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School News & Notes

White Oak’s Pu Named Essay Contest Semifinalist

Tiffany Pu, a sixth-grade student at White Oaks Elementary School, was chosen as a semifinalist in an essay contest sponsored by NASA, and, as a result, three White Oaks sixth-grade classes were given the opportunity to meet recently with Jet Propulsion Laboratories scientists and engineers during a live videoconference.916schoolnewsknowledgemast

White Oak’s Pu Named Essay Contest Semifinalist

Tiffany Pu, a sixth-grade student at White Oaks Elementary School, was chosen as a semifinalist in an essay contest sponsored by NASA, and, as a result, three White Oaks sixth-grade classes were given the opportunity to meet recently with Jet Propulsion Laboratories scientists and engineers during a live videoconference. Three schools in the U.S. took advantage of the opportunity, which allowed students to ask questions about the Cassini space probe currently orbiting Saturn that sends data back to scientists in Pasadena, Calif.

916schoolnewsknowledgemast

LONGFELLOW MIDDLE SCHOOL students, Carrie Marton, Madelyn Paquette, Nick Kemp, Varun Kumar, Coach Eugene Huang, Jonathan Leidenheimer and Nadege Aoki, won the second annual Junior National Academic Championship. (Courtesy Photo)

Great Falls E.S. Teacher Wins Elgin Heinz Award

Mamiya Sahara Worland, who has taught Japanese in the Japanese partial-immersion program for 16 years at Great Falls Elementary School, is the 2009 recipient of the United States-Japan Foundation Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award. The award is given annually to a pre-college teacher and includes a monetary award of $2,500 in addition to $5,000 to fund a project at the school.

Worland proposed the creation of a Japanese garden for her project. The garden would serve as an educational resource for the students and could be enjoyed by the community. Because Great Falls Elementary is currently undergoing an extensive renovation project, Worland felt that the garden would be the perfect addition to the Japanese immersion school when renovation is completed in fall 2010.

Known to the students as Sahara Sensei, Worland has been teaching Japanese in the Japanese partial-immersion program for 19 years. In Fairfax County Public Schools, students begin the Japanese partial-immersion program in first grade, where they are taught math, science, and health in Japanese. Students continue in the Japanese partial-immersion program through sixth grade and then take high school-level Japanese beginning in seventh grade.

Poe Middle Helps Uganda With ‘Books of Hope’

At Poe Middle School in Annandale, eighth-grade students have spent the past two months in their English classes researching, creating and designing books for the Books of Hope project, which pairs up a U.S. school with a sister school in Uganda. The Ugandan schools plan to teach specific topics to students but lack the textbooks to do so.

Each Poe student chose a topic from the list and created a textbook on that topic, using research skills to create an accurate study of the topic. The students were challenged to make the learning interactive and the books entertaining. Some of the books included puzzles and personal letters to the Ugandan students.

At the Vienna Day Boarding School, Poe’s sister school in Uganda, 70 percent of the students are orphans, and several students have been rescued from life as child soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army. Because Poe students follow the International Baccalaureate Middle Years program, the Books of Hope project helps the students better understand that they are part of a global community. The National Junior Honor Society at Poe raised more than $200 this year to send supplies to the Vienna Day Boarding School.