School News and Notes

Dicia Rivera, age 4, and Katherine Duperow, age 3, students at the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center, perform with their classmates at the 2007 release of Fairfax Futures’ new parent resource, Helping Your Children Love to Learn. (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Baird)

Ivy League Player of the Week

Princeton sophomore running back Jordan Culbreath of Falls Church, averaged 13.2 yards on 11 carries and rushed for 49- and 58-yard touchdowns in a 34-31 comeback win over Cornell Friday night. Culbreath became the Tiger's first 100-yard rusher since the 2005 season finale and his 58-yard touchdown run, which came in the fourth quarter, was shown as Sports Center’s No. 1 play Friday evening.


Sharon Aldredge Named Administrator of the Year

Sharon Aldredge, principal at Woodley Hills Elementary School, has been named the Greater Washington Reading Council (GWRC) Administrator of the Year. Woodley Hills Elementary School is a Fairfax County public school. Aldredge is praised by members of her staff for challenging students to reach their highest literacy potentials and to become lifelong lovers of reading. To encourage literacy at Woodley Hills, Aldredge consolidated classroom libraries into one well-catalogued book room that is accessible by all instructional staff Local attorney and McLean Rotary Club member, Tim Morahan, welcomed parents and guests to the parents program at Timber Lane Elementary School promoting student literacy. (Photo: Courtesy of Rick Nelson) members and makes it easy for teachers to select books for students with various reading abilities. With her reading team and classroom teachers, Aldredge personally monitors the reading progress of every Woodley Hills student, ensuring that each student’s reading skills are at or above grade level. Aldredge also funded a bilingual library that serves both students and their families, all of whom are welcome to use the library to help improve their English skills. To further support literacy, she encouraged the formation of a spelling study committee whose members visited other schools and gathered data about the most effective ways to teach spelling. Information from that search helped strengthen spelling instruction at Woodley Hills. With Aldredge’s encouragement, students in the primary grades who might be reluctant readers have the opportunity to read aloud to a therapy dog, who is accompanied by his trainer to school. She strongly supports the school’s annual Literacy Night, which features storytellers, favorite book characters, and story corners where parents can read with their children. On Read across America Day, a celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, students and staff members are encouraged to wear pajamas and spend the entire day reading.

Oakcrest School Presents Snow Queen

Oakcrest School, 850 Balls Hill Road, McLean, an independent school for girls’ grades 6-12, is showcasing its Middle School Show, Hans Christian Andersen's Snow Queen, in the Oakcrest Theatre on Friday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 17, at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. The sparkling, spine – tingling musical, written by British authors Kaye Umansky and Ana Sanderson, will feature students in grades 6-8 in stage crew, production, acting, singing and dancing, and promises to be an entertaining event. A musical for old and young alike, families with younger children are especially encouraged to attend. Snow Queen is directed by Brittney K. Sweeney with Musical Direction by Anne Miller. Tickets prices for Friday and Saturday night are $10 adult, $5 student. The Saturday matinee ticket prices are $5 per person, $20 per family. Children 6 and under are free. For more information or to order tickets call (703) 790-5450 or visit

Nardos King Named Principal of the Year

Nardos King, principal at Mount Vernon High School, has been awarded the Nancy F. Sprague First-Year Administrator Award and has been named the 2008 Outstanding First-Year Principal by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). Praised for her ability to motivate students, King is cited for leading by example. When she was named principal, King set several goals: to have Mount Vernon become a positive focal point in the community; to reach out to Hispanic parents who were underrepresented at the school; to improve instruction; and to find a way to forge relationships among students and staff members. She met with community members and parents and challenged them to become ambassadors for the school; reached out to Hispanic parents, with the help of a neighborhood church, and ultimately established a Hispanic Parent Council; and adjusted the bell schedule to facilitate student enrichment, mediation, and mentoring. King carved out Major Time, a special 30-minute class period during which all students and teachers read silently. Students can also use part of the period to consult teachers for extra help, make up tests, or complete assignments. During Major Time, each teacher advisor is encouraged to establish relationships with the approximately 15 students in his or her session and to serve as a mentor for those students. At the beginning of the 2007-08 school year, King initiated the Capturing Kids’ Hearts kickoff, bringing every staff member from every Mount Vernon High pyramid school together for a program that teaches school employees how to connect with and make a difference in the lives of all students, from kindergarten through grade 12. Last year, King challenged Mount Vernon students to raise their Standards of Learning (SOL) scores to 80 percent or higher in each of the four core areas and promised to cut her hair into a Mohawk hairstyle if they succeeded. On November 20, King will make good on her promise and receive a new hairdo. Student SAT scores have raised during her administration and 28 members of the class of 2007 earned the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma–the highest number in the school’s history.

The Rotary Club of McLean Promotes Literacy

The Rotary Club of McLean and reading specialists from Fairfax County Public Schools, with the financial underwriting support of Provident Bank, have created a cooperative partnership to help students learn to read. Timber Lane Elementary School in Falls Church, which feeds into the McLean High School pyramid of schools, was chosen for the pilot program. Four times during the school year Rotarians are providing age appropriate books for more than 150 Timber Lane Elementary School children in kindergarten and first grade. On Nov. 7 Rotarians visited the classrooms to distribute the first of the books and to read to the students. Timber Lane students get to keep the books and take them home to read over and over again. A program was also offered during the evening of Nov. 7 to parents for whom English is not their native language, who may want to improve their own literacy skills while helping their children become better readers.

G C Marshall Play

G C Marshall High School presents You Can’t Take It With You running Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. Tickets sold at the door cost $5 for students and $10 for adults. For more information, call 703-714-5409.

Yorktown High School Band Recognized

The graduating members of the Yorktown High School Marching Patriot Band were honored during half-time festivities at the recent Yorktown vs. Washington Lee football game. Students recognized for their contributions to the Yorktown band program included: Noah Aldonas, Kate Brown, Andrew Caughran, Carroll Courtenay, Daniel Ferrante, David Gorsky, Elizabeth Hadley, Rebecca Hirschhorn, Chris Hunt, Dana John, Greg Ketcham-Colwill, William Johnston, Christine Lihn, Frances Meadows, Laura Miller, Thanh Nguyen, Emily Simmonds, Leah Stricker, Nora Swisher and Emma Tessier. Leah Stricker and Nora Swisher served as Drum Majors' for the 2007 Marching Patriots Band. Director of Bands at the local school is Mr. Benjamin Williams.