School News & Notes

IB Coordinator to Enrich Program at Mason

George Mason High School has welcomed Asheesh Misra as its new coordinator of the International Baccalaureate program, an internationally recognized program of studies available to highly motivated 11th and 12th grade students. After serving as an IB history teacher for three years at the International School of Curitiba, Misra began his tenure as an IB history and government teacher at Marshall High School. In 2006, he became the school’s social studies department co-chair. Last year, he was named the co-coordinator of the school’s IB diploma program.

Local Residents Receive Academic Honors

The following local students were recently named to the dean’s list at Northeastern University for the 2008 spring semester: Susan Lockwood, Colleen C. Mitchell, Megan L. Krout and Hughes Burridge. To achieve the dean’s list distinction, students must carry a full program of at least four courses, have a quality point average of 3.25 or greater out of a possible 4.0 and carry no grade lower than a C during the course of their college career.

Student Named to University’s President’s List

Longwood University selected 281 students to the President’s List for superior academic achievement during the spring 2008 semester. Among those chosen, Fairfax resident Catherine Anne Pryplesh earned a perfect academic average of 4.0.

Solar Panels Powers Green School

Emerging as one of the fastest increasing forms of alternative energy, solar power offers savings on energy bills and lessens American dependency on foreign oil. In support of this renewable energy source, George Mason High School senior James Peterson spearheaded a project to make his school become more energy efficient. The school will now get some of its power from the sun because 18 solar panels were installed on its roof. Nearly three kilowatts of power will be delivered directly to the school. In addition to solar panels, the project includes a computer system to monitor power production data. Teachers plan to incorporate the data in the school’s math and science curriculums. The project was funded by donation from local businesses, organizations and citizens. The panels were installed by the renewable energy development firm SWITCH, roofing contractor Magco, Inc. and Walsh Electric.

Board Names Interim Principal for Mason

Having served as one of George Mason High School’s assistant principals for three years, veteran educator Mary McDowell’s appointment as the school’s interim principal has been approved by the Falls Church City School Board. Prior to becoming an assistant principal, McDowell taught biology and served as the school’s science department leader and curriculum instruction and resource teacher. As a result of Principal Bob Snee’s retirement on June 30, McDowell was appointed to fill the position for the 2008-2009 school year. She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Clemson University and earned her master’s degree in secondary science education from Winthrop University. Her term as interim principal began July 1.

New Leader Joins FC School Board

Freelance writer Charlotte Hyland took the oath of office on June 24 to begin her first term with the Falls Church City School Board following her election to the board in the spring. Hyland holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado. For nearly 10 years she served as editor of the school system’s elementary PTA newsletter, The Advocate, and later for the PTSA’s newsletter, The Maverick. The school board met July 1 for its annual organizational meeting where the board’s chairman and vice-chairman were elected. The yearly schedule was also set at the meeting.

Board Votes to Build South County Middle School

The proposed South County Middle School project is scheduled to move forward after the Fairfax County School Board voted last week. Under the direction of the Board, Superintendent Jack D. Dale is investigating the possibility of exchanging the currently designated property for other county property directly adjacent to the current South County Secondary School site for construction of the new middle school. Building the proposed school adjacent to secondary school enables both facilities to share the same athletic fields, ultimately reducing costs associated with the middle school.

The school board also accepted $5 million for FY 2009 and $5 million for FY 2010 from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Those funds will be added to $2 million previously allocated by the School Board. The Superintendent was also directed to investigate sources of additional new funding or financing, which could include bridge financing or public-private partnerships, to cover the cost of the new school. The School Board intends that the new school be built by 2012. South County Secondary School, which was originally built to serve as a high school with a capacity of 2,500 students, has been operating as a secondary school with 2,900 students enrolled in grades 7-12 during the 2007-08 school year. The school is currently operating on a nine-period day in order to accommodate the extra students.

FCPS Academy Signs Partnership Agreements

West Potomac Academy Recently expanded its partnership with Greenspring Village and signed new partnership with agreements with Fairfax Public Access and Just Dance, which will share resources and expertise with students and staff members. As one of six high school academies in Fairfax County, West Potomac’s curriculum teaches students the skills needed for various occupations in their fields of interest.

FCPS Included In Top 100 Workplaces For IT Professionals

Fairfax County Public Schools has been selected as one of the top100 workplaces for information technology professionals in 2008 by Computerworld. This honor is based on Computerworld’s 15th Annual Best Places to Work in IT Survey.

For the 15th year in a row, Computerworld’s annual survey has ranked the top 100 work environments for technology professionals, based on a comprehensive questionnaire with categories such as benefits, diversity, career development, training, and retention. More than 31,000 IT employees responded to the employee survey from the final 100 companies selected. This is the second year that FCPS has been selected for this honor. FCPS is the only K-12 school system to make the list. Approximately 450 people work in IT for FCPS as software developers, project managers, database and network engineers, and technical support specialists.

Promise Shines Through Despite Tough Economic Times

In its effort to assist 100 deserving and hard-working students from around the country in making college more affordable, Upromise, the nation’s largest private source of college funding contributions, awarded Lizzeth Montejano of Falls Church with a $2,500 scholarship. Upromise’s distributed a total of $250,000 in scholarships to selected students.