Local Commentary

Guest Commentary: City Public Schools Thank Community Partners

A friend of mine keeps a gratitude journal, in which she writes down one thing she is grateful for every day. She says this helps her keep a balanced perspective because even on the worst days, she can come up with something worthy of gratitude.

If Falls Church City Public Schools kept such a journal, we couldn’t limit ourselves to just one thing per day. We’d be filling up pages with glowing entries about generous individuals and businesses in the community. For example, in August more than 50 businesses donated items to the New Teacher Welcome bags – which were given to all of our new staff. They received pens, pencils, mugs, earrings, dog treats, magazines and more. Restaurants catered lunches and donated breakfasts.

This is only the beginning of the school year!

We are grateful for the talented administrators, teachers and support staff who make going to school a pleasure. We are grateful for the city employees who work in partnership with the schools: Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Human Services, Public Safety, Library and everyone at City Hall. It is a pleasure to work with you.

We are grateful for a thriving relationship with the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce. Through the Business in Education Partnership, we help businesses find the right fit to become involved in the schools as partners. BIE Partnerships are good for businesses; good for schools; good for community.

We are grateful for the parent volunteers who run school-affiliated organizations: Falls Church Elementary PTA, Mary Ellen Henderson PTA, Falls Church Public Schools Band Boosters, George Mason High School PTSA and Athletic Boosters. They work throughout the year to build strong schools, support teachers and plan community-building social events.

We are grateful that 20 non-profit organizations will be at GMHS Friday morning to share community service opportunities with students. We know that our students will sign up to make the world a better place!

We are grateful for the Falls Church Education Foundation, our very own Academic Boosters. The Foundation’s Smart Technology Fund, Backpacks and Books Fund and Pathways to Baccalaureate Fund are just three of the funds that collect and disburse money to school projects.

Speaking of the Foundation, don’t miss this Sunday’s Run for the Schools! Hundreds of people will be running, walking and cheering.

We are grateful for those who volunteer their time in classrooms, on field trips, at Career Fairs, in the GMHS Athletic Boosters snack bar, at the PTA Ice Cream Social, in the art room, on the playground, for the All Night Graduation Party and many more places. Being part of FCCPS means that when a call for volunteers goes out, people answer instantaneously – sharing their professional expertise, their free time and their donations.

We are grateful for the taxpayers who live and do business in Falls Church. You make it all possible. We are the beneficiaries of your tax dollars, and we hope to return the favor by keeping property values high and Falls Church City a desirable destination.

Are you inspired to do something to be part of the schools? Here are a few simple ways to get involved:

1. Sign up for Giant A+ at www.giantfood.com/aplus. Designate one or two schools, and you’ll automatically donate every time you shop at Giant. We’re trying to raise $20,013 in 2013! George Mason HS is #1925; Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School is #2930; Thomas Jefferson Elementary is #1938 and Mt. Daniel School is #1935.

2. Collect those Box Tops for Education, Campbell’s Soup Labels, Target REDcard points, Coke Rewards, and on and on. Our elementary and middle schools collect these.

3. There are many events that everyone in the community can attend – theatrical performances, concerts, sports and art shows. We love to have community members enjoy the amazing talents of our students. Check out www.fccps.org for schedules, or sign up for the Morning Announcements to have info delivered right to your inbox. www.fccps.org/morningannouncements.

4. Run (or Walk) for the Schools this Sunday. If you haven’t registered yet, you can sign up at Road Runner Sports on Friday from 4-8 p.m., at the Fall Festival on Saturday, or 7 a.m. on Race Day. Anyone can cheer for the runners starting at 8 a.m. in front of Cherry Hill Farmhouse.

5. Sign up for the Business in Education Partnership. It doesn’t cost anything, and you will find out about opportunities to expand your involvement in the schools. Send me an email at connellym@fccps.org and I will add you to the mailing list.

We’ve got lots to be grateful for in Falls Church City Public Schools. If you haven’t participated yet, consider this your invitation to get to know us better!


Marybeth Connelly is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Falls Church City Public Schools.