School News and Notes


Graham Road Elementary School to Relocate

The Fairfax County School Board has voted to relocate Graham Road Elementary School (3036 Graham Road, Falls Church) from its current location to the current Devonshire Center site (2831 Graham Road Falls Church). Renovation of the Devonshire site is scheduled to be completed by the 2011-12 school year. Renovating the Devonshire site will be faster and less disruptive than renovating Graham Road, as students will not be present during renovations.

Relocating to the eight-acre Devonshire site will allow for improved athletic fields and playground facilities and the school’s capacity for students will be increase by 100-150 (500 as compared to 350 to 400 at the current Graham Road). Devonshire will also offer less traffic congestion and will allow the Head Start-Family and Early Childhood Education Program (FECEP) to stay in the same building as the K-6 students. The move to Devonshire, however, will require most students to arrive at school on buses, which will most affect the students who currently walk to Graham Road.

Fairfax County Students Win at International Science and Engineering Fair

Eight Fairfax County students won third awards and three won fourth awards at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta. Winners of third awards were: Andre Gerner (Marshall HS) in Environmental Sciences for Efficacy of a Radon Pump at Mitigating Background Radiation Level, Dhruv Kedar and Shawn Mittal (Chantilly HS) in Team Projects for Chaos: An Analysis of Market Nonlinearity. Sumit Malik, Joy Lee and Phillip Grisdela (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology – TJHSST) in Team Projects for Optimization of Sustained Power Generation in Marine Sediment Microbial Photovoltaic Cells, William McGrath (TJHSST) in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering for Practical Motion Capture for Mixed-Reality Applications, and Sappho Gilbert (TJHSST) in Medicine and Health Sciences for Surviving Correlates With Prognosis and Inhibits Drug-Induced Apoptosis in Ewing Sarcoma Family Tumors.

Winners of fourth awards were Michael Finneran (Chantilly HS) in Energy and Transportation for The Effect of Tidal Generator Design on Power Output, Alexander Peterkin (Oakton HS) in Behavioral and Social Sciences for The Relationship Between Nail Biting and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Alexander Kim (TJHSST) in Animal Sciences for Biocontrol Potential of Five Freshwater Decapods for a Polyspecific Trematode Vector Snail (Thiaridae: Melanoides tuberculata).

McGrath also won a scholarship for $8,000 from the Office of Naval Research on behalf of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and $200 from the Patent and Trademark Office Society for his project. Kim received a first award of $600 from the North American Benthological Society.

Fairfax County Teams Compete in Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

Seven Fairfax County Odyssey of the Mind teams will compete in the World Finals at the University of Maryland from May 31 to June 3. In Problem 1: Odyssey Road Rally, a combined team of students from Louise Archer ES and Wolftrap ES will compete, as will a team from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST). Teams from Oakton HS and TJHSST will compete in Problem 2: DinoStories. Teams from Lake Anna ES and TJHSST will compete in Problem 3: The Wonderful Muses. In Problem 4: Tee Structure, teams from Colvin Run ES and TJHSST will compete. A team from TJHSST will compete in Problem 5: The Eccentrics! Each competition is divided into two parts, spontaneous problem solving and a presentation of a long-term problem. In order to qualify for World Finals, teams needed to place first in both regional and state competitions.

Reed Smith LLP Named FCPS Partner of the Year

Reed Smith LLP was announced as Fairfax County Public Schools 2007-08 Partner of the Year for its work with Graham Road ES. Reed Smith was honored at the FCPS business-school partnership reception and awards ceremony held May 21. The company provided mentors for Graham Road students, attended school events, hosted musical performances at their offices, funded homework agenda books and provided backpacks and enough school supplies for an entire school year to each Graham Road student.

The Grevey Foundation won the Community Partnership Award for its support of Jackson MS. The foundation holds an annual summer event, hosted by former Washington Bullets star Kevin Grevey, in which a group of 9 to 15-year-old students learn life skills and participate in a basketball program.

National Merit Scholarship Winners Named

Eight local high school seniors were named 2008 National Merit Scholarship Winners. Colleges and universities provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate studies. There are over 2,800 winners of these awards nationwide. Kimberly A. Kosta of Bishop O’Connell HS will attend the University of Alabama in the fall. The remaining seven winners come from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology: Andrew W. Stebbins will attend Rochester Institute of Technology, Alyson L. Yee will attend Tufts University, Hanna M. Howard will attend Northwestern University, Colleen L. Zhu will attend the University of Southern California, and Henry G. Bosco, Morgan L. Bell and Michael G. Dunn will attend Virginia Tech.

TJHSST Teachers Debut Podcasts

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) foreign language teachers Betsy Sandstrom, Carter Vaden and Koji Otani debuted student-created podcasts on May 23. These were funded by a competitive grant of $10,000 provided by TJHSST alumni and novelists Dustin Thomason and Ian Caldwell. By creating podcasts in Russian, German and Japanese, students integrated technology into learning a foreign language.

Annandale HS Students Place in Top 25 Percent in Financial Literacy Challenge

Ten Annandale HS students ranked in the top 25 percent in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s inaugural National Financial Literacy Challenge. Laith Abu-Taleb, Richard Chau, James Choi, Alicia Frederickson, Winston Leslie, Daniel Maylett, Nicole Randolph, Steve Sengmany, Ahria Sorbi and Danielle Suchar will be recognized for their achievements. The Financial Literary Challenge is a new initiative recommended by the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.

High School Graduations Ahead

Local high schools will hold their graduation ceremonies in the coming weeks. Falls Church HS will graduate on May 30 at the Patriot Center (4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax) at 1:30 p.m. J.E.B. Stuart HS will graduate on June 3 at J.E.B. Stuart HS (3301 Peace Valley Lane, Falls Church) at 4 p.m. George Mason HS will graduate on June 11 at DAR Constitutional Hall (1776 D St. NW, D.C.) at 7 p.m. McLean HS will graduate on June 12 at DAR Constitutional Hall at 2:30 p.m. George C. Marshall HS will graduate on June 13 at DAR Constitutional Hall at 10 a.m.

FCPS Shortens 07-08 School Year

Fairfax County Public Schools will reduce the 2007-08 standard school year calendar by two days, making Friday, June 13, the last day of school for most schools. June 17 will be the last day for elementary school students on a modified schedule, and May 30 will be the last day for modified secondary school students. Students at Braddock Elementary School, Cunningham Park Elementary School, Flint Hill Elementary School and Wolftrap Elementary School will have their last full day of school on June 16, to make up for one day of school lost due to a power failure earlier this year. According to Superintendent Jack D. Dale, the School Board made this decision because FCPS did not use all of its inclement weather days this year.

FCPS Approves FY 2009 Budget

The Fairfax County School Board approved a $2.2 billion budget for FY 2009. Because they will receive a combined $40.4 million less than requested from the county and state, the Board made reductions of $39.7 million in addition to the $33 million in reductions included in the advertised budget. To meet restrictions, the School Board agreed to increase class sizes by 0.5 students, reduce central office support, redesign summer school and other programs, and reduce the market scale adjustment for employees from 3 percent to 2 percent. These measures will save $56 million.

Increases to the budget include for the additional 3,500 students expected next year, replacing the outdated student information system, expanding full-day kindergarten to five additional schools, continuing the FLES program and bus driver compensation. These expenditure increases add up to $30.2 million. The School Board is also setting aside an additional $5.3 million because of rising fuel prices. For more information on the FY 2009 approved budget, visit

Students Win Highest Honors in WordMasters Challenge

Students from the Congressional Schools of Virginia (3229 Sleepy Hollow Rd., Falls Church) won highest honors in the WordMasters Challenge, a national language arts competition that consists of three separate meets throughout the school year. Over 230,000 students nationwide participate every year.

The school’s seventh graders tied for 12th place in the Blue Division in the year-end cumulative standings out of 301 schools at that level. Hansung Bae, Jordan McDaneld and Tejas Patel earned perfect scores and were honored for individual achievement.

Other students honored for their achievement in the year’s final meet were William Clark, India Brahm, Nour Aburish, Diana Amos, Jane Werntz, Alice Yuen, Julia Anderson, Rukmini Basu, Nick Bourbeau, Caroline Mack, Rajeev Bhagowalia, Alexander Boyd, Spencer Hawkins, Matt Kelley, Casey Lim, Marshall Nimick, Reece Anderson and Andrew Kolczynski.