPSOn will transform learning for students and educators by providing “equitable access to meaningful learning experience and technology to support their learning.”
“Devices will not replace teachers. Teachers are supported through ongoing, dynamic professional learning for teachers that will result in purposeful, collaborative student learning experiences,” FCPS wrote in a statement.
SLHS and HHS staff plan to distribute laptops during Teacher Advisory classes during the first week of school. A community meeting to discuss the initiative is planned for August.
The program requires an annual $50 fee for high school students. The fee covers technology support services and the potential costs of replacing equipment in need of repair.
Students can use their own laptop instead of a county-issued laptop, but they must receive approval from their school to do so.
A pilot program first began in 2016 for schools in the Chantilly Pyramid.
More information about the rollout of the program in Reston and Herndon will be available over the summer.
Video via FCPS
Parents Respond to Herndon High School Porn Case — Concerned parents gathered this week to discuss the case of a former Herndon High School drama teacher who is accused of possessing child pornography and unlawful filming. Police believe Raphael Schklowsky may have also set up two cameras at the school. [WUSA 9]
Fireworks Safety Demonstration Tomorrow — As the Fourth of July approaches, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is hosting a demonstration on how to safety use fireworks. The demonstration is set for 10 a.m. at the Fire and Rescue Training Academy. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
Free Yoga at Reston Station — Beloved Yoga will offer free yoga lessons today (Thursday) from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the plaza. [Reston Station]
Registration Deadline for Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta — The deadline to register a boat to participate in the event is on Monday, July 1. The event is set to take place at Lake Anne on Saturday, August 10. [Reston Historic Trust & Museum]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
A former Herndon High School teacher recorded dozens of illicit videos of students with hidden cameras around the school for more than a year, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
During a news conference on Wednesday (June 19), police said Raphael Schklowsky, 36, of Reston will face additional charges in connection with filming multiple students. Schklowsky is currently in jail due to previous charges for unlawful filming and possessing child pornography.
Maj. Ed. O’Carroll, commander of FCPD’s Major Crimes Bureau, said that FCPD has not determined the new charges yet. He says female students were filmed while undressing.
“The case remains active. Detectives have been working diligently on this case and our other important cases to bring justice and closure,” he said.
So far, police contacted nine people after identifying them from photos of videos taken by the former drama teacher. Videos were taken between May 2017 and June 2018, according to O’Carroll.
Some photos were taken outside the area, including New York, O’Carroll said. Authorities in other jurisdictions are conducting their own investigations.
Charges against Schklowsky have slowly built up as police discover new details about the investigation. Previously, police discovered over 3,500 videos on various devices.
At a hearing in May, he was charged with 20 felony counts of possession of child pornography and one felony charge of unlawful filming.
He has been on leave since his arrest, according to a spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools. His next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 6.
Any individual who think they may have been recorded by Schklowsky should call the police at 703-246-7800.
Local police have new leads on a pornography and unlawful recording case involving a former drama teacher at Herndon High School.
The Fairfax County Police Department is holding a press conference at 4 p.m. today (Wednesday) after they identified juvenile victims unlawfully recorded by Raphael Schklowsky.
Schklowsky, who already had earlier charges related to unlawful filming, is facing 20 felony charges of possession of child pornography and one felony charge of unlawful filming.
Detectives discovered more than 3,500 videos on multiple electronic devices, police said. Schklowsky, 36, was originally charged with four misdemeanor counts of unlawful filming on April 8.
Schklowsky has been on leave since his April 8 arrest. He was initially charged in early April when a woman told police she found a hidden camera inside an air conditioning vent in a home where she was working. Detectives found evidence of unlawful filming and arrested Schklowsky.
No other information was immediately available.
Photo via FCPD
Herndon High School’s band took part in the 75th anniversary of D-Day celebrations in Normandy — returning with enhanced appreciation of the crew members who served on the USS Herndon during the invasion.
Several students dressed in original uniforms worn by USS Herndon sailors and the band also took a flag that flew on the USS Herndon.
Band members marched through the American Cemeteries in Brittany and Omaha Beach and performed in the D-Day Musical Salute to Liberation.
Varun Natarajan, a Herndon High School junior and a member of the band, said the experience increased his appreciation for those who sacrificed their lives during the invasion, as well as the unique role the USS Herndon played.
“We heard some very impactful speeches by people who participated in D-Day. Hearing the veterans describe D-Day gave me a new sense of perspective on what the invasion was like, and how intense the fighting was. Three students from our school also got to speak about what this means to them,” Natarajan said.
Photo via Herndon Band/Facebook
Pride of Herndon Band Leaves for D-Day Celebrations Tomorrow — “The Herndon High School band of Herndon leaves Tuesday to participate in 75th D-Day celebrations in Normandy. Band members will carry pictures and stories of crew members who served on the USS Herndon during the invasion.” [WTOP]
Candidates for Fairfax County Board of Supervisor Discuss Stances on Cycling Issues — The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling caught up with two candidates running for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor. Candidate Walter Alcorn says he hopes to “accelerate existing plans to enable non-motorized access to transit stations and work centers” while candidate Maggie Parker discusses how biking is “a great equalizer.” Other candidates did not respond immediately to requests for comment. [Fairfax County Alliance for Better Bicycling]
Last Day for “LOVE” Letters in Reston Town Center Tomorrow — The iconic letters sign will leave RTC tomorrow as they tour 11 different sites in Fairfax County to celebrate the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 50th anniversary of “Virginia is for Lovers!” [Reston Town Center]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Herndon High School’s marching band heads to Normandy, France on Tuesday (June 4) to take part in a parade marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The parade, which organizers say celebrates the “liberation of Europe,” is set for June 13
The Town of Herndon gets its name from U.S. Navy Commander William Lewis Herndon, who died in 1857. Two U.S. Navy ships were named the USS Herndon after the commander as well.
The first ship with that name was given to Great Britain before the U.S. took part in World War II and the second ship, nicknamed the Lucky Herndon, led major assaults on D-Day.
Planning for the trip has been underway for months. The band has raised around $600,000 for the trip through a combination of community events, sponsorships and donations.
As they perform, band members wearing original USS Herndon dress blues will carry a
marching banner that pays tribute the Lucky Herndon. In addition, students will carry photographs of each of the 301 men who served on board on D-Day.