News Releases
2010-2011 School Year

Some news releases include photos that may be viewed by clicking on the attachment at the end of the release. Many of the documents on the FCPS Web Site are in PDF format and require Adobe's Acrobat Reader to be viewed and printed. To obtain a free version of Acrobat Reader click here.

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6/30/11 > CTE at Kettle Run Wins Regional Award
Kettle Run High School’s career and technical education department received a regional “Creating Excellence Award” from Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright, on behalf of Governor Bob McDonnell, at a June 16 ceremony in Richmond. Gov. McDonnell and the Virginia Department of Education this month recognized outstanding programs of the private sector and local educators in creating, improving and promoting CTE programs. Kettle Run’s career and technical education department received the award for its career exploration assignment, a cross-curricular assignment that helps students explore career options while eliminating duplication of efforts among the department’s six teachers.

Meaghan Brill, agricultural teacher at KRHS, explained how the project evolved from discussion among her CTE colleagues.

“As a CTE department, the six of us were trying to help our students reach state competencies, some of which related to finding jobs and attaining career skills,” she said. “We realized we were overlapping in what we were doing in our classes so we came together and decided to design one large project that would better prepare our students for a career.”

The assignment is multi-layered. Students begin by researching one job in which they’re interested and writing a one-page paper on it. Secondly, they must prepare a resume, one that is completely factual, Ms. Brill said, reflecting personal experience and accomplishments. Students must write a cover letter to a potential employer; depending on the subject, this step may also include preparation of a portfolio of individual work as well, for instance, photographs of hairstyles rendered by cosmetology students or business cards by graphic design students. Students must fill out a job application and then participate in a mock interview conducted by a CTE teacher who is not their instructor. If students take a CTE course each semester, they have an opportunity to be interviewed twice in a year.

“We have had really positive feedback from it,” said Ms. Brill. “Several students said they have been through more interviews at Kettle Run than their siblings have been through in college.”

In conjunction with the career exploration assignment project, this year the CTE department organized a career fair, inviting businesses and companies representing a wide range of career fields. Students were given the opportunity to ask questions and hear the pros and cons of various professions. Participating in the career fair were Legends Catering, Fauquier Springs, Fauquier Hospital, Fauquier County Extension Service, Designs by Teresa, Shenandoah University, Eldon Farm, CMW Soil Consultants, Department of Defense, F1 Computer Solutions, Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office, Hardwood Artisans, Realty Direct, Virginia Department of Forestry, Campbell Paris Engineering, Bright Eye Designs, M.C. Dean, Jafra Cosmetic Products, Operational Intelligence, Tritek Corporation, Oak View Bank, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Haircuttery, James Madison University, Art Institute, Lord Fairfax Community College and the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

“We hope this will help students find something they’re interested in and entice them to think about getting vocational education after high school,” said Ms. Brill. “That was the idea behind the career fair.”

Three of Kettle Run’s CTE teachers – Ms. Brill, Bill Davidson and Karen Frye – along with Sarah Frye, the school division’s instructional supervisor of CTE – attended the June 16 luncheon in Richmond to receive a plaque in honor of their regional award. The other CTE teachers at KRHS are Tanya Smith, Cindi Drakeford and Debbie Toms. Ms. Brill said the six teachers were pleased that their collaborative effort received recognition.

“If our efforts were going to overlap, we thought we should work together and make it bigger – to reach out to our students and find a neat way to do it together,” she said. “Now the challenge is to tweak [the project] and make it even better.”
6/30/11 > Retired Admiral Recounts Arctic Expedition
“I want to grow up and be like him,” said an Auburn Middle School sixth grader as he filed out of the Forum after hearing retired Rear Admiral Richard Thompson’s exciting account of an Arctic naval expedition of which he was a part. The 79-year-old retired Navy man visited Auburn in May to recount his role in the groundbreaking expedition of the first nuclear submarine through the Northwest Passage in 1960.

Adm. Thompson came at the invitation of Auburn Principal Steve Kadilak, who told the 190 sixth graders, “The story you are going to hear is true, it is part of history, and it is remarkable.”

To set the stage for what the world was like when the historic expedition occurred, Adm. Thompson reminded the Auburn adolescents that 1960 was a time of black and white TV’s, tape recorders with large reels, and cameras with flash bulbs. There was no Dulles Airport, no Disney World, no Busch Gardens and no Kings Dominion, he said. As for the Navy, submarines communicated from ship to shore only via Morse Code. “It was pretty slow, and we had to be close to the surface to do it,” he said. It was during this time that officials in the U.S. Defense Department began to ponder the possibility of helping the nation’s defense by finding a shorter Arctic route for atomic submarines to move from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Thompson told the students he was 29 years old at the time, serving aboard the USS Seadragon as the communications, sonar, and electronics officer. Seadragon’s mission was a secret one.

“We were to explore going through the Northwest Passage. No sub had ever been through the Northwest Passage; it was ice-covered with thick and shallow parts,” he said, “and no one had ever gotten pictures of what was under the ice so we were asked to do that.”

When the sub was outfitted with cameras prior to deployment, it was a new experience for the crew of 102. “Back then a video recorder was the size of six refrigerator-size cabinets, which simply couldn’t go on a sub,” he said, “so they had to miniaturize it. They boiled the video recorder down to 21 inches in diameter and 50 inches long – down to torpedo size.” The sub was outfitted with other special equipment as well, including an iceberg detector developed by an electronics engineer from Disney.

Departing from Portsmouth, NH, on August 2, 1960, and traveling to the Canadian Archipelago near Greenland, Adm. Thompson and the rest of the Seadragon crew traversed the Northwest Passage, completing the first submarine transit of the Passage on August 21, having operated, for the first time, around and under icebergs.

“Everyone was in great spirits,” Adm. Thompson recalled, noting that the Seadragon traveled below icebergs 22 times during its historic voyage. “Some were so huge we had trouble with the measuring equipment.”

The icebergs presented an interesting challenge. “When you have packed ice overhead, you can’t surface anytime you want,” Thompson said matter of factly. Water temperatures and conditions along with wind and ocean currents presented certain problems, he said. At one strategic point this challenge became crucial.

“Arrangements were made to put some scientists out on an iceberg with cameras so they could get some ‘PR’ pictures of our sub surfacing and submerging vertically,” he said. “At one point, though, we couldn’t find the hole to go back up in. For five hours we couldn’t find the hole so we just found a weak part of the ice to come through.”

Adm. Thompson recalled other significant aspects of the expedition – like seeing, on a TV monitor, the eerie panorama of ice passing overhead and then receiving a boatload of congratulatory messages upon traversing the Northwest Passage, including one from the President of the United States.

Its transit of the Northwest Passage complete, Seadragon headed for the North Pole which it reached on August 25, becoming the third submarine to surface there.

One of Adm. Thompson’s favorite memories associated with the epic voyage was a lighthearted one. When Seadragon reached the North Pole, crewmembers crawled out of the sub and laid out a softball diamond for a game on the ice. The enlisted crew beat the officers and chief petty officers 13-10, he said.

The sub pulled in to its new home port of Honolulu, HI, on September 14, 1960. Adm. Thompson said he remembers the very moment Seadragon radioed to Pearl Harbor, “Reporting for duty.” The submarine’s mission and its historic voyage were complete. Though Seadragon was gone for six weeks, its crew had proved a submarine could get from the East Coast to Pearl Harbor in two. Seadragon had made history navigating its way through the Northwest Passage successfully, capturing never-before-seen images on black and white film. Two years later, all the film from the expedition was edited together, and ABC featured it on its “Expedition!” series, billed as “true stories of man’s quest for the unknown” and hosted by Col. John D. Train. The retired admiral aired the crackling documentary for the enthralled sixth graders, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Before departing Auburn, Adm. Thompson shared one final memory that elicited smiles and laughter from the students and teachers.

“When we got back, the owner of the Philadelphia Phillies challenged us to play his team,” he said. “We told him we’d accept – as long as the game was on our field at the North Pole!”


6/30/11 > FHS Mixes It Up
At any school on any given day, it is no big surprise that when lunchtime arrives, students gravitate to the same group of friends each day. The “Mix-It-Up at Lunch” program is a national campaign that helps K-12 students, faculty and staff build community and raise awareness to improve intergroup relationships as students are encouraged to sit with a new group at lunch. This event provides students the occasion to meet students that they might not otherwise meet in their classes or during social events. It is an opportunity to practice social skills and experience the uniqueness of others.

Fauquier High School Diversity Committee members, administration and student leadership researched activities and then planned and implemented a Mix-It-Up at Lunch activity prior to year’s end. Lunch tables were reorganized into small clusters. All students were given name tags to facilitate introductions. A member of the student leadership hosted each table and recorded answers to questions such as “What makes you unique or special?” on a Diversity Square card. Students could dress “mixed-up wacky” for the day. Ice cream coupons, provided by the administration, were distributed to all students for participating.

The cafeteria staff prepared a diverse menu for the event: an All American for breakfast and choice of Asian, African, or Middle Eastern for lunch.

Prior to the event, teachers were invited to participate in ice-breaker activities with their advisory blocks, the school newspaper The Falconer ran an article to advertise and explain the event, and the faculty participated in a Mix-It-Up faculty meeting on to better understand and experience the coming event.

Reports from students, faculty and administration were very positive; many look forward to another Mix-It-Up day event next year.


6/28/11 > FCPS Elementary School Choruses Sing at Potomac Nationals Game
The Pierce Elementary School chorus traveled to Woodbridge last month to perform at a Potomac Nationals game. Even though it was a rainy day, the 22 fourth and fifth graders had high spirits and eagerly awaited their turn. During the seventh-inning stretch, the students energetically took the field at the third base line to sing a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for the attending crowd.

“The students were thrilled to see themselves on the big screen, to enjoy the ballgame and to have the opportunity to sing” at the event, said Pierce music teacher Christina Shaffer, who directed the chorus’ performance.

Earlier that evening the Bradley Elementary School chorus, under the direction of music teacher Arlene Thorpe, performed the National Anthem to kick off the game.

6/28/11 > Pierce Student Wins Writing Contest
“In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb,” a short story written by Pierce Elementary School student Payton O’Hara, is a first-place winner on the state level in the PBS Kids Go! Writing Contest. She received the award June 8 when a representative from PBS television station WCVE visited her school to surprise Payton with the news. Pierce fourth-grade teacher Elizabeth Carney entered Payton’s story in the writing contest, which is open to children in kindergarten through fifth grade who want to write and illustrate their own stories.

A month before winning at the state level, Payton’s story was selected as the first-place winner among fourth graders at the regional level (Northern and Eastern Virginia area). On Sunday, May 8, the regional winners received their awards at the studios of WCVE PBS where they also were recorded narrating their stories; digital versions will be available on in coming weeks.
6/28/11 > Excellence in Writing Award to FCPS Information Coordinator
Karen Parkinson, coordinator of information for Fauquier County Public Schools, received an Award of Merit in the excellence in writing category in the National School Public Relations Association’s 2011 Publications and Electronic Media Contest. The competition, open to all public or private schools and school divisions, is held annually to earn national recognition for school communication efforts. This year’s contest garnered 532 entries in the publications category, which were judged for “clear, concise and vibrant writing.”

Mrs. Parkinson received the award for a news release entitled “Chef Visits Thompson Elementary School,” which detailed a visit by U.S. Foodservice Executive Chef Marty Bermpohl to Thompson Elementary School as part of the federal “Chefs Move to Schools” program. The article is posted on the school division’s website on the News and Information page with all other school year 2010-2011 news releases.
6/28/11 > Civil War Trust Honors KRHS Teacher
Richard Deardoff, history and government teacher at Kettle Run High School, is this year’s recipient of the Civil War Trust’s Preservationist Teacher of the Year Award. During the organization’s annual conference in Chantilly, VA, Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer presented the award to Mr. Deardoff.

Mr. Lighthizer described the Fauquier County teacher and other Preservation Award recipients as “the unsung heroes of historic preservation” whose work would be felt for generations to come.

Every year the Trust recognizes an outstanding teacher for motivating students to become more involved in battlefield preservation. Mr. Deardoff was recognized for the rigorous curriculum of his American Civil War senior elective course, which requires students to volunteer at nearby sites (Cedar Mountain, Brandy Station, Remington) for at least eight hours per semester. His course includes a study of Fauquier County’s role in the conflict, including politics, individuals and events. His students examine reminders of the Civil War remaining in Fauquier and efforts to preserve them.
While very pleased at his faculty member’s award, Kettle Run High School Principal Major Warner wasn’t particularly surprised that Mr. Deardoff had won such an honor.

“Rich has an excellent rapport with our students, and his insight makes history come alive,” he said.

Born in New York City, Mr. Deardoff has lived in Virginia since 1976 when he began teaching history at Fauquier High School. He transferred to Kettle Run when the school opened three years ago.

The Preservationist Teacher of the Year explained recently why he devotes so much time and effort to Civil War preservation and why he feels it’s important for students to perform community service in this area: “In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln said that the world ‘...will never forget what they did here.’ But certainly we were not remembering when Fair Oaks Shopping Mall was built on the site of the Battle of Chantilly, or when a Formula One racetrack was planned at Brandy Station, the most fought-over site in American history with 22 separate battles and skirmishes there,” he said. “People have not forgotten; most times they were never aware of the history in our own backyards. History is not only to be read about but something that can be felt by being present where it occurred and contributing to its preservation. This active participation makes the past a part of our present.”

The preservationist award is one of several accolades bestowed upon Mr. Deardoff in the past several years. In 2007 the Brandy Station Foundation honored him as its “Volunteer of the Year” for historic preservation efforts he and his students undertook at the Graffiti House, Kelly’s Ford and St. James Cemetery. In 2008 and again in 2009 Mr. Deardoff was voted “Best Teacher” in Warrenton Lifestyle magazine’s “Best of Warrenton” contest.

“Mr. Deardoff has taught two generations of Fauquier County students,” said Dr. Pat Downey, the school division’s instructional supervisor for social studies. “He is an outstanding teacher, who combines substance, drama, and humor in every class.”

In addition to the courses he teaches, Mr. Deardoff also conducts historical walking tours of Warrenton for the school division’s professional development program and for the Fauquier Historical Society’s “Heritage Day.”

“Teachers new to Fauquier County as well as those born and raised here participate in his walking tours year after year because he always has something new to add – a new story to tell, or a way to connect the past with the present,” Dr. Downey said.

Mr. Deardoff is a regular speaker for Civil War Roundtables, the Sons of American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Southern Fauquier Historical Society, and the Liberty Heritage Society. On Thursday, June 30, he will be addressing James Madison University’s Content Academy on Civil War and Reconstruction.

6/28/11 > MMS Students Display Power of Words

In the closing weeks of school, a group of Marshall Middle School students set out to produce a visual representation of the power of everyday words to change the lives of others. After watching the short, powerful video clip “The Power of Words,” Lanelle Hilling’s enrichment class engaged in a lively discussion of the film’s theme – “Change your words, change your world.” Students then used their observations to create “Wordles,” word clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. Ms. Hilling said the final collage, on display for students and visitors at the school to view, was “a powerful, personalized testimony to the power of words in the lives of individual students.”

6/28/11 > Auburn Exceeds Reading Goal -- Again!
For the seventh year in a row Auburn Middle School students exceeded their annual reading goal, which this year was set at 6,150 books, a 10 percent increase over the previous year’s goal.

When the school opened in the year 2004, the principal and librarian set a goal for students and faculty to read 2,004 books by the end of the school year. Auburn met that goal, and every year since, the school has set and met higher goals.

For reaching the annual goal, Auburn celebrates each year with a special assembly to reward students. This year students were treated to a performance by a Bluemont Artists-in-Education performer, James Scott, “the LOUD Poetry Guy,” who entertained students in two assemblies. Mr. Scott, who lives in Chesapeake, is the author of two poetry books and a veteran performer in schools where he dynamically recites popular poetry by Shel Silverstein and other children’s poets. Mr. Scott also sat in on a meeting of Auburn’s 6th grade Principal’s Brown Bag Lunch Bunch Book Club and shared with the sixth graders that he is currently reading the Harry Potter series with his sixth-grade daughter. Following lunch, he led three poetry writing workshops with 30 students from each grade level participating. Following the example of a structured writing style that Mr. Scott presented, students wrote their own poems. Laughter rang as the students read the results of their work.

6/27/11 > Students Earn Industry Certification
Three members of Fauquier County Public Schools’ Class of 2011 recently earned an industry certification from the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA). Stephen Bailey, Andrew Kirch and Timothy Janowitz took the ADDA certification test at Fauquier High School after completing technology education and trade and industrial drafting and design classes at FHS. According to the association’s website, the ADDA professional certification enables drafters to demonstrate their knowledge of internationally recognized standards and practices and helps employers in identifying quality employees.
6/27/11 > KRHS Film Club First Place Winner in Contest
The Kettle Run High School film club won first place in the Disabled Veterans National Foundation’s Stories of Service Contest. Students Tamour Malik and Alyssa Gorman directed the video which took top honors in the high school category. The nearly five-minute film features an interview with faculty member and Army veteran Jacob Bennington.

In a letter announcing the award, Melissa Raynor, program manager for the foundation, wrote to Tamour and Alyssa, “Your video was very well done. Mr. Bennington’s story was really fascinating and you had a lot of interesting, thought-provoking questions for him.”

In recognition of the winning video, Tamour and Alyssa each received a check for $125, and the Disabled Veterans National Foundation donated $1,000 to Virginia Veterans Care Center in Roanoke, VA, which was the charity of the KRHS film club’s choice. The video appears on the foundation’s website, The Kettle Run film club is sponsored by teacher Shelly Norden.
6/27/11 > Thompson Hosts Literacy Celebration
As the 2010-2011 school year drew to a close, approximately 75 Thompson Elementary School students, family members, and community members participated in the school’s Family Literacy Night. The event began with a presentation by featured guest speaker Tom Davenport, a local film director and writer who shared his love of film making using stories from the Brothers Grimm to tell his tales. Mr. Davenport is the grandfather of two Thompson students, Henry and Marjorie Davenport.

After Mr. Davenport’s presentation, attendees gathered in the school cafeteria to enjoy ice cream donated by Moo Thru Dairy Farm in Remington.

6/21/11 > School Board Actions 6-13-11

The Fauquier County School Board met June 13, 2011, and took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the June 13, 2011, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Adopted Policy JJAC "Concussions."
  • Approved annual funding for the band programs as presented at the May 23 Special School Board Meeting and Work Session.
  • Awarded a contract to Pyramid Consulting, Inc. in the amount of $143,600 to perform general interior and exterior renovations to W.G. Coleman Elementary School.
  • Awarded a contract to Whitlock Dalrymple Poston & Associates, P.C. (WDP) for special inspections and materials testing services for the Fauquier High School renovation project for fees estimated to be $98,240.
  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the May 9 School Board meeting, May 16 special School Board meeting, May 23 special School Board meeting and work session, and May 27 special School Board meeting and work session; payment of bills; personnel actions; business education textbook adoption and Latin textbook adoption; and a religious exemption.

During a special School Board meeting and work session on May 23, the Fauquier County School Board took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the May 23, 2011, agenda on the school division web page

  • Approved the French and Spanish textbook adoption.
  • Approved the 2011-12 Carl Perkins Grant submission (for career and technical education programs).
  • Approved a one-time cash payment of 3% of the Superintendent's current salary, contingent upon the availability of funds this fiscal year, to be paid no later than June 30, 2011, with the same guidelines specified for all other school division employees.

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

  • School Board Office summer hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Offices are closed Fridays.
  • The June Finance and Personnel Committee meetings are cancelled.
  • Monday, June 27 - Chairman's Night at 5 p.m. in the School Administration Conference Room
  • Monday, June 27 - School Board Work Session at 6 p.m. in the School Administration Conference Room
  • Monday, July 11 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. in the Warren Green Building
6/16/11 > Recent Arrest of Assistant Principal

The School Board and administration are deeply troubled and disturbed by the recent arrest of Josh Myers, assistant principal at Greenville Elementary School. Mr. Myers has been employed with Fauquier County Public Schools since 2004.  He taught at Thompson Elementary School, and in 2008 became assistant principal at Greenville Elementary School.  He was slated to become principal at Brumfield Elementary School in July.  Mr. Myers has been suspended without pay, consistent with Virginia law, pending resolution of the legal proceedings.

Fauquier County Public Schools is cooperating with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and will continue to do so throughout this ongoing investigation.  At this time there is no indication that children enrolled in Fauquier County Public Schools were involved in circumstances that led to Mr. Myers' arrest.  Going forward, our focus will be on providing support for the administration, faculty and staff of Greenville and Brumfield Elementary Schools.

6/10/11 > Graduation 2011
Click on the attachment at the bottom for photos of Kettle Run High School Graduation on Thursday, June 2, 2011; Fauquier High School Graduation on Saturday, June 4, 2011; Liberty High School Graduation on Sunday, June 5, 2011; and Southeastern Alternative School Graduation on Tuesday, May 31, 2011.


6/09/11 > School Division to Observe Summer Hours
Again this year, in an effort to save thousands of dollars in utility costs, Fauquier County Public Schools will institute a mandatory four-day work week for employees who work during the summer.

Beginning June 13 through August 5, employees will work on an extended-day schedule Monday through Thursday, and all FCPS school buildings, including the School Board Office, will be closed on Fridays. Office hours Monday through Thursday will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Offices will be closed on Monday, July 4, for the holiday.

The final four-day work week will be the week beginning Aug. 1. However, that four-day work week will be Tuesday, Aug. 2, through Friday, Aug. 5, in order to give employees a four-day weekend, Friday, July 29, through Monday, August 1.
6/09/11 > TMS Students Participate in 'Great American Locker Clean Out!'
As the school year draws to a close, Taylor Middle School students participated during this final week in the "Great American Locker Clean Out!"

Students pulled notebooks, paper, pencils, and anything else recyclable or reusable from their lockers and placed them in boxes in the main hallway in order to reduce, recycle or reuse the left-over materials that might otherwise end up in the landfill. Taylor teacher Joan P. Payne organized the environmentally friendly event. “It worked out great here,” she said. “It was very much worth doing and generated lots of positive feedback.”

6/07/11 > History Textbooks Available for Review

Fauquier County Public Schools is adopting history and social science textbooks for use beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. Input from the public is an important step in the review process. The selection committee is recommending the following textbooks by grade level and subject:

  • Grade 9, World History to 1500: Ancient World History: Patterns and Interactions, published by Holt
  • Grades 9 and 10, World History to 1500 Honors and AP World History: Ways of the World: A Global History with Sources, published by Bedford/St. Martin's

The principal criteria for evaluating the World History to 1500 text is the Virginia Standards of Learning, available on-line at

The principal criteria for examining the World History to 1500 Honors and AP World History text are the AP World History Course and Exam Description: Effective Fall 2011, available on-line at and the Virginia Standards of Learning, available on-line at

The public is invited to review and comment on the recommendations from June 14 through July 9. The textbooks will be available for review in Building A, Room 4 of Old Central Elementary School, 430 East Shirley Ave, Warrenton. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. To review the texts outside of these hours contact Pat Downey at 540 422-7018 or

5/23/11 > Latin Textbooks Available for Review

Fauquier County Public Schools is adopting foreign language textbooks for use beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. Input from the public is an important step in the review process. The selection committee is recommending the following textbooks:

  • Grades 9-12, Latin 1: Cambridge Latin Course 4th Edition Unit 1 and Unit 2 Student Book, published by Cambridge University Press
  • Grades 9-12, Latin 2: Cambridge Latin Course 4th Edition Unit 3 Student Book, published by Cambridge University Press
  • Grades 9-12, Latin 3: Cambridge Latin Course 4th Edition Unit 4 Student Book, published by Cambridge University Press

The principal criteria for evaluating the texts are the Virginia Standards of Learning. The web address is

The public is invited to review and comment on the recommendations from May 23-June 10, 2011, in the textbook office (room 4) of Building A (old Central Elementary School), 430 East Shirley Avenue, Warrenton. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To make an appointment to examine the textbooks outside of these hours, contact Amy Hatton at (540) 422-7024 or

5/10/11 > School Board Actions 5-9-11

The Fauquier County School Board met May 9, 2011, and took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the May 9, 2011, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Endorsed the applications for the Safe Routes to School grant from VDOT and mini-grant from Prevention Connections for Cedar Lee Middle School.
  • Approved a contract award to Amber Enterprises in the amount of $119,999 to retrofit lighting at P.B. Smith Elementary.
  • Approved a contract award to Dant Clayton Corporation in the amount of $176,688 to replace the visitor-side bleachers at Fauquier High School.
  • Approved a contract award to Precision Sports Surfaces for an amount not to exceed $135,136 to resurface the Liberty High School running track surface.
  • Approved a contract award to Rayco Roof Services in the amount of $154,175 to replace the upper-level roof of the annex building at Fauquier High School.
  • Approved a contract award to Eastern Construction in the amount of $157,800 to perform general interior and exterior renovations to H.M. Pearson Elementary School.
  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the April 11 School Board meeting, payment of bills, personnel actions and the Special Education Annual Plan. Among the approved personnel actions was the appointment of Joshua Myers as principal of Brumfield Elementary School.

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

  • To Be Announced - Finance Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration Conference Room
  • Thursday, May 12 - Building Committee at 9 a.m. in the School Administration Conference Room
  • Tuesday, May 17 - Parks and Recreation Co-op at 6 p.m. in the Alice Jane Childs Bldg. basement conference room
  • Thursday, May 19 - Mountain Vista Governing Board at 8 a.m. at the LFCC Middletown Campus in the American Woodmark Board Room (note correction in location)
  • Monday, May 23 - Chairman's Night at 5 p.m. in the School Administration Conference Room
  • Monday, May 23 - School Board Work Session at 6 p.m. in the School Administration Conference Room
  • Wednesday, June 1 - Health Advisory Committee at 8 a.m. in the Central Complex meeting room
  • Wednesday, June 1 - Special Education Advisory Committee at 6 p.m. in the Central Complex A meeting room
  • Thursday, June 2 - Kettle Run High School's Graduation at 7 p.m. in the KRHS Stadium Complex
  • Saturday, June 4 - Fauquier High School's Graduation at 7 p.m. at Falcon Field
  • Sunday, June 5 - Liberty High School's Graduation at 3 p.m. at Jiffy Lube Live
  • Monday, June 6 - FCPS Employee Retirement Dinner at 5 p.m. at Liberty High School
  • Thursday, June 9 - Personnel Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration conference room
  • Thursday, June 9 - Building Committee at 9 a.m. in the School Administration conference room
  • Thursday, June 9 and Friday, June 10 - Half days for students
  • Friday, June 10 - Last day of school
  • Monday, June 13 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. at Fauquier High School
5/06/11 > Business Education Textbooks Available for Review
Fauquier County Public Schools is adopting Business Education textbooks for use beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. Input from the public is an important step in the review process.

The public is invited to review and comment on the recommendations from May 6-27 in the textbook office (room 4) of Building A (old Central Elementary School), 430 East Shirley Avenue, Warrenton, VA. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To make an appointment to examine the textbooks outside of these hours, contact Sarah Frye at 422-7002 or
5/04/11 > Fauquier High Spring Plant Sale Scheduled
The Fauquier High School Annual Spring Plant Sale will be held on Friday, May 6, from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday, May 7, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The public is invited to purchase ornamental and vegetable plants at the Fauquier High School Horticulture Annex and to place orders for the 2011 pond-stock fish (koi and catfish) sale. All sale proceeds are used to fund FHS horticulture instruction and supplies.

For further information about the plant sale contact Mrs. Hilleary at or (540) 428-2160.
5/04/11 > Southeastern Assistant Principal Will Move into Lead Role
Dr. Michelle “Shelly” Neibauer has been selected as the new principal of Southeastern Alternative School, effective July 1, 2011. Assistant principal of Southeastern for the past 10 years, she will fill the post that will be vacated when 10-year Principal Craig Carscallen retires this summer.

Dr. Neibauer holds a bachelor of science in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a master of education in educational leadership from George Mason University, and a doctorate in educational leadership with a minor in administrative supervision, also from George Mason.

Prior to becoming assistant principal at Southeastern, Dr. Neibauer worked as a special educator for students with emotional disturbance at Fred Lynn Middle School in Prince William County for four and a half years, three of those years as department chair and half of a year as acting assistant principal. She also served one summer as principal of the Marshall Elementary Summer School program in Prince William.

Dr. Neibauer said she initially opted to pursue teaching special education because she truly believes there are few areas of teaching that are as rewarding.

“As a special educator, I was able to focus on a few students at a time – to really learn about those students – what instructional, assessment, and behavioral strategies worked and which didn’t,” she said. “Being a special educator also provided me the luxury of being trained and being able to implement the newest and latest methods in my classroom in order to provide as many opportunities for student success as possible. It was my first love in education and continues to be where my interests are.”

Dr. Neibauer said it was probably her love of being a special educator that drew her 10 years ago to the concept of alternative school. She seems to have found her niche at Southeastern Alternative, a 60- to 90-student school located in an old elementary building on Rt. 28 providing an alternative environment for students in grades 7-12 who are struggling in conventional classrooms with traditional instructional and assessment methods – students who benefit from hands-on, interactive, project-based learning. Students at Southeastern must apply for admission and must meet the same academic standards as all students in Virginia, passing coursework and state Standards of Learning assessments.

“Southeastern has undergone a complete renovation within the past 10 years – ensuring that providing highest-quality instruction in a safe and inviting environment was our highest priority,” Dr. Neibauer said. She has stayed for a decade for several reasons, she said: “I’ve stayed because I believe in the vision and the purpose behind restructuring Southeastern. I’ve stayed because I believe that all students in FCPS deserve the chance to be educated, not just those that excel in traditional listen/lecture formats. I’ve stayed because I believe that every student has a story to tell and every student has the ultimate potential to be successful in school – just not necessarily in the same way or on the same schedule as other students.”

As the new principal of Southeastern, Dr. Neibauer said her first goal is to provide as smooth a transition period as possible for all staff and students.

“Because Mr. Carscallen treated me as an equal partner for the past 10 years in the renovation and development of the new alternative learning programs at Southeastern, I am completely vested in the current vision and mission,” she said. “I plan on continuing our focus on project-based learning, expanding our post-secondary planning process, and creating new enrichment programs to complement the various alternative learning programs we currently offer.”

As more and more students and families find success at Southeastern, Dr. Neibauer believes that positive messages will spread among educational and social communities.

“This is an amazing place,” she said, “with extraordinary teachers, dedicated staff, and amazing students. I wouldn’t want to be any other place – I choose to be here.”
5/02/11 > Student-Made Paper Cranes Help Japan
Students at Auburn Middle School and Warrenton Middle School contributed time and talent in an unusual project aimed at assisting with relief efforts for Japan the March 11 massive earthquake and tsunami.

An organization called Students Rebuild ( in Seattle, WA, provided a way for students to contribute to relief efforts by making paper cranes. The Bezos Family Foundation pledged to make a $200,000 donation – $2 for each crane received – to Architecture for Humanity’s reconstruction efforts in Japan. According to the Students Rebuild website, once the organization reaches its goal of 100,000 submissions, the cranes will be woven into an art installation, a symbolic gift from students around the globe to Japanese youth.

At Warrenton Middle, sixth and seventh grade students made over 2,200 of the paper cranes.

“The students loved this project. Our goal was to make 1,000 cranes and we exceeded that goal in no time!” said science and math teacher Christine Plank, who coordinated the effort.

At Auburn Middle, Kay Conners’ eighth-grade world geography students learned the art of origami when studying Japan in her classes. Students learned the history and importance of origami to the Japanese culture. When the earthquake and tsunami hit, Mrs. Conners’ classes discussed the current events and heard about the Students Rebuild organization. Her classes went to work and in five days, one class period (with students and siblings working at home) made 318 cranes of various sizes.

“Not only did students learn about current events, Japan, and culture,” said Mrs. Conners, “but they also learned a valuable lesson on giving.”

4/29/11 > Kettle Run High School Competes on It's Academic
A team of students from Kettle Run High School competed with teams from Rappahannock County High School and Woodberry Forest School on “It’s Academic,” the nation’s foremost high school quiz program. Competition was spirited, and Rappahannock County High School won the match. The program will air on Sunday, June 12, at 12:30 p.m. on WVIR.

The Kettle Run team consists of Captain Colin Shea-Blymyer, Becca Haldi, and Nick Wilfong. Their faculty coach is math teacher Kurt Mergen.

“It was a great experience and a lot of fun,” Colin said.

“It’s Academic,” sponsored by Giant Food, has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as “the world’s longest-running television quiz program.” Mac McGarry is the long-time host of the program. Mr. Mergen said the experience was “a wonderful opportunity” for the Kettle Run team.

“Many of our players watch ‘It’s Academic’ on Saturday mornings,” he said. “This time they’ll be those smart kids on TV, while someone else sits at home and thinks, ‘That’s so cool.’”

The Kettle Run team has been invited back for next year’s tournament.

“We are looking to settle the score against Rappahannock,” Mr. Mergen said.
4/29/11 > FCPS to Hold Classified Job Fair
Fauquier County Public Schools will host a Classified Job Fair on Wednesday, May 11, from 3:30-7 p.m. at Fauquier High School. The school division is currently recruiting for bus drivers, bus aides, and school nutrition employees. Interested applicants will be able to apply on site and interview for current vacancies.
4/29/11 > Kettle Run Spring Plant Sale Scheduled
The Kettle Run High School Horticulture Department’s Third Annual Spring Plant Sale will be held on Thursday and Friday, May 5 and 6, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m.-noon. A variety of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, hanging baskets, and mixed planters will be available. The sale will take place in the KRHS greenhouse.

“The agricultural education students have been preparing for the sale since February by planting seeds, transplanting plants, and providing daily maintenance and watering needs for the plants. The students have invested a great amount of time, effort, and energy into getting ready for this event, and I hope the public will make time to stop in and appreciate their hard work,” said Meaghan Brill, agricultural education teacher at Kettle Run.

For further information about the plant sale contact Ms. Brill at or (540) 422-7330.
4/27/11 > Auto Students Finish First in State
Fauquier High School automotive students Donald Bassler and Ryan Farmer finished first in the state in the 2011 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition held Saturday, April 16, in Richmond. The two will represent Virginia at the National Finals in Dearborn, MI, in June.

They earned the opportunity to compete at the state level by scoring in the top 10 on a written test administered by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

In the Ford/AAA competition, two-person teams are challenged to find and quickly fix the “bugs” intentionally placed in their assigned vehicles. Hands-on scores are combined with the results of a written exam testing motor vehicle knowledge. Donald and Ryan had the highest written score in Virginia. As a result of their first-place state win, each received over $54,000 in scholarships and tools.

Students in FCPS automotive technology instructor Scott Freeman’s class have done consistently well in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition for the past several years, winning second in the state the past two years and first in the state from 2006-2008.

Earlier this year, Donald Bassler also won the Virginia Skills/USA Auto Technology competition and will represent Virginia in that national competition in Kansas City in June.
4/26/11 > Kettle Run's NHS to Hold '5 Mile Walk to Save Darfur'
The Kettle Run High School National Honor Society will hold a “5 Mile Walk to Save Darfur” on Saturday, May 14, at 3 p.m. on the school’s football field. The event, planned and organized by the NHS’ international committee at Kettle Run, aims to raise money for the local “Save Darfur” campaign and raise awareness in the process.

There is a $15 admission; all proceeds will go directly to the Save Darfur Coalition ( All ages are welcome to attend, and the event is open to anyone interested in participating.

Kettle Run senior Brendan Rijke is the chair and founder of the international committee that is new this year to his school’s Honor Society.

“With 3,500,000 civilians reliant on humanitarian aid and a death toll of over 300,000 in the Darfur region, according to the United Nations, the Kettle Run High School National Honor Society members were compelled to establish an international committee earlier this year,” he explained. “As a committee, we knew that the only way to truly make a difference was to raise money and, more importantly, raise awareness.”

Since the beginning of the school year, the international committee has adopted a four-year-old child from Zambia through Children International, raised money towards aiding relief efforts in Japan via the Red Cross, and organized a school-wide “Darfur Awareness Week” for which NHS members sold wristbands and placed posters throughout the school revealing the genocide of innocent Darfur civilians.

“The response was overwhelming,” said Brendan. “Many students were completely unaware of the crisis prior to learning of the atrocity, but are now committed to the cause and eager to spread the word.”
4/20/11 > Liberty High School Teacher to Appear on First-Ever Teacher Jeopardy!
Photo courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

We've all done it, and there's no sense denying it. We've sat in our living rooms at 7:30 p.m. on a weeknight watching Jeopardy! and proudly blurted out the correct question long before the contestants on our television screens had a prayer of a chance at matching our cleverness. Then we've waited for one of the three contestants to buzz in and utter what we, oh so smugly, already knew to be right.

Before patting our Jeopardy -smart selves on the back just yet, we might want to take a stab at one Final Jeopardy question. Ready? The answer is "Buzzer."

Lori Kissell, Latin teacher at Liberty High School and one of 15 teachers selected to appear on the first-ever Teacher Jeopardy! , knows the correct question far better than anyone reading these words - "What is the key to winning Jeopardy !?"

"It ain't the questions; it's the buzzer!" she said with a hearty laugh after spending two days in California competing in the first Jeopardy! Teacher Tournament. "Your buzzer thumb is the key to the whole thing," she exclaimed. "It's not enough to know the answers; it's all about your timing! He who controls the buzzer controls the game." Contestants, she said, cannot buzz in until a string of LED lights on the side of the question board flash on; when over-anxious contestants press the buzzer prematurely, they're "blocked out," and all the buzzer pumping in the world will not yield that all-important first shot at voicing the correct question.

How masterful Kissell (pronounced KisSELL) is with the buzzer remains a mystery. The tournament will air on national television the first two weeks in May, and until then Kissell is sworn to secrecy about how she - or any of the other teachers - fared on America's favorite quiz show. She can talk about her selection to appear on the game show, and she can talk generally about her experiences during the two-day taping on March 28 and 29 - as long as mum's the word on the outcome.

Kissell's journey to Jeopardy! began with sheer enjoyment of the game - the categories and competition, the challenges and choices, the intellect and intelligence, the knowledge and know-how. "I have loved Jeopardy! a long time," said the Stafford County resident and long-time Fauquier County Latin teacher (first year at Fauquier High School and the past 16 at Liberty High School). "I love the format, and I love the cleverness of the questions." After years of virtual sparring with contestants from the comfort of her own living room, Kissell decided to go for the game-show gusto. She's been trying for a while - back when wanna-be contestants sent their name in on a postcard. Five years ago Jeopardy! began online testing as part of its contestant-search process. Kissell, along with more than a million other people, have taken the test online, creating a very large pool of people from whom Jeopardy! staff members select potential contestants for in-person, live auditions held on an annual basis.

"The on-line test is 50 trivia questions. You get 15 seconds to answer a question, and then - boom - the question is gone for good," she said. "You fly through them, and then you have no idea how you did." Would-be contestants receive no scores, she said, and the waiting begins.

In the summer of 2010, Kissell was ecstatic to be invited to a live audition in Washington, DC, where she first had to take a written test: "A question appears on a big screen, and then it's gone. And when it's gone, it's gone - no going back. The tests are tallied while you sit and wait, and then you play a mock game, maybe 10 or 15 questions out of 30," she said. "This gets you acquainted with the buzzer plus they give you tips like how not to freeze up and how to request a category without repeating every word in the title." Jeopardy! staffers use the auditions to look for certain "personality traits" (Is the person fun? A good sport? Competitive but not vicious?), and names of those not weeded out from the live auditions go into a pool for 18 months. Anyone not called as a contestant during that time is free to take the online test again.

The Jeopardy! stars aligned for Kissell, however, last October when she received a call that Jeopardy! was kicking around the idea of having a teacher tournament, the first one ever to be based on a specific profession. Jeopardy's unique answer-and-question format apparently appeals to certain professions more than others - teachers, attorneys, professors, and government employees, and the Jeopardy folks were thinking that the first career-oriented tournament should highlight teachers. The caller said Kissell was a potential contestant, but everything was on the QT. The caller warned her not to tell anyone and promised to get back to her in March - a full five months away. Kissell, more than excited about the possibility, zipped her lips and breathed nary a word.

In February 2011, a month earlier than anticipated, Kissell received the all-important Jeopardy! call, advising her she had a very good shot at being one of 15 teachers to appear on Jeopardy's original teacher tournament at the end of March. "I was flabbergasted - what an honor!" she said. She was told to talk to her principal but absolutely no one else. "I went in to [Principal Roger] Lee and said, 'We can't make this public, but would you have any objections if I went to play Jeopardy ?' He asked if I had enough leave and when I said yes, he asked, 'So why are you asking me?' I told him I would be representing our school on national television, and he said, 'Yes! Go!'"

She filled out the "huge packet of paperwork" Jeopardy! sent to her, made the final cut, and then waited some more. Soon enough, travel arrangements were in the making and she was able to spill the beans to the one family member she invited to accompany her - her 27-year-old son. Finally, three weeks before leaving for California, Kissell was permitted to tell her students about the great adventure awaiting - and that was for logistical reasons because the show wanted to send a crew to Liberty to shoot a promotional clip of students cheering Kissell on.

"Some of my students were just as giddy as I was!" she said.

About 50 students were available the afternoon of the after-school shoot, and they held up hand-made signs and cheered and cheered for their teacher, over and over, as the Jeopardy! crew shot take after take until they got exactly what they wanted for the promo. "They kept their enthusiasm through all of it," Kissell said. The crew also filmed her, saying something akin to "Hi, my name's Lori Kissell and I'm a contestant on Teacher's Jeopardy! These are my kids and this is my class at Liberty High School." The promotional clips have been airing on "Good Morning, Washington" for the past few weeks.

"Many of the kids are just thrilled," Kissell said. "I have had the most overwhelming support from them." Of course, they have bombarded her with questions like how she got on the show, if she won any money, and if so, what she will do with her winnings. She has answered the questions that she can - but remains guarded in her conversation, mindful not to leak any restricted information.

This we know: Kissell and her son flew to Culver City, CA, on Saturday, March 26, for a nearly all-expense-paid trip to the Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament with upscale accommodations and "royal treatment," Kissell said. Sunday was a free day for sightseeing and winding down. Then on Monday and Tuesday, 15 teachers from throughout the United States taped 10 shows in two days in a blur of quarterfinals, semi-finals, high-money scores, and sudden-death eliminations. The top three contended in a "two-day" final match [filmed in one day, it will be aired over two] where they competed and racked up as high a score as possible, only to have scores completely cleared in order to repeat the scenario. Their scores were totaled to determine the grand prize winner of $100,000, second place winner of $50,000, and third place winner of $25,000. Every player receives at least $5,000.

A couple weeks after the taping, Kissell recalled some of the amusing aspects and interesting details of her adventure.

  • "We were told ahead of time what clothes to bring - we were cautioned against certain colors and against vertical stripes because of the way they show up on TV. The women packed right, but the men not so much. They didn't read the part about no vertical stripes, and so there went 90 percent of the ties they brought." The spirit of cooperation, though, was amazing, she said, as the men shared ties or traded shirts. "You'd think the attitude would be cut-throat, but instead everyone was kind, helpful, and polite. If someone looked nervous before their turn to film, somebody else would come over and talk to them to calm them down."
  • Kissell described long-time Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek as "so nice, really smart, funny and very handsome in person." When he took live questions from the audience, Kissell's son, who is a book seller, asked Trebek if he were "Team Austen or Team Bronte?" referencing the literary sparring between the two authors' die-hard fans. For the record, Trebek favored Austen.
  • Each contestant submitted five stories for fodder for their "banter bits" with Trebek. Contestants did not know which of the stories he would choose to chat about until the moment it occurred. "So when you watch the show, if the contestants look flustered, they are," Kissell said.
  • Some contestants stand on risers behind the podiums in an attempt to equalize the heights of the three contestants; the intent is for the camera's movements to be more level from one contestant to the other and not so much up and down due to differing heights. Not being on the tall side, Kissell found herself competing against a very tall teacher from California so she was a definite riser-candidate. It served to her advantage, though, when Trebek stood alongside each contestant at his or her podium for photographs. She gleefully recalled that the affable host put his arm around her waist to steady them both for the photo.
  • Three things caused Kissell concern - makeup, microphones and mishaps. Each contestant had to sit for professional makeup before filming, and shuddering at the memory of a failed makeup experience in a mall as a teenager, she worried she would end up looking clown-like or scary. Secondly, she worried that she would step off the riser to leave the podium without waiting to be disconnected from the attached microphone. And thirdly, she worried that she would have an embarrassing-answer mishap. "I was terrified because nobody wants to look like a moron on national television," she said. "I didn't want to look like a deer in the headlights or to give some really stupid answer or to freeze." In the end, neither of the first two concerns came to fruition, and it is unlikely the third did either, although she can't say. As for the makeup, she was more than satisfied and now boasts that the same person who made up actress and former fashion model Wendie Malick's face did hers. (Malick's credits include Hot in Cleveland , Frasier , and Just Shoot Me !).
  • Kissell hoped for an all-Latin category, but no such luck. She had nightmares about a board full of categories about which she knew little: 1950's Oscars, Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel Prize winners, or Tony Award winners.
  • The only real preparation she made for the tournament was trying to listen to popular music, something with which she is not at all familiar. Similarly, a fellow contestant told her he listened to Top 40 tunes "until he wanted to put ice picks in his ears."

Kissell said the Jeopardy! set was humming all the time, and she felt she was being filmed or photographed 24/7. Every contestant was filmed in promotion after promotion for use on the Jeopardy! website - "I can't wait to see what they kept and what they trashed," Kissell said - and every contestant was filmed reacting to winning a quarterfinal or semifinal, whether they actually did or not.

How she comes across on television will likely not represent her true emotions, Kissell said. "I was not calm at all. What people are seeing is not what you're feeling. I was nervous, anxious, terrified," she said, noting that she held her hands below the podium so no one could see her trembling buzzer. "One side of you is saying, 'I'm having the time of my life,'" she said, "and the other side is saying, 'That blasted buzzer!'"

Her nervousness came not so much from appearing on television or even from competing in the game she loves. "Standing up there as a teacher," she said, "I felt like I was representing my school. It's not so much that you don't know an answer, it's that you want to look good on behalf of your colleagues, friends and family. You don't want to let everybody down. The fact is six people do not advance at the end of the quarterfinals. You really want to be one of the nine who does."

During the whirlwind competition Kissell met teachers from across the country, although she admits she will have to watch the show to recall their names and states.

"We were so excited to talk to each other," she said. "We enjoyed comparing notes about teaching." When the tournament was over, the teachers and their travel guests went to dinner together the last night. "We all agreed that this was an amazing experience, and that if we kept 'Bucket Lists,' this would have been on it."

Kissell flew home on Wednesday, March 30. She showed up for school on Thursday, March 31, and resumed her pre- Jeopardy! life.

"The last few weeks have been a blur," she said. "The whole experience was beyond words, thrilling. I am giddy and ecstatic. It was so much fun and also humbling to think that I was one of the 15 they picked out of the hundreds of teachers who made it through the audition process."

Kissell's students figured if she came right back to teaching, then that meant she didn't win, but she told them that the grand-prize winnings were not enough for a career-ending lifetime of leisure for anyone. As time passes, students have slacked off in trying to weasel out of her how she did on the game, although their eyes are peeled daily to see if she's writing with a "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" fountain pen she wants to purchase with any Jeopardy! dollars she might have won. Until that tell-tale sign, though, they - like we - will just have to wait and see.

"I can tell you that I first show up on Wednesday, May 4," Kissell said. "You'll have to stay tuned to see if I show up anymore."

4/19/11 > FCPS Offering Foreign Language Programs This Summer
Fauquier County Public Schools is offering three-week STARTALK foreign language programs this summer from July 11-28, 2011. Applications are currently being accepted for the following classes: Arabic 1 for grades 3-5, Arabic 1 for grades 6-10, Arabic 2 for returning students grades 7-11, Turkish 1 for grades 6-10, and Turkish 2 for returning students grades 7-11. For an application packet go to or call (540) 422-7024.
4/18/11 > Two Destination Imagination Teams Going to Globals
Two teams from Fauquier County Public Schools will advance to Destination Imagination “Globals” competition May 25-28 in Knoxville, TN, based on their performance at state-level competition April 2 at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, VA. Advancing to Globals are “Mantastic and Two Chicks,” a team comprised of Liberty and Fauquier High School students, and “Unhinged,” a team of students from Liberty High School, Taylor Middle School and Cedar Lee Middle School.

Destination Imagination encourages and celebrates creativity, responsibility for the solution of a long-term project, and teamwork. In Destination Imagination tournaments, teams have to solve two types of challenges creatively. In the team challenge, teams select and solve one of six challenges working on their solution independently over a period of several months; on tournament day the team performs their solution before a group of appraisers who score their work. In the instant challenge, teams are given a task and/or a performance-based challenge which they must solve on the spot.

“Mantastic and Two Chicks” took second place at state competition in the “Mythology Mission” category. Managed by parents Brian and Jennifer Rockefeller, the team consists of Lizzi Berger, Matt David, and Andy Rockefeller from LHS and Hannah Abeel and Brent Shultz from FHS.

“The team did a great job at States,” said Mrs. Rockefeller. “Their improv performance was funny and entertaining. The team is very excited about their achievement as they have been participating for a few years. They are a cohesive group that work really well together working off each other’s strengths and weaknesses.” She said the team will be doing a number of fund-raising activities to pay for their trip to Knoxville, including car washes scheduled for April 30, May 7, and May 21 and fundraising nights at Moo Thru on April 28 and May 5.

“Unhinged” also took second place at state competition in the “Unidentified Moving Object” category at the high school level. Managed by parent Brett VanSprewenburg, the team consists of Tristan Edwards, Tory Lee and Erik VanSprewenburg from LHS, Madison Hahn and Rhiannon Begley from TMS, and Emily Swartchick from CLMS.

“The team put in a valiant showing at the Virginia State DI tournament,” said Mr. VanSprewenburg. “Despite setbacks during their eight-minute performance, which involved several ‘breakages’ they had to work around in real time, the team rallied and performed several of the required elements.” He said the team also had a good showing during the Instant Challenge portion of the event. During the time off before Global competition, the “Unhinged” team looks forward to refining their solution in order to make the best possible showing at Global Finals. Updates showcasing their efforts may be found at

4/18/11 > Spanish Textbooks Available for Review

Fauquier County Public Schools is adopting foreign language textbooks for use beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. Input from the public is an important step in the review process. The selection committee is recommending the following textbooks:

  • Grades 8-12, Spanish 1: Avancemos Level 1 Student Edition, published by Holt McDougal
  • Grades 9-12, Spanish 2: Avancemos Level 2 Student Edition, published by Holt McDougal
  • Grades 9-12, Spanish 3: Avancemos Level 3 Student Edition, published by Holt McDougal

The principal criteria for evaluating the texts are the Virginia Standards of Learning. The web address is

The public is invited to review and comment on the recommendations from April 26-May 6 in the textbook office (room 4) of Building A (old Central Elementary School), 430 East Shirley Avenue, Warrenton. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To make an appointment to examine the textbooks outside of these hours, contact Amy Hatton at (540) 422-7024 or

4/15/11 > Greenville Sheds Locks for a Good Cause
Thirty Greenville Elementary School students and staff members recently donated their long locks of hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign to provide wigs to women with cancer.

“It’s our third year of annual spring donations,” said Principal Margie Riley, “and we were excited to have 30 donations this year!”

Pantene and HairUWear have partnered to use donated hair to craft wigs for women affected by hair loss from cancer. Volunteers donate a minimum of eight inches of hair placed in a ponytail. According to information on Pantene’s website, creating a real-hair wig takes three to four months, and each wig requires at least six ponytails to make. Wigs created through the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign are distributed for free through select American Cancer Society wig banks across the country.

Fifth-grade teacher Marijke Armstrong initiated Greenville’s participation in the project when the school opened year before last. The first year the school had six cuts, but interest in the project grew quickly; last year that number more than doubled to 15, and this year it doubled again. Students learned about the opportunity through the principal’s afternoon announcements, and this year student Caitlyn Maloney, on her own, wrote a report on the project and the process.

Most of this year’s participants from Greenville had fairly long hair – halfway down their backs – so their hair would still have some length to it after an eight-inch ponytail was cut. Two Greenville parents who are hairstylists donated their time and talent to visit the school and clip away.

“This is an easy service project to arrange,” said Principal Riley, “with great benefit to a definite need. Other schools may want to consider sponsoring this type of yearly event.”

Shown in the photo are participants after their hair was cut.
4/15/11 > Fauquier High School Library Celebrates Reading
Students from Fauquier High School gathered in the library on Friday, April 8, to enjoy a catered lunch and share lively conversations about books they read from the 2010-2011 Virginia Readers’ Choice selections. Over 40 students read the minimum requirement of two books. Twenty-two of these students read at least four books, meeting the eligibility requirement to vote for their favorite book.

Students who read all 15 books were rewarded with a new book to take home. Senior Katherine Boucher received a new book and a Border’s gift card in recognition of completing all 15 books each year since she was a freshman.

The Virginia State Reading Association sponsors the Virginia Reader’s Choice program to encourage reading and promote contemporary books with outstanding literary appeal. The winning book at Fauquier High was Graceling by Kristin Cashore with Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins a close second. The statewide favorite VRC book will be announced in May.
4/15/11 > Third Grade Students Dig Project Plant It
Approximately 250 third graders in Fauquier County Public Schools will make a difference for the environment with Project Plant It, a program developed by Dominion to educate children and plant trees. Earlier this year teachers received a kit from Dominion containing lesson plans, posters, stickers and certificates. Each student will receive a tree seedling from Dominion to plant at home in celebration of Arbor Day, April 29. The project’s website,, features videos about trees, an interactive vocabulary game, a forest adventure word scramble, and a tree trivia quiz. A new online activity guide is filled with family-friendly projects, such as “Be a Scientist” and “Be an Artist,” to help children get out of the house or classroom and into the dirt. All of the teaching materials align with the state’s Standards of Learning for language arts, science, math and social studies.
4/14/11 > French Textbooks Available for Review

Fauquier County Public Schools is adopting foreign language textbooks for use beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. Input from the public is an important step in the review process. The selection committee is recommending the following textbooks:

  • Grades 8-12, French 1: Bien Dit Level 1 Student Edition, published by Holt McDougal
  • Grades 9-12, French 2: Bien Dit Level 2 Student Edition, published by Holt McDougal
  • Grades 9-12, French 3: Bien Dit Level 3 Student Edition, published by Holt McDougal

The principal criteria for evaluating the texts are the Virginia Standards of Learning, at the following web address:

The public is invited to review and comment on the recommendations from April 26-May 6 in the textbook office (room 4) of Building A (old Central Elementary School), 430 East Shirley Avenue, Warrenton. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To make an appointment to examine the textbooks outside of these hours, contact Amy Hatton at (540) 422-7024 or

4/14/11 > 'Beauty and the Beast Jr.' a Hit at WMS
Warrenton Middle School students performed Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” to a full house April 8 and 9. Grandparents, parents, and children of all ages filled the auditorium to see the production which, to the surprise of many, had been brought to fruition in only two months … from first rehearsal to dress rehearsal and from painting of sets to making and renting costumes.

The two-month odyssey was a team effort in every way. Student performers worked hard at after-school and evening rehearsals, and parents and faculty pitched in to provide what was needed for the production to be successful. Parent Samantha Foudray located costumes and props through Reston Community Players, Seton Catholic High School, Fauquier High School, and Fauquier Community Theater. She also enlisted volunteers to make costumes, including WMS staff member Sandra Wright, and made several costumes herself. Mary Fancher, a former WMS student and sibling of one of the cast members, and Jeremy Stipano, WMS art teacher, and his art classes designed and painted the sets. Faculty members Cathy Medlock and Tina Ference directed and produced the musical.

The teamwork transformed short preparation into shining production. Young girls in the audience, dressed in princess dresses and tiaras, asked the show’s beautiful heroine Belle, played by Annalise Sears, for hugs and autographs following both performances.

4/13/11 > Two's a Charm for Math Fan
Apparently two-time winners aren’t all that unusual, no matter the competition. Archie Mason Griffin won the Heisman Trophy two years in a row, Vivien Leigh and Bette Davis won Best Actress Academy Awards two times, and Sandra Diaz-Twine won the title of Sole Survivor twice on television’s “Survivor” reality game show.

Unusual or not, it’s worth noting that Fauquier County Public Schools boasts two two-time winners of division-wide competitions this year. As reported back in February, Warrenton Middle School sixth-grader Drew Marino won the school division’s spelling bee for the second year straight, and more recently Chris Bell, an eighth-grade student at Auburn Middle School, took his second consecutive 24 Game Tournament championship in as many years.

Chris wasn’t even sure he wanted to compete in the tournament again. “I was debating whether or not to participate,” said the 13-year-old. “I really wanted to win it in the seventh grade, but since I’d already won it, it had lost a little of its enjoyment [in eighth grade].”

His competitive juices started flowing again, though, when his father challenged him, shortly before this year’s tournament, to see if he still had his 24 Game skills. “When I started getting back into it, I was still pretty good so I decided to study a little more,” Chris said.

24 is a math card game in which participants are given four numbers to multiply, divide, add or subtract to come up with an answer of 24. Chris started playing the game in sixth grade in math class, learning and studying the combinations. He found out in seventh grade that the school division would hold a 24 tournament, and he really wanted to win it so he started studying the math combinations “a lot” at home. He played the game with his dad nearly every night. When he went anywhere in a car, he looked at license plates and used the four numbers to try to get to 24. He was as prepared as he could be that year, and he handily won the championship. This year was different, though, since he was late in deciding to enter the tournament again.

“I was nervous this time because I hadn’t studied as much,” Chris said. Despite his nervousness Chris said that in the first round he “took a lot of the cards” so he “got more comfortable and confident and started playing better.” He continued playing well, made it to the Top 16 and then to the Final Four.

He had already sized up the competition, something he said is pretty easy after the first four or five cards are played. By the Final Four, however, he said he knew he was playing “the best of the best so it’s hard.”

Admitting he’s been “good at math” since the third grade and that math is his favorite subject, Chris said unabashedly, “I get the problems. It comes naturally to me.” Nonetheless, pitted against the cream of the 24 crop, he found himself in a tie-breaker for the championship title, but managed to pull it off and take the middle school title again.

Pam Todd, Chris’ math teacher at Auburn for the past two years (Algebra I Honors and Geometry), said Chris has a natural ability to put multiple mathematical ideas together very rapidly. “He’s one of the brightest students I’ve had the joy to teach,” she said. “He is always willing to share his method of arriving at answers.” She said that whenever there are an extra five minutes in class, Chris reaches for the 24 cards. “He just loves doing math!” she said.

Besides math, Chris’ other love is soccer. He’s played since he was five, and he is a member of the Auburn Middle School soccer team.

Next year Chris will be a freshman at Kettle Run High School so his 24 Game Tournament days will be over; there will be no Triple Crown. Chris, however, probably won’t be too far away from the competition as he gives thought to morphing from participant to student supervisor. “I’m thinking about being a proctor,” he said.
4/12/11 > School Board Actions 4-11-11

The Fauquier County School Board met April 11, 2011, and took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the April 11, 2011, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Adopted the proposed redistricting plan as revised at the March 28 and April 4 School Board work sessions.
  • Adopted the 2011-2012 school division calendar as presented at the March 14 School Board meeting.
  • Approved the history textbook adoption.
  • Adopted the "Resolution to Adopt the Revised Fauquier County School Budget for FY2012."
  • Approved the superintendent's proposal for a one-time cash payment to all FCPS permanent full-time and part-time employees of record January 2011, contingent upon the availability of funds this year.
  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the March 14 School Board meeting, March 21 School Board public hearing, March 28 special School Board meeting and work session, and April 4 special School Board meeting and work session; payment of bills; and personnel actions. Among the approved personnel actions was the appointment of Michelle Neibauer as principal of Southeastern Alternative School, effective July 1, 2011.

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

Thursday, April 14 - Personnel Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration Conference Room

Thursday, April 14 - Mountain Vista Governing Board at 8 a.m. in the Warren County School Board Office

Thursday, April 14 - Building Committee at 9 a.m. in the School Administration Conference Room

Wednesday, May 4 - Health Advisory Committee at 8 a.m. in the Central Complex meeting room

Wednesday, May 4 - Special Education Advisory Committee at 6 p.m. in the Central Complex A meeting room

Thursday, May 5 - School Support Council at 7 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Monday, May 9 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. in the Warren Green Building

PLEASE NOTE: The following meetings have been cancelled: Finance Committee on April 13, Chairman's Night on April 26, and School Board work session on April 26.

4/12/11 > Author Addresses Students at Kettle Run
The adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” begs a revision in Laura Elliott’s world. For her, it might read instead, “A picture equates to a thousand words.”

That’s because the author of young adult historical novels studies every detail of an old photograph to understand life during its time period or to imagine why certain components are the way they are in the still image. As a writer, she transforms that image, and the multitude of ideas it sparks, into words that fill the pages of books that appeal to middle school and high school students alike.

On April 7 Ms. Elliott, who also uses the byline L.M. Elliott, shared with students at Kettle Run High School the excitement she experiences when researching old documents and photographs. Pointing out the oft-missed details of World War II photos, such as the ones she displayed on a screen in the Kettle Run auditorium, Ms. Elliott said, “My stories, my ideas, are all fired by things like this” – photos of refugees, of a smiling soldier on foreign soil holding a dog, of prisoners at Auschwitz, of families meeting a troop ship coming home from the war, and of a general pulled from battle gazing down at the flag-draped body of his soldier-son lying at his feet. “These are the real glories of doing research,” she said. “If you want to write, find photos and look at their faces. One photograph can spawn a whole chapter in a book.”

Emphasizing the value of being prepared before sitting down to write, especially historical literature, Ms. Elliott said, “Research is a treasure hunt. I wouldn’t say research is fun because some of what you will find might make you cry.”

For an hour and a half Ms. Elliott spoke with students from six English classes, all of whom had read at least one of her books – including Under a War-torn Sky about a downed B-24 bomber pilot saved by the French Resistance, and its sequel A Troubled Peace; as well as Annie, Between the States about a teenage girl caught in the middle of battles, loyalties, and ethical questions during the Civil War. Ms. Elliott has written five novels for young adults (under the L.M. Elliott byline), which have received various honors, and four picture books for youngsters (under her Laura Malone Elliott byline).

Ms. Elliott told her Kettle Run audience that she describes herself an “accidental novelist.” As a reporter for the Washingtonian magazine, she told them she routinely wrote about compelling issues like domestic violence, child abuse, rape, “things no one else wanted to write about,” she said. “I was known as the gloom-and-doom reporter because I wrote emotional stories.” Her stories, she said, focused on “ordinary people who managed to pull deep within themselves to save themselves and their families.” Then came that fateful assignment – when her editor told her to write a holiday story for an upcoming special issue – an assignment that gave her, she said, “a sinking feeling.” Outside of her comfort zone, she struggled with the whole idea until her editor told her the hardest thing to do in writing is to make people laugh or to make people cry and that she wasn’t good at the former so she’d better go for the latter. With that in mind she remembered a story she had heard her father tell three or four times during her life – his own World War II story when he had been shot down as an American bomber pilot in Europe and everyone believed over time that he was dead. Then, lo and behold, there he stood in his driveway, five days before Christmas in 1944, so emaciated that “only the dog recognized him.” Ms. Elliott recounted her father’s special Christmas story for that holiday issue, and its publication elicited such an overwhelming response – in the form of “so many great letters” from people recounting their own war experiences – that she decided she was going to write a novel, and Under a War-torn Sky came into being. She told the Kettle Run students to talk to WWII veterans, pull out a recorder, and listen to their stories. “They actually witnessed cataclysmic events that made us who we are,” she said.

After recounting several poignant stories that she discovered through research, Ms. Elliott described a few of the details she had to consider in writing historical novels – including “learning to talk like a 1940’s guy” or choosing era-appropriate lingo, like calling a girl a “dish” or a boy a “dreamboat.” She insisted that exhaustive research is the most important element in writing historical novels. “Research is my main thing,” she said. “The longest work is the research. I will spend a year, maybe two on it. I can write fast, really fast, once I’ve completed the research.” She said a hole in her research slows her whole creative process, recounting the time she was experiencing a great moment of writing on A Troubled Peace, but had to stop mid-chapter to contact a museum in order to get more information about how bi-planes work. She lost her rhythm, she said, but couldn’t continue until she filled that information gap.

The author encouraged the Kettle Run students to pursue research with a passion. “There are stories – human beating hearts – in the statistics. Stand in the shoes of this person. Stand in the shoe’s of this person’s family,” she advised. “The great thing about historical fiction is that your research can be made into a story.”

Ms. Elliott visited Kettle Run at the invitation of Kettle Run Librarians Kim Ritter and Alice Pleasants.

“Laura Elliott was of particular interest to us for a number of reasons,” said Mrs. Pleasants. “Her historical fiction is rooted in Virginia, and its subject matter – Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War II – is studied in our social studies classes. She visited Greenville Elementary School while I was a librarian there, and I have had the chance to hear her speak; her ability to connect with the audience is truly remarkable. We knew we wanted an author who could bring historical fiction alive for our young adult readers.”

Mrs. Ritter explained that Kettle Run’s social studies teachers collaborated with the librarians to incorporate Ms. Elliott’s books into their instruction this year. “Over 450 students were introduced to at least one title,” she said. “At the end of Thursday’s visit, which took about a year to plan, Mrs. Pleasants and I both agreed it was the kind of day, the kind of professional experience, that we will treasure for a long time.”


4/12/11 > LHS Horticulture Students Hosting Spring Plant Sale

Liberty High School’s Horticulture Department will hold a spring plant sale at the school’s horticultural complex Thursday, April 14, through Sunday, April 17. Hours will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day, and the public is invited.

“Things are growing right on schedule, and we are looking forward to a great sale; this is the biggest event we have ever held in our horticulture complex,” said horticulture teacher Pam Woodward.

There will be a wide variety of annuals available, including geraniums, begonias, herbs, petunias, ferns and vegetables. There will also be a wide variety of perennials including coneflowers, ornamental grasses, coreopsis, Guara, phlox, Shasta daisies and many others. Small trees and shrubs, including boxwood, juniper, butterfly bushes, and azaleas, will be available. For the first time, a small number of fruit trees will be available.

Sale of the plants benefits the school’s horticulture department.

“Our students have worked for months for this event,” said teacher Kim Matthias. “From sowing seeds to planting tissue-cultured plugs to organizing and marketing this event, our students have truly been busy for months.”

The sale will also feature items other than plants, including garden art – from student-created decorative signs to herb markers and from complete container gardens to home décor.

“The selection of top-quality plant materials is fabulous,” said Ms. Matthias. “We have several varieties of Proven Winners plants available this year.”

For further information about the plant sale call 439-4204.
4/08/11 > Marshall Middle Wins Battle of the Books
The Marshall Wolves team from Marshall Middle School won the Middle Schools Battle of the Books competition held April 1 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in Warrenton against 11 other middle school teams from Fauquier, Culpeper and Prince William counties.

The competition consisted of a multiple choice test of 50 questions, followed by five rounds competing with other schools answering 20 questions about the books read and giving the title and author of each. Out of 100 questions the Marshall Wolves missed three. In the final round of the competition the team had to give the title of the book from which a specific quote came; the Wolves answered all 10 of these questions correctly.

Sponsored by seventh-grade teacher Sandra Simpson, the Wolves team consists of captain Bailey Jenkins, Mary Trotto, Emily Trotto, Scott Saas, Jenna Rowell, and alternate Laura Newbill.
4/08/11 > Greenville Elementary Talent Show Benefits Others
The Greenville Elementary School Leadership Team sponsored a talent show on March 25 to benefit the Fauquier Family Shelter. Students donated food items as admission to the show. Over 450 canned foods and over 75 boxed foods, totaling close to 1,000 pounds, were collected along with more than $150 from evening-performance freewill donations. Students in the show exhibited a wide variety of talent including poetry readings, piano pieces, solos, dances, magic, gymnastics, and skits.
4/07/11 > Susan Robertson is Recipient of Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award

Susan Robertson's childhood desire to teach - waylaid for 17 years by a casual remark from one of her high school teachers - simply never went away. She finally listened to that small, inner voice, and now finds herself recipient of the highest teacher award bestowed in Fauquier County Public Schools. Mrs. Robertson is this year's Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

A California native and daughter of a career Marine, Mrs. Robertson "moved around a lot" in her early years; the family wound up in Vienna, VA, when she was in the second grade, and something about her first few elementary school years in Fairfax County Public Schools resonated with her. She's not sure if it was the excitement of learning cursive writing, or the authority and discipline her second-grade teacher exuded, or even her third-grade classmate's perfect pencil box - all of which she recalls in vivid detail - but whatever the reason, her young heart had found its calling - becoming a second grade teacher. That is, until she hit fourth grade, where she experienced the thrill of learning Virginia history. Teaching was still her ambition, to be sure, but fourth grade had hooked her.

Fast forward to her junior year in high school when a few fateful words caused her to re-think the future about which she had dreamed. At her teacher's request, she was helping a few fellow students who were struggling with parts of speech during a grammar lesson. Observing the situation, the teacher said to Mrs. Robertson, "I hope you don't want to be a teacher; you'll be disappointed every day. You want them to do too much." The teacher advised her to "pick one thing" at a time to teach her classmates so as not to overwhelm them with too much at once. The advice, she realized years later, was good, solid advice, but nonetheless made the aspiring teacher wonder if she were truly meant to pursue her childhood dream.

Graduating from James Madison High School in Vienna in 1972, Mrs. Robertson set off for Madison College (now James Madison University), where she decided to major in Spanish ("I really loved Spanish from the seventh grade on," she said) and minored in Latin American studies and business. She envisioned herself working for the Organization of American States or the International Monetary Fund, but after graduation from college in 1976, the typing requirements for entry-level positions nipped that dream in the bud. She fell back on a legal secretary job she had held for several summers and spent the next 10 years in that field.

During that time she married and had two children, a son and a daughter. After her daughter was born, she realized that she didn't want to return to the law office. She thought to herself, "This is the stupidest thing ever, but I still want to teach," so she told her husband she really wanted to go back to school; times were tough, but he was fully supportive of her decision.

She spent two years pursuing teacher certification through a program at Mary Washington College (now University of Mary Washington) and began her career in education substitute teaching in Stafford where she lived at the time. Still searching in the fall for a full-time teaching position, she continued subbing until she got a call from Fauquier County Public Schools. Certified to teach regular education pre-kindergarten to fourth grade (her longtime dream), she interviewed for and was hired as a sixth-grade special education teacher at Bradley Elementary School in November 1989. She jumped in hook, line and sinker, took the challenges of the job head on, and "learned a lot that year," she said.

The following year Fauquier County switched to a kindergarten to sixth-grade school model, and she was assigned to be part of the opening-year faculty for the new Ritchie Elementary School where she taught third grade.

"I loved it there, and again I learned a lot," she said. She credits former Principal Lee Bell with giving her many teaching tips along the way "that really molded who I am as a teacher today," she said, recalling an important lesson she learned from him the first year she was at Ritchie.

"I had a large class of third graders, and Mr. Bell came in to observe me," she said. "I thought I was doing a pretty good job, but he told me [when she met with him later] what my kids were doing when I was not watching," she said with a laugh. "He also told me, 'You have to train yourself not to talk when they're talking. Train yourself to wait. It's a waste of your time to talk when they're talking.'" That tip and others like it have served her well, she said.

Mrs. Robertson spent 10 years teaching third grade at Ritchie when she decided to ask her principal to move her to fourth grade, still her life's dream. "I told him, 'I've wanted to do this since 1963. Can we do this, please?'" With several compelling reasons for such a move, Mrs. Robertson got permission to teach fourth grade, 37 years after her initial childhood desire to do so. She has been in her element ever since.

For eight years she taught fourth grade at Ritchie before moving in 2008 to become part of the opening-year staff at Greenville Elementary School where she continues to teach her favorite grade level, but with a twist. She convinced the fourth-grade team there to move away from the departmentalized approach where each of her colleagues taught a different subject. "My teammates graciously went along with the proposal. I felt there were so many cross-curricular things we could be doing. For example, we could make connections in English with what we were doing in social studies, but you lose so many opportunities like that by departmentalizing. Now there are so many times during the day when I can say, 'This is what we were talking about earlier today in language arts.' You've got to be able to make those connections at the right teachable moment."

While this approach to instruction requires much more time and planning on the part of the teacher, Mrs. Robertson is convinced it's worth it in the long run.

For Mrs. Robertson, whatever is best for students makes something worth it in the long run. The proof is in her own description of what makes a teacher outstanding:

  • "It's someone willing to participate in professional development activities. Yes, it takes time but it's worth it for the kids. I always do something with what I've learned. It changes how I teach."
  • "It's someone who knows the curriculum…someone who cares whether or not kids make progress. It's someone with good classroom management; you can't teach if you can't manage the class."
  • "It's someone always striving to improve…someone constantly asking, 'What else can I do? How can I improve the way I did this? Did this work? Would this work better?'"

Reflecting on her own teaching practices is nothing new to Mrs. Robertson. She earned a master of education in reflective teaching practices in 1997, and in 2006 she attained national certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, following an arduous assessment process. More than an advanced teaching credential, national certification is a rigorous assessment through which candidates must demonstrate how every aspect of their work improves student learning. Mrs. Robertson had to submit a teaching portfolio that included extensive, detailed, written analysis of her classroom teaching and of student learning. She also had to submit student work samples and videotapes of herself actually teaching in the classroom.

Mrs. Robertson decided to pursue national teaching certification to make sure she wasn't satisfied with status quo. "I felt like maybe I was getting into a comfort zone, taking the easy way out," she said of her teaching.

Now a seasoned teacher with national certification and 22 years of experience, what advice would Fauquier's top teacher offer to a room full of brand new teachers?

"It's not about you, it's about the kids," she said matter of factly. "Get to know your kids. Stay on top of their behaviors. Be the advocate of the child, and also be able to work with the parents."

Advocating for a child is a responsibility about which Mrs. Robertson is passionate. "A lot of times what we do is about data or numbers, and I think sometimes we lose sight of the fact that it's not data or numbers; it's a child. It's someone who can't advocate for himself, someone who is depending on the adults around him."

Mrs. Robertson quietly considered the question, "Why teach?"

"If what you want to do is help children, to have an impact on children, to help children learn…and if you care. You have to care," she said. "It has to mean something to you to get up every day and do it."

Humbled and surprised to learn that she would be her school's nominee in the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher of the Year competition, Mrs. Robertson said it was "surreal" when she later learned she had been selected as Fauquier County's Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

"I don't do this job because I want any glory, so this [recognition] is really difficult for me," she said earnestly. "I don't see myself as different from anyone else. I'm just normal. I come to work every day like everybody else and try to figure out what to do next."

Fauquier County's Outstanding Teacher for 2011 shared what drives her as a teacher: "I love the challenge of looking at curriculum and figuring out what needs to be taught," she said. "I spend a lot of time trying to create or find materials and activities to deliver that curriculum in an engaging way. I see each student as an individual challenge because they are all different in their instructional and emotional needs. To the best of my ability, I keep those needs in mind as I plan. What drives me is to help children connect with and master grade-level skills and materials. If students are working below grade level, I want to bring them as far as I can. If students are already working above grade level, I try to enrich their educational experience."

When she isn't teaching, or thinking about teaching, or doing something in her leisure time related to teaching, Mrs. Robertson said she enjoys playing on-line games, reading, and traveling (especially cruises) with her husband Joe, a professional fire fighter with the Prince William County Fire Department. She also enjoys spending time with her grown children, Stephen, a researcher with Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas, and Lisa, a fourth-grade assistant at Greenville Elementary.

Agnes Meyer Award

The Washington Post's Educational Foundation established the Agnes Meyer Award to recognize teachers who exemplify excellence in their profession, encourage creativity and quality instruction, and contribute to the improvement of education in the Washington metropolitan area. The Post honors a total of 20 teachers each year, one representing private schools and 19 representing public schools in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Recipients of the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award each receive $3,000 at a ceremony in Washington, DC.

Criteria for the award, established by the Post, were the nominee's ability to instill in students a desire to learn and achieve, to understand the individual needs of students, to share subject matter effectively, to foster cooperative relationships with colleagues and the community, and to demonstrate outstanding leadership.

An advisory team selected Mrs. Robertson as the school division's winner from among 14 nominees, all of whom were honored at the February 14 Fauquier County School Board meeting: Jen Bird, Ritchie Elementary; Harolyn Bland, Pearson Elementary; Adair Ciolfi, Bradley Elementary; Vickie Estep, Grace Miller Elementary; Scott Freeman, Fauquier High School; Mike Hanrahan, Cedar Lee Middle; Melissa Jenkins, Smith Elementary; Mary Kreps, Brumfield Elementary; Julie O'Connor, Mary Walter Elementary; Christina Shaffer, Pierce Elementary; Chris Smith, Kettle Run High; Barbara Wilkison, Taylor Middle; and Margaret Williams, Liberty High.

4/05/11 > LHS Principal Roger Lee a 'Distinguished Educational Leader'
After all these years – long after being named an All American college baseball player, long after playing professionally, long after coaching hundreds of Fauquier High School athletes – “Coach” continues to inspire high schoolers to step up to the plate, give it their best effort, cover all the bases, and run like the wind to home plate. Only now, Roger Lee’s dugout is a principal’s office, his team numbers 1200 instead of nine, their run ’round the bases is academic not athletic, and he feels like each one has hit a home run upon receipt of a diploma at graduation.

Called “Coach” to this day by many of his former players, Roger Lee is more widely known as the principal of Liberty High School, and his performance in that position led to his recent selection as the recipient of The Washington Post’s 2011 Distinguished Educational Leadership Award. Sponsored by the Post’s Educational Foundation, the award recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional education environment. Mr. Lee will receive the award, which is presented to one principal in each district throughout the metropolitan area, at a reception in Washington, DC, on April 28.

The 54-year-old Fauquier County native was born, raised and educated here. He went to Remington Elementary School (now Pierce Elementary), Taylor Junior High School, and Fauquier High School, graduating in 1974. Majoring in management and marketing, he earned a degree in business administration at James Madison University where he also played baseball and was named All American his senior year. Immediately after college graduation, he signed a professional contract with the Seattle Mariners and played that summer with the Mariners’ Class A team in Alexandria. His professional baseball career ground to a halt, however, when he was released at the end of spring training in Tempe, AZ.

“The manager called me in, told me I had done a great job, and then said, ‘Here’s money for your plane ticket home,’” he recalled with a laugh. The experience helped the 23-year-old to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of professional sports. “It was a chance to see clearly how a business operates. And let me say that minor leagues are not glamorous by any means. It’s a lot of long bus rides,” he said. Still, “I had a great time playing,” said Lee, “and I made friendships that will last a lifetime.” Not only that, but he said that throughout the next eight to ten years, anytime he watched a Major League game, he personally knew at least one player, having played either with or against them. “That was kind of cool,” he said.

A Mariner no more, there was nothing for Lee to do back then but head for home and regroup. He landed a job as a management trainee at a local bank, but realized a year and a half later the banking business wasn’t for him. Since his parents were both educators, it seemed logical, at least, to consider that field.

He decided to apply for a teaching position, but in all honesty, he admitted, “I got into teaching and education because I wanted to coach.” He was hired as a business teacher at Fauquier High School, where he coached baseball and basketball over the next eight years, either as assistant or head coach. He described himself as “a pretty successful coach” as teams under his leadership won a number of district titles. During his years of teaching and coaching, he also earned a master of education in school administration from George Mason University.

Although it meant giving up the coaching he loved, Mr. Lee was presented with “an opportunity I felt I needed to do” in 1988 when he was offered the position of assistant principal at Cedar Lee Junior High School (now Cedar Lee Middle). Five years later, when Cedar Lee’s principal was chosen as the first principal of the brand new Liberty High School, Mr. Lee took the helm of Cedar Lee.

“I didn’t see myself as a junior high guy,” he admitted. “I was more interested in the high school route” so he was pleased, a year later, to become an assistant principal at Liberty, where he remained for five years. He worked in the School Board Office for a year as an assistant to the superintendent, overseeing transportation, maintenance, nutrition and discipline before going full circle back to Fauquier High School as an assistant principal for two years before his selection as principal of Liberty High School where he has served since July 2002.

Not all that comfortable with being thrust into the spotlight of the Post’s Leadership Award – “It’s humbling,” he said – Mr. Lee contemplated his role as high school principal.

“A principal keeps everything rolling,” he said. “Aside from being the instructional leader of the school, I try to make sure we have the right environment for learning, the right environment not only for the students but for the faculty. We have outstanding people, so it’s not like I have to stand over them. I just try to make sure everything is conducive to what we’re all here for.”

Mr. Lee described an effective leader as one who “provides a focus for the school,” a role with which he is very familiar, having led his school – which was not accredited when he arrived – to full accreditation every year since school year 2003-2004.

An effective leader is also someone who can listen and communicate and someone who can earn the respect of others, he said. He credited his mother and father with being the “best role models” he could have had for the kind of leader he wants to be.

No longer enjoying that one-to-one relationship that a teacher is able to have with a student, Principal Lee said he now has to view helping students from a different perspective.

“I know it sounds cliché, but everything we do really IS all about the students sooner or later,” he said. “We gear what we do to graduation,” the peak of every high school student’s academic success. “It’s fun to see the kids accomplishing things,” he said, noting that as principal he often sees student achievement “in different ways,” whether it’s a student’s college acceptance, or a student’s winning a speech contest, or a basketball team’s winning a state title (way to go, Liberty girls basketball team!), or a student’s earning a full scholarship when otherwise he may not be able to attend college.

“Seeing things come together for our kids is what motivates me,” he said.

Mr. Lee said he feels honored to be named a Distinguished Leader, a title The Washington Post equates to principals who “manage effectively, demonstrate and encourage creativity and innovation, foster cooperation between the school and the community, maintain a continuing dialogue with students and parents as well as faculty and staff, keep abreast of developments in the field of education, encourage team spirit, demonstrate leadership and exemplify commitment, and continue to play an active role in the classroom.”

Mr. Lee said he was “stunned and speechless” when he learned he would receive the award, and he passed the applause on to his fellow administrators and faculty members at Liberty.

“I’d like to think we’re doing something right here, but I can’t take the credit. I can only provide support so that teachers can make things happen for our students,” he said.

Asked what he enjoys doing in his leisure time, Mr. Lee said most of what he does is tied to Liberty High School. “Being a high school principal is a lifestyle,” he said. “It’s a 24-7 job.” He tries to attend as many extracurricular activities as he can. Fortunately, his wife Cindy, an eighth-grade teacher at Auburn Middle School, also enjoys attending Liberty events so they are no strangers to extracurricular events at the school. The Lees have two children – Kristin, 26, a dolphin and sea lion trainer formerly at Sea World San Diego and now at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, GA, and David, 23, a Marine Corps Reserve recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan.

When the Lees are not attending Liberty events, “Coach” enjoys attending games at his college alma mater. When back at JMU – where he made a name for himself once upon a time – his view of baseball and of life has to be a lot different these days – knowing that when he was thrown a curve ball with no future as a professional ball player, he still found a way to hit the ball out of the park – becoming a teacher, a coach, a principal, and a “Distinguished Educational Leader” who has impacted the lives of thousands of young people. Might say these days he’s batting a thousand.

4/01/11 > Liberty High School Hosts Elective Fair
An Elective Fair for Parents on March 10 at Liberty High School gave parents of middle and high school students an opportunity to meet and talk to LHS teachers about elective courses. Elaborate displays and handouts were available to parents.

Then on March 18, students in grades 9 through 11 were able to enjoy the Elective Fair in the gymnasium amongst the flavor of all the elaborate displays, music, and materials set out by the elective course teachers. Students were able to travel at their own pace and spend time talking to individual teachers to learn the intricacies of different classes. Grade-level groups rotated through three activities – first viewing televised promotional videos about the electives, second visiting the Elective Fair, and third viewing a presentation on registration for elective classes.

While underclassmen attended the Elective Fair, Charles Griffiths addressed the senior class about “Life after High School.” A National Guard recruiter in Manassas, he is no stranger to Liberty; a former recruiter in Warrenton, he addressed business classes at Liberty in years past on the same subject. “He is somewhat of a motivational speaker and kids listen to what he has to say,” said Jo Scott, senior class sponsor and director of the College and Career Center at LHS.

3/31/11 > Four Destination Imagination Teams Bound for State Competition

Four teams from Fauquier County Public Schools will advance to the state Destination Imagination tournament this Saturday, April 2, at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, VA. The teams qualified for state competition based on their first- and second-place finishes in the Northwest Virginia Regional DI competition held Saturday, March 12, at Admiral Byrd Middle School in Winchester, VA. Destination Imagination is one of the world's largest creativity and problem-solving programs for youth of all ages with thousands of students participating as members of over 13,000 teams across the nation and in foreign countries.

Representing FCPS in state competition will be teams from Bradley Elementary School, Fauquier High School, a combination high school/middle school team, and a combination high school team.

Destination Imagination encourages and celebrates creativity, responsibility for the solution of a long-term project, and teamwork. In Destination Imagination tournaments, teams have to solve two types of challenges creatively. In the team challenge, teams select and solve one of six challenges working on their solution independently over a period of several months; on tournament day the team performs their solution before a group of appraisers who score their work. In the instant challenge, teams are given a task and/or a performance-based challenge which they must solve on the spot.

Headed to State Competition

The Bradley Elementary team - managed by parent Cassandra Mitchell - took first place in the "Verses! Foiled Again!" category, which had the largest number of entrants of all categories and levels in the regional tournament. Teams in this category were required to design and build a structure made only of aluminum foil, wood, and glue; test how much weight the structure would hold; present a story about a character that is foiled; and integrate team-written verse and published verse in the story. Team members are Jacob Mitchell, Madeleine Hartz, Jann Carino, Nicholas Pepin, Grant Pepin, and Garrett Miller.

"The team is a good mixture of DI veterans and newcomers," said Mrs. Mitchell, "and the combination worked really well together. This team is the first from Bradley Elementary School to advance to the state tournament. The team has an abundance of energy, creativity and imagination and was able to use these resources to their fullest extent in their challenge, in which they combined physics, structural engineering, and showmanship into an outstanding production."

The Fauquier High School team - managed by FHS librarian Becca Isaac and social studies teacher Lou Ann Spear and known as "The Last Second" - took first place in the "Triple Take Road Show" category, which required participants to use three different storytelling methods to tell the same story to three team-chosen pretend audiences, devise and portray a travel method used to move the traveling road show between their pretend audiences, and incorporate a team-created technical spectacle to wow their audiences, all within an eight-minute skit. Adapting the fairy tale Rumplestiltskin, FHS team members James Shaw, Danielle Curtis, Ashley Brown, and Anastasia Drake selected these audiences to entertain with their story: ancient Egyptians, Beatniks, and the contents of a music box.

"All the members of the Fauquier High School team will be attending the State DI competition for the first time, and they are very excited," said Ms. Spear. "One quality that this team has besides their creativity and the ability to work hard is how well they all work together -- which sounds like a cliche -- but in the case of this team is really true. They have been able to draw upon the knowledge from many different subjects they have studied in school, such as the Egyptians and mythology, and incorporate these into a unique skit. This team is very caring and supportive of one another and they have amazing talents that they were able to bring to this performance." 

"Unhinged" - a team consisting of students from Liberty High - Tristan Edwards, Tory Lee and Erik VanSprewenburg, from Taylor Middle - Madison Hahn and Rhiannon Begley, and from Cedar Lee Middle - Emily Swartchick - took first place in the "Unidentified Moving Object" category at the high school level. This category challenged students to design and build equipment to move various materials to and from towering heights, start and end their presentation with the equipment contained in a storage box, create and present a sales promotion highlighting the features of the equipment, and complete all of the above with no electrical power.

"This team is back in action after most members taking a season off," said parent and team manager Brett VanSprewenburg. "They compete at the level of the oldest members so the team is appraised at the high school level this season. They are no strangers to having about half the team compete a level 'up' because they have been creating solutions in the Destination Imagination program since fourth and fifth grade when they were all students at Pierce Elementary." The team has been successful since the very beginning, qualifying for state-level competition every year and advancing one year to Global Finals.

"Quick wit, a dash of cleverness, a solid performance, and laughs are the keys to a successful solution for this team," said Mr. VanSprewenburg. "Choosing the primarily 'engineering-problem' style challenge this year has been a good change of pace while still giving them an opportunity for showmanship. Their creative storytelling and fantastic imagination is combined with plenty of tightly packed PVC pipes, plastic buckets, 'futuristic' bar-coded costumes and telemarketing 'wow.' DI is like that; you never know what the team is going to do, and it's all theirs."

"Mantastic and Two Chicks," a combination of Liberty and Fauquier High School students, took second place in the "Mythology Mission" category. The team, managed by parents Brian and Jennifer Rockefeller, took second place overall but first place for their main challenge. Prior to the tournament the team had to research six countries along with the cultures and mythological creatures from each one. At the tournament each team drew from a hat the country and props. They had five minutes to create an improvisational skit about a mission involving a mythical creature, incorporate research about the culture from that country, incorporate three props randomly selected from the list of items, combine the props to create one master prop relating to the skit, incorporate an unexpected problem discovered on stage, and resolve the problem. Team members are Lizzi Berger, Matt David, and Andy Rockefeller from Liberty High School and Hannah Abeel and Brent Shultz from Fauquier High School.

"The team has been together for several years, starting at Taylor Middle School, and has made it to the state tournament for the third year in a row," said Mrs. Rockefeller. "The team has a gift of humor and does well with thinking on their feet. This has been an excellent challenge for the team as it really has been incorporating many of the facts on countries they have been learning at school in World History I."

Other FCPS teams

In addition to the four teams qualifying for state competition, three other FCPS teams competed in the Destination Imagination regional competition - two from Brumfield Elementary and one from Pierce Elementary. The Fauquier County teams competed against public, private and home school teams from Clarke, Culpeper, Frederick, Harrisonburg, Madison, Northern Virginia, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren and Winchester.

3/30/11 > FBLA Students Win at Regionals
Students from FBLA chapters at Fauquier and Liberty High Schools claimed several first- and second-place wins during competition at the recent Germanna Regional Conference.

Nicholas Solhjou of Fauquier High took first place in FBLA Principles and Procedures, and Earl Johnson of Liberty High took first place in Impromptu Speaking. Earning second-place wins were Liberty High’s Daniel Gibson in Client Service and Julie Ball in Word Processing I. Katie Harris of Liberty took third place in Marketing competition.

Three of the students qualified to compete at the FBLA State Conference in Reston, VA, on April 9: Earl Johnson, Julie Ball, and Nicholas Solhjou.

Teachers Diana Story and Karen Pattie are the FBLA advisors at Fauquier and Liberty High Schools, respectively.
3/29/11 > FCPS Offering SAT Preparation Sessions at Reduced Rate
Fauquier County Public Schools is hosting after-school and weekend SAT-preparatory sessions by Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions at a reduced rate. Cost is $226, which is a savings of $273 off of Kaplan’s usual $499 charge. The sessions are open to FCPS students, private-school students, and home schooled students.

Sessions will be offered at all three high schools, but FCPS students may sign up for any location; they do not have to go to the sessions at their school.

• Saturday and Sunday sessions will be offered at Liberty High School, beginning Saturday, April 9, and ending Sunday, May 22.
• Monday and Wednesday evening sessions will be offered at Kettle Run High School, beginning Monday, April 25, and ending Wednesday, May 25.
• Tuesday and Thursday evening sessions will be offered at Fauquier High School, beginning Tuesday, April 26, and ending Thursday, May 26.

Start times are 10 a.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, and 6 p.m. for all evening sessions; ending times vary.

Registration closes on Thursday, March 31. To register, call 1-571-312-3720. Once Kaplan verifies your seat, forward a check or money order for $226 to the FCPS Budget Office (Attention: Cindy Mills), 320 Hospital Drive, Warrenton, VA 20186.
3/29/11 > FCPS Arts Festival This Weekend
The annual Fauquier County Public Schools Arts Festival will be held at Kettle Run High School on Friday, April 1, from 6-8:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 2, from noon-3 p.m.

Artwork from selected students from all schools will be on the walls of the main hallways, commons area and gymnasium. Student choruses, bands and orchestras will perform in the commons area and in the gym nearly continuously on both days of the festival.

Elementary schools, middle schools and high schools will participate in this countywide visual and performing arts festival. The show is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Family, friends and local citizens who love art and music are invited to come and show their appreciation of the arts.
3/29/11 > Coleman Elementary a 'Distinguished School'
Coleman Elementary School has been recognized by the Virginia Board of Education as a “Title I Distinguished School” for raising the achievement level of economically disadvantaged students. The award is based on student achievement on state assessments during 2009-2010 and the previous school year.

The state recognized 103 schools (out of 733 Title I schools) for maintaining full state accreditation under the commonwealth’s Standards of Learning program for two consecutive years, meeting federal benchmarks in reading and mathematics, and having average test scores in both subjects at the 60th percentile or higher.

Coleman will receive a certificate from VDOE celebrating its status and achievement.
3/29/11 > Different Shoes Help Bradley Students Recognize Differing Abilities
Mismatched shoes taught a lesson and benefitted others when “Different Shoe Day” at Bradley Elementary School drew students’ attention to different abilities while raising money for the Claude Moore Fun For All Playground.

Bradley PTO President Melissa Whipkey came up with the idea and approached Bradley Principal Beth Banks. The two decided it was a win/win; it would help to educate Bradley students about differing abilities and it would help to raise money for Fauquier’s community playground for children of all abilities.

“The idea came from researching online ways to raise acceptance, awareness, and tolerance of those different than we are,” Ms. Whipkey said.

Bradley students were given the opportunity to wear a different shoe on each foot for the day by donating $1 to the Fun For All Playground. The underlying idea was that students would learn through this event that it’s okay to be different – that, if a student uses a walker, for instance, or has a hearing aid, it doesn’t change who he or she is.

Different Shoe Day and the Bradley PTO raised $200 for the Fun For All Playground.
3/28/11 > Parents Invited to Learn about the FCPS High School Academic Program
It’s time to finalize students’ schedules for school year 2011-12. In an effort to demystify the high school scheduling process and to answer long-term planning questions regarding your child’s academic program, the Gateways Advisory Committee is sponsoring an “Academic Planning for High School” presentation. This session is intended to be especially valuable to parents of academically advanced middle school students, although it will be informational for parents of elementary and high school students as well.

The presentation will be held on Thursday, March 31, at 4 p.m. in the Eagle Room at Liberty High School. Dave Bell, guidance director of Liberty High School, and Raye Tupper, FCPS supervisor of advanced programs, will lead the program.
3/28/11 > Kettle Run High School Football Fundraiser Golf Tournament
The Kettle Run High School football program is holding its third annual golf tournament fundraiser on Friday, May 13, 2011. The fundraiser will be held at the Virginia Oaks Golf Club designed by P.B. Dye in Gainesville, VA. The tournament is captain’s choice format beginning at 9 a.m. with a shot-gun start.

The tournament fee is $80 per golfer if paid in advance and $100 the day of the event. The fee includes 18 holes of golf with cart, complimentary range balls, use of chip and putt practice facilities, and lunch. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second, and third place golf teams as well as individual awards for longest drive and closest to the pin. There will be several items raffled during the tournament lunch which all golfers are eligible to win.

The fundraiser will raise money for travel costs and other expenses not covered by the athletic department for the football team.
3/18/11 > Graduation Dates Announced
Graduation dates have been set for the Class of 2011 at Fauquier, Kettle Run and Liberty High Schools.

Kettle Run High School will hold graduation on Thursday, June 2, at 7 p.m. in the stadium complex. Inclement weather venue will be the school gymnasium.

Fauquier High School will hold graduation on Saturday, June 4, at 7 p.m. at Falcon Field. Inclement weather venue will be the school gymnasium.

Liberty High School will hold graduation on Sunday, June 5, at 3 p.m. at Jiffy Lube Live (formerly Nissan Pavilion).

Because the school year is ending a week earlier than last year, graduation ceremonies are also a week earlier. This placed Fauquier County Public Schools graduation weekend on the same schedule as the spring regional and state VHSL competition schedule. In the interest of doing what is best for all graduating seniors, the three high schools worked together to set commencement dates and times that would not conflict with regional and state competitions.
3/18/11 > Miller Elementary Fifth Graders Inventing Instruments
It wasn’t Beethoven’s Fifth by any means, but still, there was a sweet, albeit loud, mix of music filling fifth-grade teacher Michael Snell’s classroom at Grace Miller Elementary School Wednesday, March 16, as students fine-tuned the instruments they had invented for the Blue Man Group Invent an Instrument Contest.

Pencils substituted for sticks on a trio of trashcans, rubber bands twanged noticeably different notes on a ukulele look-alike, and rocks rocked out a rhythm on a contraption that only a mother could love.

The project was science in action with students applying lessons learned in their recent study of light and sound. For several years Mr. Snell has incorporated the Blue Man Group – the zany trio of, well, blue men, who got their start making music on PVC pipes – into his lessons on sound.

“It was pure, dumb luck,” he said, to discover the group’s contest, billed as “a creative competition that challenges students in grades 5-9 to use their ingenuity and creativity to invent an original music instrument out of repurposed or everyday objects.”

Mr. Snell set three requirements of his students for the two-week project – the instrument had to be realistic, it had to make a sound, and it had to emit two different pitches. Other than that, the students could let their creative juices flow.

Student Christopher Miller used rubber bands, tape, rocks, a plastic bottle, a couple beads, and a box to create his instrument. He used more rocks than beads, he noted, because “the rocks took over the sound of the beads.” He said his instrument underwent major changes each time he worked on it. “As I collected more materials, I got more ideas,” he explained. As he put finishing touches on his unnamed instrument, he summarized what he learned from this project: “There are lots of sounds we can use as music,” he said.

Fellow student Lauren Wright used PVC pipe, a sandwich bag box, paper, tape, rubber bands and a cork to fashion her interesting-looking, one-of-a-kind instrument. “I learned how you make sound, that if you don’t have vibration, it won’t make a sound,” she said. “I just kept on putting things together and got different noises,” she said.

Keeping it simple was student Michael Rubio’s motivation when he started with only a garbage can lid. He added three small trash cans of different shapes and materials, taped them all together and played away. The rudimentary drum set might not qualify as a newly invented instrument, but it made a mean sound, and Michael learned some lessons: “I just wanted to make it simple,” he said, “but it was harder than I thought. The different shapes changed the sounds, and the metal made a higher sound. I learned that you can make any kind of instrument out of everyday uses. All it takes is a few little steps, and you’ve got it.”

Rabecca Mathison said she was inspired by drums when she invented her instrument. Using different sized plastic cups, she filled them with varying degrees of water and covered each with aluminum foil (on which she had drawn hearts and flowers) secured by rubber bands. Tapping on the foil produced different sounds, depending on how much liquid each cup held. “I thought of drums, and then I had this idea. I put it together, and the sound is pretty cool,” she said.

Many other instruments took form over the course of the past two weeks as Mr. Snell’s 18 fifth-graders took the assignment to heart.

“You’ve all done very well,” he told his up-and-coming inventors. “You’ve adapted and tweaked your instruments to produce the best ones.”

Whether any of the students decide to enter their invented instruments in the Blue Man Group’s contest will be their decision. Contest or no contest, though, Mr. Snell’s students seemed to have won the ultimate prize – creatively applying what they learned about sound to a real-world challenge. And that’s music to any teacher’s ears.

3/18/11 > Distinguished Educational Leader and Outstanding Teacher Named

Roger Lee, principal of Liberty High School, and Susan Robertson, fourth-grade teacher at Greenville Elementary School, have been named as Fauquier County Public Schools recipients of The Washington Post's 2011 Distinguished Educational Leadership Award and the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award, respectively.

The Post annually recognizes 19 principals and 21 teachers for their creative and quality instruction and contribution to the improvement of education in the Washington metropolitan area. The Leadership Award spotlights principals who create exceptional educational environments for their students, and the Agnes Meyer Award acknowledges teachers who work hard to ensure children receive a high-quality education.

In coming weeks the school division's information office will publish a more in-depth look at the award recipients, but with today's announcement from The Washington Post it is appropriate to consider a few of the comments made on behalf of Mr. Lee and Ms. Robertson in their nomination packages.

Roger Lee

"Roger Lee typifies the concept of balanced leadership: he is a dedicated learning leader who also deftly manages his school with aplomb and an eye for detail. …He does not believe that excellence is a matter of luck but is a matter of design: strategic planning, unwavering care for student safety and academic growth, and clear articulation of expectations."

Sandra Mitchell, Associate Superintendent for Instruction

"During my 34 years of teaching, due to my husband's career transfers, I have taught in nine high schools, six school systems, and three different states. I have been exposed to varying educational philosophies, directions and visions, and … one person stands out for his integrity, common sense, and leadership - Mr. Roger Lee. …Since Roger became head principal, our test scores and graduation numbers have improved dramatically. …We are a school with a direction and purpose and this is due in large part to the proactive leadership of Mr. Lee."

Teresa Bennington, Science Department Chair, Liberty High School

"As an active member in the Student Council, numerous honor societies, and other clubs I have come to know Mr. Lee not only as an administrator, but as an approachable leader, always willing to give advice, while still managing effectively. …In my 12 years of school I've experienced numerous administrators; Mr. Lee stands out among them all."

Caroline Eckert, senior, Liberty High School

Susan Robertson

"Susan Robertson is one of those teachers you are lucky to meet in a lifetime. …Mrs. Robertson knows her students' individual strengths and weaknesses to a degree that is extremely beneficial to her students. …She has her finger on the 'pulse' of educational trends and best practices and has the instinctive ability to be able to separate the 'fluff' from truly valuable educational practices."

The Fourth-Grade Team at Greenville Elementary School Amy Carter-Stewart, Indira Jayashekaramurthy and Donna Miller

"She always has a way to help people even if one way doesn't work." "She teaches us in fun ways." "She tells good jokes and jazzes up the lessons."

Mrs. Robertson's fourth-grade students

"Susan is a passionate teacher. She doesn't shy away from any tough discussion. She conveys high standards to her students and manages her classroom with clear-cut, no-nonsense expectations; yet her students readily learn that she cares deeply about their success."

Margie Riley Principal, Greenville Elementary School

3/17/11 > Author/Illustrator Visits Coleman Elementary

When Henry Cole, author and illustrator of children's books, visited Coleman Elementary School Tuesday, March 15, he regaled students with laugh-a-minute stories from his childhood that shaped his livelihood as an adult.

Whether it was exploring in the woods as a boy growing up on a farm, or feeling the excitement of drawing on big sheets of paper in the third grade, or winning a poster contest in the fourth grade, or discovering the artwork of John Audubon in an oversized public library book in the fifth grade - the experiences turned him into a man who clearly loves nature, children, drawing, creativity, and, perhaps most of all, the creative process.

Seemingly from the time he could breathe, Cole and creativity went together.

"From my youth I loved to draw, I loved wildlife, and I loved being home more than anything," he said.

Repetition was key in Cole's transformation from school-age sketcher to accomplished artist. Like many budding artists, as a young child he sketched his house - over and over and over - a fact he demonstrated to his young audience at Coleman through slides of his early drawings. Broadening his horizons beyond home-sweet-home, he began to sketch other subjects, including at one point the Statue of Liberty. Thrilled at his mother's reaction to his first attempt at drawing Lady Liberty - of course, she gushed over it and taped it to the kitchen wall - he scampered back to his room to draw the statue again … and again … and again, ad nauseum. And every single time he presented a new and improved Statue of Liberty drawing to his mom, she taped the new and improved picture on the wall - to the tune of 37 drawings encircling the Cole family's kitchen wall that day.

Besides the invaluable lesson of maternal love, that early experience taught Mr. Cole something equally significant. Practice and persistence pay off. He saw for himself that each drawing was better than the one before. Each looked more like the real thing. Each contained more detail. He could hardly contain his excitement at the difference between his first and his final Statue of Liberty drawings.

Using wit, humor and exaggerated expression during three presentations at Coleman, Mr. Cole described, step by step, the creative process involved in journeying from an initial idea all the way to the printing press and beyond. He hammered home the practice and persistence that enveloped his own evolution into a published children's author and sought-after illustrator. He passionately encouraged students to pursue their own creative talents and to be willing to work at it.

"I do lots of preliminary sketches," he said. "I try to get my ideas down on paper." In fact, for his most recent book, "A Nest for Celeste", he told students he made close to 60 drawings for the cover before he finally got a sketch he liked.

"I didn't get it right the first time," he said, "but it was fun getting there." Cole has written close to a dozen children's books, including "Trudy," "On Meadowview Street," "On the Way to the Beach," "I Took A Walk," and "Jack's Garden."

A Little Background on the Author/Illustrator

Mr. Cole grew up on a dairy farm near Purcellville, VA, and graduated from Virginia Polytechnic and State University. He taught science at Langley Elementary School in Hampton for 15 years where he and a colleague, school librarian Pamela Duncan Edwards, decided, after attending a children's literature conference, to pursue their dream of getting a book published. In 1996 they collaborated on "Some Smug Slug," beginning a long-standing and successful author/illustrator partnership. Mr. Cole also regularly collaborates with other children's authors and told the Coleman students that he has "lost count" of how many children's books he has illustrated, although he thought it was 93. He moved to Florida five years ago and, inspired by his love of nature and wildlife, enjoyed turning his barren-but-for-grass yard into a flora-and-fauna sanctuary.


3/15/11 > School Board Actions 3-14-11

The Fauquier County School Board met March 14, 2011, and took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the March 14, 2011, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the Feb. 14 School Board meeting and the Feb. 28 special School Board meeting and work session; payment of bills; and personnel actions.

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

In order to improve communication between the school division and the community, Dr. Lewis and School Board members are visiting schools and organizations to present information on student achievement, the upcoming budget, and the school division's strategic plan. The public will have time to ask questions following each presentation. This is a unique opportunity to become better informed about these important issues and to meet the superintendent and School Board members. Following are dates and places the presentation will be held:

  • Tuesday, March 15, at 7 p.m. at Brumfield Elementary School for the Bradley and Brumfield communities
  • Wednesday, March 16, at 7 p.m. at the Warrenton Moose Lodge

Thursday, March 17 - Board of Supervisors Budget Public Hearing at 7 p.m. in the Fauquier High School auditorium

Monday, March 21 - School Board Redistricting Public Hearing at 7 p.m. in the Kettle Run High School auditorium

Monday, March 28 - Chairman's Night at 5 p.m. in the Kettle Run High School library

Monday, March 28 - School Board Work Session at 6 p.m. at Kettle Run High School. The Board will discuss the proposed elementary redistricting plan.

Tuesday, March 29 - Members of the School Board and the superintendent will attend the VSBA Northeastern Regional Forum at Mayfield Intermediate School in Manassas.

Wednesday, April 6 - Health Advisory Committee at 8 a.m. in the Central Complex meeting room

Wednesday, April 6 - Special Education Advisory Committee at 6 p.m. in the Central Complex A meeting room

Thursday, April 7 - School Support Council at 7 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Monday, April 11 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. in the Warren Green Building

PLEASE NOTE: The proposed School Year 2011-2012 is posted on the school division's website. The Board will likely vote on the calendar at the April 11 meeting.

3/15/11 > History Textbooks Available for Review

Fauquier County Public Schools is adopting history and social science textbooks for use beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. Input from the public is an important step in the review process. The selection committee is recommending the following textbooks by grade level and subject:

  • Grade 6, US History 1865 to Present: American Journey: Modern Times, published by Glencoe
  • Grade 7, Civics and Economics: Virginia Civics and Economics, published by Prentice Hall
  • Grade 8, World Geography: World Geography and Cultures, published by Glencoe
  • Grade 10, World History 1500 to Present: Modern World History: Patterns and Interactions, published by Holt
  • Grade 11, Virginia and US History: United States History, published by Prentice Hall
  • Grade 12, Virginia and US Government: Magruder's American Government, published by Prentice Hall

The principal criteria for evaluating the texts are the Virginia Standards of Learning. The web address is

The public is invited to review and comment on the recommendations from March 15-April 8 in the textbook office (room 4) of Building A (old Central Elementary School), 430 East Shirley Avenue, Warrenton, VA. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To make an appointment to examine the textbooks outside of these hours, contact Pat Downey at 422-7018 or

3/14/11 > FFA T-Shirt Design a National Finalist: Votes Needed by March 21 for 'How We Roll'
Your vote in a t-shirt design contest can mean cash for the Kettle Run High School FFA Chapter!

It all started when the KRHS FFA Chapter had a Chapter T-Shirt Design Contest among its members, and senior Chelsie Pasley had the winning design; the chapter had the design turned into shirts and sweatshirts. Then the National FFA Organization announced the 2011 National Chapter Tee Contest so agricultural education teacher Meaghan Brill entered Chelsie’s design.

Ms. Brill learned Friday, March 11, that Chelsie’s design, called “How We Roll,” has been selected as a finalist in the national contest. All 22 finalist designs are now posted on and will remain there through Monday, March 21, at 7 a.m. The six designs with the most votes will be sold nationwide beginning in the fall, and the winning chapters will receive 50 percent of the profits from all shirts sold during the first year of sales.

Voters will use the Facebook “Like” button to vote, so they must have a Facebook account in order to vote. Remember, deadline to vote is March 21 at 7 a.m.
3/11/11 > Civil War Presenter Addresses Brumfield Fourth-Graders

Rick Wines, a Civil War buff and relic hunter, visited Brumfield Elementary School March 9 to share his knowledge and artifacts with four classes of fourth graders. The Fauquier County native and 1978 Fauquier High School graduate told the students that, while history was his favorite subject in school, he didn't pursue that interest until 15 years after graduation when he took up metal detecting. He got interested in the Civil War and now, he said, "I could speak about it all day. It's my passion."

Mr. Wines spoke to the students about the causes of the Civil War, unique qualities of the war's battles (first, bloodiest, largest, etc.), and other names for the war (among them The Lost Cause, Brothers War, War of Attempted Secession, Jefferson Davis' War, Mr. Lincoln's War, and even "The Wo-Wa," the Deep South's two-syllable pronunciation of The War). Students were enthusiastically anxious to answer Mr. Wines' questions since correct answers earned them a genuine Civil War bullet encased in plastic as a token of remembrance from their speaker.

Mr. Wines also talked with the students about what life was like in Fauquier County during the war - the types of livestock, crops, industries, and jobs here. He told students what different areas of Fauquier County were called back then - Remington was Rappahannock Station, Opal was Fayetteville, Delaplane was Piedmont Station, Marshall was Salem, and The Plains were The White Plains.

Reading excerpts from "The Caldwell Letters," Mr. Wines gave the fourth-graders a unique perspective of how war affected one Fauquier family. Susan Emiline Jeffords Caldwell, who lived on Smith Street in Warrenton, penned the letters to her father Lycurgus, who worked for the Confederacy in Richmond. The tone of the first letter, written in September 1861, was overwhelmingly upbeat - "All is well," she wrote, although she admitted to having some trouble getting cloth to make an overcoat for her father. A year later in August 1862, she wrote that a Mrs. Shackelford was ordered to move out of her own home to make way for a Union captain and his family (eventually the captain "coldly" granted Mrs. Shackelford permission to retain two rooms of her residence as her own living quarters, Ms. Caldwell said). In the same letter she wrote of flour being taken from one mill in Fauquier and of another local mill being burned. "Destruction of property is awful," she wrote. A letter dated February 1863 addressed the severe, snowy weather Warrenton was experiencing. It also gave a recap of the "Yankees' thieving expedition" throughout the town, as Northern soldiers helped themselves to eating utensils, medicine, tobacco and money; they also broke open the Old Warren Green Hotel stable, she said, and stole seven horses. "I am so tired of this war," wrote Ms. Caldwell. Her growing heavyheartedness rang out painfully through words she wrote to her father in April of 1864 - "Oh, how I long for this cruel war to be over."

Following his informative presentation, Mr. Wines invited students to stroll past a display of his encased Civil War artifacts, most of which he had found himself while metal detecting; the display also included three pistols that he had purchased. Students gazed at a wide variety of Civil War relics including coins, bullets, epaulettes, an old shoe, hat plates, belt buckles, pipes, and eating utensils, for a moment bringing their studies to life.

That was exactly what fourth-grade teacher Amelia Ferguson hoped to accomplish by inviting Mr. Wines, uncle of one of her students.

"I felt that his collection of artifacts and stories would make the students' studies of the Civil War more 'real,'" she said. "I think it was helpful and interesting for the students to hear about and see all of the history that took place right around where they live."

 Additional Photos
3/09/11 > Kindergarten Registration

Kindergarten registration for children attending Fauquier County Public Schools will be held April 12-15, 2011. Children who are 5 years of age on or before September 30, 2011, are eligible for kindergarten.

Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on any of the four days - April 12, 13, 14 or 15 - parents should take the kindergarten enrollee to the school the child will attend. For assistance in determining which school, parents may use an attendance zone locator service on the school division's website at (For the most up-to-date zone information, click on "Elementary Redistricting" under "Announcements" located front and center on the home page. Current and proposed attendance boundary zones are located at that site. Please note that the School Board is scheduled to vote on the proposed elementary schools redistricting on Monday, April 11.)

In order to complete the registration process, parents should bring the following documents for the child being registered:

  • Immunization record
  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of residency (housing contract, rental agreement, property tax bill or utility bill). Please note that a driver's license is not acceptable proof of residency.

Pre-school physical examinations will be required prior to official enrollment in August. The necessary forms may be picked up at registration.

All 11 of Fauquier County's elementary schools will hold kindergarten registration April 12-15. Additional information may be obtained by calling any of the elementary schools listed. 


Bradley 422-7510
Brumfield 347-6180
Coleman 364-1515
Greenville 422-7570 
Miller  439-1913 
Pearson  788-9071 
Pierce  422-7630 
Ritchie 349-0460 
Smith  347-6150 
Thompson 422-7690 
Walter  439-3279 

Parents who need help in a language other than English to register their child may call Amy Hatton at (540) 422-7024 or Paola Padró at (540) 422-7118.

3/07/11 > Auburn Middle Holds 'Read-In'

Over 50 Auburn Middle School students stayed after school on Read Across America Day March 2 to participate in a Read-In held in the school library. After enjoying pizza in the cafeteria, students chose spots all over the library to get settled and read. They sat or sprawled in comfortable positions as they enjoyed printed books as well as e-books read on Nooks or Kindles during an hour of uninterrupted reading. Joining the students in the read-in were Principal Steve Kadilak and faculty and staff members Matt Bower, Cindy Lee, Lin Wiltse, Uva Stanley, Jen Davis, Karen Halsall, and Janet Miles.

"It was literally so quiet you could have heard a pin drop," said Ms. Miles, AMS librarian, who organized the read-in. At the conclusion of the event, door prizes were raffled and every student left with either a prize or a poster.

Earlier in the day a special visitor popped in at Principal Kadilak's weekly meeting with students participating in the Brown Bag Lunch Bunch Book Club. As the sixth graders dined on green eggs and ham - prepared by cafeteria workers in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday - and discussed a current favorite book, the infamous "Cat in the Hat" joined the club, sitting quietly and looking on as Mr. Kadilak and students rated the books they had read in the past week.


Auburn Middle School's PTO donated funds to purchase six Nook e-reading devices for students to use in the school's library. Each device can hold up to 1,500 e-books and the six e-readers have been loaded initially with many new popular titles as well as some free downloads of classics. The response from students has been very positive with comments of "cool" and "really fun."

To afford the greatest number of students the opportunity to read with the Nooks, AMS librarian Janet Miles said at this time students may use the Nooks only in the library. She said the school hopes to purchase more e-readers soon and plans ultimately to allow students to check out the devices for a week at a time. She said staff at a Manassas book store where the Nooks were purchase said that Auburn Middle School is the first school in the area to buy Nooks for students to use. Mrs. Miles said that schools across the country are beginning to use Nooks, Kindles, and other brands of e-readers to capitalize on the interest of teens in technology and to promote reading.

3/07/11 > Kettle Run High School Band Makes It a 3-Peat
The Kettle Run High School Band earned the distinction of a “Virginia Honor Band” for the third consecutive year on Saturday, March 5, at the Virginia Band and Orchestra Director’s Association (VBODA) District IX Concert Festival held at Battlefield High School. The KRHS wind ensemble earned a “Superior” rating at the event. In order to earn “Honor Band,” both the wind ensemble and the marching band must earn a “Superior” rating in one school year. The Cougar Marching Band had earned a “Superior” rating at the State Marching Festival in October of 2010.

Virginia Honor Band is the highest honor VBODA bestows upon bands. Currently only three schools in the Commonwealth hold the status since opening: Battlefield High School, James River High School and Kettle Run.

Congratulations to Director Matt Yonkey and the Kettle Run High School Band.
3/07/11 > KRHS Hosting 'A Hard Day's Night -- The Band'
The athletic and band departments at Kettle Run High School will welcome “A Hard Day’s Night – The Band” to the school’s auditorium on Saturday, April 16, at 7 p.m. The Kettle Run band will combine with this Beatles tribute band for certain selections. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For ticket information contact the KRHS activities office (phone 422-7344) or the front office (phone 422-7330).
3/04/11 > Coleman Elementary School Honored by Disability Services Board
The Fauquier County Disability Services Board honored Coleman Elementary School with a Disability Friendly Award acknowledging the school’s individualized educational practices and Coleman Principal Joy Seward’s “welcoming, open and accepting attitude.”

Making the presentation during a school division Leadership Team meeting at Kettle Run High School March 3 were DSB members Jane Burnette with Independence Empowerment Center, Linda Reid and Carina Elgin.

Ms. Elgin explained how the Coleman award evolved, beginning with positive comments from students and parents which led to her nominating the school.

“As a special education mom and former Parent Resource Center representative, this was the first time I had parents of SPED children speak so highly of a school, its program, its inclusion,” she said. After a 17-year association with special education, Ms. Elgin said she took special note when she began to hear “amazing praise” of Coleman’s programs.

“The attitude and atmosphere in that school is fantastic,” she said.

Ms. Reid added that when a DSB committee visited Coleman during consideration of the nomination, they heard laudatory comments from both regular and special education parents.

At the award presentation Ms. Burnette said of Coleman, “Rather than assigning students to classes or programs of study on the basis of disability or administrative convenience, the school community strives to identify and recognize student talents and strengths and to provide the support needed for students to develop those talents.” In addition, Ms. Burnette said Coleman students are supported in reaching as far as possible into their own interests and affinities. “This open perceptiveness of the individuality of each student leads to ways in which the school can foster student growth,” she said.

After receiving the award on behalf of her school, Principal Joy Seward said Coleman Elementary School was delighted to have received the Disability Friendly Award from the Fauquier County Disability Services Board.

“The plaque reads that we are being recognized for ‘encouraging and supporting an all-inclusive environment for each and every student.’ These words mean the world to us,” she said. “Our prevailing philosophy is our children, our students, belong to all of us, and everyone is valued for the unique gifts they possess. Our school community of staff and students strive for everyone’s voice to be heard and valued. All of our teachers, both general education and special education, work with all of our students. We knew the barriers that sometimes separate students in schools were broken down when one of our students congratulated a special education teacher on finally becoming a ‘real’ teacher.”

Mrs. Seward said that, as an administrator, she is continually blessed to work with an entire staff that fervently works toward success for all children.

“A can-do attitude for all children guides their actions and their words,” she said. “As educators, we are fortunate to work with the future as it unfolds each day in front of us in the growth of our students. At Coleman we are doubly fortunate to have a culture and environment of inclusion.”
3/04/11 > FHS Renovation Project Recipient of $10 Million No-Interest Bond
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) announced March 2 that the Fauquier High School renovation project will receive $10 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds. The FHS renovation project is one of 41 new construction, renovation, and expansion projects in 33 school divisions to benefit from the allocation of $229.5 million in QSCBs.

In making the announcement, Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright said, “These allocations will allow urgent and long-delayed projects to move forward and improve the learning and working environments for thousands of students, educators, and other school division employees.”

Janice Bourne, FCPS assistant superintendent for administration, who applied for the QSCB on behalf of Fauquier County Public Schools in November, said the school division administration is “overjoyed” at this news.

“We believed this project was a prime candidate for this program,” she said, “and are honored to be selected to participate. We are grateful for the local and state support we received.”

QSCBs are issued by the Virginia Public School Authority on behalf of school divisions and localities. Divisions and localities are responsible for repayment of the principal but receive direct federal subsidies to offset interest payments on the bonds. The QSCB program does not affect the commonwealth’s debt capacity. According to VDOE, the allocations announced Wednesday are preliminary until the eligibility of each recipient is formally certified.
3/04/11 > Elementary Redistricting Information Available
New elementary school attendance zones are proposed for Fauquier County Public Schools effective school year 2011-2012. Information on the proposed elementary school redistricting plan is available on the school division’s website at under “Announcements” front and center on the home page. On the site, parents are able to find the school zone proposed for their residential address as well as view all of the proposed zones on maps. Information on current zoning is also available on the site.

The School Board reviewed the new redistricting plan for the first time at a work session on Feb. 28. The Board will formally receive the plan as an information item at the School Board meeting on March 14 at 7 p.m. at Kettle Run High School. The public is invited to express comments on the redistricting plan at a public hearing on March 21 at 7 p.m. at Kettle Run High School. (The public is also invited to email comments to

After discussion of the proposed redistricting plan at a work session on March 28 (6 p.m. at KRHS), the Board is slated to vote on the plan at its April 11 meeting at 7 p.m. at the Warren Green Building.

Parents without computer access may call Janice Bourne, assistant superintendent for administration, at (540) 422-7008 for redistricting information.
3/04/11 > Farm Bureau Donates Books to FCPS
The Fauquier County Farm Bureau partnered with Fauquier County Public Schools on Read Across America Day, March 2, by sending members to three elementary schools to read a book about agriculture in Virginia.

The visitors read “Ready, Set, Grow! A Tour of Virginia Farms and Agriculture” to several classes of students at Brumfield, Greenville, and P.B. Smith Elementary Schools and then donated a copy of the book to the classes.

3/01/11 > School Board Actions 2-28-11

The Fauquier County School Board met February 28, 2011, and took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the February 28, 2011, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Approved the resolution requesting the Board of Supervisors to issue general obligations bonds in the amount of $21,000,000 for the Fauquier High School renovation project and further, authorized the filing of an application with the Virginia Public School Authority (VPSA) for the purchase of the bonds in the 2011 Spring Pooled Bond Sale.
  • Approved a religious exemption.
3/01/11 > FCPS to Participate in Tornado Drill
Fauquier County Public Schools will participate in a tornado drill on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, at 9:45 a.m. All schools and departments in the school division will participate.

Governor Bob McDonnell has proclaimed March 15 as “Tornado Preparedness Day” to help focus attention on tornadoes and to increase knowledge of the proper safety procedures.

The drill will provide an opportunity for the school division to practice its tornado emergency plan in order to promote readiness in the event of an actual emergency.
2/28/11 > FHS Student's Art Earns Accolades
Erik Dornbush, a senior at Fauquier High School, entered what he considered his “two best pieces of art” into the 2011 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition. He went two for two when both pieces were selected as Gold Key recipients, automatically earning a berth in national judging by panels of artists in New York City next month.

An independent study student of FHS art teacher Charlene Root, Erik submitted woodburning projects in the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers annual competition, which garnered a record 12,000 entries of students’ works of art and writing at the Region at Large level.

“The field of entries was quite large,” said Ms. Root, “and for one student to receive two awards is pretty impressive.”

According to the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, only the most accomplished works submitted to the regional programs earn Gold Keys. This year more than 180,000 works were submitted to the competition nationwide, and of these, 670 pieces of art from the Region at Large earned Gold Key recognition.

When Erik received notification of the awards, his immediate reaction was disbelief.

“At first, I didn’t believe that what I read was correct,” he said. “I went back and forth a few times rereading the email and the list of Gold Key recipients. It has sunken in now, but considering the circumstances of how I started woodburning and how coincidental the whole process of getting ‘here’ has been, the idea that my art is being judged nationally is surreal.”

Erik said this recognition is also surprising because he has taken only two art classes – one in middle school and one during his freshman year.

“I don’t think anything that came out of either of those classes was something to take a second look at,” he said. “In other words, I wasn’t successful in art until I started woodburning.”

Erik began his journey through independent-study woodburning courses at Fauquier High School thanks to a fluke. Ms. Root described how it happened: “I was speaking to another teacher about a project I was working on that involved woodburning on dried gourds,” she said. “Out of nowhere, this young man started to follow me. I asked, ‘Can I help you with something?’ and he said he did woodburning and was interested in seeing my work. Over the course of that semester he visited several times, showing me the work he had done.” Erik signed up for Ms. Root’s Art II class, but after a few days decided he really wanted to do woodburning so he went through official channels to get permission for independent study. That was three semesters ago, and Erik is currently taking his third independent study in woodburning. Ms. Root is “very involved” in the process, primarily in critiquing his work and helping him with making frames for some of his work.

Erik’s subjects range from cows to portraits. His winning pieces were a nine-square piece entitled “Natural Harmony” in which each square shows an animal, bird or nature scene (“When they are assembled, elements of each piece connect to create a sort of yin-yang image,” said Ms. Root.) and “Ishmael” inspired by Daniel Quinn’s philosophical novel.

Though he felt his two entries were the best pieces he has done thus far, Erik didn’t think they were a shoe-in.

“I usually know that a piece of my art is good just by how I feel about it,” he said. “When I feel confident about a piece or feel like I was successful in carrying out what I envisioned, it is usually popular among my friends and family. Considering that, I felt particularly good about ‘Ishmael’ and ‘Natural Harmony,’ but that self-confidence never led me to believe that my art would be honored with such an award.”

In spite of the fact that his artwork routinely receives favorable reaction from others, in spite of the fact that he has sold several pieces (“Currently he makes more money with commissioned pieces than I do,” laughed his art teacher Ms. Root), and in spite of the fact that his artwork will now be judged on a national level, Erik remains humble, keeping his contributions to the art world in perspective.

“It’s kind of funny to me when people say I’m a great artist,” he said. “When I depict a subject, I try to make it as real as possible so what ends up on the wood is just what I’ve seen and what everyone else sees. It’s nothing I make up. Yes, I put a lot of work into each piece, but since it emulates so closely to the work of Mother Nature, who is really doing the hardest work? I say Mother Nature.”

Still, nature is what Erik prefers to portray.

“It’s hard for me to stray from a natural theme or subject,” he said, “because I find them so majestic already. I also like them because they don’t have to be complicated or confusing to appeal to the viewer. They are just simply attractive.”

Anyone who has ever attempted to emulate the simple beauty of nature through art knows it’s not as easy as Erik makes it sound, but then Erik is accustomed to tackling the complexities of life in ways that make it look easy. Having survived a stroke at 13, he simply persevered and became what he is today – president of the National Honor Society and member of the FHS Academic Team, cross country team and outdoor track team. Oh, and one might describe him in a few other ways as well. Consider this:

Though he pours himself into his artwork, Erik doesn’t mind parting with his pieces if the price is right. In fact, after he won the Gold Keys, he asked Ms. Root if she thought that would add to the sales price of “Natural Harmony,” which he is selling – not giving – to his sister.

Industrious teenager, astute businessman, amazing student, committed athlete, and esteemed artist – that’s Erik Dornbush.
2/24/11 > Two HS Students Selected for State Chorus
Students Samantha Onstad of Fauquier High School and Adam Rawlins of Liberty High School have been selected, by audition, to the 2011 All-Virginia Chorus.

FHS student Kyle Verna was selected as an alternate.

The event will take place April 28-30 at Salem High School in Virginia Beach. Students will rehearse on Thursday and Friday and then perform a concert at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.

“This is an excellent opportunity for gifted singers to rehearse challenging music with world-renowned choral directors,” said Joan George, chorus director at Fauquier and Kettle Run High Schools. “This is a highly select group of students who have met the highest requirements of vocal technique and sight singing.”
2/23/11 > No Adjustment to Calendar Needed at This Point
While Fauquier County Public Schools have been closed ten days for inclement weather this school year, no adjustments are needed to the calendar at this point. Five makeup days were built in to the calendar, and there are enough “banked” instructional hours in the calendar to cover the other five days missed as well as several more days should further inclement weather cause additional days of closure. (“Banked” hours are hours exceeding the Code of Virginia’s minimum requirement.)

That means at this point spring break remains intact and school will end on June 10 – barring any atypical extended school closings for inclement weather. The school division has avoided making any additional changes to the length of the school day or to the calendar by continuing to use the longer elementary day instituted toward the end of the last year.

Graduation dates have not yet been set for the Class of 2011. An announcement of graduation dates will likely be made by the end of March.
2/23/11 > Strategic Plan Update and Redistricting Proposal to be Presented Monday
At a work session on Monday, February 28, at Kettle Run High School, the Fauquier County School Board will receive a mid-year update on the school division’s strategic plan and the redistricting proposal for elementary schools for school year 2011-2012.

The work session will begin at 6 p.m. with the strategic plan update. Marcy Cotov, executive director of budget and planning, who is overseeing the school division’s “Aspirations 2015” Strategic Plan, will update the Board on the status of all year-one action plans.

At 7 p.m. the proposal for redistricting will be presented for School Board discussion only. The public is invited to attend this presentation to receive information on the proposal and to comment on the proposed plan at a public hearing scheduled for Monday, March 21, at 7 p.m. at Kettle Run High School. The School Board is scheduled to vote on the redistricting plan on Monday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at the Warren Green Building in Warrenton.
2/18/11 > Opportunity to Serve on Foreign Language Textbook Adoption Committee
Fauquier County Public Schools will be adopting foreign language textbooks for use beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, and the school division is seeking parents and community members who are interested in serving on the Foreign Language Textbook Adoption Committee charged with reviewing and recommending the new textbooks.

Committees will be formed to review Spanish, German, French and Latin textbooks. Participants must be able to meet with the FCPS supervisor of second languages, collaborate on the Internet, spend time reviewing textbooks, and attend a publisher presentation on March 17 (with the exception of the Latin committee).

Parents and community members interested in serving on the FCPS Foreign Language Textbook Adoption Committee should contact Amy Ternois-Hatton, supervisor of second languages, at or (540) 422-7039.
2/17/11 > DECA Students Win at District Level

High school students from Fauquier County Public Schools performed well at DECA District Competition held in January at the Apple Blossom Mall in Winchester. Eight students from Kettle Run High School, 11 students from Fauquier High School, and five students from Liberty High School were among the top three in their categories. DECA's high school programs prepare future entrepreneurs, marketers and managers in the career clusters of business management, finance, hospitality, and sales and service. Students must be enrolled in a marketing class during the current school year to be eligible for membership in DECA.

Kettle Run winners at district competition were as follows:

Restaurant Marketing Services

  • Taylor Starkey - first in role play, second in written test, and third overall
  • Matt House - first in written test

Food Marketing Services

  • Sydney Stevenson - second in written test, second in role play, and second overall

Automotive Services Marketing

  • Sarah Embrey - third in role play

Hotel and Lodging Marketing

  • Melissa O'Neil - third in role play

Apparel and Accessories Marketing

  • Amanda Gertel - first in role play Amanda Padgett - first in written test and second overall
  • Samantha Picciano - first in written test

Fauquier winners at district competition were as follows:

Business Services Marketing

  • Nicole Latane - third in role play
  • Tyler Harris - tied for second in written test

Marketing Management

  • Colin Burgin - first in written test
  • Joey Burke - third in role play

Quick Serve Marketing

  • Alex Thornton - third in role play

Sports and Entertainment Marketing

  • Garrett Croson - third in written test
  • Ben Samlall - third in role play
  • Jesse Matthews - first in written test and third overall

Principles of Business and Marketing

  • Uzair Saeed - second in role play

Principles of Marketing

  • Neil Cloutier - third in written test and third overall

Principles of Finance

  • Kevine Molina - first in written test, first in role play, and first overall

Liberty winners at district competition were as follows:

Apparel and Accessories Marketing

  • Natalie Lester - second in role play
  • Ashley Lloyd - third in written test

Business Services Marketing

  • Keyanna Gibson - tied for second in written test

Restaurant and Food Service Management

  • Brieanna Watts - first in written test

Sports and Entertainment Marketing

  • Lea Chastine - second in written test

Six of the DECA students qualified to compete at the State Leadership Conference in Norfolk, VA, from March 4-6. They are Amanda Padgett, Sydney Stevenson, and Taylor Starkey from Kettle Run High School and Neil Cloutier, Kevine Molina, and Jesse Matthews from Fauquier High School.

Teacher Debbie Embrey is the marketing coordinator and DECA advisor at Kettle Run High School, Kathleen Evans is the business/marketing teacher and DECA advisor at Fauquier High School, and Valerie Hermes is a business/marketing teacher and the DECA advisor at Liberty High School.

2/15/11 > School Board Actions 2-14-11

The Fauquier County School Board met February 14, 2011, and took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the February 14, 2011, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the Jan. 10 School Board meeting and the Jan. 24 special School Board meeting and work session; payment of bills; and personnel actions.

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

In order to improve communication between the school division and the community, Dr. Lewis and School Board members are visiting schools and organizations to present information on student achievement, the upcoming budget, and the school division's strategic plan. The public will have time to ask questions following each presentation. This is a unique opportunity to become better informed about these important issues and to meet the superintendent and School Board members. Following are dates and places the presentation will be held:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. at Kelly's Ford Inn for the Southern Fauquier Business Owners Association
  • Tuesday, March 1, at 6 p.m. at Kettle Run High School for the public
  • Wednesday, March 2, at 5:30 p.m. at Denny's for the Lions Club of Fauquier County
  • Thursday, March 3, at noon at Fauquier Springs Country Club for the Rotary Club
  • Tuesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. at P.B. Smith Elementary School for the public
  • Wednesday, March 9, at 6:30 p.m. for the Marshall Ruritan Club

Tuesday, Feb. 15 - Parks and Rec Co-op meeting at 6 p.m. in the Alice Jane Childs Bldg. basement conference room

Wednesday, Feb. 16 - Finance Committee meeting at 8 a.m. in the School Administration office

Monday, Feb. 28 - Chairman's Night at 5 p.m. in the Kettle Run High School library

Monday, Feb. 28 - School Board Work Session at 6 p.m. at Kettle Run High School. During the work session (at 7 p.m.) a proposed elementary redistricting plan will be presented.

Wednesday, March 2 - Health Advisory Committee at 8 a.m. in the Central Complex meeting room

Wednesday, March 2 - Special Education Advisory Committee at 6 p.m. in the Central Complex A meeting room

Thursday, March 3 - School Support Council at 7 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Wednesday, March 10 - Personnel Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Wednesday, March 10 - Building Committee at 9 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Monday, March 14 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. in the Warren Green Building

2/11/11 > Middle School Students Selected for Honor Choirs
Several Fauquier County Public Schools students have been selected by audition for Honor Choirs at the district, state, and national level.

Stephanie DiDonato of Marshall Middle School was selected from almost 4,000 auditions to participate in the 2011 American Choral Directors Association All-National Youth Honor Choir in Chicago, IL, March 9-12. Stephanie will be an All National Choir soprano.

Selected from almost 600 auditions to participate in the 2011 ACDA Virginia All-State Middle School Honor Choir in Virginia Beach, VA, April 28-30 were Hannah Taylor, alto, and Mitchell Braun, bass, from Marshall Middle School and Jason Klopp from Taylor Middle School, selected as an All State Choir alternate.

Six FCPS students were chosen to participate in the 2011 Virginia All-District Middle School Honor Choir in Woodbridge, VA, this weekend. Selected from Marshall Middle School were Mitchell Braun, tenor; Sarah Chrisp, soprano; and Shenandoah Payne, alto, and selected from Taylor Middle School were Jason Klopp, bass; Elaine Zalewski-Williams, alto; and Olivia Fresa, soprano.
2/08/11 > Savvy Scientists Meeting at Pierce Elementary
Students at Pierce Elementary School participating once a week after school in the Savvy Scientist program recently used K’Nex construction sets to build fully functioning replicas of machines and structures. K’Nex materials facilitate student engagement in the hands-on exploration of objects, real-world models, math concepts, and scientific phenomena. The students demonstrated their imagination and creativity as they developed realistic solutions to real-world design problems.


Barbara Reese visited Pierce Elementary Jan. 31 to talk to second grade students about the customs and traditions of Native Americans, a subject they have been studying for the past few weeks. As part of her “Hands On History” program, Ms. Reese offered a short history lesson and then shared many Native American artifacts she has collected from across the United States to provide the students with a hands-on learning experience. The second-graders were also given an opportunity to play games as Native American children did and to make a Native American craft.

2/07/11 > Repeat Winner in County Spelling Bee
The hour was late, and the rounds were many – 30, to be exact – but in the end Warrenton Middle School sixth-grader Drew Marino spelled “cholesterol” correctly to win Fauquier County Public Schools’ Fifth Annual Division Spelling Bee. The event was held on Thursday evening, Feb. 3, at Auburn Middle School, after being rescheduled due to inclement weather on Saturday, January 29.

Winning the county spelling bee was nothing new to Drew, who also won last year as a Brumfield Elementary School fifth grader. This year Drew edged out Cedar Lee Middle School sixth-grader Matthew Schwindt for championship honors.

Students from all 11 FCPS elementary schools and all five middle schools participated in the county bee, which was held before a full house of parents, siblings, grandparents, principals, teachers, family and friends. AMS reading specialist John Lucas coordinated the event, and Eileen Burgwyn, FCPS instructional supervisor of English, reading, and Title 1, served as the pronouncer. Judges were School Board members Sally Murray (Center District), Duke Bland (Marshall District), and FCPS Associate Superintendent for Instruction Sandra Mitchell. The Auburn Middle PTO provided a hospitality room with snacks for spellers, including a “bee-themed” cake with a hive and cupcake bees buzzing around it.

As Fauquier’s winner, Drew will advance to the 6th Annual Free Lance-Star Regional Spelling Bee to be held on Saturday, March 12, at 10 a.m. at Muvico/Splitsville Theatres in Fredericksburg. The regional winner will be eligible to participate in the 84th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC, May 29-June 3, 2011.


2/07/11 > Pearson Horticulture Club Visits Outdoor Lab
Fifth-grade students in Pearson Elementary School’s horticulture club went on a fact-finding mission at the Fauquier County Public Schools’ outdoor lab near Fauquier High School on Jan. 19 and “learned a lot,” said Rebecca Schwier, fifth-grade science teacher who co-sponsors the club with school counselor Andrew West.

One goal of the school’s improvement team is to provide outdoor learning spaces for students. In preparation for plans this spring to turn an area between the two wings of the school into an outdoor garden, 19 members of the horticulture club, along with the two adult sponsors, spent nearly four hours getting ideas from the outdoor lab in regard to composting, attracting certain animal species, and identifying safe and dangerous plants and vines.

During their visit to the lab the students participated in an outdoor hike and observation followed by a question-and-answer session, tree measurement, and an outdoor scavenger hunt. Tree measurement involved counting annual tree growth rings to determine a tree’s age; relating the tree history to personal, local, and national history; and tree geometry (determining diameter and circumference). To complete the outdoor scavenger hunt, students were challenged to find the location of 20 specific items and then write the map code number beside the item; items ranged from an evergreen tree to fungus to fern to humus to animal home.

This year the school division is drawing upon the skills of retired teachers to help out as docents at the outdoor lab. Working at the lab during the Pearson students’ visit were retired teachers Larry Baker, Nancy Brittle, Ann Van Ryzin, and Lynda Smet. Also working with the Pearson students during their visit to the outdoor lab was FCPS supervisor of science Eric Dalton, dubbed “Mr. Science” by the students in recognition of his knowledge of trees, deer, bones, etc. that day.

Mrs. Schwier said Pearson’s horticulture club is spending its weekly meetings during the winter researching plants and trees that are kid-friendly and grow well in Virginia.

“In the spring the club and the Student Council will meet together with a group of teachers and parents to present their proposals for the outdoor space,” she said, noting that last fall the club worked in the habitat in the library courtyard to clean the pond, inventory fish, clear brush, and help kindergartners plant bulbs that will bloom in the spring.

Mrs. Schwier said the horticulture club’s visit to the outdoor lab was one to be remembered. “I would heartily recommend this to any other elementary class,” she said.

1/31/11 > Taylor Student Wins VFW Essay Contest
Taylor Middle School eighth-grade student Rhiannon Begley took first place in the “Patriot’s Pen Youth Essay Contest” sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign War Post 9835. Theme of the contest was “Does Patriotism Still Matter?” Rhiannon’s essay also won second place at the district level. The VFW honored Rhiannon at an awards ceremony in Manassas where she received a cash prize.

Also honored at the ceremony was TMS seventh-grade student Sharon Blevins, who placed third in the contest. Taylor Middle was recognized for having the most students participating in the 2010 Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest.
1/25/11 > FCPS to Hold School Division Spelling Bee

  The FCPS Spelling Bee has been rescheduled for Thursday, February 3, at Auburn Middle School. Registration will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the bee beginning at 7 p.m.


The Fauquier County Public Schools Division Spelling Bee will be held this Saturday, Jan. 29, 2010, at 10 a.m. in the Auburn Middle School forum. All 11 elementary schools and all five middle schools will have participants in the school division bee as winners of their school-level or grade-level spelling bees.

AMS reading specialist John Lucas is the school division's bee coordinator, and Eileen Burgwyn, FCPS instructional supervisor of English, reading, and Title 1, will serve as the pronouncer.

The winner of this competition will advance to the 6th Annual Free Lance-Star Regional Spelling Bee to be held on Saturday, March 12, at 10 a.m. at Muvico/Splitsville Theatres in Fredericksburg. The regional winner will be eligible to participate in the 84th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC, May 29-June 3, 2011.


Following are the names of students scheduled to participate in the FCPS Division Spelling Bee. School champions are designated with an asterisk. (There was no overall school winner for Taylor or Marshall.)

  • Bradley Elementary: Hudson Coleman, Shane Hayostek*, Kira Holland
  • Brumfield Elementary: Nico Erbschloe, Madison LaRoche, Savannah Paap*, LaRue Wiggins
  • Coleman Elementary: Connor Johnson, Callaway Lee, Cameron Lee, Matthew Morgan*
  • Greenville Elementary: Braden Frankfield, Britt Helou, Brianna Jenkins*, Michael Lemar
  • Miller Elementary: Jessie Bratcher*, Alex Lambert, Bryce Meadows, Elizabeth Sorto-Molina
  • Pearson Elementary: McKayla Holmes, Kaleb Milam, Mac Stevens*, Hunter Washington
  • Pierce Elementary: Emily Baker, Alyssa Emery*, Morgan Hatcher
  • Ritchie Elementary: Erin Hogge, Sarah Mitchell, Caitlin Roy, Liam Whitted*
  • Smith Elementary: Jake Bandler, Gehrig Faircloth*, David Haiss, Tyrese Redd
  • Thompson Elementary: Tracey Dunivan, Lumin Edmonds*, Jacob Miller, Brook Wallace
  • Walter Elementary: Hunter Anderson, Jessica Johnson, Kinsley Lewis, Finn Price* 
  • Auburn Middle: Andrew Bayer, Nathan Hunter, Kira Morgan, Becca Parsons*
  • Cedar Lee Middle: Mia Appell, Katie Fairfax, Collin Perry, Matthew Schwindt* 
  • Marshall Middle: Hana Pross, Emily Trotto, Gordon Wallace
  • Taylor Middle: Carina Bilger, Kamryn Dietrich, Trent Vance, Andrew Whittington 
  • Warrenton Middle: Lilli Haataja, Drew Marino*, Mark Weidenfeld
1/25/11 > Kettle Run Engineering Design Class Participates in Robot Project
At first there was timidity, reluctance even, to put their robotic vehicles to the test. Soon enough, though, the excitement of the challenge and the appeal of the competition kicked in, and students in the engineering design class at Kettle Run High School took the obstacle course by storm…MindStorm, that is.

Twenty-two Kettle Run students recently participated in an “Engineering Management Workshop” in coordination with the Defense Acquisition University, Capital and Northeast Region. DAU uses the workshop to train recently hired employees of the Department of Defense by simulating situations employees face on the job where they are required to design, build, and test systems that meet specific defense requirements. Workshop participants practice various engineering management skills and competencies including risk management, earned value management, technical reviews, and configuration management. The workshop culminates with DoD employees building Lego MindStorm NXT robots that can detect “mines.” (MindStorm, in a nutshell, is a programmable robotics/construction Lego kit containing motors, sensors and cables; the NXT version includes sensors for light, sound, distance and touch.)

The relationship between KRHS and DAU was formed a year ago when Sterling Mullis, chair of the engineering and technology department at DAU and father of 2010 Kettle Run graduate Zach Mullis, contacted KRHS instructor Bill Davidson about the possibility of creating such a program for high school students and piloting the program at Kettle Run.

“I worked with DAU to make the program relevant to high school engineering students,” said Mr. Davidson. For Kettle Run, the workshop was “de-militarized” toward a local government focus of an environmental spill or other significant hazard and was reduced in overall scope to a high school level, time-limited curriculum.

Using the 450-piece MindStorm kit to work together on the engineering project, four KRHS teams had to use creativity and problem-solving skills along with math and science knowledge. Students were asked to review and evaluate a system specification of required capabilities and features for a system impacted by certain environmental and performance constraints. Each KRHS team did their own robot vehicle designs from scratch after they were introduced to four categories or types of vehicles – tracked, 4x4, two-wheel with caster, and two-wheel with tail dragging. Design decisions were influenced by risk and technical performance factors. Team success would be impacted by the team’s attention to detail across various technical and management disciplines.

As part of their project, the teams were required to make an accurate “bill of materials” or parts list and assembly drawings accurate enough to be able to build the robots in less than ten minutes. The robots then had to navigate through an obstacle course while detecting simulated hazardous materials (simulated by CDs) and perform a pre-programmed series of moves. The vehicles had to maneuver around and over various items including a 15 percent inclined ramp and half-inch dowels, both simulating expected real-world mission conditions. Each robotic vehicle had to complete two laps of the obstacle course within 180 seconds.

The three-week project culminated in a “build-off” on Jan. 5 for which Mr. Davidson said the kids worked frantically in preparation. “It was very much like a real engineering firm in here for three weeks,” he said.

On the big day, Mr. Mullis and Karen Curry, associate dean of outreach and mission assistance at DAU, were on hand to guide the students through the build-off event, including the timed assembly of the robotic vehicles, initial testing of each vehicle’s basic remote-controlled maneuvers, and then running the obstacle course. On the obstacle course, points were awarded or deducted for lost communication, hazardous material detection (indicated by a red light on the robotic vehicle, accompanied by an audible tone, each time the robot accurately hovered over a CD simulating hazardous material), contact with obstacles, and percentage of incline or slope. Teams were also judged on their vehicle’s producibility, supportability, and unit cost.

In the end the team that designed and built the most successful, cost-effective robotic vehicle consisted of Daniel Wasko, project manager, along with Drew Smith, Andrew Bresson, Morgan Richardson, Matt Pleasants, and Evan Pechtimaldjian.

At the completion of the Engineering Management Workshop and the very competitive “build-off,” class instructor Bill Davidson explained what he hoped his students might learn from the experience: “There are eight steps to the design process,” he said, “and we spend a lot of time in my classroom making technical drawings, which is mainly completed in the eighth step of the process. I was hoping to cover the seven other steps of the design process, and the DAU engineering management workshop fit perfectly into that plan.”

Student Luke Kratzer said he learned two important lessons from designing and building a robot in such a time-controlled environment. “You don’t quite understand cost analysis until it actually affects the performance of your design,” he said. “Teamwork is crucially important, too.”

1/24/11 > State Honors Nine Fauquier County Schools
Nine public schools in Fauquier County received accolades as high-performing Virginia public schools in an announcement Jan. 20 from Governor Bob McDonnell and the Board of Education. Bradley, Brumfield, Greenville, Ritchie and Smith Elementary Schools received the “2011 Board of Education Excellence Award,” and Coleman, Thompson, and Walter Elementary Schools along with Kettle Run High School received the “2011 Board of Education Competence to Excellence Award.”

The awards are part of the Virginia Index of Performance (VIP) incentive program created by the Board of Education in 2007 to recognize schools and divisions that achieve excellence goals and far exceed minimum state and federal accountability standards.

While no FCPS schools were among the 110 Virginia schools earning the Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence, the highest honor in the VIP program, five earned the second-tier honor – the Board of Education Excellence Award. Bradley, Brumfield, Greenville, Ritchie and Smith were among the 323 schools in Virginia receiving this award for meeting all state and federal accountability benchmarks for at least two consecutive years and making significant progress toward goals for increased student achievement and expanded educational opportunity set by the board.

Coleman, Thompson, Walter, and Kettle Run were among 289 schools in the Commonwealth earning the Board of Education Competence to Excellence Award. This award recognizes schools that have met all state and federal benchmarks for at least two consecutive years and are making progress toward the goals of the governor and the board.

“The VIP awards program provides an incentive for schools and school divisions to set ambitious goals for raising student achievement and meeting the needs of diverse learners,” said Board of Education President Eleanor Saslaw.

“The schools and divisions earning these awards have high-achieving students and teachers and leaders who are committed to innovation and offering new opportunities for learning,” Gov. McDonnell said.
1/21/11 > Brookside 5K to Benefit KRHS Senior Class
The Brookside Communities Inaugural 5K Run will benefit the Kettle Run High School senior class with proceeds helping to alleviate the cost of the senior class’ end-of-year activities. The run will be held Saturday, March 26, at 8 a.m., beginning at the Brookside Community Center located at 7237 Riley Road in Warrenton. The fast, flat route will wind through the subdivision’s roads and running paths.

Participants in the 5K are invited to run or walk, and prizes will be awarded for fastest times within five-year age groups. The run will be professionally timed. Music and light refreshments will follow the race.

Cost is $20 per participant until March 20; after that date cost will be $25. Participants may register at by major credit card or paypal (search 3/26 and Brookside) or by check payable to Cougar Booster Athletic Association; download the registration form at and mail the form and registration fee to Brookside Benefit 5K, 6863 Tanglewood Drive, Warrenton, VA 20187.

The Kettle Run High School class with the most participants in the 5K will be the beneficiary of one of two Brookside Communities 5K events planned for 2012.

Race organizers are seeking donations from local businesses in the form of refreshments, cash, or prizes (gift cards or discounts for services). To donate, call (540) 428-2340 or email or
1/20/11 > Bradley Elementary School Phone Numbers Changing

Effective Monday, January 24, phone numbers at Bradley Elementary School will change. Following is a list of key numbers that will go into effect on Monday, January 24.

422-7510   Main Office

422-7515   Clinic

422-7516   Cafeteria

422-7517   School Counselor

The re-numbering at Bradley is the second step in the school division's partnership effort with the County's information technology department to save money and to improve management of the phone system by reducing the number of exchanges. Last August all FCPS administrative offices and four schools - Kettle Run High School and Greenville, Pierce, and Thompson Elementary Schools - received new 422 exchange numbers. Eventually, all phone numbers for Fauquier County and Fauquier County Public Schools will change to a 422 number.

1/11/11 > School Board Actions 1-10-11

The Fauquier County School Board met January 10, 2011, and took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the January 10, 2011, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Approved the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for 2012-2021.
  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the Dec. 13 School Board meeting and the Jan. 3 School Board organizational meeting and work session; payment of bills; and personnel actions.

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

In order to improve communication between the school division and the community, Dr. Lewis and School Board members are visiting schools and organizations to present information on student achievement, the upcoming budget, and the school division's strategic plan. The public will have time to ask questions following each presentation. This is a unique opportunity to become better informed about these important issues and to meet the superintendent and School Board members. Following are dates and places the presentation will be held:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. at P.B. Smith Elementary School [Because school is closing early today due to inclement weather, this presentation is postponed; please read information with Jan. 12 presentation below.]
  • Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 6 p.m. at Kettle Run High School [If school is cancelled on Jan. 12, this presentation will be postponed until Jan. 27 at 6 p.m., and interested parents from both P.B. Smith Elementary and Kettle Run High will be invited.] 
  • Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. at Brumfield Elementary School
  • Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. at Grace Miller Elementary School
  • Thursday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. at Liberty High School

Thursday, Jan. 13 - Building Committee at 8 a.m. at Kettle Run High School

Monday, Jan. 24 - Chairman's Night at 5 p.m. in the School Administration office

Monday, Jan. 24 - School Board Work Session at 6 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Wednesday, Feb. 2 - Health Advisory Committee at 8 a.m. in the Central Complex meeting room

Wednesday, Feb. 2 - Special Education Advisory Committee at 6 p.m. in the Central Complex A meeting room

Thursday, Feb. 3 - School Support Council at 7 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Monday, Feb. 14 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. at Fauquier High School (Note: Change from regular location)

The January Finance and Personnel Committee meetings are cancelled.

1/04/11 > School Board Actions 1-3-11

The Fauquier County School Board met January 3, 2011, and took the following official actions. (Supporting documents are available with the January 3, 2011, School Board agenda.)

Organizational Matters

  • Election of Chair - Donna Grove
  • Election of Vice Chair - Duke Bland


  • Voting Delegate to represent the Fauquier County School Board at the Virginia School Board Association business session at the VSBA annual convention in November 2011 - Sheryl Wolfe as Delegate and Duke Bland as Alternate
  • Clerk - Ginger Starner
  • Deputy Clerk - Janice Bourne
  • Superintendent's Authorized Designee in his absence - Sandra Mitchell

Establishment of School Board Meeting Dates for January-December 2011

Regular Meetings - All meetings begin at 7 p.m. (open session) at the Warren Green Building, except for the February and June meetings which will be held at Fauquier High School at 7 p.m.

Jan. 10, 2011

Feb. 14, 2011

Mar. 14, 2011

Apr. 11, 2011

May 9, 2011

June 13, 2011

July 11, 2011

Aug. 8, 2011

Sept. 12, 2011

Oct. 10, 2011

Nov. 14, 2011

Dec. 12, 2011

Work Sessions - Fourth Monday of each month in the conference room of the School Administration Offices at 6 p.m., unless otherwise announced.

Chairman's Night - Fourth Monday of each month in the conference room of the School Administration Offices at 5 p.m., unless otherwise announced.

Special and Emergency Sessions of the Board - School facilities and the local media will be notified in advance.

  • Bylaws and Rules of Procedure adopted
  • VSBA Code of Conduct reaffirmed

Committee Appointments

  • Finance - Sally Murray and Sheryl Wolfe
  • Building - Duke Bland and Donna Grove
  • Personnel - Duke Bland and Donna Grove
  • Health Advisory - Sally Murray and Sheryl Wolfe
  • Parks and Recreation Co-op - Donna Grove and Maureen Riordan
  • Mountain Vista Governor's School Board - Sally Murray (Donna Grove alternate)
1/04/11 > Three More FCPS Teachers Attain National Certification

Three more teachers in Fauquier County Public Schools have become National Board Certified Teachers, bringing the total to 24 currently employed in the County.

Recently earning National Board Certification were Loribeth Bosserman, special education teacher at Kettle Run High School, and Amelia Ferguson and Kristy Hull, both fourth grade teachers at Brumfield Elementary School. Both Ms. Ferguson and Mrs. Hull received their certification in the "generalist/middle childhood" area and Ms. Bosserman in the "exceptional needs/early childhood to young adulthood" area.

Following a lengthy assessment process (between 200 and 400 hours), the three teachers submitted portfolios detailing their individual teaching practices and then took a written assessment. On Dec. 15 the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards published the list of teachers across the country who had attained the nationally recognized symbol of professional teaching excellence.

More than an advanced teaching credential, national certification is a rigorous assessment through which candidates must demonstrate how every aspect of their work improves student learning. Their teaching practices are measured against high, exacting standards. The certification does not replace state licensing, and it is not free. Candidates pay a fee, although scholarships are available. Candidates are required to take a content-knowledge exam and to submit a teaching portfolio that includes extensive, detailed written analysis of their classroom teaching and of student learning. The portfolio must include student work samples and videotapes of the candidate actually teaching in the classroom. The rigorous process demands intense self-evaluation.

Mrs. Hull, who has taught for 11 years in Fauquier County - one at Mary Walter Elementary and the last 10 at Brumfield - said analyzing herself on hours and hours of videotape was the most difficult part of the entire process.

"It is very hard to look at yourself and your teaching in that way," she said. "You have to scrutinize all of your choices during the lesson: Why did I do that? How else could I have handled this? How could I have gotten this concept across more effectively?"

She decided to pursue national certification for two reasons: "I wanted the challenge, and I wanted to grow as a teacher," she said. The $2500 fee kept her from attempting national certification earlier, but as soon as she learned about the availability of grants through the state and county, she decided to go for it.

Mrs. Hull, who spent a year as an aide in Pennsylvania working with a student with autism before landing a job as a teacher in Fauquier County, said she felt she grew a great deal professionally through the collaboration and help she sought from other teachers as she journeyed through the National Board Certification process.

"It was also helpful to do all of the analysis and writing about my teaching," she said. "It really forces you to push yourself to the limit of what you are capable of."

Ms. Ferguson said she wanted to become a National Board Certified Teacher because it presented a great opportunity for professional growth.

"I was at a point in my career," she said, "where I felt that I could take on the challenge and gain an honest assessment of the effectiveness of my teaching. I also have a strong desire to continue my education, and this is one of the programs available to teachers that is strongly supported by the county and state."

Like her Brumfield colleague, Ms. Ferguson found the self-evaluation to be the most difficult aspect of the certification process.

"Teaching is often done behind closed doors," she said. "It takes a lot of courage to expose your teaching to the scrutiny of others. In this certification process you have to videotape several lessons and analyze, in lengthy detail, the ways in which your lessons have or have not met the National Board standards. It wasn't the in-depth self reflection in and of itself that was the most difficult aspect; it was putting it all on video and writing pages upon pages for others to assess and critique that was challenging."

Ms. Ferguson, who has taught for seven years, all in Fauquier County (one at Mary Walter and six at Brumfield), said the certification process taught her how to better reflect on her day-to-day teaching strategies in a more formal, objective way. Also, because of the generality of her certificate area, she said she did a considerable amount of studying and research on content knowledge and best practices in each of the core subject areas.

"The combination of all of this helped me to improve my teaching," she said, "and, in turn, student learning."

A similar desire to help her students was a key motivator for Ms. Bosserman to pursue National Board certification.

"I wanted to improve my standing as a teacher, improve my teaching, and better serve my students," she said.

In her third year as a special education teacher at Kettle Run High School, Ms. Bosserman currently teaches ecology, earth science, and principles of math. Before joining the faculty at Kettle Run, she taught three years at Southeastern Alternative School and previously taught Spanish as well as English as a Second Language in public and private schools in Culpeper County, and adult education in both Fauquier and Culpeper.

Ms. Bosserman found the number of details and the amount of writing required to be the most difficult aspects of national certification.

"Ensuring that all of the details were met and that the writing was of high quality took a lot of time," she said.

She, too, found the self-analysis process to be extremely helpful.

"Reviewing the videotape helped me to better review my teaching, my interaction with students, and my thoughts about better teaching practices," she said.

Other National Board Certified Teachers

Other NBCT's in Fauquier County Public Schools are Amy Acors, Liberty HS; Amy Angelo, Pearson ES; Pat Baker, Walter ES; Melanie Blakeney, Kettle Run HS; Gunilla Combs, Fauquier HS; Julie Duggan, Marshall MS; Amy Fields, Ritchie ES; Robin Goolsby, Miller ES; Bev Hagberg, Kettle Run HS; Cheryl James, Greenville ES; Carolyn Leach, Ritchie ES; Catherine McCluskey, Cedar Lee MS; George Murphy, Fauquier HS; Donna Otallah, Warrenton MS; Kim Raines, School Board Office; Carol Ina Ramsak, Thorpe House; Susan Robertson, Greenville ES; Barbara Sabus, Smith ES; Donna Schirmer, Smith ES; Sarah Singer, Fauquier HS; and Brooks Spencer, Cedar Lee MS.

1/03/11 > Mountain Vista Governor's School 2011-12: Applications and Informational Meeting

Application Process Open for 2011-12

Mountain Vista Governor's School is a regional program for academically talented and highly motivated 11th- and 12th-grade students. Science, mathematics, humanities, and research courses are uniquely integrated to provide a college-level, project-based learning environment. Applications for admission to MVGS are now available and are due in the student's school guidance office no later than March 1, 2011. Current FCPS sophomores and juniors may access the application at under "Announcements." Applications are also available in the guidance office at each high school.

Mountain Vista Governor's School Informational Meeting

Mountain Vista Governor's School is pleased to invite prospective students and parents to an informational meeting from 7-8 p.m. on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, at the LFCC Warrenton Campus in the Barn or on Wednesday, February 2, 2011, at the LFCC Middletown Campus in the Corron Center. Faculty and staff will be present to discuss the MVGS program and answer questions. Current MVGS students will be available to describe their experience in the MVGS program.

Further Information

For more information about Mountain Vista Governor's School, please visit For questions related to the application process, please contact Ms. Raye Tupper, FCPS supervisor of advanced programs, at or (540) 422-7012.

12/21/10 > Ritchie First Graders Make Blankets for Homeless Shelter
For the third year in a row, first graders at Ritchie Elementary School have reached out to the less fortunate by making and donating fleece blankets to the Fauquier Family Homeless Shelter.

Spearheaded by Ritchie teacher Carolyn Leach, the blanket project involves the youngsters in an effort to reach out to others.

“We used to make gingerbread houses [at this time of year], and they would end up just being thrown away,” said Mrs. Leach. “Our parents always want to help out so I thought, ‘Why not do something that benefits others?’”

The blankets, known as “no-sew blankets,” feature fringes along the edges, cut by the three Ritchie first-grade teachers and parent volunteers, and then tied into a double knot by the first graders to give each blanket a finished look. The youngsters worked together as teams to tie the fringes tightly.

“You’re going to put a lot of love into this because each one will go to someone who needs it,” Mrs. Leach told her first-graders, who were anxious to do their part. Mrs. Leach and fellow first-grade teachers Mary Scandalis and Pamela Smith will deliver the blankets to the homeless shelter this afternoon.

Sue Smith, shelter coordinator, said the blankets from Ritchie’s first-graders will be put to good use and will have lasting meaning.

“This is wonderful, especially for Christmas,” she said. “We always give the blankets to the children at the shelter and they get to keep them. The blanket becomes theirs and gives them a sense of security during their time here.”

12/14/10 > School Board Actions 12-13-10

The Fauquier County School Board met December 13, 2010, and took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the December 13, 2010, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Approved the revisions to Policy KG, "Community Use of Facilities."
  • Approved the 2011-2015 Technology Plan.
  • Approved the FY 2011 Legislative Priorities.
  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the Nov. 8 School Board meeting, Nov. 22 School Board meeting and work session, and Dec. 6 School Board work session; payment of bills; personnel actions; a religious exemption; and revisions to Policies BDA "Regular School Board Meetings and Work Sessions" and BDDA "Notification of School Board Meetings."

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

Tuesday, Dec. 14 - Fall GED Graduation at 6 p.m. in the Effie Bell cafeteria at Fauquier High School

Wednesday, Dec. 15 - Finance Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Thursday, Dec. 16 - MVGS Governing Board at 8 a.m. in the Warren County School Board office

There will be no Chairman's Night or School Board Work Session in December.

Monday, Jan. 3 - School Board Organizational Meeting and Work Session at 6 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Wednesday, Jan. 5 - Health Advisory Committee at 8 a.m. in the Central Complex meeting room

Wednesday, Jan. 5 - Special Education Advisory Committee at 6 p.m. in the Central Complex A meeting room

Thursday, Jan. 6 - School Support Council at 7 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Monday, Jan. 10 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. in the Warren Green Building

12/14/10 > Southeastern Alternative Students Lend Helping Hand
Eight students from Southeastern Alternative School took a field trip of a different kind on Dec. 7 and 8 when they traveled to the Warrenton Community Center to lend a helping hand. Accompanied by SAS faculty members Cindi Kirk, Barbara Bromley, and Lara Kolb, the eight female students worked side by side with staff members and other community volunteers for the center’s annual “Grandma’s Cookies” fund raiser.

SAS students boxed and labeled 1,700 dozen cookies, made Christmas candy necklaces, and set up tables for the event. During preparation for the annual cookie sale, the students also helped serve lunch to participants in the Fauquier Senior Center and Adult Day Care program held at the community center. The field trip was part of a service learning focus instituted this year for the young women of Southeastern Alternative. Service learning integrates citizenship values into education by involving students in community service.

12/10/10 > Donations Can Help FCPS Teachers and Students
In the spirit of giving that permeates this time of year, businesses and citizens are reminded that a number of teachers in Fauquier County Public Schools have posted items they are seeking to have donated via the school division’s web-based donation program “Me2You/You2Me.” To see the teachers’ “wish lists,” visit the home page of Fauquier County Public Schools at Click on the “Me2You” title under “Announcements” and scroll down to the You2Me section. A ringing bell icon appears beside the name of those schools with current requests.

Also, businesses and individuals who make New Year’s resolutions to clean out or get better organized are invited to use the web-based “Me2You/You2Me” program to post surplus items they might like to offer to teachers in coming months.

The Me2You/You2Me program helps teachers, businesses, citizens, and, most of all, FCPS students. This is a good time of year to check it out!
12/10/10 > Alternative Learning Programs at Southeastern Receive Grants
Southeastern Alternative School students will benefit from two grants thanks to the efforts of three SAS teachers.

History teacher Nicole Weishaupt and science teacher Susan Donnelly, collaborating on the writing of a grant request to Target’s field trip grant program, were awarded $700. The grant will be used to support a trip to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC. Students attending the trip will complete a scavenger hunt that examines exhibits in the David A. Koch Hall of Human Origins in order to make connections between physical geography and the development of prehistoric man. The students will analyze prehistoric fossils and artifacts and draw conclusions about cultural and biological foundations of human life.

SAS English teacher Lara Kolb applied for and received a $750 grant from the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation. The grant will be used for the introduction and implementation of a writing software program entitled MyAccess during the 2011-2012 school year. The software program allows teachers to teach writing as a process through focused instruction with immediate diagnostic feedback. MyAccess provides learning differentiation that produces data so that teachers can track student performance.
12/09/10 > Thompson Elementary Begins Butterfly Garden Project
Claude Thompson Elementary School students watched in awe December 7 when a huge “spade” truck scooped out dirt and dropped in a 12-foot Willow Oak tree behind the school. To kick off the school’s Butterfly Garden project, Westwind Nursery employees came to Thompson to plant the huge oak along with a variety of other trees and bushes that attract butterflies.

Marypat Warter, principal of Thompson Elementary, said her students and her school community are grateful to all who had a hand in creating the beautiful garden. Landscape architect Joseph Sampsell donated a design for the garden, Westwind Nursery donated the trees and bushes, and Ben Rogers, a parent of two Thompson students, was instrumental in making this day come to fruition.

Future plans call for the garden to include a stone walk, benches and possibly an amphitheater.

12/06/10 > LHS Horticulture to Host Holiday Open House
Liberty High School horticulture students will hold a Holiday Open House at the school’s greenhouse Dec. 10-12. The public is invited to attend the annual event.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the public to see the amazing work of some very talented young people,” said LHS horticulture teacher Kim Matthias. “We have been preparing for this event for months – from growing poinsettias to designing wreaths and arrangements.”

Other items to be sold include European gardens, holiday cactus, cyclamen, swags, green plants and fresh flowers.

A new addition will be handmade terra cotta holiday ornaments and color photographs from Liberty’s art students. Art teacher Michelle Lieb said, “The AP art history students have handcrafted beautifully glazed ornaments and fine art botanical prints. All proceeds from the sale of the ornaments and prints will help fund our trip to New York in April.”

Hours of the Liberty High School Holiday Open House are as follows:
• Friday, Dec. 10, from 4-7 p.m.
• Saturday, Dec. 11, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Sunday, Dec. 12, from noon-4 p.m.

Teacher Pam Woodward said LHS students learn by doing during their horticulture classes. “Here is a chance for everybody in the county to see what great things our students do,” she said.

For more information about this weekend’s open house, please call (540) 439-4204.
12/02/10 > Building Trades Program to Receive Grant for Teaching 'Green' Construction
The Fauquier County Public Schools building trades program, located at Fauquier High School, will receive a $16,150 grant from “Dream It. Do It. Virginia-Shenandoah Valley” to implement “Introduction to Green Construction” learning modules. Areas of study will include blueprint reading, estimation, green construction, HVAC, and weatherization.

Thanks to the funding, FCPS building trades students will be able to work on trainers to learn green construction practices and eventually translate them into the class project of building a modular house. (Students from all three FCPS high schools participate in the building trades program at FHS.)

Building trades instructors Bill Troiano and Randy White look forward to receiving the grant funding, enabling their students to train in the latest green construction practices.

“With construction going in that direction, it’s one of those things that will bring them up to date in the field as far as green construction is concerned,” said Mr. Troiano. “Green construction is becoming more and more popular.”

Students will participate in several different learning modules focused on green construction, including the study of solar power, detection of air leaks within a home, and use of energy-efficient and recycled materials. The modules will not constitute a new course, but instead will be incorporated into the existing building trades courses already offered. The modules will feature classroom instruction, video instruction, and hands-on activities.

Mr. Troiano believes this additional training in green construction will benefit FCPS students in the long run.

“I can see where, since the building trades are going in that direction, it will make our students more viable in the market place for employment,” he said. “Green construction is going to change the way that traditional construction is being done. We won’t be building things the way we were years ago.” For example, he said the use of recycled materials will increase – such as carpet made from recycled bottles, insulation made from recycled paper, and countertops made from recycled materials.

The FCPS building trades program will receive the grant early next year thanks to business, education, and economic development communities in the Shenandoah Valley partnering with the Virginia Manufacturers Association in the “Dream It. Do It. Virginia” campaign.
12/02/10 > Greek Teachers Visit Coleman Elementary
The study of Greece came to life for third graders at Coleman Elementary School when two Greek teachers visited the school to talk with students about their country’s history, government, geography, culture and language.

Last summer when Coleman third-grade teacher Shawn Morton participated in a George Mason University class (Multicultural Perspectives in Health Psychology) in Thessaloniki, Greece, her professor mentioned that she would be hosting a group of Greek teachers in the fall for a multicultural class on George Mason’s campus.

“I explained to her that as part of our third-grade curriculum, we studied ancient Greece and that it would be an added touch to have some of the Greek teachers visit with our students to discuss the ancient and present-day culture of Greece,” said Ms. Morton. “We agreed to reconnect when the teachers arrived in order to coordinate a visit.”

And so it was that Despina Evgeni and Panagiotis Andrianopoulos came to Coleman to share with students about the areas in which they live and about life in their country. Using Smartboard technology, they also shared information about ancient Greek mythology.

Students were especially curious about the Greek language so the two visiting teachers gave a mini-lesson on everyday vocabulary and taught students how to write their own names using Greek letters.

Many questions emerged during a question-and-answer period, ranging from how girls are treated in Greek society today (since in ancient times females were not considered “citizens” and therefore had few rights) to what children study today in Greek schools.

“The differentiation of ancient and modern Greece seemed to fascinate students and make this European country appear more real,” Ms. Morton said.

The American students weren’t the only ones learning about a different culture. The two Greek visitors toured Coleman Elementary with student guides who introduced them to a typical day at Coleman. Later in the day the Greek teachers also discussed educational experiences with Coleman teachers Mirae Daly, Elizabeth Goodson, and Ms. Morton along with Coleman Principal Joy Seward.

Ms. Morton was more than pleased with the opportunity to connect Greek teachers with Fauquier County students.

“Meeting these teachers brought this far-away place closer to home for the students,” she said. “Because Greek character is still defined by ancient traditions, this visit was a great way to show students how people live there today. The students were also able to link some commonality of their daily living with people of this culture.”

Something interesting happened as a result of this experience. For days after the Greek teachers’ visit, the one question students had for their Coleman teachers was this: “Can we take our next field trip to Greece?”

Wishful thinking aside, the Coleman students were fortunate to experience Greece in a unique way.

“Overall,” said Ms. Morton, “I think our visitors brought a new way of thinking about an ancient culture to our students.”

11/30/10 > Marshall CTE Students Perform Community Service at Coleman
Eighth-grade students in Kylie Henson’s business and information technology classes recently performed community service at Coleman Elementary School, doing volunteer work with first graders. The community service was a requirement of the eighth-graders’ Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competency.

“Both age groups enjoyed their time and benefitted in many different ways,” said Ms. Henson.

Divided into groups, the MMS students performed a number of activities. One group worked with individual first graders on a Thanksgiving turkey project as well as their reading and vocabulary words. A second group of business students listened to first graders read to them, helping them with difficult words. The math group played a math game and helped the Coleman students with their addition sentences. The final group helped in the computer lab, troubleshooting problems for students as they played on a math program.

Several teachers at Coleman said they recognized “budding teachers” among the eighth-grade group. Ms. Henson expressed her pride in their performance.

“I am so proud of the job that they did and how well they represented the career and technology education program and Marshall Middle School,” she said. “Our hope is to create a tradition and complete this community service with every eighth grade class in business and information technology.”

11/23/10 > Elementary Schools in Fun Run
The top mile runners from each elementary school across Fauquier County compete annually in the Extra Mile Fun Run, held each year at P.B. Smith Elementary School. Donna Schirmer, physical education teacher at Smith, organizes the event, which draws many elementary school parents who come to cheer their children on.

“We started the Extra Mile Fun Run in the spring of 1999 as a way of promoting physical fitness in our schools,” said Ms. Schirmer. “It has proved to be a great event for us at the elementary level, and many of our students work very hard to try and get into the top 10 for their school.” (The top ten boys and top ten girls in the mile run from each school are invited to participate.)

“The run is a great way to motivate kids to excel at the dreaded ‘mile’ during P.E.,” said Keith Good, P.E. teacher at Brumfield Elementary. “The top runners are allowed to compete for that one special day against kids from the whole county.”

This year one of Brumfield’s runners, fourth grader Madeleine Hayes, finished first in the girls’ race. Taking first place in the boys’ race was fifth grader David Haiss of Smith Elementary.

“The run is a fantastic way to promote running and fitness!” added Mr. Good.

11/23/10 > Bradley Assembly: 'Everyone Belongs'
Students at Bradley Elementary School attended an assembly Nov. 17 that mixed humor and magic to provide them with anti-bullying skills. Entitled “Everyone Belongs,” the assembly featured Paul Hadfield, a licensed professional clinical counselor who specializes in working with children and adolescents; Mr. Hadfield wrote and performed the program, which is based on the research of Dan Olweus, who has been involved for 30 years in research and intervention work in the area of bullying among school children and youth.

The amusing program helped Bradley students and staff understand how to define bullying and how to prevent it. In the hour-long show “Mr. Paul” teamed up with “Mr. Barry” (Barry Wood), his slapstick sidekick and aspiring Hollywood film director, to teach students about types of bullying, kinds of emotions, empathy, the Golden Rule, friendship, and bystander skills. Mr. Paul used magic to make some of his points, and Mr. Barry led seven Bradley fifth-graders in role-playing situations to illustrate emotions and bystander skills. Somehow the comedic duo made a very serious subject both engaging and entertaining.

All Bradley students received a pencil imprinted with the words “Everyone Belongs at C.M. Bradley” to remind them of the anti-bullying skills they learned at the assembly.

11/23/10 > Smith Elementary Participates in Peace by Piece Project
P.B. Smith Elementary School fifth-grade students helped kick off the “Peace by Piece” project in celebration of diversity, tolerance and peace and in conjunction with the Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center’s 20th anniversary. The students created stories and then pictures on quilt blocks depicting a visual imagery of piece; their eight-inch quilt blocks will eventually become part of a large quilt on display throughout Fauquier County and beyond.

Smith fifth-graders gathered in the school cafeteria Nov. 17 to hear Lawrie Parker, executive director of the PDRC, speak about the center’s services and their mission of peaceful resolutions. Nationally recognized storyteller Kim Weitkamp shared stories of conflict from her own real-life experiences as a child and then guided the students through a creative process using imagery techniques to write a personal-experience story about peace, conflict resolution and working together.

“The P.B. Smith students represent our public school connection to diversity as we will continue to add in quilt blocks from home school, private school, Boys and Girls Club, among others,” said Lisa Arthaud, occupational therapist in the Fauquier County Public Schools special education department, who coordinated the school division’s participation in the project.

PDRC spearheaded the youth art project in conjunction with The Fauquier County Quilt Guild. The project will involve children from a variety of neighborhoods, communities, and organizations so that each child can create a quilt square and story representing what peace means to him or her.

“Reflecting the ties that bind individuals into healthy communities, each of the hundreds of squares will be connected to one another, and it will embody the ideal that when we work together, our diverse perspectives and world views are the pieces that strengthen the fabric of harmonious, sustainable communities,” said Ms. Parker of PDRC. She anticipates that the project will expand to include the counties of Culpeper, Rappahannock, and Madison. The Center hopes to connect the quilt with a similar one completed last year in Roanoke.

11/23/10 > Opera Comes to Pearson Elementary
A three-person team from the Virginia Opera Company performed at Pearson Elementary School Nov. 19 as part of the company’s in-school touring program to introduce youngsters to opera. Two singers, accompanied by a pianist, performed three “Tales from the Brothers Grimm” – Doctor Know-It-All, Rumpelstiltskin, and Cat and Mouse.

Part of Virginia Opera’s education and outreach division, the program was tailored to kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Pearson hosted two performances; the second – to which Greenville Elementary School’s chorus was invited – was covered by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts.


11/18/10 > MMS Students 'Get Smart About Credit'
Colin Borgstrom, senior vice president for administration of Oak View National Bank, visited Marshall Middle School Oct. 21 on “Get Smart about Credit” Day to make four presentations reaching 90 seventh-graders. Mr. Borgstrom spoke briefly with teacher Rhonda Hendicks’ civics/economics classes about the essential role banks play in successful entrepreneurship and then gave the students only five minutes to gather all of the resources necessary to open a business. In the “Why Middlemen Matter” activity, the students were given specific resources and then had to transact promissory notes in order to purchase buildings, machines, and labor. The challenge was made much more difficult because there was no financial institution to help with loans. It quickly became apparent to the students that banks make doing business much more efficient and profitable for the entrepreneur and the community as a whole.

Mr. Borgstrom spent an hour answering questions from students about mortgages, wise use of credit cards, and the role banks play in serving the needs of households and students. Mr. Borgstrom plans to return in the spring to speak with the students again.
11/18/10 > Marshall Middle School 'Fights Like a Girl'
Marshall Middle School students took on the challenge to “Fight Like a Girl” and raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation during the month of October. Students raised money by collecting donations from family and friends, buying pink ribbons to wear throughout the month, voting on their yearbook cover with change and “sweetening the deal” with the purchase of lollipops. On Oct. 22 students participated in a “Paint the School Pink Walk” for which students wore pink to school and then walked laps during their physical education classes. The track was marked by pink signs with names of sponsors – “in honor of” women who have survived and beat breast cancer and “in memory of” women who lost the battle. MMS students, staff and families raised $2,820 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
11/18/10 > Thompson Elementary Receives Grant
The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association and America’s Dairy Farmers recently awarded a $400 “Fuel Up to Play 60” grant to Tammy Rizer, Thompson Elementary School nurse, and Ann Gray, Thompson’s cafeteria manager, to be used for nutrition education and physical fitness education and equipment.

“The idea is to help teach the students about food nutrition and the importance of exercising daily – for at least 60 minutes,” said Ms. Rizer.

The grant will allow Thompson students to log their daily exercise regimens using a web-based computer program. After learning about certain nutritional information, students will work with Mrs. Gray to pick “student-planned” lunches and will make posters to promote and advertise their lunches.

In addition to awarding the grant, the SUDIA donated pedometers for Thompson staff and students. All Thompson students devote the first 10 minutes of recess to running or walking, and the school as an after-school run/walk club, which has plans for a possible marathon in the spring.
11/17/10 > Farm to School Week Theme of Coleman School Nutrition Celebration
Coleman Elementary School’s school nutrition staff went whole hog in promoting Farm to School Week Nov. 8-12. Cafeteria Manager Sandy Owens spearheaded the celebration, working with Leanne DuBois with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services who serves as the coordinator of the Virginia Farm to School program.

The Virginia Farm to School program is an effort to increase the amount of fresh and nutritious Virginia-grown products offered in schools and to promote opportunities for schools and local farmers to work together. During this second annual Virginia Farm to School Week, schools in the Commonwealth were encouraged to purchase, serve, and promote locally grown foods in their cafeterias.

Ms. Owens and her staff promoted the program by decorating the cafeteria with “Virginia Grown” and “Fresh from the Farm – Fresh to You” posters. They decorated the cafeteria walls with large, brightly colored, handmade depictions of a barn, a tractor and a vegetable-laden wagon. During the week students received promotional items from the Virginia Department of Agriculture including stickers and “Pick the Good Stuff – Pick Virginia Grown” coloring books.

On Friday, Nov. 12, as a culminating activity, the school’s SCO sponsored “Dress as a Farmer Day,” and as a result, pint-sized farmers were evident throughout the school, especially in kindergarten and first-grade classes, where denim overalls, gingham shirts, boots, handkerchiefs, and John Deere hats were the agrarian haute couture. All of Coleman’s school nutrition staff and many of the school’s teachers and support staff were in costume for the final day of Farm to School Week. On the menu were baked potatoes with all the fixin’s.

Several special guests were on hand for Friday’s celebration – Supervisor Holder Trumbo (Scott District), FCPS Division Superintendent Jonathan Lewis, Assistant Superintendent for Administration Janice Bourne, School Nutrition Director April Plummer, and Ms. DuBois from the Virginia Department of Agriculture. During all of Friday’s lunch periods, Pablo Teodoro walked through the cafeteria with grain for students to touch and bread for students to smell, fresh from Warrenton’s Great Harvest Bread.

The highlight of Friday’s lunchtime celebration, however, seemed to be the appearance of “Pork Chop,” a piglet that Deanna Child of Flatrock Farm carried from table to table for students to pet at the end of their lunch period; very few students passed up the piggly-wiggly opportunity. To the delight of the students, farmer-clad Principal Joy Seward went one step better – planting a kiss on Pork Chop’s head.

11/17/10 > FHS Hosts Career Shadowing Day

Fauquier High School hosted a Career Shadowing Day on November 10. The 50 students who participated spent the day shadowing their sponsors at their “dream job” locations, including The Inn at Little Washington, National Institutes of Health, Ferry Farm, DC United, Gucci, and many local places of business.

Some of the local participants were Blaser Physical Therapy, Dr. Anita Maybach, Dr. Thomas Sentz, Fauquier County Department of Social Services, Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office, Fauquier Hospital, Lazy Lane Farm, Mark Williams and Associates Law Office, Piedmont Pediatrics, Piedmont Press, Poplar Springs Inn and Spa, Rose Hill Veterinarians, Site Whirks Inc., Virginia Retina Center, TNI Solutions, Warrenton Dermatology and Skin Therapy Center, Warrenton Presbyterian Preschool, and Scheulen, Patchett and Edwards.
11/15/10 > Summer Residential Governor's Schools and Foreign Language Academies

2010 Governor's School Students Recognized

Six Fauquier County Public Schools students -- Tanner Russo, Zachary Scandalis, Libby Wilmore, Katelyn Atanasio, Colin Shea-Blymyer, and Caroline Eckert -- were selected to attend a Summer Residential Governor's School or Foreign Language Academy in summer 2010. The application process is highly competitive, both at the local and state levels. At the November School Board meeting, students spoke enthusiastically about their experiences at Governor's Schools. Common themes included being able to meet other academically motivated young people from around the Commonwealth, pursuing an area of great personal interest, and enjoying the opportunity to live independently of their families on a college campus. All agreed they felt more prepared to face the challenges of college. Please read on to find out more about these opportunities and how to apply.

Sophomores and Juniors Invited to Apply to Governor's Schools or Foreign Language Academies

Applications for 2011 Summer Residential Governor's School and Foreign Language Academy are now being accepted. These worthwhile programs provide enrichment in the areas of agriculture, humanities, mathematics, science and technology, foreign language and the arts (dance, theatre, instrumental and vocal music and visual arts). Students, who may be nominated by teachers or themselves, must be in 10th or 11th grade and enrolled during the 2010-11 school year.

Summer Residential Governor's Schools provide academically and artistically challenging programs to motivated and highly able students from across the Commonwealth. Each Governor's School program focuses on one special area of interest.

Students live on a college or university campus for up to five weeks. During this time, they are involved in classroom and laboratory work, field studies, research, individual and group projects and performances, and seminars with noted scholars, visiting artists, and other professionals.

One of the most important aspects of the Summer Residential Governor's Schools is the opportunity that participants have to live, study and get to know other students with similar interests and abilities from across Virginia. Both co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are designed to encourage students' interests and abilities. Governor's Schools are administered by the Department of Education in cooperation with local school divisions, colleges and universities.

Information is available in the guidance office* at all three high schools. All applications are due into Guidance* by December 10, 2010. (Any student interested in the visual and performing arts session must speak to his/her guidance counselor right away, as some earlier deadlines are in effect for this program.)

Information and applications can be accessed at the following web address: If you need more information, please contact the counselor listed for your high school. You may also contact Ms. Raye Tupper, supervisor of advanced programs and fine arts, at

*FHS: Mr. Hackney, KRHS: Ms. Tapscott, LHS: Ms. Henry-Sievert

11/12/10 > FHS Falcon Marching Band Places 8th in National Competition
The Fauquier High School Falcon Marching Band placed eighth in the United States Scholastic Band Association (USSBA) Class I National Championship Nov. 5 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

Because of past successes since 2004 in the USSBA, the Falcons competed for the first time as an “open” class band, moving up from “A” classification last year. “Open” is the most competitive class.

After the band applied last spring to compete in the nationals, USSBA reviewed the band’s history before issuing an invitation for the Falcons to compete in the open class at the national championship for the first time.

“Just receiving the invitation to compete in the national championship was an honor for the Falcons who used the day to cap a great season,” said Director Andrew Paul.

The Falcons 2010 season was, indeed, successful. Since mid-September, the band has received numerous best in caption (music, effect, and visual) awards, two first place band awards, one third place band award, and one second place band award in the state championship on Oct. 30, missing first place by 0.262 points.
11/12/10 > Liberty High School Hosts Author
On Friday, November 5, the Liberty High School English department hosted author, journalist, and documentary filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy as a guest speaker for selected English classes, including sections of English 10, journalism and photojournalism classes.

Mrs. Murphy is an independent film and television writer/producer whose current projects include "Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird." Ms. Murphy talked to Liberty students about the impact of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," published 50 years ago this year (July 1960).

In her recently released book, "Scout, Atticus & Boo," Mrs. Murphy included reflections on Harper Lee's famous novel from Oprah Winfrey, Tom Brokaw, Anna Quindlen, Andrew Young, Scott Turow, and others. During her visit to Liberty, she discussed her book and showed clips of the interviews she did for her documentary and accompanying book. Students were also able to preview the finished documentary before its official release.

“I felt really honored to get a preview of the unreleased documentary and to learn about the process Mrs. Murphy went through to make it,” said senior Steven Roper, a yearbook editor.

“Mrs. Murphy had a lot of interesting stories about how television production works and what celebrities are really like,” added junior newspaper editor Cody Sealey.

Following the presentations, Murphy conducted a small writing workshop for 15 students who expressed interest in learning about the process of writing.

“I loved the workshop. It made me feel even more motivated to be a writer and journalist,” said sophomore Josiee Ayers, also a newspaper editor.

In addition to her extensive work on "Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Scout, Atticus & Boo," Murphy is also the producer of "Cry For Help" which aired nationally on PBS in April 2009; "Digital Days," narrated by Tom Brokaw, an examination of the Internet’s impact on the newspaper industry (for the Associated Press), and "Before Your Eyes: Don’t Take My Husband," a CBS News primetime documentary chronicling deportation proceedings against three former members of the Irish Republican Army.

Winner of six Emmy awards, Mrs. Murphy worked for 20 years at CBS where she produced 60 Minutes stories and 48 Hours and Sunday Morning programs.

Her production company has also produced book and author videos including the widely released "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" DVD for Abrams publishing, which features the life story of Jeff Kinney, author of the hugely successful children’s series. Other book and author videos include "Breaking News: A History of the Associated Press"; "Shannon," a novel, by Frank Delaney; and "The Translator" by Daoud Hari (for Random House).

“The students enjoyed the visit. Having read "To Kill A Mockingbird" in the ninth grade, students were excited to see the unreleased documentary and hear Mrs. Murphy’s discussion on the influence of the book on both the civil rights movement and various writers and celebrities,” said Mrs. Cherish Smith, head of the LHS English department.
11/12/10 > Taylor Middle Students Take Part in Conservation Field Day
Taylor Middle School seventh-graders recently attended a Conservation Field Day, organized by the John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District, at the Messick Farm in Midland. Students rotated among stations focusing on conservation, ecology, and farming. Discussions centered on soil conservation, recycling, water pollution, composting, and forestry habitats. One of the favorite stations involved learning about nutrition for the dairy cattle and visiting the calf barn.
11/12/10 > Pearson Elementary Falls into Reading
During “Fall into Reading Month” at Pearson Elementary School, students were entertained by readers, authors and storytellers throughout all of October.

On Oct. 19 author and storyteller Robin Moore spun his stories appropriate to the grade levels attending three separate sessions and then performed in a special family session that evening. Guests for the evening event were served hot apple cider and cinnamon buns as they enjoyed the antics of Mr. Moore. Following his storytelling time, the author personally autographed a selection of his books that students purchased.

For the past 30 years Mr. Moore has made his living full-time as a children’s book author and storyteller, telling stories to more than a million people. He has presented over 5,000 programs and has written more than a dozen award-winning books, published by the world’s largest publishers. He was named “National Storyteller of the Year” by Storytelling Magazine and “Author of the Year” by the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association.

As a kick-off to the month of reading, each class chose their favorite book and members of the class illustrated the book on the front sidewalk of the school in chalk. This made for a unique way to greet Pearson’s students each morning as they came off the school bus.

Among the guest readers visiting Pearson throughout October were Sandra Mitchell, Dr. Jonathan Lewis, Eileen Burgwyn, Pat Downey and Eric Dalton from the Central Office along with Sharon Huff, Michael Gantley and Elaine Cranford from the Department of Student Services.

Students also served as readers during “Fall into Reading Month” when each grade level got the opportunity to read to the grade level below them, either individually or in small groups.

The month of reading concluded with a visit from Jim Culpepper and his granddaughter Haley. Mr. Culpepper has written a book entitled Princess Hey Hey the Damselfly and Her Pawpaw with the Polka-Dot Tie. Haley, who is a second grader herself in North Carolina, read the story to all of the second graders at Pearson. Following her story, each of the children made a damselfly of his or her own to take home and learned the meaning of the acronym – TIE:

Try your very best in everything you are given to do – even it if is something new.
Invest your time to help others learn what you know is true.
Enjoy being you – SPECIAL.

11/11/10 > Schools Honor Veterans: MMS Holds Assembly, Pierce ES Hosts American Legion, Taylor Pays Homage

Marshall Middle School holds school-wide assembly

At a school-wide assembly Wednesday, November 10, at Marshall Middle School, student after student stepped to the microphone to express appreciation to all United States veterans, and especially to the half dozen in attendance, for their service to our country in the Armed Forces. Approximately 20 students shared heartfelt thoughts through essay and verse about veterans through the ages who served in the military and fought for freedom.

To kick off the event, the Liberty High School JROTC Color Guard presented colors, and the Marshall Middle Band played the National Anthem. MMS social studies teacher John Maher, who co-planned the event with fellow teacher Preston Barbour, told those assembled, "Veterans are everyday people who have answered the call to serve our country. Those are the people we honor today. Our theme is one of sacrifice and one of inspiration; we are inspired by the way veterans live their lives." Then the student readings began. While the students' sentiments were similar in nature, they were different in expression. Following are excerpts from some of their comments:

  • "Veterans leave friends and family and risk their lives to preserve safety."
  • "Even though we are strangers to most of them, veterans gave their lives for you and me."
  • "Veterans Day is a day of gratitude. Veterans risk their lives for something not everyone gets - freedom."
  • "Freedom is not free. Do your part and say thank you to a vet."
  • "Brave and courageous, veterans stand tall."
  • "You have done so much for the country."
  • "You are role models."
  • "Our veterans were more than soldiers. They were, and still are, heroes."

One student, whose father was a career military man - "We have moved and moved and moved," she said - and whose brother served in Iraq and is currently serving in Afghanistan, told her fellow students, "Veterans do not need your thanks or approval, but they deserve it."

Several students held up photographs of family members who served in the Armed Forces, sharing the veteran's name, branch of service, and relationship to the student. MMS teacher Carla Howell held high a photograph of her father who served at Pearl Harbor. "He used to talk about his service, and we tuned him out; I would give anything to hear those stories now," she said. Following the students' readings, the Marshall Middle band played a spirited medley of the official songs of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces; the veterans in attendance rose to their feet as "their song" was played. Then a "Slide Show of Fame" was shown, prepared by Marshall Middle's National Junior Honor Society to the song "You Raise Me Up"; the slide show featured photographs of veterans that students had submitted of their own family members.

Guest speaker for the Veterans Day assembly was disabled veteran Ebony Saunders, who served as a sergeant in the Army and later in the Army Reserve, including a tour in Iraq. Wife of a career military man, she is a former Liberty High School teacher. She spoke to the students about military service from a woman's perspective. After giving a brief historical summary of women's roles in the military, she said this about how she viewed herself as a woman in the Armed Forces: "When I took the oath, I became a soldier at that moment. We were all soldiers - not men and not women, but soldiers." Emphasizing that throughout her service she wanted to do everything she could to the best of her ability, Mrs. Saunders added, "Once other soldiers knew they could depend on me, I was no different from any soldier in their eyes." She said when she was called to duty in Iraq, she faced the difficulty of leaving her children behind. "My duty was to get on that plane," she said emphatically. "It was my time to serve."

Mrs. Saunders told the Marshall Middle School students that the military profession is "one of the hardest and most noble careers," concluding "I would do it all over again."

MMS teachers John Maher and Preston Barbour planned the Veterans Day program. Mr. Barbour brought students to their feet, and the assembly to a conclusion, with a stirring rendition of "America the Beautiful," interspersed with a moving recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, robustly accompanied by the MMS Band.

The Veterans

Among the veterans in attendance at the assembly were two with ties to Marshall Middle - William Stribling, a bus driver for MMS and Thompson Elementary, and Jim Goodwin, now a substitute teacher at MMS. Mr. Stribling served two years in the Army, 1945-1946, with the 761st Tank Battalion in Germany. A messenger for battalion headquarters, he drove a jeep carrying messages from unit to unit. "The war was over and they sent us to police the area," recalled the great-grandfather of MMS student Noah Stribling. A career Navy aviator (1956-1979), Mr. Goodwin taught science for 20 years at Marshall Middle following his retirement from the Navy. What did he learn from his service to the country? "How to survive," he said. Contemplating the question, "Which career was more challenging - serving in the military or teaching middle school?" - Mr. Goodwin responded with a sly grin: "Two different kinds of combat."

The two veterans seemed appreciative of the assembly which honored their service.

"Times have changed in the last 50 years," Mr. Goodwin said, "and people are more aware of what the military does for our country; they're more appreciative than, say, 40 years ago. It's nice to see that change."

Pierce Elementary School hosts American Legion members

Members of American Legion Post 247 in Remington visited with several classes at Pierce Elementary School on November 10. Student-members of the Pierce safety patrol and flag patrol spent time with the veterans learning what the flag represents; how to raise, lower and fold a flag; and what the individual folds in a flag represent. Kindergarten students visited briefly with the veterans, learning what a veteran is. Mrs. Deanna Fling's second-grade students spent time in a question-and-answer period with the veterans. Students in Mrs. Caitlin Toth's second-grade class showed the men posters they had made in honor of veterans who had served our country; they also sang "Thank You, Soldiers" to the visiting veterans.

Taylor Middle honors veterans

Taylor Middle School students paused Wednesday morning, November 10, to pay respect and homage to veterans of faculty and staff members who have served our nation in various branches of the military, many during times of war.  Students also received a brief history lesson about Veterans' Day and why we, as a nation, pay tribute every November 11.  Eighth- grade student Alex Crofford ended with a somber and poignant playing of "Taps," which honored our fallen military heroes. 



11/11/10 > FCPS to Celebrate American Education Week: Public Invited to Wide Range of Activities in Schools

Fauquier County Public Schools will celebrate American Education Week November 14-20, inviting the public into the schools in order to spotlight the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education. As usual, anyone visiting a school must first sign in at the office.

The three high schools - Fauquier, Kettle Run and Liberty - will provide tours of selected classrooms on Wednesday, November 17. Tours at Kettle Run will be held from 8-11 a.m.; a list of open classrooms will be posted on the KRHS web page. Tours at Fauquier and Liberty will be held from 10 to 11 a.m.

Auburn Middle School invites citizens to visit Ms. Meyer's 7th-grade Civics classes from 7:45 a.m.-2 p.m.; students are writing creative stories demonstrating what they have learned about the legislative branch of government; they are also working on digital book reports and doing self-reflection podcasts.

Cedar Lee Middle School will provide tours of the school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 16-18, from 8:30-10 a.m.

Marshall Middle School will have an open house on Friday, November 19, from 1-3 p.m.

Taylor Middle School welcomes the community to visit classes at the school any day during American Education Week.

Warrenton Middle School will have an open house on Friday, November 19, from 8-9 a.m. with the National Junior Honor Society conducting tours.

Fauquier's 11 elementary schools will observe American Education Week through various programs and activities. The public is invited to the following activities:

Bradley Elementary School invites the community to an assembly, "Everyone Belongs," on Nov. 17 at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.; presented by Paul Hadfield, the assembly combines magic, acrobatics, and humor in an effort to inform students about bullying. In addition, Bradley's First Friends group will give building tours at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 15, 16, and 18.

Brumfield Elementary School will host an open house on Tuesday, Nov. 16, from 2-3 p.m.; fifth-grade students will serve as escorts through the building. Visitors are invited to see the artwork on display in the hallways and to visit classrooms. One of the fourth-grade classes will offer a special poetry reading from 2:15-2:45 p.m.

Coleman Elementary School will have student council and safety patrol members available to provide visitors with a tour of the school on Wednesday, November 17, from 8:45-9:45 a.m.

Greenville Elementary School will involve students and parents in a letter-writing activity. On Monday, Nov. 15, all students will write to their parents describing what they like about Greenville. Letters will go home asking parents to write back recalling their favorite memories from when they were in elementary school and to send the letters in during the week. The letters will be shared with each class. Posters featuring what students like about school will be featured in the hallways. All parents are invited in for lunch any day of the week. A Greenville video entitled "Celebrate Learning," featuring various learning settings, will be available for parents to view on a library computer. In addition, the public is invited to a fifth-grade musical program entitled "Celebrate You and Me" on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m.

Miller Elementary School will invite parents of kindergartners through second graders to join their students for lunch during American Education Week. Also, the first grade will perform "Five Fat Turkeys" on Monday, November 22, at 2 p.m. in the multipurpose room. All are welcome.

Pearson Elementary School invites the community to the Virginia Opera performance at the school on Friday, Nov. 19, at 9 a.m. and at 12:45 p.m.

Pierce Elementary School invites parents to visit in their child's classroom on Wednesday, November 17. Coffee will be served at 9:30 a.m.

Ritchie Elementary School invites the community to attend the installation of new SCO officers and room representatives on Tuesday, November 16, at 7 p.m. as an example of democracy at the elementary school level. Each candidate addressed the student body during an assembly seeking their classmates' votes. The students cast votes for those candidates whom they believed would serve them best. The four newly installed officers will offer community members guided tours of the school on Wednesday, November 17, from 10-11 a.m.

Smith Elementary School invites the public to a "Patriotic Program of Music and Readings" by third-grade students on Tuesday, November 16, at 7 p.m.

Thompson Elementary School invites the community to its annual Thanksgiving luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 18, between the hours of 10:45 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Walter Elementary School will host open house throughout the week; SCO members and administrators will act as escorts.

11/10/10 > Chef Visits Thompson Elementary as Part of First Lady's Initiative
There was no squashing the students’ enthusiasm when U.S. Foodservice Executive Chef Marty Bermpohl visited Thompson Elementary School Nov. 4 to prepare squash soup along with an appetizer and dessert as part of the Chefs Move to Schools program. Squash soup? Fourth-grade students excited about squash soup? Come on, what gourd did you crawl out from under?

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the 35 fourth graders had picked the winter squash themselves during a field trip to Hollins Farm in Delaplane on Oct. 26. Maybe it was the fact that a real-life chef – in official chef uniform, minus the trademark hat – prepared the soup right before their very eyes. Maybe it was the colorful display of squash, pumpkins, peppers, apples, and greens surrounding the chef in the Thompson cafeteria. Whatever the reason, Chef Bermpohl’s first-time venture in the Chefs Move to Schools program met with youthful zeal, ultimately coupled with mostly “yums” and a few “yuks” when students had the opportunity to taste the finished products.

Coordinated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Chefs Move to Schools program is a response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to solve the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. Mrs. Obama called on chefs to get involved by adopting a school and working with teachers, parents and school nutrition professionals and administrators to help educate children about food and nutrition. The program is meant to partner chefs with interested schools in their communities so they can create healthy meals in a fun, appealing way that meet the schools’ dietary guidelines and budgets, while teaching young people about nutrition and making balanced and healthy choices.

Everything fell into place for Fauquier County Public Schools’ first experience with the chefs program. Chef Bermpohl, who had joined Mrs. Obama on the South Lawn of the White House in June to launch the program, was very much interested in participating in the program himself, and his sister, MaryPat Warter, is principal of an elementary school – a perfect combination. Even further, the Thompson Elementary School community is rich in agricultural resources, and several Thompson parents are farmers, including Shannon Davenport of Hollins Farm, who is active in providing agriculture, health, and nutrition education through the national Farm to School program. (That program connects schools and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing education opportunities, and supporting local farmers.) Add into the mix the willingness of FCPS School Nutrition Director April Plummer and Thompon Cafeteria Manager Ann Gray to get involved, and it was a recipe for success.

At the initial planning meeting in October, Chef Bermpohl said he hoped to bring palatable, children-friendly recipes to Thompson and “make food fun.”

“I want the children to see that they can use these healthy ingredients to plug in to what they already make at home,” he said.

Mrs. Davenport said nothing compares to students experiencing healthy ingredients firsthand. “It really brings it home to kids when they can go to the farm and pick the vegetables themselves,” she said. “It helps them to see the role that local farms play in the community.”

Thus, the field trip idea – interwoven with the Chefs Move to Schools initiative and the Farm to Schools program – was born. Two field trips came to fruition in short order. Kindergarten students visited Hollins Farm on Oct. 20 to pick greens, which were used in salads served to students school-wide on Oct. 21. Then fourth-grade students went to Hollins on their squash-picking adventure on Oct. 26. (Squash was picked because it was in season at the time. An additional focus of this experience was that students become aware of vegetables and/or fruits that are fresh from the farm at certain times of the year.) Mrs. Plummer and the Thompson cafeteria staff – and anyone else they could recruit to help – cut up all the squash Nov. 3 to be ready for Chef Bermpohl on Nov. 4.

And so it was that last Thursday morning, Thompson fourth-grade students, seated at cafeteria tables adorned with vases of leafy greens, watched curiously as the visiting chef, using tabletop burners and grills, prepared winter squash and sweet apple soup, black bean dip with whole wheat tortillas, and apple crisp. As he prepared the culinary delights, he amiably talked to the students about taste, flavor, textures, spices, color, heat, freshness, processing, consistency, nutrients, portion control, and on and on.

As the chef tended to his simmering soup, Mrs. Davenport told the students they were “lucky to live in this area where there are so many farms where you can get fresh vegetables.” She led students through a taste-test of several varieties of cheeses donated by Oak Springs Dairy in Upperville.

Then, as each of Chef Bermpohl’s dishes was readied, the students received small samples to try. Opinions varied, but it was the students’ willingness to taste each food that grabbed their principal’s attention.

“It is so great that you are willing to try,” Ms. Warter told the students. “You’re not going to love everything, and that’s okay, but it’s so important that you’re willing to try.”

On hand to witness the Chefs Move to Schools program, School Board member Raymond “Duke” Bland (Marshall District) told the students to imagine coming inside from a day spent playing out in the cold to enjoy a steaming hot, tasty bowl of the squash soup. No big surprise, though, that the students favored the apple crisp dessert over the other two dishes Chef Bermpohl prepared. When one student announced that it was “even better than my mom’s cooking,” the chef quickly responded, “We won’t tell her that.”

The chef brother/principal sister team agreed they have high hopes that this program will begin dialogue at home between students and their parents about good nutrition. Students took Thursday’s recipes home with them, which they will do each time a Chefs Move to School event is held at Thompson.

“It’s about changing wellness at home,” said Chef Bermpohl, adding that he looks forward now to planning similar events at Thompson involving other grade levels. “This is a great idea, and Chefs Move to Schools can be a key part of the solution to reducing childhood obesity.”

 Chef to School
11/09/10 > School Board Actions 11-8-10

The Fauquier County School Board met November 8, 2010, and took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the November 8, 2010, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Adopted Policy GE/KR, "Community Involvement/School Volunteers."
  • Approved the FY 2012 budget calendar.
  • Approved revisions to the School Board Bylaws and Rules of Procedure.
  • Approved the VSBA-proposed legislative positions amendments. Approved the change of school nutrition office associate III, grade 15 (11 month, 30 hours per week) to office associate II, grade 11 (12 month, 37.5 hours per week).
  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the Sept. 25 School Board retreat, Oct. 11 School Board meeting, and Oct. 25 special School Board meeting and work session; payment of bills; and personnel actions.
  • Requested school administration to make further revisions to Policy KG, "Community Use of Facilities," for discussion during the Board's Nov. 22 work session.

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

Wednesday, Nov. 10 - Finance Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Thursday, Nov. 11 - Building Committee at 9 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Tuesday, Nov. 16 - MVGS Governing Board at 8 a.m. in the Warren County School Board office

Tuesday, Nov. 16 - Parks and Recreation Co-op at 6 p.m. in the A.J. Childs Building basement conf. room

Thursday, Nov. 18 - School Board will attend the VSBA Annual Conference in Williamsburg.

Monday, Nov. 22 - Chairman's Night at 5 p.m. in the School Administration office

Monday, Nov. 22 - School Board Work Session at 6 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Wednesday, Dec. 1 - Health Advisory Committee at 8 a.m. in the Central Complex meeting room

Wednesday, Dec. 1 - Special Education Advisory Committee at 6:30 p.m. in the Central Complex A meeting room

Thursday, Dec. 2 - School Support Council at 7 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Thursday, Dec. 9 - Personnel Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Monday, Dec. 13 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. in the Warren Green Building

11/05/10 > Filmmaker Visits Auburn Middle
Tom Davenport, a local award-winning filmmaker of From the Brothers Grimm, visited Auburn Middle School November 4 to talk about filming nearly a dozen of the live-action versions of the classic folk and fairy tales. His film “Willa: An American Snow White” won the national (Andrew) Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children’s Video from the American Library Association in 1998.

Still a resident of Fauquier County, the soft-spoken 71-year-old told Auburn students that he had made his first film in the 1970’s, shot entirely on his farm in Delaplane, but that over the years he has morphed from filmmaker into storyteller as a result of having eight grandchildren. The students got to experience both aspects of Mr. Davenport – the filmmaker and the storyteller. He began his hour-long presentation by showing his 20-minute film “Bearskin,” which is sub-titled “The Man Who Didn’t Wash for Seven Years” – a film he laughingly said was “particularly popular among boys” – and ended his presentation by reading a story from his own well-worn, tattered Brothers Grimm book.

Reacting at different points with chuckles, gasps, silence, or enthusiasm, the students seemed to enjoy Mr. Davenport’s nearly three-decades-old film “Bearskin,” which is a tale of endurance and spiritual transformation through suffering. The plot involves a former Civil War soldier who makes a pact with the devil in which he will receive unlimited riches but will lose his soul unless he wears a bearskin and goes without a bath, haircut, shave, or manicure for seven years. Growing a repulsive accumulation of hair, grime, and fingernails, Bearskin is shunned by society. When he opens his heart to help a suffering man, however, he eventually wins the hand of the man’s kind and beautiful daughter, and the devil is even obliged to give him a bath. The film won several awards, as did nearly all of Mr. Davenport’s films in the Grimm series.

Initially a maker of documentaries, Mr. Davenport said he got into the fairy tale sequence because of something that happened to him as a young father. In the 1970’s his four-year-old son suffered from whooping cough and, staying overnight in the hospital where his parents were not allowed to stay, he felt “alone and abandoned in an oxygen tent recovering from croup.” When the youngster returned home, Mr. Davenport read him the Brothers Grimm story “Hansel and Gretel” about children abandoned by their parents who survived to live happily ever after.

“I remembered my mother reading these stories to me, and I loved them,” he said. “I was making documentaries when I re-read them, and I thought, ‘I can make these films fairly inexpensively and I can make them locally,” and his journey into folk and fairy tale filmmaking began. All of the films were shot on the Davenports’ farm, including the critically acclaimed “Willa: An American Snow White,” which was reset in Virginia in 1915; that plot finds innocent young Willa being forced from home by her stepmother, an aging actress obsessed with her fading beauty, and joining three colorful actors in a traveling medicine show.

Mr. Davenport talked to the students about the cost of filmmaking four decades ago compared to the astronomical costs today. He said he stopped making the Brothers Grimm series in the late 1990’s when his National Endowment for the Humanities funding dried up, and he had to sell part of his farm to finish making his final film. Even so, he encouraged the Auburn students to be creative and imaginative and to consider making a film some day. He offered one piece of advice for getting started: “All motion pictures are like dreams,” he said. “When you make a film, you first read the story, and then you have to think in images, in pictures.”

For more information about Mr. Davenport and his films, which are still available for purchase, visit


10/29/10 > Pierce Elementary Fifth Graders Contact Counterparts in Every State
In a project called “The Great Mail Race,” teacher Erin Brown’s fifth-grade class at Pierce Elementary wrote letters to fellow fifth-graders in each of the 50 states. The project was rooted in the simple assignment of learning to write friendly letters and to address envelopes correctly; in addition to helping students’ writing skills, the project has increased their geography awareness. Students have especially enjoyed learning about how other fifth-graders spend their days.

So far the class has received eight responses.

“The kids thought the letter from Garden City School in Oshkosh, NE, was really neat,” said Ms. Thomas. “That school has tunnels underneath it that they use to evacuate for fire drills. Students really had to use the tunnels in 2002 when they had an actual fire in the school!”
10/28/10 > KRHS Marching Band 'Superior'
Kettle Run High School’s Marching Cougars earned a “Superior Rating” at the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association State Marching Assessment held October 23 at Liberty High School. A rating of “Superior” is the highest rating the Commonwealth bestows upon marching bands. KRHS has received this honor every year since the school opened three years ago, joining James River High School and Battlefield High School as the only schools in the Commonwealth to earn this honor since opening. Matt Yonkey is the director of bands at Kettle Run.
10/26/10 > School Board Actions 10-25-10

The Fauquier County School Board met October 25, 2010, in a special meeting and work session and took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the October 25, 2010, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Authorized the superintendent to sign the application for Qualified School Construction Bonds for the Fauquier High School renovation project.
  • Approved the charges and memberships for School Board Advisory Committees with the understanding that new members may be added.
10/26/10 > Auburn Middle Recognized for Five Years of Recycling Excellence

"Thirty-two is what we do. Thirty-two is what we do."

Auburn Middle School students began to chant these cheer-like words as they departed the school auditorium this past Friday afternoon with determination to increase the school's rate of recycling to 32 percent.

The impromptu chant began at the conclusion of an awards ceremony October 22 at which the Fauquier County Department of Environmental Services recognized AMS faculty, staff and students for five years of recycling excellence - five years during which AMS consistently recycled over 26 percent of its total generated waste, amounting to over 107,000 pounds. Leading the effort have been eighth-grade science teacher J.T. Gard and head custodian Bill Marsh - with strong support from Principal Steve Kadilak.

Environmental Services coordinates, weighs, and monitors waste and recycling operations for the County and the school division. Trish Ethier, recycling information program coordinator for Fauquier County, who spearheaded Friday's recognition ceremony, said that Fauquier County has been recycling for a long time. The County's recycling rate is over 31 percent, and several schools have had years when 20 percent of its generated waste has been recycled.

"Auburn Middle School started recycling when it first opened [in 2004]," Ms. Ethier told the ceremony attendees, "and this school has set the standard for excellence." She said AMS consistently achieved between 26.9 percent and 29.1 percent each year, which she described as "a phenomenal rate."

In recognition of the school's recycling success, several businesses donated a variety of gifts to the school, which Ms. Ethier presented during the ceremony: a bench made of recycled plastic from TREX Inc., an ice cream coupon for every AMS student from Effee's Frozen Favorites, a banner and plaque from Dorsey Signs and Designs and Sports Xplosion, and plants from Meadows Farms Nursery and Pleasant Valley Landscapes. Ms. Brittany LaFredo from Potomac Disposal Services presented a check for $250 earmarked for the purchase of outside recycling containers.

Mr. Kadilak thanked Mr. Gard for initiating and continuing to oversee the successful recycling program at AMS and Mr. Marsh for encouraging students to recycle whatever they can each day after breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria. Appreciation for the two men's efforts was marked by students' enthusiastic applause.

Dr. Jonathan Lewis, division superintendent, thanked the AMS students, staff, and faculty, for creating a culture of environmental stewardship at the school. "You have shown us what it's like over time to create a culture of taking care of the earth, not just in what you say, but in what you do," he said. "The things we do now will have a profound effect on those who come after us. On behalf of the school division and the School Board, I want you to know we're all really proud of you."

Recycling at AMS

Similar to other schools in the county, Auburn Middle School recycles mixed paper, including copy paper, magazines, paper lunch bags, bulletin board paper, cardboard, newspaper, aluminum and steel cans, plastic drinking bottles, plastic retail bags, and plastic sandwich bags. The school's business classes, led by teacher June Prifti, collect and manage the school's printer cartridge and cell phone recycling program; the program also collects CDs and DVDs.

In addition to recycling, AMS is careful when using paper, often using technology tools rather than paper to communicate or printing double-sided when paper is used. The school also reduces its waste load by draining all liquids from drinking containers before disposing of the daily trash.

AMS Principal Steve Kadilak, who was assistant principal when the school first opened, has supported the concept of recycling from the beginning. "Since our opening in 2004," he said, "J.T. Gard has led the effort to make everyone here at AMS aware of the importance of recycling. Now it is simply part of our culture. Our students, both past and present, are responsible for us leading the way in our continuing effort and commitment to be 'green.' The goal of all of our Wildcats is to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible for future generations. I am so incredibly proud of our students, faculty and staff."

At the end of the awards ceremony Friday, Mr. Kadilak - spurring AMS students' to aspire to an even higher recycling rate - said to the cheering student body, "We're already at 29 percent. How much higher can we go…30? 31? 32?" Thirty-two percent emerged as the new target rate for Auburn Middle's recycling program, seemingly cemented by the students' departing chant: "32 is what we do!"


10/26/10 > FCPS Publications Receive VHSL Awards

Fauquier County Public Schools News Release Newspapers and yearbooks from all three Fauquier County Public School high schools received high commendations from the Virginia High School League.

Fauquier High School

For the third year in a row, Fauquier High School's newspaper, Falconer, was ranked first place as an "excellent" publication by VHSL. The evaluator praised the paper's writing quality, the "wide array of topics" and the depth of coverage produced by last year's staff of seven to nine students. The evaluator also noted that "good, strong interviewing" was evident in stories and profiles and that editorials were "pertinent and passionate."

Individual Falconer staff members also took first place rankings in four out of 14 categories. William Wilcox took first in the news story category for his article on the School Board's publications policy and in the Editorial category for his response to the publications policy. Wilcox also took first place in the Bylined Personal Opinion category for his opposition to exam exemptions. Lee Cranford took first place in Editorial Cartooning for his Hazelwood cartoon.

The FHS yearbook, The Eyrie, received first place recognition from VHSL. An evaluator praised The Eyrie as "overall a solid production." Another said, "One really [gets] a feel for your school and community."

Kettle Run High School

The Kettle Run High School yearbook, The Prowl, received a second-place rating from VHSL.

Liberty High School

Liberty High School's Patriot Press newspaper received a first-place award from VHSL for 2010 issues. Students received "excellent" rankings in content and coverage, writing and editing, layout and design, and general effect. Additionally, they received a "superior" ranking in management and production.

Liberty's Talon yearbook staff received a first-place award from VHSL for the 2010 yearbook. Students received "excellent" rankings in concept, coverage, design, and photography.

10/22/10 > Nominations Sought for Outstanding Principal
Parents and school employees are invited to nominate a principal for the 2010-2011 Distinguished Educational Leadership Award, which recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment. The Washington Post Company Educational Foundation established the award. Nominations may be in the form of letters or a statement of support.

Deadline to nominate an outstanding principal is Jan. 14, 2011. Nomination forms, which are available on the school division website at, should be submitted to the Superintendent’s Office. Send the form via mail, fax or email to Carol Hollinger, 320 Hospital Drive, Suite 40, Warrenton, VA 20816; fax (540) 347-1026; or email

The nomination form calls for statements to show how the nominee has met the following criteria:
• managed effectively
• demonstrated and encouraged creativity and innovation
• fostered cooperation between the school and the community
• maintained a continuing dialogue with students and parents as well as faculty and staff
• kept abreast of developments in the field of education
• encouraged team spirit
• demonstrated leadership and exemplified commitment
• continued to play an active role in the classroom

Nominees must have a minimum of five years experience as a principal, three of which must be with Fauquier County Public Schools. The Post requires that the winner be employed as a Fauquier County principal throughout the 2011-12 school year. The winner must participate in the four-day Distinguished Educational Leadership Awards Seminar to be held in July 2011. Based on years of experience, the following principals are eligible to be nominated: Craig Carscallen, Cindy Carter, Linda Clark, Roger Lee, Christine Moschetti, Ruth Nelson, Alex O’Dell, Steve Parker, Joy Seward, Roger Sites, Marypat Warter, Judy Williams and Christie Wolfe.
10/22/10 > Nominations Sought for Outstanding Teacher
Parents and school employees are invited to nominate a teacher for the 2010-2011 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award, which recognizes teachers who exemplify excellence in their profession. The Washington Post Company Educational Foundation established the award.

The Post requires that the winner be employed with Fauquier County Public Schools through June 2012. Deadline for nominations is Jan. 14, 2011. Nomination forms, available on the school division website at, must be submitted to the school principal to be considered for the award.

The nomination form calls for a statement that illustrates the nominee’s eligibility for each of the following criteria:
• instills in students a desire to learn and achieve
• understands the individual needs of students, encourages their talents and fosters their self-esteem
• demonstrates a thorough knowledge of subject matter and the ability to share it effectively with students
• fosters cooperative relationships with colleagues and the community
• demonstrates outstanding leadership.

Each school will nominate one teacher, and an advisory team will review the nominations and select Fauquier County’s recipient by early February 2011.
10/20/10 > Liberty's Fall Plant Sale October 20-23
Liberty High School Agriculture Department Chair Pam Woodward announces the second annual fall plant sale and pumpkin patch at “Red, White, and Bloom – The Garden Center at LHS.” The plant sale and pumpkin patch will be open Wednesday, October 20, through Saturday, October 23, from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.

Ms. Woodward, who teaches agricultural mechanics and nursery/landscape classes at Liberty, said the plant sale has been expanded. “We hope with the addition of offering more trees and shrubs, in addition to the pansies and perennials we typically offer at our sales, that our supporters will find that we are meeting even more of their landscape needs.”

Other LHS agriculture and horticulture teachers touted the benefits of the sale. “We are pleased to announce that the pumpkins, edible squash, and assorted gourds at our pumpkin patch are all Virginia grown,” said agriculture teacher Jeff Stout.

Kim Matthias, Liberty horticulture teacher, said the sale will offer a huge variety. “We have flowering trees such as magnolias and dogwoods, evergreen shrubs including boxwoods and junipers, perennials including ornamental grasses and coral belles, and of course, winter pansies and violas that will add a splash of color until springtime.” In addition to all the pumpkins and plants, she said a great assortment of home, garden and holiday décor will also be available. “The Floral Design I and II students have been creating indoor and outdoor autumnal wreaths that are absolutely beautiful,” she said.

For additional information call the LHS agriculture/horticulture department at (540) 439-4204.
10/20/10 > FCPS Students Excel at State Fair
A.J. Bassler and Ryan Farmer, students in the automotive technology program at Fauquier High School, won first place in the automotive technology competition held at the Virginia State Fair on Sept. 27. The SkillsUSA Virginia competition involved students’ knowledge in five categories: state inspection, scan tools, brakes, electrical testing and analysis, and air conditioning. Scott Freeman is the instructor of the FCPS auto technology program.

In aquaculture events FHS student Chris Jackson took first place in the meat/fish category and Tara Via took second in ornamental fish.

In addition to his first place win in the automotive technology competition, A.J. Bassler also won second place in the small engines competition and first place in the bow saw event that was part of the State Fair Forestry Field Day. Liberty High School student Kyle Gough won second place and FHS student Hunter Henry took third place in the log throw, an individual event at the Forestry Field Day.

Three Kettle Run High School FFA members – Maddie Harrover, Kristin Walker, and Abbey Wasko – earned eight place in the FFA senior crop judging contest.
10/20/10 > Kettle Run Student Earns Second at FFA State Convention
Tori Hyde, Kettle Run High School 2010 graduate, participated in the prepared public speaking contest at the Virginia FFA State Convention in Blacksburg and earned second place in the contest. This gave Tori the opportunity to attend the “Big E” on a partially paid scholarship (from the Virginia FFA Association) from Sept. 16-18 in Springfield, MA, where she competed against students from New York to Maryland in the FFA prepared public speaking event. Tori earned fifth place in the event, which requires participants to create, memorize and present a six- to eight-minute speech on an agriculture-related topic in front of a panel of judges and a time keeper. When the speech is complete, participants are asked five minutes’ worth of questions from the judges.

“For the last three years, Tori has competed in the prepared public speaking contest and has worked to perfect her speech on cloning animals,” said Meaghan Brill, agriculture education teacher. “This year she did a phenomenal job and earned a spot on this trip. This was truly an honor to represent both the Kettle Run FFA Chapter and the State of Virginia.”
10/12/10 > School Board Actions 10-11-10

The Fauquier County School Board met October 11, 2010, and took the following official actions. (For further information, see supporting documents with the October 11, 2010, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Approved the FY10 year-end funding requests.
  • Approved the submission of the Cedar Lee Middle School "Safe Routes to School" plan to the Virginia Department of Transportation for review.
  • Approved the adjustment of health insurance co-pays for the current FY11 medical plan to comply with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
  • Authorized the chairwoman to execute a contract for pre-construction management services for the Fauquier High School renovation in the amount of $45,000 with The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.
  • Approved the Coleman-Marshall trail design.
  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the September 13 School Board meeting and September 27 special School Board meeting and work session, payment of bills, and personnel actions.
  • Delayed action on revisions to Policy KG, "Community Use of Facilities," until the Board's November 8 meeting.

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

Thursday, October 14 - Personnel Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Thursday, October 14 - Building Committee at 9 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Friday, October 15 - Finance Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Thursday, October 21 - MVGS Governing Board at 8 a.m. in the Warren County School Board office

Monday, October 25 - Chairman's Night at 5 p.m. in the School Administration office

Monday, October 25 - School Board Work Session at 6 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Wednesday, November 3 - Health Advisory Committee at 8 a.m. in the Central Complex meeting room

Wednesday, November 3 - Special Education Advisory Committee at 6:30 p.m. in the Central Complex A meeting room

Thursday, November 4 - School Support Council at 7 p.m. at Kettle Run High School (tentative location)

Monday, November 8 - Gateways Advisory Committee at 5 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Monday, November 8 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. in the Warren Green Building

10/06/10 > STEM Club Taking Root at Pearson Elementary
To a casual observer, fifth-grade students gathered in room 1 at Pearson Elementary School on a recent Friday morning were simply having fun, far removed from the book-learning one might expect to witness in a typical classroom setting. One group was making and testing hoop gliders. Three students were balancing pencils on their tips. Still another group was making tinfoil boats and then loading them with penny after penny hoping they would remain afloat.

While it may have looked like all fun and games, the 15 students at Pearson Elementary School – 10 boys and five girls – were actually attending a newly formed STEM Club meeting, learning SOL-related lessons involving science, technology, engineering and math, subjects from which the club’s acronym is formed.

The 15 students attend STEM Club for 40 minutes every Friday, when all fifth-graders attend the club they’ve chosen for the year – typically art, select chorus, library media technology, and indoor sports. This year they had a new option, one which stemmed from a study Assistant Principal Amy Angelo had read: recent research from the American Association of University Women reports that though girls now outperform boys in high school math and science assessments, they still pursue career paths in science and engineering in fewer numbers than boys.

“The study made me start thinking again about that disparity, and I came up with the idea for this club,” said Mrs. Angelo, “and it all came together.” So many teachers at the school were interested in sponsoring the club that Mrs. Angelo decided to follow a monthly rotation so all interested teachers could have an opportunity to work with the club. Sharing the instruction are Pearson teachers Rebecca Schwier, Wendy West, Joyce Macey, and Beth Warner-Eastman along with Kim Raines (FCPS instructional coordinator for math) and Mrs. Angelo.

Even though teachers are present at each STEM Club meeting, the activities are fairly self-directed. Students receive basic instructions for each activity and then take it from there.

“We don’t really help them; we facilitate,” said Mrs. Warner-Eastman. “They are having fun, but they have to do the activities on their own. There is a lot of problem solving going on.”

Working together recently in the “Float My Boat” activity, three students tried three similar tin foil designs that each held eight pennies before sinking. Modifying their designs – using what they learned about the height and thickness of the sides, size of the bottom, and positioning of the pennies, the students eventually successfully upped the ante to 43 pennies.

The sole female working on the boat activity, ten-year-old Hope Jones, said of the most successful design, “It has more structure.”

In the pencil balancing activity, students were given two pieces of wire and two clothespins and were challenged to try making the pencil stand on its tip. The activity proved more difficult than the students initially thought.

The group participating in the hoop glider activity cut out different size paper hoops and taped them to non-bendable, plastic drinking straws. Moving into the hallway and throwing the gliders gently like spears, students measured how far the gliders traveled. After several trial flights, most students stuck with the original design, but a few changed the size of the hoops to observe how changing this variable affected the flight distance. The longest flight was 24 feet.

Student Codi Cooper determined his record flight was more about technique than design.

“It went so far because of the way I threw it straight,” he said.

During the final 10 minutes of every STEM Club meeting, students reassemble into one large group to discuss insights about their activities. On this particular morning, students who had tried the pencil balance agreed, “It was very hard.” One of the students who tested hoop gliders said, “You need a bigger hoop to go farther so it can catch more air. The back hoop needs to be bigger.”

At the end of the meeting, student Hope Jones explained to a visitor what appeals to her about the club.

“It’s engineering, and I like engineering,” she said. “It’s scientific, too, and it has math. You have to really think about the activities.”

Apparently many of the students are continuing to think about the STEM Club challenges beyond the constraints of the meetings. One student worked at home on a weight-bearing challenge from a previous week’s meeting and returned the next week with a better-designed contraption.

“Students stop me in the hall,” said Mrs. Angelo, “and tell me, ‘I’ve been thinking about’ a particular activity and ways to make improvements to get a better end product. That’s a side effect of the club we hadn’t expected.”

The STEM sponsors hope to expose more and more Pearson students to STEM activities. Plans call for a fifth-grade STEM Day to be held in January so non-club members can participate in STEM experiences in a design, critical thinking, and problem- solving context.

10/06/10 > French FLEX Program Offered
Fauquier County Public Schools is offering a Foreign Language Experience (FLEX) program in French to students in kindergarten through second grade. The program will be offered at Brumfield Elementary on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:15 p.m. from October 19 through March 29.

The FLEX program is open to public, private and home-schooled students, and no prior language knowledge or experience is required.

Cost of the program is $50, which covers tuition and all materials. Transportation is the responsibility of the parent or guardian; no transportation is provided.

For further information contact Amy Ternois Hatton at or Bobbie Jo Sutton at Registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 15.
10/06/10 > FCPS Receives Budget Presentation Award
Fauquier County Public Schools’ 2010-2011 annual budget has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada for the fifth year in a row.

The Distinguished Budget Presentation Award represents a significant achievement by FCPS, reflecting the commitment of the School Board and administrative staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the award, Fauquier County Public Schools had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide, and a communications device. Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, as well as in the 14 criteria within those categories, to receive the award.

One of the independent GFOA reviewers who evaluated the FCPS Fiscal Year 2010 budget wrote, “The budget development and planning section of your document is nicely done; the reader can see how the budget process fits into your overall strategic planning process. Your document is well organized, informative, and easy to read and navigate. The color photos are very nice. The supplemental data, particularly compensation/classification information, is detailed and very good.”

The 409-page FCPS budget document, available on the school division’s website, contains much more than money matters in the $117.9 million budget – it includes SOL scores, compensation studies, enrollment projections, the school division’s Capital Improvement Plan, a history of local tax rates and other budget-related information. The budget was prepared by Andy Hawkins, former executive director of budget and planning, and Cindy Mills, budget analyst.
10/05/10 > Graduation Rate Commendable for FCPS

Graduation rate data released by the Virginia Department of Education last week reflects commendable results for Fauquier County Public Schools.

More than 90 percent of FCPS students in the class of 2010 graduated on time with a diploma, according to the VDOE data reported Sept. 30. The state's rate was 85.5 percent. The 2010 "Virginia On-Time Graduation Rate" expresses the percentage of students who were first-time ninth graders during the 2006-2007 school year who earned a Board of Education-approved diploma within four years. In the three years that VDOE has reported on-time graduation rates for the state, school divisions, and schools, Fauquier County's rate has improved from 86.9 percent in 2008 to 88.1 percent in 2009 to 90.3 percent in 2010.

"The on-time graduation rate is one of our seven key academic indicators," said Dr. Jonathan Lewis, superintendent of schools. "It is encouraging to see continuous improvement in this area, and I believe it is an indication of our steadfast commitment to sustained student success. I am certain the school community is very proud of this accomplishment."

Results were impressive for several FCPS student populations:

  • Students with disabilities - 88.3 percent, state rate 82.6 percent
  • Economically disadvantaged students - 85.3 percent, state rate 77.6 percent
  • Hispanic students - 81.25 percent, state rate 76.1 percent
  • Black students - 92.4 percent, state rate 78.9 percent

Sandra Mitchell, associate superintendent for instruction, said of the FCPS on-time graduation rate data, "When you consider the cost of dropping out of high school to our society, a child, a family, and a generation - this data set, in my opinion, is far more significant in many respects than our test scores and is worthy of celebrating."

Starting this year, high schools must meet an annual benchmark for graduation and completion to earn full accreditation under the Standards of Learning program.

10/04/10 > High School Students Excel Academically

Six high school students from Fauquier County Public Schools have been named Commended Students in the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program. The following students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2011 competition by taking the 2009 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT):

  • Fauquier High School: Alexander Lamana
  • Kettle Run High School: Casey Cooke, Lindsey Herman, and Peter Scandalis
  • Liberty High School: Nathan Lewis and Daniel McCall

In addition, Kettle Run High School student Ajua Duker has been named a semi-finalist in the National Achievement Scholarship Program, an academic competition which provides recognition for outstanding Black American high school students. Students qualify for this program through their performance on the PSAT/NMSQT.

10/01/10 > Greenville Elementary Benefits from Donations

Thanks to a local developer, Greenville Elementary School kindergartners have a safer play area, and thanks to a nonprofit organization, all Greenville grade levels are participating in a conservation project.

Brookside developer Ed Moore and Brookside owner Brian Cohen visited the school on Sept. 23 so kindergartners could give them a special thank you for providing the kindergarten play area at Greenville with a special coating. The Brookside Development made the donation when Mr. Moore learned that the play area's asphalt was not only hot, but also causing several skinned knees.

Kindergarten teacher Nina Anderson, who coordinated the donation, said the rubberized surface "reflects the sun so it's not as hot, and it's much kinder on the knees." As a show of gratitude for the donation, the kindergartners all gathered on their new play surface to spell out the words "Thank You!" for an aerial photo. Mrs. Anderson presented the photo to Mr. Moore and Mr. Cohen.

Trout Tank

First-grade teacher Debbie Dalton worked with Doug Farmer to bring trout to Greenville, a project in which the two shared a common interest. The school now has a chilled tank that has trout eggs in it, courtesy of Trout Unlimited, a nonprofit, volunteer organization that promotes the conservation of trout, one of Virginia's natural resources. The eggs were delivered this week and will hatch within the seven to 30 days. The trout will grow in the tank through the winter with plans to release them in a Virginia stream in the spring.

All Greenville students get to keep tabs on the trout as the tank was set up near the cafeteria.

"Everyone has been very excited about this conservation project!" said Mrs. Riley.

10/01/10 > Camp Introduces Female Student to Engineering
When career engineer Linda Suter attended Widener University to study engineering several decades ago, she was the only female in most of her classes.

“Back then colleges used blue books when you took exams. I actually had one class where the professor gave me a pink book,” she said. Her comment elicited groans from several members of the audience at the Sept. 13 Fauquier County School Board meeting when Mrs. Suter told why she provided full scholarship money for a female student from Fauquier County Public Schools to attend a week-long engineering camp at her alma mater in Chester, PA.

“I believe a lot of inroads have been made, but I still don’t believe that females have been encouraged a lot to go into the technical field or the engineering field. [The camp] is a great opportunity to introduce junior high and high school girls to the technical field,” she said.

The female student who benefited from the full scholarship – Miceile Barrett from Mountain Vista Governor’s School – also attended the September Board meeting to express her appreciation for the opportunity and to describe the experience.

Miceile (pronounced “Mi-kay-la”) attended the Widener University Engineering Summer Camp from July 5-9, one of 16 residential students who were joined by 12 day students.

“While I was there, I was able to learn a lot about different kinds of engineering,” she said. “Before I went to the camp, I didn’t know about the potential jobs in engineering and the types of engineering there were.”

Much of her experience was hands on; during an electrical engineering session each student created a lie detector on a schematic board. Demonstrating how electric current flows more freely when resistance drops, the lie detector, fashioned from pennies, transistors, and other materials, was intended to show that when a person lies, his or her heart rate goes up, sweat increases and resistance drops, allowing the machine to detect a lie.

Miceile laughingly told the School Board , “Whoever created this must have thought you would sweat buckets, but you don’t sweat enough to make the penny sense it.” Undaunted, though, the students used a little engineering ingenuity and turned the detectors into what Miceile called “song gadgets.”

In other sessions Miceile and her fellow campers created a binary calculator, made a type of silly putty, and created a Beakman’s electrical motor, using a battery, a wire and a magnet.

In addition to lab exercises, computer workshops, demonstrations, films, and discussion groups, Miceile said, “There were multiple competitions at this camp that were very fun and quite challenging.” One involved teams’ creating a robot and programming it using a computer program to make it move through an obstacle course by itself. Students also made a water bottle rocket.

“We spent three hours constructing our design and used compressed air to make them fly, competing to see which could go the farthest. My group’s went the farthest,” Miceile said proudly.

The engineering camp “did a fantastic job,” Miceile said, of helping her explore the fields of chemical, civil, electrical, biochemical and mechanical engineering, all while having fun.

“I now have a better understanding of the types of engineering, and I know I would be interested in biochemical engineering because I’m very interested in the medical field as well. This camp was a great experience,” she said, “and I hope Fauquier County will be able to send a 10th grader next year.”

Eric Dalton, FCPS instructional coordinator for science, said that Miceile was selected for the scholarship through an application process. He expressed appreciation to Mrs. Suter for making the scholarship possible.

Dr. Jonathan Lewis, division superintendent, also expressed his gratitude to Mrs. Suter. “We share your interest in seeing more girls develop an interest in engineering,” he said, and indicated that the school district would continue to explore ways to introduce females to engineering fields.
9/29/10 > New Assistant Principal Named for Smith Elementary
New York transplant Melissa Leischner has been selected as the new assistant principal of P.B. Smith Elementary School, effective October 1.

Mrs. Leischner, 33, earned a bachelor of arts in journalism from the University of Maryland in 1998, a master of arts in counseling from Trinity University in Washington, DC, in 2004, and a post-graduate certificate in education leadership from the University of Mary Washington in December 2009.

Born and raised in Long Island, Mrs. Leischner said she was attracted to the DC Metropolitan area after visiting the nation’s capital on her senior trip in high school.

“I really liked the area,” she said, so much so, that once she relocated to the South for college, she spent a summer working as a tour guide in D.C.

After studying abroad her senior year of college – in London – Mrs. Leischner accepted a position as an admissions counselor at Strayer University in Arlington. A year later her career took flight, so to speak.

“I decided to conquer my fear of flying and I became a flight attendant,” she said. “I decided to ‘fly the friendly skies’ for a year. I wanted to travel, and I also wondered what it would be like to work for a company that was number one in its field.” Her aspirations all seemed to point toward becoming a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines so that’s exactly what she did.

Ready to be on terra firma a year later, she became an admissions counselor at Catholic University in Washington, DC. She knew at that point that she wanted to get her master’s in counseling; immediately after she finished, she landed a job as a professional school counselor at Potomac View Elementary in Prince William County, where she has worked for the past six years.

Mrs. Leischner’s interest in counseling was piqued when, as an undergraduate, she worked as a “College Park Scholar” in a children’s advocacy program. Also, she worked at a local Boys’ and Girls’ Club in Langley Park, MD, throughout her college years.

“It was a good fit for me,” she said.

During her six years as a school counselor Mrs. Leischner had many accomplishments; she won an award for a business partnership with the Marine Corps, coached her school’s Effective Schoolwide Discipline team, started a mentoring program with a local high school, and was named one of eight finalists in the National School Counselor of the Year awards program.

Why did she aspire to move into administration?

“It seemed like working in administration would allow me to help more students than I was already helping,” she said.

Mrs. Leischner said she was “very excited” to learn she had been selected as the assistant principal for Smith Elementary.

“The team I met with during the interview was very welcoming,” she said. “I got to see a lot of parent volunteers when I visited. The school itself seemed like a nice, warm, friendly school. I am very excited to join that type of community.”

A history buff, Mrs. Leischner said that in her spare time she and her newlywed husband Ryan, a fire fighter in Arlington County, enjoy visiting historical sites, including battlefields and monuments. She is also an exercise enthusiast and especially enjoys walking. She also assists high school students preparing for their SAT/ACT exams as a tutor for Kaplan Test Prep and volunteers for the Make A Wish Foundation.

During her first year at Smith, Mrs. Leishner said she hopes to work closely with the principal to get to know the staff, students, parents and community.

“I hope to really learn what their needs are,” she said, “and to work to help them achieve their goals.”
9/29/10 > Turkish and Arabic FLEX Programs Offered
Fauquier County Public Schools is offering Foreign Language Experience (FLEX) programs in Turkish and Arabic. The FLEX programs are open to public, private and home-schooled students, and no prior language knowledge or experience is required. Cost of each program is $50, which covers tuition and all materials. Transportation is the responsibility of the parent or guardian; no transportation is provided.

The Turkish program will be offered at Cedar Lee Middle School on Thursdays from 3-4:30 p.m. from October 14, 2010, through January 27, 2011. This program is for students in grades 4 and above. Registration deadline is October 8.

The Arabic program will be offered at Taylor Middle School on Wednesdays from 3-4:30 p.m. from October 6 through December 16. This program is for students in grades 6 or higher. Registration deadline is October 1.

To obtain a registration form, contact Amy Ternois Hatton at or Bobbie Jo Sutton at
9/28/10 > Smith Elementary Focuses on Recycling
Hop aside, Bugs, and make some room for “Ed E. Earth,” who just happens to be one popular bunny in these parts.

While no bunny will likely ever surpass Bugs in popularity, Fauquier County’s Nature Ranger Rabbit received his fair share of hugs and smiles from students at P.B. Smith Elementary School last Friday, Sept. 24. It’s not every day that an oversized rabbit in a mask and a cape greets students arriving at school, but that was exactly the case when Trish Ethier, recycling information program coordinator for Fauquier County Environmental Services, brought along her furry friend (a.k.a. Karla Anderson) as a prelude to programs about recycling presented that day to every grade level at Smith.

Smith Elementary features a community Friday each week when guest speakers address students at the school. Ms. Ethier gave a 45-minute presentation to each grade level, discussing the benefits of recycling and tying in the importance of litter prevention; she brought along a recycling basket to show students things that are made from recycled content.

Ms. Ethier hopes her program will spark students’ long-term interest in recycling.

“Assuming responsibility for our environment is a lifelong endeavor; therefore, being made aware of this responsibility early on makes developing effortless habits such as recycling that much easier,” said Ms. Ethier. “I am pleased that Fauquier County schools are encouraging recycling as a daily environmental lesson.”

Donna Schirmer, physical education teacher at Smith, invited Ms. Ethier and Ed E. Rabbit to participate in a community Friday program because faculty and staff at the school are trying to show students how their actions at the school have a lasting effect on the community.

“By making our recycling program here a priority, we are helping out with lowering the demand on the landfill and being a great caretaker of our planet,” said Ms. Schirmer.

Smith Elementary School Principal Patricia Comstock said it was important for students at the school to learn more about recycling.

“Every morning our students recite our school’s creed, which reminds us that we are ‘dedicated to environmental consciousness.’ This [the recycling program] is one way they can learn more about what it means to be environmentally conscious and to live up to our school’s vision,” she said.

9/27/10 > 84 FCPS Students Named AP Scholars

Eighty-four students from Fauquier County Public Schools have earned the designation of AP Scholar by the College Board in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement (AP) program exams. About 18 percent of the more than 1.8 million students worldwide who took AP exams performed at a sufficiently high level to earn an AP Scholar Award.

Students at all three FCPS high schools took AP exams in May 2010 after completing challenging college-level courses. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students' performance on AP exams.

One student, Alexander Warzinski from Fauquier High School, qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of 4 or higher on a five-point scale on all AP exams taken and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.

Twenty-one FCPS students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. Following are the AP Scholars with Distinction:

  • Fauquier High School: Lauren Armstrong, Adam Burke, Andrew Gabany, Brandie Huffman, Alexander Lamana, Emily Thomas, and Joshua Thompson.
  • Kettle Run High School: Kenneth Hawes, Lindsey Herman, Stuart Masterson, Max McDonough, Ben Predmore, Matt Scandalis, and Peter Scandalis.
  • Liberty High School: Rose Alldredge, Robert Ashby, Cooper Lawton, Andrew McCall, Daniel McCall, Erik Michel, and Eric Turner.

Thirteen students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. Following are the AP Scholars with Honor:

  • Fauquier High School: Elizabeth Combs, Kirbie Lapins, and William Wilcox.
  • Kettle Run High School: Matt Bongiovi, Casey Cooke, Ajua Duker, Alexa Monfort, Cindy Raggo, and Matt Williams.
  • Liberty High School: Sarah Jarles, Nathan Lewis, Ryan McCall, and Sydney Outzen.

Forty-nine students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP exams with grades of 3 or higher. Following are the AP Scholars:

  • Fauquier High School: Jeremy Abeel, Christopher Aud, Julia Bridstrup, Samuel Chrisinger, Brian Davidson, Keegan Davis, Danielle Dietz, Alexander Domann, Brittany Essiaw, Cassidy Glascock, Daniel Harris, Bonnie Long, Anna McCulla, Caitlin McDaniel, Amy Phillips, Alexander Pinelli, Anatevka Ribeiro, Patrick Roden-Reynolds, Emily Spoden, Kristin Taylor, Nicholas Udell, Lars Wiersholm, and Joseph Woodward.
  • Kettle Run High School: Liz Bisutti, Hannah Butts, Angelica Gertel, Michael Hudgins, Kathryn Lewis, Talal Mohammed, Madeline Radigan, Brendan Rijke, Aaron Seitz, Colin Shea-Blymyer, Allen Stevenson, and Nick Wilfong.
  • Liberty High School: Lea Chastine, Rebecca David, Sarah Evans, Erin Howard, Natalie Lester, Rachel Lipscomb, Lauren Morrison, Paige Naylor, Alli Palanzi, Victoria Pitts, Ashleigh Price, Maite Rubio, Jennifer Sheets, and Nathan Wolneiwicz.

Congratulations to the 84 AP Scholars from Fauquier County Public Schools.

9/22/10 > CLMS Reading Program Takes Different Approach
Fauquier County Public Schools
News Release
Recommended reading lists have become a staple of the closing days of every school year. Before students begin their summer break, many English teachers either give their students lists of recommended reading or direct them to such lists on the Web, all in an honest effort to prevent students’ reading skills from languishing.

Brooks Spencer, reading specialist at Cedar Lee Middle School, decided to take a different tack last June by developing a project meant not only for rising seventh and eighth grade students, but for their parents as well. To promote what she called the CLMS Summer Family Reading Project, she sent a brochure home with students explaining the project, put up posters about it, and placed brochures in local businesses in Bealeton and Remington and also in the public library.

“The plan included the parents – checking out a book on tape and listening together, planning a summer trip using the atlas, looking up a recipe together and making it, reading aloud to younger siblings – a variety of real-life reading tasks without just saying, ‘Here’s a list. Read,’” she said.

The project involved 10 tasks, each worth a certain number of points. A parent or librarian was required to sign off upon the completion of each task; students returned the completed form to their English teachers during the first week of the current school year. Students who accumulated 100 out of 190 points were invited – with their families – to an ice cream social held immediately before Back to School Night began on Sept. 8.

One of the 10 reading tasks, worth a whopping 50 points, was to participate in and complete the summer reading program at a Fauquier County Public Library. Ms. Spencer was thrilled when Cedar Lee Principal Steve Parker received notification in late August that students at his school had read more books over the summer than any other middle school in Fauquier County. Fifty-six Cedar Lee students participated, reading a total of 689 books.

“We were thrilled, to say the least,” said Ms. Spencer. “We feel that our Summer Family Reading Project helped increase the number of participants since that was the first task on our list.”

Some of the remaining tasks in the project involved students’ choosing two newspaper articles that would interest two family members and reading the articles to them, creating a comic strip about reading, reading a novel and drawing a picture of the hero, reading a recipe as a parent followed the directions and prepared the dish, and surveying family members about their favorite books at middle-school age.

Having barely celebrated the success of this summer’s reading program, Ms. Spencer is already thinking about next summer’s.

“To build on our initial success with the CLMS Family Summer Reading Project, I plan to form a group of parents, students, and teachers in the spring to brainstorm ideas to include for next summer,” she said. “I think the real-life tasks are a good way for students to see the need and benefits of reading in their everyday life.”
9/21/10 > Miller Elementary Students Feeling Fit
KidFit, an after-school club at Grace Miller Elementary School focused precisely on what its name implies – keeping children physically fit – kicked off this year with a basketball camp for third through fifth graders. Leading the seven-week, Thursday- afternoon camp are Liberty High School basketball team members Ryan Ramirez, Xavier Colbert, and Chris Miller.

KidFit is featuring the basketball camp for the second year in a row. “Coach [Pat] Frazer and the team had such a great time last year that they asked to come back this year! Of course, we said yes,” said Lori Burkhardt, an early childhood special education teacher at Miller and self-proclaimed “fitness nut” who started KidFit four years ago in order to offer additional physical fitness opportunities to students. “The LHS players are wonderful role models and natural teachers. They are so good with the children and it is wonderful to watch,” she said.

Mrs. Burkhardt focused the after-school club on upper elementary grades because, she said, “Research shows that fitness activities and healthy choices are set at this age.” Offering a new session each grading period, KidFit includes cardio, strength training, and then a specific fitness activity such as basketball, kung fu, dance or volleyball. Mrs. Burkhardt said the KidFit program has partnered in the past with various community organizations including Gold’s Gym, Ballet Academy of Warrenton, Golden Harmony Kung Fu, and Fauquier Hospital.

A new component of the KidFit program this year is a before-school “Mustang Mileage Club” for kindergarten through fifth-grade students as well as staff and parents. Meeting Tuesday mornings at 7:30 a.m., club members walk or run for 30 minutes.

“The purpose of the Mustang Mileage Club is to offer an additional opportunity to get 30 minutes of cardio exercise in for the day,” said Mrs. Burkhardt, who was pleased that the recent first session attracted more than 30 children, 10 parents and six staff members.


9/21/10 > Pierce Elementary Holds Grandparents Day

Pierce Elementary School invited grandparents to school on Sept. 10 as a way of showing love and appreciation in observance of Grandparents Day. Events included the following:

  • Pre-kindergartners making crafts with their grandparents
  • Kindergartners singing for their grandparents and sharing snacks
  • First graders reading with their grandparents and then sharing lunch
  • Second graders enjoying a formal tea with their grandparents and reciting poems
  • Third and fourth graders eating lunch with their grandparents and sharing recess
  • Fifth graders sharing desserts with grandparents

9/17/10 > Congressman Addresses Taylor Students

When U.S. Congressman Rob Wittman asked Taylor Middle School seventh graders to raise their hands if they believed the government belonged to the nation's senators and congressmen, not one hand went up. When he asked how many believed the government belonged to them, every student raised a hand.

That fundamental democratic principle was the gist of the congressman's comments when he addressed all TMS seventh-graders during an assembly in the school's auditorium September 14 organized by Civics teacher Joyce D'Urso.

"This government belongs to you," emphasized Congressman Wittman, who represents Virginia's 1st District. "Even though you can't vote, you can call your elected officials and share your ideas."

After an introduction by Ross D'Urso, Fauquier County's commissioner of the revenue, Congressman Wittman explained his role in government, as well as the role of local, state and federal governments. He described a typical day in his own life as a congressman, mentioning the role of the various committees on which he serves.

Following his remarks, Congressman Wittman opened the floor to questions from Taylor Middle students. Asked with the innocent honesty characteristic of middle schoolers, questions ran the gamut from personal to professional to current events:

  • Do you have any friends in Congress?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • Do you have time to spend with your family?
  • Is it fun being a Congressman?
  • How much does it cost to run a campaign?
  • What are you doing about all the economic hardships people are facing?
  • As a kid, did you ever think about being a congressman?
  • Have you met the United States troops?
  • Do you like your job?
  • What is the most amazing thing you've seen as a member of Congress?
  • What are you doing about cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay?
  • Do you have to wear a suit and tie every day?
  • What do you get paid?
  • Do you want to be President?

After answering each question, Congressman Wittman encouraged the Taylor students to stay involved in their government and keep in touch with their representatives.

"Government works best when you say what you want to happen," he said. "It's a pretty miraculous form of government we have in the United States. It has stood the test of time, and I believe it will continue to stand the test of time."

Mrs. D'Urso said she invited Congressman Wittman to address the TMS seventh-graders because she felt it was important for them to have the opportunity to meet the people that have been elected as their representatives to Congress.

"This visit from Congressman Wittman allows the students to connect classroom curriculum to the real world," she said, "and giving them a chance to make a connection with what they are learning can make a difference. As I tell them each year, seventh-grade Civics will help you make decisions that will affect your life."

9/16/10 > All Fauquier County Public Schools Are Fully Accredited
For the third consecutive year all Fauquier County Public Schools are fully accredited.

All three high schools, five middle schools, and 11 elementary schools achieved the commonwealth’s highest school-quality rating for 2010-2011 based on preliminary Standards of Learning assessment results for 2009-2010 released by the Virginia Board of Education. (SOL test results for Southeastern Alternative School are factored in with the scores from the base schools of its students.)

Standards of Learning measure students’ knowledge of subject matter in the core subject areas of English, math, science and history in grades 3 through 8 and for certain high school courses. Schools in which students meet or exceed achievement benchmarks established by the Virginia Board of Education in these four major content areas are rated as “Fully Accredited.”

In response to the Virginia Department of Education’s notification to school divisions of accreditation ratings on Sept. 15, Dr. Jonathan Lewis, division superintendent, said, “Having all Fauquier schools fully accredited for the third consecutive year demonstrates our sustained commitment to continuous improvement. All Fauquier County Public Schools employees are to be commended for their outstanding efforts in ensuring the success of every child. I am certain that our community appreciates and respects their hard work.”
9/14/10 > School Board Actions 9-13-10

The Fauquier County School Board met September 13, 2010, and took the following official action. For further information, see supporting documents with the September 13, 2010, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the August 9 School Board meeting and the August 23 special School Board meeting and work session, payment of bills, personnel actions, revision to Policy JN / JN Appendix "Student Fees, Fines and Charges," revision to Policy GCBDE "General Conditions Affecting Leave," and a religious exemption. (School Board policies are accessible on the school division's website.)

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

Wednesday, September 15 - Finance Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Wednesday, September 22 - Personnel Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Wednesday, September 22 - Building Committee at 9 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Wednesday, September 22 - FHS Renovation Advisory Committee at 5:30 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Saturday, September 25 - School Board Retreat at Kelly's Ford Inn from 8 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m.

Monday, September 27 - Chairman's Night at 5 p.m. in the School Administration office

Monday, September 27 - School Board Work Session at 6 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Wednesday, October 6 - Health Advisory Committee at 8 a.m. in the Central Complex meeting room

Wednesday, October 6 - Special Education Advisory Committee at 6:30 p.m. in the Central Complex A meeting room

Thursday, October 7 - School Support Council at 7 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Monday, October 11 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. in the Warren Green Building

9/13/10 > Italian FLEX Program Offered
Fauquier County Public Schools is offering a Foreign Language Experience (FLEX) program in Italian to students in grades 3 and higher. The program will be offered at P.B. Smith Elementary on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 p.m. from September 22 through December 8.

The FLEX program is open to public, private and home-schooled students, and no prior language knowledge or experience is required.

Cost of the program is $50, which covers tuition and all materials. Transportation is the responsibility of the parent or guardian; no transportation is provided.

For further information contact Amy Ternois Hatton at or Bobbie Jo Sutton at
9/10/10 > Bradley Elementary Gets Grant to Get Kids Moving
Bradley Elementary School is one of 60 recipients of a $2,000 grant to inspire students to be more active and adopt healthy choices to carry into adulthood. Over 350 schools applied for the grants, which were available to elementary or middle schools for running programs that targeted fourth- through eighth-grade students.

In its second year the ING “Run for Something Better” school awards program, in partnership with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, is helping to introduce students across the country to benefits of running and active lifestyles through school-based running programs.

Ron Gheen, physical education teacher at Bradley, applied for the grant to support his school’s Mileage Club, a running program he initiated two years ago when parent Beth Howser, new to Bradley, approached him about starting a morning running and walking club. Mr. Gheen and the school’s guidance counselor had already discussed the same idea on multiple occasions so it was a concept that seemed meant to be.

The veteran P.E. teacher was especially interested in beginning the program because of skyrocketing childhood obesity statistics.

“Childhood obesity has increased 17.4 percent in the last 30 years,” he said. “This has led to increased risks of Type 2 diabetes among other health concerns. We thought that a program of extra activity would be a start on decreasing this in our students so we started a club.”

Bradley’s Mileage Club meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:45-8:15 a.m. at the school. Students walk or run laps, and each quarter of a mile earns a punch on their mileage card. Twenty punches earn them a plastic foot that goes on a necklace the students wear.

Monies from the grant will help fund the existing walking and running program as well as a more advanced program for Bradley fourth and fifth graders. The grant will also be used as seed money in efforts to secure an all-weather track on Bradley school property.

A runner in his youth, Mr. Gheen knows the health and recreational value of running for students.

“As a youngster, I loved to run. I ran track in high school and would go on eight to ten mile runs just for fun,” he said.

And it appears that having fun is a common thread among participants in Bradley’s Mileage Club.

Fourth-grader Zack Howser said, “I love to run so the Mileage Club is great. It is fun.” Fellow fourth-grader Kevin Killian agreed, simply stating, “Running is fun.” Kayla Pavlock, also a fourth-grader, is grateful for the health benefits – “I thought it would be good exercise and would help me improve my mile run time,” she said.

No matter the reason for their participation, Bradley students in the Mileage Club will continue to reap the rewards of running, now fortified by a “Run for Something Better” grant.
9/10/10 > Taylor Middle Aids Red Cross
Taylor Middle School students recently held a fund raiser to support Red Cross efforts in Pakistan where monsoon flooding has destroyed over one million homes and displaced five million people.

Students contributed $1 or more to wear hats to school for the day. Rallying to help the Pakistani people, TMS students donated nearly $320 of which $62 came from sixth graders, $96 from seventh graders, and $161 from eighth graders.

Seventh-grade teacher Pat Johnson said the Taylor staff sponsored the fund raiser simply to raise awareness about the flooding in Pakistan and the plight of its people.

“We try to do at least one Red Cross fund raiser each year,” she said. “Last year we raised over $400 for earthquake relief in Haiti.”

Before the special hat-day fund raiser occurred, teachers in all three grades conducted a mini-lesson to help students learn where Pakistan is and why the flooding affected millions of people.

“In my class students related it to the flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina,” said Ms. Johnson. “It may have been all the footage on TV for the Katrina anniversary, but the global connection was a good one for students to make.”

9/08/10 > FCPS Realizes Significant Reduction in Energy Consumption
Low-cost and no-cost energy management measures undertaken in the past year have enabled Fauquier County Public Schools to achieve a 10 percent reduction in energy consumption per square foot. The school division’s total annual energy cost of $3.3 million in Fiscal Year 2009 dropped to $2.9 million in Fiscal Year 2010 as the total energy consumption fell from 148,923 to 134,125 million BTU.

“This means our ‘carbon footprint’ [the direct effect of the school division’s actions on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide emissions] went down by 10 percent,” said Warren Darrell, FCPS director of construction who oversees the school division’s energy management program. “This is significant.”

Mr. Darrell joined Greg Livesay, FCPS director of facilities, in vigorously pursuing improved energy management in every school facility over the past year. They coordinated a number of energy management measures which collectively contributed to the significant savings. These measures varied from the simple – installing “Please Turn Off the Lights” decals on nearly every light switch throughout the school division – to the complex – arranging for lower-cost electricity procurement from suppliers. Men on a mission, Mr. Darrell and Mr. Livesay met with each site administrator to plan ways to manage energy, distributed monthly energy reports to school principals, and worked with County operations personnel to design and implement energy efficiency measures. They de-energized vending machine lighting in all schools, adjusted thermostats in mechanical equipment rooms, and replaced burned-out incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps. They improved procedures for notifying operations personnel of occupied times for heating and cooling operations. They installed programmable thermostats in several modular buildings, electronic time clock controls in several schools, and automatic controls on some street and parking lot lighting.
“Our current energy benchmarks indicate that our schools now operate more efficiently than in the past and more efficiently than other public K-12 schools in our climate region,” said Mr. Darrell.

The school division’s energy efforts have not slowed as the new school year begins. FCPS has arranged for lower-cost electricity procurement which will reduce costs by about $130,000 per year, Mr. Darrell said. Already this year, the Information Technology Department has reduced the number of server computers from 45 to 15 and replaced 330 desktop computers with laptops; the department plans to replace approximately 20 inefficient monitors with energy-efficient monitors.

“We will be installing programmable thermostats in more of our auxiliary buildings, like our sports concession buildings,” said Mr. Livesay. Door seals will be replaced, he added.

Other plans – such as installing additional energy efficiency controls and upgrading efficiency of lighting at more schools – hinge on the availability of funds in the coming year.
Also, the planned new wing of Fauquier High School will be exceptionally energy efficient. FCPS intends that the FHS renovation attain a gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating by the U.S. Green Building Council.
In the meantime the school division will continue to conserve energy wherever it can without compromising productivity and educational quality.

“While it’s always important to reduce unnecessary costs, the budget crunch makes it even more important,” said Dr. Jonathan Lewis, division superintendent. “By reducing energy consumption, we help protect our environment and set a positive example for our students.”
9/07/10 > FLEX Programs Scheduled
Fauquier County Public Schools is offering three Foreign Language Experience (FLEX) programs to students – Spanish at Grace Miller Elementary School for grades 4 and 5, American Sign Language at C. Hunter Ritchie Elementary School for grades 3-5, and Turkish at Cedar Lee Middle School for grades 4 and higher. The FLEX program is open to public, private and home-schooled students. No prior language knowledge or experience is required.

The Spanish program at Grace Miller Elementary will be taught on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:45-4:45 p.m. from Sept. 21-Nov. 23. The American Sign Language program at Ritchie Elementary will be taught on Tuesdays from 3:45-5 p.m. from Sept. 13-Dec. 6. The Turkish program at Cedar Lee Middle will be taught on Thursdays from 3-4:30 p.m. from Sept. 16-Dec. 16.

Registration for the three FLEX programs will be held Tuesday, Sept. 7, from 4-6 p.m. at Liberty High School and Thursday, Sept. 9, from 4-6 p.m. at Ritchie Elementary.

Cost of each program is $50, which covers tuition and all materials. Transportation is the responsibility of the parent or guardian; no transportation is provided.

For further information contact Amy Ternois Hatton at or Bobbie Jo Sutton at
9/03/10 > Reminders from FCPS

Channel 18

Fauquier County Public Schools' television channel, available to Comcast subscribers, is located on Channel 18. The channel features an ongoing bulletin-board of announcements from all of our schools as well as division-wide announcements including school closures, delayed openings and early dismissals. Programming includes School Board meetings as well as various FCPS music and drama programs. The programming schedule is posted on the school division website's News and Information page at and on Channel 18.

Electronic Notification

Parents and interested community members are reminded that they may subscribe to receive school division news releases electronically through the "eNotify" service. There are several options available, and subscribers may choose to receive any or all of the following kinds of news releases: emergency closing announcements via email and/or text messaging, summaries of School Board meetings, news releases from the FCPS coordinator of information, school-specific news or Parent Resource Center announcements. To register, click on eNotify under the "Stay Connected" section at

  • Important Note to Current Subscribers: Current subscribers are asked to sign in and update their user information. Existing subscribers should update their contact details and school relationships; anyone who experiences difficulty logging in should click the "I cannot login" link and the contact center will send an email with the password. Subscribers should also "whitelist" to ensure that eNotify messages get through. Please contact Patty Allen at 422-7007 or for technical assistance with eNotify.

School Closings

School closings and delays are communicated in several ways. Radio and television stations that are notified when schools will be closed or delayed are listed in the Student/Parent Information Handbook distributed to all students at the beginning of the school year. Parents may also call the school division's information line at (540) 422-7250 or refer to the school division's website at or Comcast Channel 18. School closings and delays are also communicated via emails and/or text messages (see previous section entitled "Electronic Notification" for information); anyone interested in this option must register for the free service. The school division also uses the "Global Connect" phone system to notify parents of school closings and delays; parents do not have to register to receive the recorded messages that will go automatically to all student home phone numbers in the school division's student information system.

Senior Gold Card

Fauquier County senior citizens are reminded that the school division offers a program that will grant them free admission to school events. The "VIP Senior Gold Card," available to any Fauquier County senior citizen age 60 and older, is an admission ticket to almost any FCPS school event that charges admission. This benefit is an expression of gratitude for the contribution senior citizens make to our local community. To obtain a VIP Senior Gold Card, senior citizens must apply in person at any Fauquier County public school. Go directly to the front office and ask for the VIP Senior Gold Card application. You must present a driver's license or other proof of date of birth at the time of application. You will receive your VIP Senior Gold Card in the mail. The card is non-transferable. The VIP Senior Gold Card is the holder's admission ticket to almost any school event in Fauquier County Public Schools that charges admission. This includes dramas, choral and band concerts, and regular-season athletic competitions in the county. The VIP Senior Gold Card does not apply to out-of-county regular-season games involving FCPS teams nor does it apply to post-season games at home or away. The VIP Senior Gold Card applies only to school events held in Fauquier County.

Partners in Education

The purpose of the Partners in Education program is to make a difference in the life of a child and to promote cooperation between businesses and schools within the community. The intent of the partnerships between businesses and schools is to assist and support each other through the commitment of time, talents and resources. In this program, a business officially partners with a school by signing a cooperative agreement, and the partners determine the frequency and level of involvement between the two - from business members tutoring or mentoring students to sponsoring Honor Roll publication in the newspaper and from school choruses' performing at a business event to students providing artwork for display at the business location. Businesses interested in partnering with a school may contact the principal of the school directly to discuss a possible partnership or contact Karen Parkinson, FCPS coordinator of information, at (540) 422-7031 or for more information.

FCPS Mental Health Specialist

George Isidoridy, mental health specialist for Fauquier County Public Schools, provides mental health services to the County's public high schools. Mr. Isidoridy works with the high school staffs and parents to identify the mental health needs of students and coordinate contacts and referrals with community agencies. His position is part-time, and he works two days a week covering the high schools. Mr. Isidoridy may be reached at or by calling any of the high schools' guidance departments and leaving a message.

9/03/10 > FCPS to Participate in Tornado Drill

Fauquier County Public Schools will participate in a tornado drill on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, at 1:30 p.m. All schools and departments in the school division will participate. The drill will provide an opportunity for Fauquier County Public Schools to practice its tornado emergency plan in order to promote readiness in the event of an actual emergency.

9/03/10 > FCPS Receives Prestigious Budget Award
For the fourth year in a row the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) has awarded the Meritorious Budget Award to Fauquier County Public Schools, recognizing excellence in the preparation and issuance of the school system’s 2010-2011 annual budget. ASBO International and school business management professionals designed the Meritorious Budget Awards Program to enable school business administration to achieve excellence in budget presentation. The program, sponsored by ING, helps school systems build a solid foundation in the skills of developing, analyzing and presenting a budget.

The Meritorious Budget Award is conferred only to school systems that have met or exceeded the award program’s criteria. No other organization or award program is specifically designed to enhance school budgeting and honor a school system for a job well done.

In the notification letter to Andy Hawkins, former executive director of budget and planning for FCPS, ASBO Executive Director John Musso wrote, “The award represents a significant achievement by Fauquier County Public Schools. It reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to achieve the highest standards of school budgeting.”

The Meritorious Budget Award review team that evaluated the FCPS budget bestowed high words of praise: “The document contains extensive amounts of data both in narrative and graphic form. It provides sufficient information for the lay person as well as the detail-oriented expert to understand the budgeting process used by the school district and detailed information about the various funds and their uses. The constant use of charts and graphs and illustrations within each section is commendable. This budget contains a lot of good information and represents a lot of hard work. The school district and its staff should be commended on the excellent presentation of this budget document.”

Only 12 other school divisions in the Commonwealth of Virginia earned the award: Alexandria City, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Hampton City, Loudoun County, Portsmouth City, Prince William County, Roanoke County, Spotsylvania County, Virginia Beach City, Williamsburg-James City County and York County.
8/27/10 > Pictorial: Back to School 2010

Click on the attachment for a pictorial of Back to School on August 23, 2010.

8/20/10 > New Assistant Principals On Board at Bradley and Pierce

Two new assistant principals are on board to meet returning students on Monday - Donald Frischkorn at Bradley Elementary School and Julie Dolby at Pierce Elementary School. Mr. Frischkorn comes to Fauquier from Manassas Park City Schools where he taught at both the elementary and middle school level in both special and regular education. Ms. Dolby comes to Fauquier from Spotsylvania County Public Schools where she was an ESOL teacher for the past six years.

New Bradley AP

Born in Michigan and raised in Endicott, NY, and Williamsport, PA, Mr. Frischkorn earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Pennsylvania State University in 2004 and a master's in administration and supervision from the University of Virginia in 2009.

Mr. Frischkorn has an older sister to thank for igniting a passion for teaching.

"I realized that I wanted to enter the education field when I was volunteering in my sister's fourth-grade classroom during my freshman year of college," he said. "I witnessed the positive impact that she was having on the students' lives, and I wanted to be able to have that same impact on students."

After teaching for six years in Manassas Park as well as coaching and sponsoring after-school clubs there, he was inspired to take the next step and move into administration because of his experiences in that school division.

"I was exposed to so many great administrators in Manassas Park City Schools," he said, "who empowered me to continue my education and gave me opportunities to gain leadership experience that proved vital to my academic growth."

Mr. Frischkorn said he has seen the positive impact that great administrators can have on student achievement and school culture and hopes to use those traits to impact Bradley Elementary positively. He is thrilled about this new opportunity.

"I've heard so many great things about Bradley Elementary that when I received the news that I was selected to become the new assistant principal, I couldn't stop smiling," he said. "I wanted to go right into the school and get to work as soon as I got off the phone. I don't think I've stopped smiling since I received the offer." He said he looks forward to meeting all the Bradley students, parents and staff members and to building professional learning communities aimed at increasing student achievement.

Mr. Frischkorn and his wife Rebecca, a reading specialist with Manassas Park City Schools, have a seven-month-old son, Brady. In addition to spending time with his wife and son, he enjoys playing, watching, and coaching sports. "I love sports," he said. "While teaching at Manassas Park, I coached baseball. I'm very proud to be a Penn State University graduate, and I never miss watching Penn State football games."

The new Bradley AP said he is excited to be joining the Fauquier County family.

"I've met so many great people who have made me realize that I'm in the right place," he said.

New Pierce AP

Born in New Jersey and raised in New Waterford, OH, Ms. Dolby earned a bachelor of science in marketing from Youngstown State University in 1993, a bachelor of science in elementary education in 1997, a master of education from the University of Mary Washington in 2007, and a post master's certificate in educational leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2009.

Ms. Dolby's professional start in the women's apparel retail industry led her to transition into education. For seven years she was a manager/trainer for Gantos Inc.

"As a trainer, I realized how much I enjoyed working with people to guide them in their professional growth. The enthusiasm I got from this led me to pursue a career in education," she said.

She began her career in education in 1998 as a second-grade teacher in Stafford County Public Schools before becoming an ESOL teacher in Spotsylvania in 2004. Moving into administration seemed the logical next step.

"I have always had a desire to continually grow as a professional in education," she said, "so pursuing administration was a natural step in my journey. Also, being able to influence a greater number of people in a positive and nurturing way is very appealing."

Ms. Dolby said she was surprised and excited to be selected as Pierce Elementary's new assistant principal.

"Being named AP at Pierce has been the highest honor I have received in my career so far," she said. "I was so excited when I received the news that I wasn't sure whether I had actually received a phone call from Janelle Downes (director of Human Resources) or whether I had had a dream," she said with a laugh.

Ms. Dolby said that in her free time she and her husband Chad enjoy camping and traveling, and she also enjoys reading, exercising and having fun.

The new AP has set certain goals for her first year at Pierce Elementary.

"I hope to continue helping in building a positive and collaborative working environment at Pierce where everyone's ideas and suggestions are valued and respected," she said. "Also, I hope to continue the success of ALL the students here at Pierce."

8/17/10 > Student Achievement Increases for All Student Groups
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results, released by the state Aug. 12 for science, history, writing, reading, and mathematics, indicate that Fauquier County Public Schools’ student achievement increased among all student groups.

Based on the state’s Standards of Learning Assessments administered during the 2009-2010 school year, the results include progress for all student categories – white, black, Hispanic, limited English proficient (LEP), students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged, and all students. FCPS results improved in six of seven student categories in three subjects – science, history, and mathematics.

In science, the greatest gain was 7 percent among economically disadvantaged and LEP students; the one sub-group indicating no gain – students with disabilities – lost no ground, maintaining the same pass rate as last year.

Similarly, in history, the greatest gain was 7 percent (LEP students); the pass rate dropped only for students with disabilities – by 1 percent.

In mathematics the greatest gain was 8 percent for students with disabilities; the one student category indicating no gain – black students – maintained the same pass rate as last year.

In writing, FCPS made gains in the Hispanic, LEP and students with disabilities subgroups and maintained last year’s passing percentage rates for two student categories – white students and all students.

In reading, FCPS made gains in four categories – all students, black students, economically disadvantaged students, and white students. Hispanic and LEP students maintained the same pass rates as last year, while students with disabilities came in at a slightly lower pass rate (down 2 percent).

Individual schools are said to “make AYP” if they meet or exceed 29 benchmarks for participation in statewide testing, achievement in reading and mathematics, and school choice of another academic indicator (K-8) or graduation (9-12). A school or school division that falls short on a single benchmark is not considered to have made AYP.

The preliminary results released Aug. 12 indicate that 13 of Fauquier County’s schools met all 29 benchmarks. Making AYP were two high schools – Kettle Run and Liberty; one middle school – Marshall; and ten elementary schools: Bradley, Brumfield, Coleman, Greenville, Pearson, Pierce, Ritchie, Smith, Thompson, and Walter.

Two middle schools – Auburn and Warrenton – and one elementary school – Miller – met 28 out of 29 AYP benchmarks. Cedar Lee Middle and Fauquier High School met 27 of the 29 AYP benchmarks, and Taylor Middle met 25 of the 29 AYP benchmarks.

Schools will continue to implement several approaches to address achievement in the AYP areas -- reading and mathematics and in other areas. Strategies will include a more focused effort on teaching and scheduling practices that ensure equity, excellence and curriculum access for all students; common assessments each quarter in grades three through eight; a focus on critical thinking in mathematics to support long-term understanding of mathematics concepts; several professional development opportunities that emphasize high-quality teaching practices which address skills beyond minimum standards; new social studies texts in grades 4 and 5 which are more aligned with the assessed standards; and a well-designed differentiated reading program in K-5 to build reading and writing independence through a focus on key skills, including phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and writing. The extended day/after-school program, which has typically been an instructional improvement strategy, was among those programs eliminated because of the 2010-11 budget shortfall. However, schools will continue to provide instructional remediation and intervention during the school day using teachers and reading and math specialists to provide supplemental support for students who may struggle with meeting curriculum standards.

AYP is a moving target. At 81 percent and 79 percent respectively, the most recent AYP benchmarks for achievement in reading and mathematics were each four percentage points higher than two years ago. By 2014 the goal is 100 percent based on expectations outlined in the No Child Left Behind legislation.

Dr. Jonathan Lewis, division superintendent, noted that last year the school division experienced “extraordinary gains” in the performance of students in the different sub-groups.

“This year, for the most part, we have seen additional improvement,” he said. “These results are encouraging. Excellence seldom happens by accident; excellence happens by design. Only through the hard, focused work of Fauquier teachers, administrators and support staff are we able to realize such extraordinary results. Looking forward, as we continue to implement creative instructional practices, I anticipate that our student outcomes will continue to grow over time.”
8/17/10 > Committee for Excellence in Education Hosts New Teachers

The Committee for Excellence in Education welcomed approximately 70 new teachers to Fauquier County and recognized 12 recipients of Fellowship Awards during its 27th annual New Teacher Recognition dinner Aug. 16 at Fauquier Springs Country Club. The annual event provides an opportunity for business and community leaders to offer support and express appreciation to teachers for the critical role they play in preparing students for responsible citizenship and the world of work.

Principals introduced their new teachers, all of whom won door prizes contributed by local businesses and organizations.

In addition to welcoming teachers who are new to Fauquier County, the Excellence in Education dinner is also a forum for the nonprofit organization to recognize FCPS teachers selected to receive EIE Fellowship Awards in the form of grants to support exceptional professional development opportunities for the recipients.

EIE committee members Wayne Eastham (Carr & Hyde, Incorporated) and Sally Murray (Fauquier County School Board) presented framed certificates to FCPS teachers who had been selected to receive this year's Fellowship Awards. Thanks to the EIE grants, the following 12 teachers were able to experience the professional development opportunities noted:

  • Susan Donnelly, science teacher at Southeastern Alternative School, attended the Solar Schoolhouse Summer Institute for Educators in Petaluma, CA.
  • Keri Fox, ESL teacher at Grace Miller Elementary School, attended the Summer Renewal Rhythm Program in Loretta, PA.
  • Michelle Lieb, photography and AP art teacher at Liberty High School, attended the Center for Alternative Process in New York, NY.
  • Lee Lorber, who teaches Honors English at Fauquier High School, attended an AP Conference in Washington, DC.
  • Sheila Monahan, music and chorus teacher at Grace Miller Elementary School, attended the Developmental Community Music Conference and Workshop in New York.
  • Shawn Morton, a third-grade teacher at Coleman Elementary, attended the "Multicultural Perspective in Healthy Psychology" program in Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • Janie Mosby, art and photography teacher at Kettle Run High School, attended the "Expressive Alternative Photography" program in Bennington, VT.
  • Patrick Neidich, band director at Liberty High School, attended a program for band directors in Villanova, PA.
  • Tara Baun-Neidich, who teaches band at Cedar Lee Middle School, attended a program for band directors in Villanova, PA.
  • Carolyn Parks, who teaches English, reading and SOL/SAT preparation at Fauquier High School, attended an AP Conference in Washington, DC.
  • Megan Reynolds, world geography teacher at Taylor Middle School, attended Brazil's Changing Landscapes Institute in conjunction with the Virginia Geographic Alliance in Pernambuco, Brazil.
  • Christena Smith, art and photography teacher at Kettle Run High School, attended the "Painting the Figure in the Landscape" program in Bennington, VT.

The EIE Fellowship Grants are financed through the generosity of local businesses, individuals, civic organizations and school parent groups. The grants provide financial assistance to outstanding teachers to enable them to participate in conferences, seminars, workshops and cultural programs to further their professional development.

8/16/10 > FCPS Policy for Providing Free and Reduced-Price Meals
Fauquier County Public Schools announces its policy for providing free or reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch, and/or School Breakfast Programs. Each school and/or central school nutrition office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

Household size and income will be used to determine eligibility for free or reduced-price meal benefits. Children from households whose income is at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines may be eligible for either free or reduced-price meals. Children who are members of households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly the Food Stamp Program) or who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) may be automatically eligible for free meals. Children who are homeless, migrant, or runaway may also be automatically eligible for free meals. Foster children, who are the legal responsibility of a welfare agency or court, may be eligible for benefits regardless of the income of the household with whom they reside. Eligibility for the foster child is based on the child's income. Children who are members of households participating in WIC may also be eligible for free or reduced-price meals based on the household's income.

Application forms are being distributed to all households with a letter informing households of the availability of free or reduced-price meals for their children. Applications are also available at the principal's office in each school and at the central office. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households must fill out one application per household and return it to the school division. Applications may be submitted at any time during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used for determining eligibility and verification of data. Applications may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials. For school officials to determine eligibility for free or reduced-price benefits, households receiving SNAP benefits or TANF have to list their child(ren)'s name and SNAP or TANF case number, and an adult household member must sign the application. Households who do not list a SNAP or TANF case number, including WIC households, must list the names of all household members, the amount and frequency of the income received by each household member, and the social security number of the adult household member who signs the application. If the household member does not have a social security number, the household member must indicate that a social security number is not available. The application must be signed by an adult household member in order to be approved.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, the Fauquier County Public Schools School Nutrition Program will review applications and determine eligibility. An application for free or reduced-price meals cannot be approved unless it is complete. Households dissatisfied with the ruling of the eligibility determining official may wish to discuss the decision with the official on an informal basis. Households wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either verbally or in writing to Janice Bourne, assistant superintendent for administration, 320 Hospital Dr., Warrenton, VA 20186, phone 540-422-7017, email

Households may apply for free or reduced-price meals at any time during the school year. If a household is not eligible now but has a change, such as a decrease in household income, an increase in household size, unemployment or qualification for SNAP or TANF, the household should contact the school for an application. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income falls at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.

Households that receive SNAP benefits or TANF may not have to complete an application for free or reduced-price student meals. School officials will determine eligibility for free meals based on documentation, obtained directly from the Virginia Department of Social Services, that a child is a member of a household currently receiving SNAP or is receiving TANF. School officials will notify these households of their eligibility. Households who are notified of their eligibility, but who do not want their children to receive free meals, must contact the school. SNAP and TANF households must complete an application if they are not notified of their automatic eligibility within the first 10 days of the new school year.
8/13/10 > Pearson Summer Camp Successful
Rising third through fifth grade students at H.M. Pearson Elementary School returned to school well before their peers – back in July – but it was for a unique experience known as Summer Challenge Camp. Homeroom teachers recommended students for this new summer enrichment program.

Students had the full attention of Pearson music teacher Kim Payne, guidance counselor Andy West, and fifth-grade teacher Rebecca Schwier, who also served as camp director. Focusing on science concepts, students spent the first week studying the solar system by way of technology (in the computer lab), hands-on techniques (outside plotting of planet distances), and music (Gustav Holt’s The Planets). During the second and third weeks students learned about ecology and magnetism as they worked in small modules. Mr. West taught the students about native Virginia plants and gardening as they created a compost pile and a raised flower bed in the habitat outside the library. Mrs. Schwier worked with students to build circuits and explore electricity. Assistant Principal Amy Angelo helped each student tie die his or her own camp t-shirt.

Parents and students alike commented on the small group sizes and pleasant camp experience, which ended with a parent program and indoor picnic.

8/11/10 > Many FCPS Phone Numbers Changing
Effective Tuesday, August 17, many phone numbers throughout Fauquier County Public Schools will change, while many others will not be affected at this time.

All Central Office numbers will change – those at the School Board Office in the Alice Jane Childs Building as well as Central Office numbers in outlying areas, including construction, facilities, nutrition, and transportation. New numbers will also be assigned to all offices located at the Central Complex, which includes special education, student services, records, testing/assessment, textbooks, and the Teacher Resource Center.

In addition, phone numbers at four schools will change – Claude Thompson Elementary School, Greenville Elementary School, Pierce Elementary School, and Kettle Run High School. No other schools’ numbers will change at this time.
Following is a list of key school division numbers that will go into effect on Tuesday, August 17.

422-7000 School Board Office
422-7100 Student Services
422-7111 Teacher Resource Center
422-7140 Special Education
422-7200 Facilities
422-7220 School Nutrition
422-7240 Transportation
422-7330 Kettle Run High School
422-7570 Greenville Elementary School
422-7630 M.M. Pierce Elementary School
422-7690 Claude Thompson Elementary School

The school division, in partnership with the County’s information technology department, is undertaking the re-numbering effort in order to save money and to improve management of the phone system by reducing the number of exchanges. Currently, there are multiple phone exchanges throughout the school division; with this conversion, however, all FCPS administrative offices and the four schools listed above will use one single exchange (422). With the exception of Pierce Elementary, all FCPS offices and schools selected for this initial re-numbering effort currently use VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol) phones, which transmit over the internet, taking advantage of bandwidth efficiency and low communication and infrastructure costs. The conversion will also improve the efficiency of the system in-house by enabling affected offices and schools to dial each other using only four numbers.

Eventually, all phone numbers for Fauquier County and Fauquier County Public Schools will change to a 422 number, although the timeline for remaining schools is unknown at this time.
8/10/10 > Student Fees for SY 2010-2011

Student fees for school year 2010-2011 in Fauquier County Public Schools will remain the same as last year with the exception of a $25 increase in the student activity fee for high school students; also, the family cap was eliminated.

Fees are as follows:

Consumable material fees:

  • $12.00 for grades K-5
  • $20.00 for grades 6-8
  • $25.00 for grades 9-12

Rental fees for musical instruments: $40.00

Transcripts: $2.00 per transcript

Parking fees: $100.00 annually

Activity fees (student participation in an interscholastic sport or in marching band): $50.00 per high school student per season and $25.00 per middle school student per season

Functional Art class fee: $25.00

Photography class fee: $100.00

Advanced Physical Education fee: $25.00

Additional fees are incurred for gym uniforms and career and technical education consumable materials. Additional information is available at the schools.

Fees are waived for students receiving free or reduced lunch. Fees may be paid in person at the school or by mail. Contact specific schools for further information or visit each school's website through the school division's home page at

8/10/10 > School Board Actions 8-9-10

The Fauquier County School Board met August 9, 2010, and took the following official actions. For further information, see supporting documents with the August 9, 2010, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Approved the textbook adoption for history and social science courses: Grade 4, Virginia Studies (Our Virginia: Past and Present); Grade 5, United States History to 1865 (Our America to 1865); and Grade 11, United States History Advanced Placement/Dual Enrollment (Enduring Vision).
  • Approved the Strategic Plan Year One Action Plans as presented at the meeting.
  • Approved the establishment of two learning disabilities teacher positions.
  • Approved the establishment of five special education instructional assistant positions.
  • Approved changing the following Transportation Department temporary positions to permanent: two full-time bus drivers, five full-time bus aides, one full-time dispatcher/field trip coordinator, and one full-time office associate II position.
  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the July 12 School Board meeting and the July 26 special School Board meeting and work session, payment of bills, personnel actions, and two religious exemptions.

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

Thursday, August 12 - Joint Meeting of the School Board and the Board of Supervisors at 4:30 p.m. in the Warren Green Building

Monday, August 16 - New Teachers Dinner at 5:30 p.m. at the Fauquier Springs Country Club

Wednesday, August 18 - Convocation at 9:30 a.m. at Liberty High School (Breakfast from 7:30-9:30 a.m. and Wellness and Benefits Fair from 7:30-11 a.m.)

Thursday, August 19 - Mountain Vista Governor's School Governing Board at 8 a.m. in the Warren County School Board Office

Monday, August 23 - Chairman's Night at 5 p.m. in the School Administration office

Monday, August 23 - School Board Work Session at 6 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Wednesday, September 1 - Health Advisory Committee at 8 a.m. in the Central Complex meeting room

Wednesday, September 1 - Special Education Advisory Committee at 6:30 p.m. in the Central Complex A meeting room

Thursday, September 2 - School Support Council at 7 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Thursday, September 9 - Personnel Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Thursday, September 9 - Building Committee at 9 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Monday, September 13 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. in the Warren Green Building

8/06/10 > MyLunchMoney to be Activated September 1
MyLunchMoney, the school meal prepayment credit/debit card system used by Fauquier County Public Schools, will be activated September 1, 2010. Parents are asked to check their student’s information and make any updates to prepayment selections before that date. Any money on students’ accounts at the end of the last school year will be available to them when they return to school on August 23. Anyone with specific questions about a child’s account should contact the school nutrition manager at the child’s school.

Students who received free or reduced meal benefits in Fauquier County during the last school year will continue to receive benefits for the first 30 days of school. Parents must reapply each year unless they receive a Notice of Direct Certification from the school nutrition program. New applications for the 2010-2011 school year will be processed beginning August 17, 2010.
7/29/10 > New Executive Director of Budget and Planning Selected for FCPS
Marcy Cotov has been selected as the new executive director of budget and planning for Fauquier County Public Schools, where she will manage a $118 million budget. The School Board approved her appointment this past Monday evening, and she will assume her new position on August 16.

In reality, neither the position nor the school division will be “new” to Ms. Cotov as she served as director of budget and operations for FCPS from 2000-2004.

About her return Ms. Cotov said, “I am very excited to come back to a community that I consider my home and a job that I love.”

Ms. Cotov has over 20 years experience with government and school systems and has been working with local government and school budgets since 1997. She spent 12 years with Fauquier County Government, four years with FCPS, and two years with the Virginia Department of Education dealing with direct aid to public schools. She became the budget division director for Hanover County in 2006 and has worked most recently as Loudoun County’s budget officer.
Ms. Cotov has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Old Dominion University and is pursuing a master’s in public administration. She and her husband Bob are relocating from the Richmond area; their son Jonathan is a recent graduate of Virginia Tech.
7/29/10 > SummerQuest Helps Students Take Quantum Leap
Think big. Think unconventionally. Think outside the box.

Trite but true expressions of what took place in seven rooms off an elementary school corridor in Culpeper July 12-22 at the annual regional governor’s school’s “SummerQuest” which focused on the theme “Quantum Leap.” Nearly 90 middle school students from five counties – Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange, and Rappahannock – spent eight days (Monday through Thursday both weeks) involved in activities that guided them through quantum leaps in history, science, art, technology, theater, and advertising.

“Summer regional governor’s schools are one of three types of governor’s schools offered to gifted students in Virginia,” explained Raye Tupper, Fauquier County Public Schools’ instructional coordinator for gifted education and fine arts and co-director of SummerQuest. “Just like summer residential governor’s schools and academic-year governor’s schools, the summer programs exist for the purpose of providing extended, enriched, and accelerated learning opportunities for our most highly able learners.”

Thirty-five of the 88 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade participants were from Fauquier County Public Schools (school divisions are allotted spaces relative to size of the division). Students opted for one of seven classes to attend for the week – Leaps in Technology, Transformation Theater, A Study of the Pop Art Movement, Leaps in Science, Uncle Sam Wants You!, Look Before You Leap, or To Be or Not to Be…Brainwashed.

“Students had the opportunity to study topics they aren’t exposed to during the regular school year,” said Ladona Gorham, gifted coordinator for Culpeper County Public Schools who co-directed SummerQuest with Ms. Tupper. “A lot of it is SOL-based, but on an advanced level. SummerQuest provides an opportunity for these students to be with other kids with similar interests and abilities.”

Students who opted for the pop art class learned about themselves as they learned about pop art and pop artists Wayne Thiebaud, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. Delving into the start, the style, and the process of pop art and in keeping with the Quantum Leap theme, students went back in time to the year of their birth and chose something about that year to incorporate into a self-portrait book based on the pop art style. Discovering, for instance, that Mother Theresa died during the year that one student was born, the student focused her work on love and concern, while another student chose a tiger theme when she found that her birth year was the Chinese Year of the Tiger. While incorporating the repetitive nature of pop art, students completed a wide range of projects including a flip-flop self-portrait and a self-portrait in cartoon style.

Shawn Michanco, a rising eighth grader at Cedar Lee Middle School, said he was not familiar with pop art before taking the class.

“I found it to be interesting and kind of disturbing sometimes,” he said. Shawn wanted to take the art class because, he said, “It gives me more freedom to do stuff. I had never done these kinds of projects before. I thought it was really interesting.”

Students in the technology class were immersed in hands-on activities exploring the ever-evolving face of technology and exploring advances in engineering and electronics.

Warrenton Middle School sixth grader Joe Stefanik said, “I really like the wide variety of activities. We made an FM radio; we tried it outside and it worked! I also especially liked the Titanic project; we learned how it sank.”

Taylor Middle School sixth grader Stevie Starner said he found the Titanic project to be most interesting. “We were trying to figure out a way to survive a disaster and possibly save others,” he said. Stevie said he was surprised to learn in the class that technology is more than electronics. “I learned that there are things I thought weren’t really technology but were – things like fire – the earliest form of technology – and also the wheel.”

Other projects in the technology class included deconstructing a personal computer, making a rocket racer, and building model skyscrapers within a budget.

In the “Look Before You Leap” class, students were asked to go back in history, choose an event, explore every avenue concerning that event, and then determine how the present would have been changed by eliminating that single historical event.

“In some cases they learned that changing one bad event could cause a positive but still have a negative effect overall,” said Selena Dickey, Taylor Middle School teacher who facilitated the class.

Gabriela Oporto, a Warrenton Middle School sixth grader, chose to prevent Lincoln’s assassination.

“There could have been many different outcomes by changing that one event in history,” she said. “Lincoln could have worked better to reunite the country after the Civil War.”

Samantha Scott, a student at Floyd T. Binns Middle School in Culpeper, chose Apollo I because she has always been “into the space program.” She said she wanted to explore what would have happened if that disaster hadn’t happened. “I think we would have been to the moon more times and gotten technology a lot earlier,” she concluded.

Auburn Middle School seventh grader Madeline McCombe decided to change the Treaty of Versailles and possibly prevent World War II. “In WWII, 400,000 were killed or missing on the U.S. side, 48 million were killed in the whole world, and six million Jews died in the Holocaust,” she said. “I learned a lot about history and had a lot of fun doing this. It was a good experience to look at different events in different ways and how they affect history.”

Students participating in the Transformation Theatre became playwrights when the teacher gave them a basic storyline and they worked together to pen and perform an original play. Students in the Leaps in Science class examined the historical leaps in science that have conquered disease and given the world video games, bombs, and space flights; they also conducted experiments and explored the leaps that scientists are working on now, including smart clothes, smart cars, and new energy sources. Students in the “Uncle Sam Wants You!” class participated in a hands-on history class examining the origins, key events and lasting impact of World War II on the front lines and the home front. After researching and evaluating ads from 1862, 1945, and 1953-1988, students in the advertising class created a product and then an advertising campaign. (In case you’re wondering, the aforementioned years were the main character’s travel dates in time from the TV show “Quantum Leap.”)

While students spent the majority of their time each day in the class they chose, they also spent nearly an hour every day in a class they did not select in order to be exposed to all the other topics. They also came together en masse once a day to participate in the “Butterfly Effect,” a daily competition aimed at cooperation and team building when students worked together to solve an assigned problem – anything from seeing which group could form the longest unbroken line of students possible to building a catapult with supplied materials in 15 minutes to see who could launch a puff ball the farthest.

Ms. Gorham marveled at the creative problem solving the students displayed with every challenge they faced.

“A bunch of gifted kids together can do amazing things,” she said.

Ms. Tupper said it’s gratifying to watch the students each year.

“They are enthusiastic and appear genuinely appreciative of the opportunity,” she said.

A kind of offbeat opportunity found the SummerQuest students taking a field trip to “Professor Cline’s Dino Kingdom” at Natural Bridge. Creator Mark Cline is a sculptor who produces foam and fiberglass figures for cities and theme parks; he designed a small walk-through park depicting Union soldiers fighting dinosaurs.

“It was an amazing tie-in to our theme – what a quantum leap that was,” said Ms. Gorham.

After the tour Mr. Cline talked with the SummerQuest students about being creative and about “having a vision and going for it,” said Ms. Gorham.

The students also toured Mr. Cline’s Foamhenge, a full-size replica of Stonehenge that the artist made entirely out of Styrofoam.

As a follow-up activity to the field trip, students had to write captions for photographs taken by instructors at Dino Kingdom – another opportunity for students to use their creativity, an opportunity they faced with unbridled enthusiasm.

It is just such enthusiasm that seems to draw teachers back to SummerQuest each year. Donovan O’Brien, a Culpeper County ninth-grade teacher who returned for his second year to lead the technology class, said, “This is just a different group of students. They are still young and inspired and have a lot of enthusiasm for learning processes.”

Of the six other SummerQuest teachers, one was from Rappahannock Schools, another from Culpeper, and four were from Fauquier County Public Schools – Selena Dickey (Taylor Middle School), Joyce East (Brumfield Elementary School), Robin Guay (previously Pearson Elementary School and new this year to Liberty High School), and Julie Wendlberger (Liberty High School).

“The staff is amazing,” said Ms. Gorham.

On the final day of SummerQuest, parents were invited to visit during the afternoon to catch a glimpse of what their children had experienced. Perhaps sixth grader Joe Stefanik best expressed the overall reaction of the student SummerQuesters:

“It was fun, and I sure hope I can come back next year.”


7/29/10 > SOL Reports to be Mailed
Fauquier County Public Schools will mail each student’s state testing results (from Standards of Learning assessments) to student homes the week of August 2-6. Parents and guardians who do not receive the reports during that week should contact the student’s school to request the student’s SOL reports.
7/22/10 > Peace: MMS Gives It a Chance

“All we are saying is give peace a chance.”

These nine words just may be John Lennon’s most famous. …And, hey, it’s never too late to talk about peace, right? This news release is admittedly old by news standards, but its subject matter merits sharing nonetheless. Perhaps unbeknownst to many, the month of May 2010 was proclaimed a Month of Peace by the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors. Marshall Middle School took the proclamation to heart and participated in many different activities to celebrate and promote peace within their school community.

Peace signs and quotations were displayed throughout the school building. Students participated in an essay contest and poster contest about “Peace in My School Community.”

The school held its own Peace Spirit Day on Friday, May 14. Staff and students dressed in peace attire to show their spirit. Some students created peace emblem pins to adorn their clothing. Another group of students hand-sewed a peace banner by piecing together individual fabric squares, while others created a huge peace sign made of human bodies.

All they were saying is give peace a chance.


7/22/10 > Stepping Up to Help Haiti
Three fifth-grade boys at Claude Thompson Elementary School held a flip flop drive to help fulfill community service hours required of Thompson fifth graders before leaving to go on to middle school. The boys decided to collect flip flops of all sizes to send to the needy in Haiti.
7/22/10 > Kettle Run High School Student Wins State FFA Award
For the second consecutive year Katy MacWelch, member of the Kettle Run High School FFA Chapter, was named the state winner of the Agricultural Sales Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award at the 84th annual state FFA Convention held June 21-24 in Blacksburg. She received a plaque, a medal, and a cash prize in recognition of her accomplishments.

Proficiency awards recognize FFA members who excel as agricultural entrepreneurs, employees or volunteers while they gain hands-on career experience. Katy’s project improvements included the use of solar lighting, solar fencing, and sustainable farming practices. The 2010 graduate of KRHS plans to attend college this fall and continue her education in the agriculture field.
7/21/10 > Emphasis on Reading: Schools Use Variety of Activities to Point Students Toward Reading

"Read, read, read."

This sensible advice from American short-story writer, novelist, and Nobel prize winner William Faulkner might just be the mantra of Fauquier County Public Schools.

Eileen Burgwyn, FCPS English and reading coordinator, said she wholeheartedly agrees with noted national reading expert Laura Robb who said, "All children deserve the opportunity to lead literate lives." FCPS provides children such opportunities on an almost-daily basis.

"The activities that we promote are designed to promote reading as a pleasurable activity," said Ms. Burgwyn. "Often it's not important what children read as it is that they read - environmental print (cereal boxes, signs, etc.), newspapers, magazines, fiction and nonfiction selections, as well as online reading - all have a place in developing a child's literacy skills. We learn to read, and then we read to learn, but we also read for pleasure."

Ms. Burgwyn said that FCPS classroom teachers, reading specialists, and librarians are constantly trying to promote reading through a variety of programs and activities. Following are a few examples of activities that called attention to reading in the closing weeks of the 2009-2010 school year.

Reading Challenge and Author Visit at Auburn Middle

When Auburn Middle School opened in the year 2004, the principal and librarian set a goal for students and faculty to read 2,004 books by the end of the school year. Auburn met that goal, and every year since, the school has set and met higher goals.

"We're proud of the fact that in the fall of 2009 we challenged our students and staff to read 5,500 books by May 2010," said AMS Librarian Janet Miles. "We exceeded our goal by 630 books, reading a grand total of 6,130 books." Auburn has already set a goal of 6,150 books for the upcoming school year, an increase of 10 percent over last year's goal.

Each year Auburn celebrates with a special assembly to reward students for reaching the annual goal. This past year the school hosted a popular young-adult author who visited the school to speak with students about her books and to conduct a writer's workshop for 25 students.

Author Wendy Mass told AMS students that to her, writing a book was "almost like magic - creating something out of nothing."

Crediting children's author Judy Blume (the "Fudge" book series) with turning her on to reading and children's author Louise Fitzhugh ("Harriett the Spy") with turning her on to writing, Ms. Mass said, "I loved to read when I was growing up," adding that she eventually discovered that "reading and writing are so interconnected."

Her journey to becoming an author was, indeed, an interesting one. Realizing pretty early on that she would be unable to reach her two childhood goals - becoming an astronaut and marrying Tom Cruise - she told her Auburn audience, "I sat down at my desk and started to type." She learned quickly that she could write the beginning and middle of a story but not the ending. Over time, she said, "I learned the trick for demystifying writing," which was to introduce the main character, interject a problem with a complication, and finally help the main character overcome the problem.

In the throes of this newfound direction for her life - becoming a writer, Ms. Mass said she moved from her home in New Jersey to Los Angeles, CA, for the creative atmosphere. To make ends meet, the 22-year-old wanna-be author sought work as a Hollywood stand-in. Envisioning herself standing in for a glamorous Hollywood starlet, she landed her first job - as a stand-in for Freddy Krueger in the 1989 horror film "Nightmare on Elm Street 5." When the job required standing for countless hours while lighting and staging details were determined, she determined to move on to working as an extra. That career upgrade found her appearing on screen for a matter of seconds in a made-for-TV movie, "The Reluctant Agent."

While Hollywood may not have worked out as planned, Ms. Mass's writing efforts did. She discovered a love for research which led to having two nonfiction books published: "Stonehenge" and "Great Authors of Children's Literature." In a serendipitous meeting with Judy Blume, Ms. Mass's favorite author encouraged her to get back to her first love of fiction. She managed to combine her love of research with her love of fiction by penning "The Mango-Shaped Space" following two years of research on a condition known as synesthesia, when one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another (for example, the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color). Ms. Mass told the Auburn students that she received 50 rejection letters before a publisher finally accepted the manuscript. She has since published nine books, including "Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life," "Twice Upon a Time," "Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall," and her most recent book, "Finally."

After recounting her journey as a writer, Ms. Mass offered sage advice to aspiring Auburn Middle School writers: "Read," she said. "Read everything you can, but especially read the type of material you like to write."

Just the kind of advice FCPS educators would offer.

Reading Challenge at Warrenton Middle

Warrenton Middle School challenged its students to read as many books as possible during the last school year. In order to keep track of the books read, students were required to select books from the WMS library and, after reading each book, pass an Accelerated Reader (AR) test with a score of 70 percent or better. Accelerated Reader is a widely used software program in which students choose and read a book from a pre-approved list and then take an on-line quiz that assesses their comprehension.

Students weren't the only ones opting to participate in the challenge; teachers and administrators also got involved in reading books and taking the corresponding AR tests.

"The Reading Challenge was a huge success," said WMS Librarian Kathy Howard. "Over 182 students read 10 books or more, contributing to the combined total of 4,450 books read."

Ms. Howard said students set their own goals for the challenge, and she offered various incentives. Students "cashed in" on their earned awards, which included pizza and dessert parties, special t-shirts, bookmarks, free books, and gift certificates to Carousel, Borders, Regal Theater, iTunes, Blockbuster, and Starbucks.

Author Visit at Bradley Elementary

Warrenton children's book author Susan Crites visited Bradley Elementary School to read and discuss her book "I Love You More than Rainbows" with kindergarten and first-grade classes. The book, which has received a Mom's Choice Gold Seal Award, helps children understand the words "I love you" with things in their daily world using fun, lively rhymes along with vivid illustrations.

"The children all enjoyed listening to her read her story and then taking part in a question-and-answer session afterward," said Bradley Librarian Cheryl Ely. The young students also had the opportunity to purchase a personalized, signed copy of Ms. Crites' book.

AR Big Bounce at Grace Miller Elementary

Grace Miller Elementary School held its second annual "AR Big Bounce," organized by school Librarian Vickie Estep to celebrate the reading accomplishments of students at the school. In order to attend the event, students read Accelerated Reader books all year long, took the AR tests, and scored high enough to accumulate the required points to earn their way into the Bounce.

"Our Big Bounce was a huge success!" said Instructional Technology Lab Assistant Cathy Stadler. "We owe special thanks to all the great volunteers who came in to assist and ensure that the children bounced, slid, and played safely."

As an interesting aside, one returning volunteer at the Big Bounce was Ms. Stadler's son Alex, a former Grace Miller student from kindergarten through fifth-grade who went on to attend Cedar Lee Middle School and Liberty High School and who will be a senior and football team captain at Liberty University this fall. "For the last two years he 'came home' to Miller to volunteer for the Bounce," said his mom.

Gearing Up for Reading in School Year 2010-2011

Activities promoting reading, like those described above, occur throughout the school division each year. Teachers are already gearing up to find meaningful ways to encourage students at all levels to read, read, read.

"Many activities, such as family literacy nights held at most elementary schools, are designed to introduce the entire family to the joys of reading," said Ms. Burgwyn. "When reading is a joy, learning seems effortless."

To learn more about the FCPS reading philosophy, visit>Instructional Services>English and Reading>Our Beliefs About Reading Instruction.

7/21/10 > Donation Aids AMS Library
Auburn Middle School recently received a check from Wal-Mart in conjunction with Horace Mann Insurance for $500 to purchase new library books. Local Horace Mann Agent Tammy Bridges coordinated the donation. The AMS library will use the funds to buy a small collection of large-print books, hoping to encourage reluctant readers to read popular middle school titles. The books will also be enjoyed by any students with visual impairments.
7/19/10 > New Assistant Principal for Ritchie Elementary
Warrenton resident and Culpeper County teacher Timothy Gardner has been selected as the new assistant principal of Ritchie Elementary School. He fills the post held for the past two years by Cristy Thorpe, who officially became principal of the school July 1, 2010, after serving as acting principal since the January retirement of Principal Lee Bell.

A native and lifelong resident of Warrenton, Mr. Gardner graduated from Fauquier High School in 1999. He earned a bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary social sciences from James Madison University in 2003 and a master of education in educational leadership from George Mason University this year.

Mr. Gardner taught math at Culpeper Middle School for two years prior to serving as the instructional technology resources teacher at Emerald Hill Elementary School in Culpeper for the past four years.

Experiences as a student at Taylor Middle School planted the seed of interest in young Timothy Gardner to become a teacher.

“Several of my teachers had a big impact on me at that time,” he said, citing eighth-grade math teacher Darrin Kruft, seventh-grade math teacher Wayne Brizzi, and physical education teacher and coach John Thompson. “They all took the time to get to know students and were excellent role models.”

After six years as a teacher, Mr. Gardner now looks forward to moving into administration, a step he pursued upon the encouragement of others.

“My administration was very supportive and encouraged me to pursue an educational leadership degree. They gave me many leadership opportunities in the school,” he said, “and I feel like I can have a positive impact in this role.”

Mr. Gardner said he was “very excited” to learn that he had been selected as the new AP at Ritchie.

“The interview process was challenging,” he said, “and I was very glad to receive ‘the call.’ It means a lot for me to be fully invested in our community. My family loves being in Fauquier County, and I’m very happy to live and work in this community.”
Mr. Gardner and his wife Kristen have two children: daughter Maggie, 2½, and son Caleb, 7 months. In addition to spending time with family, he enjoys playing sports and music.

“I look forward to getting to know the families at Ritchie,” he said. “I have heard nothing but great things about the teachers, students, and parents. I hope to hit the ground running and serve the school community well.”
7/19/10 > Across the Miles: Tackling Hunger in Haiti
Before the school year ended in mid-June, Kettle Run High School students in Kathy Shepard’s ecology class completed the final phase of a project that found them working with Dominican Republican students toward remedying a social problem plaguing Haitians – hunger.

Ms. Shepard’s students worked collaboratively with students in Lisa Bastedo’s Advanced Placement environmental science class at the Carol Morgan School, Dominican Republic. The scope of the project was to develop a viable solution to hunger in Haiti. The classes worked from April through the end of the school year to create an action plan that was sustainable and could actually be implemented and continued long after students completed their classes.

The student-centered learning project started with class discussions on human needs and the causes and effects of hunger. Students participated in a “hunger banquet,” partaking in meals that people in different economic classes might eat. Some of the students in the higher economic class said they felt bad and even embarrassed at eating a big breakfast while others had only beans and water to eat. The hunger banquet helped students understand that the causes of hunger do not always have a quick and easy solution and are often dependent upon a person’s economic class.

For the second phase of the project, the students were randomly divided into six groups with each consisting of both Carol Morgan and Kettle Run students. Using forums, both classes shared their knowledge and findings with their assigned group. After introducing themselves on the forum, the groups developed a chart of information delineating what the students already knew and what they needed to know about Haiti and the hunger problem. They used the information to develop guiding questions for their research, which then involved finding 10 relevant articles or websites, discussing the scope of each source, explaining how they tied into the guiding questions, justifying why they were reliable sources, and finally describing how the information could be used in the development of their action plans.

For the final phase of the project the students used Skype to have face-to-face conversations with their group members in order to finalize their action plans and to prepare their presentations. The project concluded in June with a video conference at which the groups shared and evaluated their action plans.

While the Kettle Run students initially had concerns about working with an advanced placement environmental science class, many said they enjoyed the challenge and discovered that solutions to world problems require the dedication of many different people, organizations, and countries. They also found, according to Ms. Shepard, that “in order to solve a problem, it is sometimes best to start small – family by family, town by town – and hope the idea spreads throughout that country.”
7/19/10 > Farm Bureau Donates Book Barn to Brumfield
The Fauquier County Farm Bureau recently donated a “Book Barn” to Brumfield Elementary School along with an assortment of books that address Virginia Standards of Learning related to agriculture. Farm Bureau President Ben Cooper constructed the four-shelved, barn-shaped bookcase.

“It’s a lovely gesture,” said Brumfield Principal Linda Clark, “and the students are fascinated by it.”
7/15/10 > Photo Spread: Graduation 2010
Click on the attachment at the bottom for a photo spread depicting Kettle Run High School's Commencement Exercises on Friday, June 11, 2010; Fauquier High School's Commencement Exercises on Saturday, June 12, 2010; and Liberty High School's Commencement Exercises on Sunday, June 13, 2010 (two pages of photos per school).


7/13/10 > History Textbooks Available for Review

Fauquier County Public Schools is adopting history and social science textbooks for use beginning with the 2010-2011 school year. Input from the public is an important step in the review process.

The selection committee is recommending the following textbooks by grade level and subject:

  • Grade 4, Virginia Studies: Our Virginia: Past and Present, published by Five Ponds Press
  • Grade 5, United States History to 1865: Our America to 1865, published by Five Ponds Press
  • Grade 11, United States History (Advanced Placement/Dual Enrollment): Enduring Vision, Seventh Edition (AP), published by Holt McDougal

The public is invited to review and comment on the recommendations by appointment from July 14-23, 2010, in the textbook office in Building A (old Central Elementary School), 430 East Shirley Avenue, Warrenton, VA. To make an appointment to examine the textbooks, contact Dorothy Rose at 349-8310 or

The principal criteria for evaluating the Virginia Studies and the United States History to 1865 texts are the Virginia Standards of Learning, available at

The principal criterion for evaluating the United States History (AP/DE) text is the United States History AP Course Description, published by the College Board and available at


7/13/10 > School Board Actions 7-12-10

The Fauquier County School Board met July 12, 2010, and took the following official actions. For further information, see supporting documents with the July 12, 2010, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Approved the private road bus routes as depicted in the private road listing for school year 2010-2011.
  • Approved the consent agenda which included minutes of the June 14 School Board meeting and the June 21 and 28 special School Board meetings and work sessions, payment of bills, personnel actions, No Child Left Behind consolidated grant application, Carl Perkins grant, revision to Policy IICB, and revisions to policies affecting student services. (Among the approved personnel actions was the appointment of Beth Banks as principal of Bradley Elementary School. Revisions were approved for Policy IICB "Foreign Exchange and Overseas Travel/Study Program," KN "Sex Offender Registry Notification," and KNA "Violent Sex Offenders on School Property." All policies are accessible on the school division website.)

Important Dates Announced at School Board Meeting

Monday, July 26 - Chairman's Night at 5 p.m. in the School Administration office

Monday, July 26 - School Board Work Session at 6 p.m. in the School Administration conference room

Thursday, July 29 - Personnel Committee at 8 a.m. in the School Administration conference room

Monday, August 9 - School Board Meeting at 7 p.m. in the Warren Green Building

7/13/10 > Bradley Elementary Principal Selected
When Bradley Elementary School students return in the fall, a familiar face will greet them – but with a slight change in title. Beth Banks, assistant principal at Bradley for the past decade and interim principal for the past two months, became Bradley’s official principal effective July 13.

“I consider it an honor to be the principal at Bradley,” said Mrs. Banks. “I’ve worked with many of the staff and families of Bradley for the last 10 years, and I’m excited to continue working with them.”

Born and raised in Mineral Wells, WVA, she graduated from Parkersburg South High School in 1986 and West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1990 with a bachelor of arts in elementary education with an endorsement in specific learning disabilities.

Coming from a long line of educators – including both of her parents and many extended family members – Mrs. Banks had known for a long time that she, too, wanted to enter the field of education.

“I think I probably knew by about third grade that I would be a teacher,” she said. “I tried biology the first semester of college because I loved – and still do love – science, and then changed my major to education.”

Beginning her career in Fauquier County, she initially worked seven years as a special education teacher (severe learning disabled) at P.B. Smith Elementary School. With a goal of getting her master’s degree before beginning a family, Mrs. Banks earned her master’s in education from Shenandoah University in 1998 with an emphasis on administration.

“When the county offered the program to help with the expenses of the master’s degree, I was working for a principal who encouraged me to consider going into administration,” she said. “When I began the course work, it suited my personality and skill set quite well.”

After nearly a year as interim assistant principal and two years as assistant principal at Pearson, she accepted the AP position at Bradley in July 2000.

Mrs. Banks looks forward to filling her new role at the helm of Bradley.

“For me this is an opportunity to continue working with a group of colleagues that I admire and respect,” she said, “but also to have the chance to see my vision become realized at Bradley.”

Mrs. Banks and her husband Art have three children: Thad, 11; Xavier, 5; and Peyton, 3.

“Most of my free time is spent with my kids and family – soccer, baking cookies, watering our plants, or filling our bird feeders,” she said. She also enjoys reading and making floral wreaths.

The 20-year veteran of Fauquier County Public Schools excitedly anticipates her first year as a principal.

“In this first year I hope that in my leadership Bradley will continue to be the sound instructional and safe environment that I know it to be,” she said.
7/01/10 > School Board Actions 6-28-10

The Fauquier County School Board met June 28, 2010, and took the following official actions. For further information, see supporting documents with the June 28, 2010, School Board agenda on the school division web page

  • Approved and authorized Sandra Mitchell, associate superintendent for instruction, and/or Janice Bourne, assistant superintendent for administration, to sign all Virginia Department of Education reports, documents, requisitions, and other official correspondence in the absence of the Division Superintendent from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011.
  • Adopted the Virginia Retirement System Plan 2 Resolution resolving that the School Board will pick up five percent of the VRS member contribution for employees hired after July 1, 2010, for the period July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011. (Point of explanation: Five percent is consistent with what the Board currently picks up for all FCPS employees. New legislation passed in the 2010 Virginia General Assembly session implements new plan provisions for employees hired or rehired on or after July 1, 2010, with no prior VRS service. More information on this issue is posted with the June 21 and June 28 School Board meeting and work session agendas.)