After a hiatus due to pandemic-related school closures, Fairfax County is not only reviving its School Age Child Care (SACC) program, but expanding it with two new locations, both of them in Herndon.
With Fairfax County Public Schools planning for five days of in-person learning starting Aug. 23, the county-run child care program will be available at 142 schools, including new centers at Clearview and McNair Upper elementary schools, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay announced yesterday (Thursday).
“We hope to quell some anxiety today and give our working parents in particular confidence knowing that the Fairfax County government and our Fairfax County Public Schools have worked very closely together over many months to ensure that our kids can return to school and return to our SACC program,” McKay said.
SACC provides before and after-school care for children from kindergarten through sixth grade. Run by the Fairfax County Office for Children, the program operates out of public elementary schools as well as the Key and Kilmer centers, which focus on youth aged 5-21 with multiple disabilities.
As a result, when FCPS initially closed school doors as COVID-19 spread in March 2020, SACC centers were shuttered as well, leaving many families to juggle full-time work and a bumpy introduction to virtual learning on their own.
The county resumed offering some child care services in the summer of 2020 with its Camp Fairfax program, which serves first through seventh graders. The day-long camps were held in school buildings with social distancing and other health measures in place.
When FCPS opted for an all-virtual start to the 2020-2021 school year, the county launched a new Supporting Return to School (SRS) program that essentially functioned like a full-day version of SACC, providing care before and after school hours along with distance learning support.
According to McKay, the Camp Fairfax and SRS sites were chosen based on where the need for child care services was greatest, focusing on children whose parents were unable to stay at home with them or who otherwise lacked structured support during the day.
Just over 1,000 children have enrolled in Camp Fairfax, which returned this summer with smaller sites, Office of Children Director Anne-Marie Twohie said at yesterday’s news conference, which was held at one such site in Centreville’s London Towne Elementary School.
In comparison, the program typically drew over 4,000 children before the pandemic.
McKay says the Camp Fairfax and SRS programs helped the county understand how child care could be provided safely, experience that will be crucial when the full-scale SACC program starts next month.
“The need for high-quality school-age child care has indeed never been greater, and the extended site availability this year will help meet these needs,” said Fairfax County School Board Chair Stella Pekarsky, who represents the Sully District.
Twohie says SACC rooms are generally added in conjunction with elementary school construction and renovation projects.
“We are continuing to build toward normalcy, full school days, full SACC programs, the freedoms that we’ve enjoyed over the last several months,” McKay said. “We have to, as a community, roll up our sleeves, get to those remaining people who aren’t vaccinated, get them vaccinated so we can continue down the right path in Fairfax County.”
While FCPS isn’t requiring vaccinations for students or staff, the school system said earlier this week that everyone must wear face masks when students are inside school buildings, regardless of their vaccination status.
Noting that at least 90% of teachers and staff are vaccinated, Pekarsky suggested that FCPS could follow the county government’s lead in potentially instituting a vaccine mandate for its employees at some point.
“We are continuing to offer our teachers the opportunity to get vaccinated,” she said. “We will collaborate with county government to explore if we will make them mandatory sometime in the future, but right now, they are not.”
Metro Proposes Delaying Funding for Silver Line Phase 2 — Unveiled yesterday (Monday), Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s revised FY 2022 budget proposal confirms that the second phase of the Silver Line will not open this year, though the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has maintained that the project will be ready for Metro to take over by Labor Day. [ABC7-WJLA]
Reston Woman Charged with Assault after Barricade — Fairfax County police arrested a woman on Sunday after she barricaded herself in an apartment on the 2200 block of Stone Wheel Drive in Reston. The hours-long standoff began when officers arrived to investigate a reported domestic assault and serve a warrant to 29-year-old Iesha Walker, who police say threatened to burn the building, shoot officers, and harm a family member and acquaintance who were in the apartment with her. [FCPD]
Reston Tech Company Partners with Baltimore Ravens — Leidos and the Baltimore Ravens will donate funds to support Oxford House in Silver Spring for the second year of their “Tackling Opioid Addiction” campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the ongoing opioid epidemic. [Baltimore Ravens]
Herndon Student Wins Statewide Art Contest — Sarah Saravanan, a first-grade student at McNair Lower Elementary School in Herndon, won the Virginia Lottery’s Thank A Teacher Art Contest, which invites students to create art that will be showcased on “thank you” notes sent to during National Teacher Appreciation Week on May 3-7. [Patch]
Photo by Ray Copson
A new elementary school in Herndon that will open in August officially has a new name.
The Fairfax County School Board voted last week to name the new elementary school on the existing McNair Elementary School campus.
The new building, which will serve students from third to sixth grade, will be called McNair Upper Elementary School. The existing building, which will serve students from pre-K through second grade, will be called McNair Elementary School.
The school system reached out to the community earlier this year to seek comment on possible names for the new school.
Here’s more from FCPS on the process:
In accordance with FCPS Regulation 8170.8, a one-month period of public comment was held beginning January 29, and a community meeting was held on February 19 to solicit name suggestions from the community. Community members also had the opportunity to submit recommendations and feedback via an email link. A public hearing was held on February 20 and, after compiling feedback from stakeholders, Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand recommended on March 5 that the School Board name the new facility McNair Upper Elementary School, the most frequently suggested name by stakeholders. The recommended name aligns with other FCPS paired schools, such as Fort Belvoir Upper and Bailey’s Upper.
Enrollment at the current elementary school has increased steadily from 897 in 2001 to 1,342 in 2016. The new school is intended to relieve current overcrowding at McNair Elementary School.
Image via Google Maps
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) unveiled its proposed fiscal year 2021-25 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) last week.
In November, Fairfax County voters approved a $360 million school bond referendum that includes $2 million in planning funds for a new “Silver Line elementary school,” along with other construction and renovation projects.
“Funds approved in the 2019 School Bond Referendum and previous referenda will address approximately $500 million of the five-year requirement, leaving a balance of approximately $573 million unfunded,” according to FCPS.
For the new Silver Line elementary school, permitting would happen in FY 2022, with permitting in FY 2023 and construction from FY 2024-2026, according to the CIP draft.
The revised budget estimates the Silver Line elementary school will cost $39.5 million.
“Anticipation of the completion of the Silver Line Metro has already spurred higher density residential growth along that corridor which may result in an increase in students within FCPS,” according to the CIP draft.
Along with the Silver Line school, the proposal addresses a new elementary school in the northwest area of the county to address current overcrowding in the McNair Elementary school area, with a projected budget of $34.8 million.
In addition to the Silver Line school, the CIP also includes information on a new high school that would provide relief to high schools in Centreville, Chantilly, Herndon, Oakton, South Lakes, and Westfield areas.
The new high school is projected to cost $157 million.
A public hearing will be held on the CIP on Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. at Jackson Middle School (3020 Gallows Road), followed by a school board work session on it on Jan. 13. A vote on the CIP is scheduled to take place on Jan. 23.
“Fallen Angels” starts — NextStop Theatre Company’s production of the Noel Coward comedy hits the stage tonight. [NextStop Theatre Company]
Checkmate — McNair Elementary School finished second in the K-5 category of the Virginia Scholastic Chess Championships. The McNair also placed third in the K-8 category. [FCPS]
Lake Audubon dredging update — The dredging project is still on track for completion in April. [Reston Association/YouTube]
Girl Power! Book Club tonight — Middle-grade readers can head to Scrawl Books at 7 p.m. to talk about “Front Desk.” [Scrawl Books]
Creative printmaking tonight — Head to ArtSpace Herndon to learn how to carve and create your own prints from handmade plates, carved blocks and more from 6-8 p.m. All levels are welcome. Four sessions cost $160 total. If you enjoy it, the next class will be held on April 3. [ArtSpace Herndon]
Reston company scores SEC contract — Reston-based Octo Consulting recently “announced it has been awarded a position on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s ONE IT IDIQ vehicle. This 10-year, $2.5 billion vehicle contains seven service channels through which the SEC’s Office of Information Technology will procure IT services and solutions, including systems and software development.” [Associated Press]
2019 Virginia GeoBee — Out of the 23 students named as semifinalists, some are from area schools, including Forestville, Great Falls Elementary and McNair elementary schools. [FCPS]
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
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
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
Reston’s DRB Meets Tonight — Among items on the Design Review Board’s agenda are specific aspects of the upcoming redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center. [Reston Now]
Children’s Art on Display at RCC — The mixed media exhibit “The World in the Eyes of Children” is on display at Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) until Nov. 5. [Reston Community Center/Instagram]
Body Camera Pilot Program Proposed by FCPD — If approved by the county Board of Supervisors next month, officers in the Mason and Mount Vernon districts may begin the 90-day program as early as February. [Fairfax Times]
New School in Herndon To Be Discussed — The Hunter Mill Land Use Committee will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. at McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive, Herndon). To be discussed is a proposal from the Fairfax County Board of Education to construct a new three-story school building on the site. McNair Elementary currently serves grades K-6. In the plan, the existing school would serve K-3 and the new building would take grades 4-6. [Hunter Mill Highlights]
Seahawks Up One in Post Poll — Following their 44-0 win over Washington-Lee last week, the South Lakes High School football team settles in at No. 13 in the area rankings. They had been ranked No. 14 the previous week. The 6-1 Seahawks return home Friday night to play McLean. [Washington Post]
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.