Around F.C.

School News: June 8 – 14

8th Grader Receives C-SPAN Award

C-SPAN Director of Education Relations Craig McAndrew came to Henderson Middle School last week to honor eighth grader Sesh Sudarshan, who won second prize in C-SPAN’s annual student documentary competition, StudentCam (  He placed second out of 3000 entries and the top entry out of Virginia and was presented with a $1500 check.  He also received letters from Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Sen. Mark Warner.

The annual national documentary competition encourages students to think critically about issues affecting  communities and nations.  Middle and high school students were challenged to create a short documentary addressing the theme: “If you were a newly elected member of Congress, which issue would be your priority and why?”

Critical Decision Points Session Coming Soon

FCCPS Special Education & Student Services is excited to invite parents to attend an informative full-day session hosted in partnership with VDOE. The session is called “Critical Decision Points for Parents of Students with Disabilities” and it will be held Friday, June 9 between 9:30 a.m. — 2:30 p.m.

OSE Students Participate In Science Olympiad

Congratulations to all the Oak Street students who participated in Science Olympiad: Aimee Barnette, Amund Anderson, Colby Marlin, Cora Schroeder, Davis Gordon, Elena Mercado, Elisa (Ely) Tarrant, Evan Mohel, Greg Harper, Hunter Marlin, Ian Black Palacios, James Callan, João Rezende, Marabelle Loker, Nathan Conley, Nikhil Kapadia, Sebastian Savitz and Violet Sakata. Those who placed in the regional competition also deserve to be recognized: Nikhil and Evan in Air Rockets, Nathan and Greg in Gunk – Gooey Stuff and Aimee and Hunter in Astronomy – Telescopes.

Two FCCPS Students Win IB Excellence Awards

Nora Walker — a fifth grader at Oak Street, and Preston Lieu — a 10th grader at Meridian High School — won Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme awards, respectively.  

Nora’s teacher said, “Nora is a wonderful part of the class. She looks deeply into the topics we learn in class, is open-minded, and often examines different perspectives to see different sides of an issue. She consistently demonstrates her dedication to the PYP curriculum through her academics and as a supportive member of her class community. It has been a privilege to watch Nora grow as a learner and a member of our class.”

Preston’s Journalism II Teacher said: “Preston has embodied leadership as a journalism student this year. He has taken on the challenges of his role as Section Editor by leading his staff writers, providing timely feedback, and assisting in the writing process. Preston selflessly accepts any task that will assist in making Lasso the best student publication possible. His efforts have earned him a promotion to Public Relations and Outreach Editor for the 2023-24 school year, and there is no one I would trust more in this position.”

According to the website, “The IBMA Student Excellence Award is designed to recognize outstanding PYP, MYP, CP and DP students from member schools who represent the ideals of the IB Learner Profile and have displayed a commitment to service. Applicants must be IB students from IB Mid-Atlantic member schools. An IBMA Student Excellence Award will be granted to at least one student enrolled in each level of the IB continuum (PYP, MYP, DP, CP), provided that the IBMA Student Excellence Award Selection Committee determines that there is at least one applicant per program level who qualifies for the award.”

C-SPAN Director of Education Relations Craig McAndrew came to Henderson Middle School last week to honor 8th grader Sesh Sudarshan, who won 2nd prize in C-SPAN’s annual student documentary competition, StudentCam. (Photo: John Brett)

OSE Students Ran the Girls on The Run 5K

Girls on the Run (GOTR) from Oak Street Elementary participated in its spring 5k on May 21 on a closed loop in Tysons. This event, which represented the culmination of 10 weeks of training (2x per week before school), included numerous schools and more than 1,000 runners from around the area. Before the race began, many girls celebrated their incredible achievements thus far with festive hair colors, colorful hair ribbons and face stickers. The girls were accompanied by buddy runners who also completed the hilly course. A large cheering section energized and fueled the girls as they met the final portion of the run. 

Over 50 girls from Oak Street participated in GOTR. For many, it was their first 5k, while many had completed multiple 5k runs already. The Oak Street Elementary team was supported by nine volunteer coaches who instructed the runners each practice and logged many miles through the process. 

GOTR is a national organization designed to empower young women by boosting self-confidence, valuing relationships, and highlighting how women can impact their communities. A daily lesson often accompanied each training session. 

GOTR will be back in the fall under new head coach Carla Sidhu. Look for sign-up shortly after the next school year begins. 

Adjusted Start Time for JTP Next Year

For the upcoming 2023-2024 academic year, the Jessie Thackrey Preschool (JTP) will commence its daily schedule 20 minutes earlier than the current time.

Existing Student Schedule: 8:15 a.m. — 2:20 p.m.

New (2023-2024) Student Schedule: 7:55 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.

Existing Student Early Release: 8:15 a.m. — 12:40 p.m.

New (2023-2024) Student Early Release: 7:55 a.m. — 12:20 p.m.

The school doors will continue to open 10 minutes before the start time, shifting to 7:45 am.

The move solves a logistical challenge of four buses dropping off approximately 150 secondary students at the MEHMS/MHS campus at 7:30 a.m., 35 minutes before school starts, while also managing the JTP bus run. By adjusting the drop-off time for these secondary students to 7:50 a.m., they can be ensured an additional 20 minutes of sleep. This change allows the secondary students to be picked up 20 minutes later, aligning their arrival time with the rest of the students at the secondary campus each morning.

Mustang Mysteries a Raging Success

Meridian High Schools Mustang Mysteries Club put on its second charity murder mystery night on Saturday, May 20. The event, benefitting the Innocence Project, raised over $1100 and hosted a large crowd. The club members wrote and performed the second show of its kind. The plot, more complex than the last but all the more captivating, centered around a decades-old conspiracy to cover up a murder in 1983. The twist ending, inspired by Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” revealed that they all had their hand in the murders and their cover-ups. 

The night ended with a heartfelt farewell from senior club founder and president Alex Steinbach who then announced his successors, Riley Chirico and Olivia Pierre.

FCCPS Discuss Digital Media & Mental Health

A group of parents concerned about the effects of digital technology on young people’s development gathered to discuss the problems they are seeing and potential solutions. The group, which is a working group of the Health and Wellness Advisory Committee, is led by Komal Bazoz Smith and Laura Gould, School board member Jerrod Anderson was also in attendance. The group of a dozen parents exchanged ideas about how boundaries around technology use can be reinforced at home and in school, including ideas about how to reduce phone use in school. Multiple attendees also expressed disappointment that their child’s school-issued laptop didn’t have content filters and that parental controls are difficult to install on personal devices. Moving forward, the group plans to speak with school staff about what policies are in place around technology use in schools and how the policies are being enforced. 

“We started thinking about this as a civil discourse and critical thinking issue,” Komal Bazoz Smith said about social media, teens, and the digital age. “But we also saw that parents were concerned about their kid’s development and mental health.”