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School News & Notes

FCPS Modifies Admissions Test

Fairfax County Public Schools will modify the admissions test for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology beginning with the December 2008 test session. The test is comprised of standardized mathematics and verbal reasoning questions that assesses the knowledge and skills needed for success in a high school program for high-achieving students. Changes are planned for the test’s mathematics and verbal sections to align it with the new Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) and admission tests given at comparable selective high schools for high-achieving students nationwide. Quantitative comparisons will be eliminated in the mathematics section, which now will be composed solely of 50 word problems and computation questions. Analogies and word meaning questions will be eliminated in the verbal section. The changes to the verbal section will reduce that section from 70 to 45 questions. The total testing time for the mathematics and verbal sections now will be two hours; this time frame will better serve students who also must complete a one-hour essay writing exercise on the day of testing.




Student Wins National Essay Contest
 

Kaelan Cuozzo of Little Run Elementary was one of eight students nationwide selected as winners of the Dream! Reach! Succeed!, an essay contest sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. The contest recognizes students who aspire to achieve greatness at home, in school, and in their communities by modeling eight conditions developed by Russell Quaglia.

 

“Green” School Awarded $1,000

 

The students at Spring Hill Elementary are all about going “green.” In their latest effort to help Fairfax County residents conserve energy, the students were challenged by the Bright Futures Project to spread the word about energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and to sell them at a discounted price to their families, neighbors, and members of the community. Spring Hill students sold more bulbs than any other school, qualifying them for the $1,000 prize. The award will fund a school-wide conservation project. Students learned that the bulbs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and require approximately 75 percent less energy to operate. One of the goals of the project was to replace one incandescent bulb with an efficient bulb for each of the approximately 167,000 students in the county’s public school system, which is the equivalent of removing the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 6,000 passenger cars.

 
Poster Promotes Safety in the Sun
 

Caroline Mannon, a sixth grader at Spring Hill Elementary, creatively illustrated the importance of sun safety in the Limit the Sun, Not the Fun poster contest sponsored by the Shade Foundation. Mannon’s poster won first place in Virginia for depicting five examples of skin protection tips. She was awarded with an iPod nano. Shade Foundation donated sun safety bookmarks for her classmates and a bag of color-changing beads students can use to experiment with the effects of the sun and sun block. Spring Hill Elementary received a UV sun meter that will be placed outside, which students can use to report on the daily UV index during the weather report on the morning news show. 

 
Pair Ranks 2nd in Writing Challenge
 

Anisha Apte and Swetha Pasala of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology won second place in the Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge for their story, “Princess Sophie’s Garden.” B’nai B’rith International, a Jewish humanitarian and advocacy organization, sponsors the annual competition to promote tolerance and equality. High school students were asked to write and illustrate a children’s book that discusses tolerance and diversity. 

 

Junior Named Nation’s Most Philosophical Student

 

Meghan Nelson, a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, has been named The Most Philosophical Student in America for winning the high school division of the 2008 Kids’ Philosophy Slam. Nelson submitted an essay, “Is global arming the greatest challenge facing humankind?” The Kids Philosophy Slam promotes critical thinking skills and encourages dialogue between students and adults. Students can express themselves in words, artwork, poetry, or song, and each grade level has its own national winner. The top four high school students debate a philosophical question at the national finals to compete for the title of the Most Philosophical Student in America.

 
Students Donate to Local Program
 

Westlawn Elementary students contributed $100 to the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Invasive Management Area program. Students raised funds by selling bracelets. They are members of Biz World, a club in which they learned how to operate a business. The Invasive Management Area program supports tree preservation and habitat restoration of the natural areas in the county. Volunteers help remove invasive species such as kudzu and English ivy, and replace those plants with native trees, shrubs and flowers. The students’ donation will be used to purchase native trees to help keep local forests healthy.

 
Annandale High Apple FCU Branch Awarded


The Annandale High School branch of Apple Federal Credit Union (Apple FCU) has been named 2007-08 Branch of the Year for branches over two years old. Annandale’s Atom Branch opened more than 100 new accounts during the 2007-08 school year. Students Nathalie Cladera-Carrera, Erik Etherly, Azra Kundi, Thao Le, Muhammad Riaz, Jimena Rojas, Rabi Syed, and Nausheen Yusuf are credited with helping make the branch a success. Nineteen Fairfax County high schools have these branches, which are fully functioning branches of the credit union. Students run the branches, performing all duties from accepting membership applications to processing deposits.
 

FCPS Honors 2008 Distinguished School Resource Officer


Police Officer First Class Marvin Goodley, school resource officer (SRO) at Sandburg Middle School, has been named the 2008 Distinguished School Resource Officer by Fairfax County Public Schools. Goodley has served as SRO at Sandburg for the past five years and is praised by Sandburg principal Wendy Eaton for his work building positive relationships with students and for promoting positive community interaction. He has planned summits for at-risk male students, worked to deter gang involvement and gang behavior in the community, and provided information and speakers on social networking Internet sites and gang awareness for parents and staff members at Sandburg.
 

70 Students Graduate From Alternative High School


Bryant Alternative High School and Landmark Career Academy held a graduation ceremony for its 70 graduating students in the auditorium at Bryant on June 16. Many of Bryant’s graduates overcame language barriers and other difficult obstacles while completing their high school requirements. The students remained determined to reach the goal of obtaining their high school diplomas.
 

Student Named to Dean’s List
 

Samuel Moser of the class of 2009 at The College of William and Mary was named to the dean’s list for the 2008 spring semester. He maintained a 3.7 G.P.A.