School News and Notes

 Spring Hill elementary students (left to right) Ashley Tseng, John Bucy and Emily Hamilton encouraged peers to conserve energy with compact fluorescent light bulbs at an assembly last week in honor of the upcoming Earth Day, April 22. (Photo: Courtesy Le-Ha Anderson)

Light Bulb Moment for Elementary Students

Three Spring Hill Elementary School students stood alongside Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerald Connolly and Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Dale last week to encourage their peers to ask their parents and neighbors to use compact fluorescent light bulbs. The assembly, before 450 students, rallied and encouraged them to participate in a two-week, student-led drive to begin on Earth Day, April 22. Participants will replace one incandescent bulb with one compact fluorescent light bulb for each child enrolled in Arlington and Fairfax county school systems. That's 167,000 bulbs in Fairfax County and 18,600 bulbs in Arlington County. Students argued that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Carbon Calculator, this would equivalent to the removal of the emissions created by 9,826 cars. Dominion Virginia Power was on hand to make a special check presentation to help offset the cost of the compact fluorescent bulbs.


The George Mason high school symphonic band competed at West Potomac High School in early March, receiving a superior rating from each of the four judges. The GMHS band performed three selections for judges from judges from universities and high schools from across the United States.  (Photo: Courtesy Mary Jo Webster)Dietze Named Athletic Director of the Year

Jeffrey Dietze, who recently retired as director of student activities at West Potomac High School, has been named the Southern District Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). Dietze will receive his award at the NASPE convention in Texas in early April. He was in charge of student activities at West Potomac for over 27 years, and is one of five district winners named by NASPE. One of those five will later be named National Athletic Director of the Year on April 11.

Dietze was among the administrators who helped form West Potomac High School by merging the former Fort Hunt High and Groveton High Schools in the 1980s. He worked with coaches to integrate their teams with students from both schools, and was instrumental in convincing parents and the community to support West Potomac. As chair and co-chair of the Virginia High School League Coaching Education program for 12 years, Dietze was instrumental in obtaining certification for the Virginia American Sport Education program.

He is a past winner of the Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators State Athletic Director of the Year award and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Distinguished Service Award. Dietze earned his undergraduate degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from George Mason University.


Hayfield Families Do the Math

Destination Calculation and Measure for Treasure are two of the activities that parents and students can take part in during Family Math and Science Fair Night at Hayfield Elementary on Thursday, April 3 beginning at 6 p.m. Families can also play Beach Ball Circle and Geo Memory as they promote math skills through fun activities. The school’s science fair will feature projects from students in grades K-6.Sixth grade projects will be judged by Hayfield Secondary’s Advanced Placement Science Club, some members having attended Hayfield Elementary.


Staff Showdown at the Net

Kings Glen Elementary and Kings Park Elementary will hold their first staff volleyball game on Friday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m. at Lake Braddock Secondary. Teachers from both schools have been practicing hard. The Kings Glen team has played against student teams in the past. Tickets will be available at the door, with proceeds to be donated to the combined Kings Glen-Kings Park PTA.


Student Succeeds at State Geography Bee

Lanier Middle School student Kody Sherlund has been named a semifinalist in the Virginia Geography Bee. Sherlund is now eligible to compete at the state level after earning one of the top 100 scores on the eligibility test. The state bee will be held on Friday, April 4, at Shenandoah University in Winchester. The National Geography Bee will be held at the National Geographic Society headquarters on May 20 and 21.


HS Senior Lays Down the Law

Chantilly High School senior Jessica Draut is one of 25 students in Virginia chosen to advance to the Supreme Court of Virginia in the annual Model Judiciary program, cosponsored by the Virginia Bar Association (VBA) and the YMCA. The Model Judiciary program challenges students who may be considering careers as lawyers to develop cases based on moot court cases used by Virginia law schools. Students must first prepare for competition at the district level, developing cases that include questions of participating witnesses before local judges and student juries, with the ultimate decision of guilt or innocence being decided by the juries.

Some student attorneys are selected to participate in the appellate round during which they are competitively judged by both a local judge and a state representative of the VBA. A select group of these student attorneys from the appellate level are then chosen to advance to the final round in Richmond, Va., where they further argue their appellate case before both sitting and former justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia. Students from Centreville High, Lee High, and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology also participated in the finals of the competition.


Aspiring Dentists Floss Others for Free

Dental Careers students from West Potomac Academy recently participated as volunteer dental assistants in the Mission of Mercy (MOMS) project at Northern Virginia Community College’s Medical Campus in Springfield. The students joined local dentists, hygienists and dental assistants to offer free dental care to the community, and were actively involved in assisting dentists and taking x-rays. Several students were able to speak to customers in their native languages. West Potomac Academy Dental Careers students have participated in the program since it began five years ago. Within the West Potomac school community, students conduct dental screenings for the Head Start and Pulley Career Center students. They also make custom mouth guards for students in FCPS athletic programs. As part of the program, academy students take part in eight-week paid internships with local dentists as part of the program.


Web Curator Wins Best Practices Award

Fairfax County Public Schools have awarded their March 2008 Best Practices Award to Key Center web curator Nicole Bracken for usefulness and adaptation of the elementary school template for Key Center. Bracken’s site can be found at FCPS recognizes one web curator each month for his or   her efforts in web design.


2008 Teacher of the Year Announced

Michelle Ohanian from Mountain View Alternative High School has been named the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) 2008 Teacher of the Year. Ohanian will go on to represent FCPS in Virginia’s Teacher of the Year Competition.