Tuesday, February 26, 2013

School Board Update

Dear Friends,

I hope everyone is having a great second semester! Here's the latest news from the School Board.

Superintendent Search: The Board is getting very close to the time when we will start interviewing candidates to replace Dr. Jack Dale when he retires as Superintendent at the end of this school year. With the help of community forums and surveys, we have developed a leadership profile for our search firm to use in making their nationwide search for the best candidates for this critically important position.

To see the leadership profile, timeline and other documents on the superintendent search, here is a link:

FY2014 Advertised Budget: On Feb. 7, the Board approved a $2.5 billion Advertised budget for fiscal year 2014. This budget is a realistic, if unglamorous, budget, with no major new initiatives but also no huge cutbacks as we've seen in some recent years. It requests an increased transfer from the Board of Supervisors of 5.7%, most of it just to cover continuing substantial increases in our number of students, more high-needs students and a state-mandate shift in pension funding.

The budget includes a 1 percent pay increase for our teachers and other employees, plus another 1 percent by picking up more employee pension costs.

Additions made by School Board members, all of which I supported, would add funding for preschool for more at-risk children, more Advanced Academic resource teachers and 19 more field custodians to help keep our schools clean and well-maintained. Our area has some of the longest waiting lists for preschool, and giving these students a good start helps all our elementary schools and students.

The budget now goes to the Board of Supervisors, which will determine our transfer in April. Once we have that number, we will make final budget decisions in May. For more information, go to this link:

Student Discipline/SR&R Committee: The Board will soon receive recommendations from our 40-member committee doing a comprehensive review of Student Rights and Responsibilities, the document that contains our discipline policies. The committee includes parents, students, school administrators, teachers, and other youth specialists.

We expect to see recommendations on parent notification when a student is in serious trouble, whether first-time marijuana and alcohol possession offenses should be handled differently than they are now, and how to improve the language, tone and readability of the document.

The Board is scheduled to hold a work session on the SR&R recommendations on March 20.

In the meantime, the committee held several public dialogues on discipline issues, and I was pleased to hear the thoughtful discussion of these issues at sessions held this month at Stuart High School and Falls Church High School.

Advanced Academic Programs: The Superintendent in the fall recommended restructuring our Advanced Academic Programs to add six more elementary school centers, including one in the Annandale High School pyramid at Braddock Elementary School. He also suggested putting an AAP center into each middle school rather than having regional middle school centers, such as Glasgow and Frost are now.

The Board wanted to take a longer, more comprehensive look at our AAP programs before deciding whether to move in this direction. For the short-term, we decided to add only the three elementary school centers needed to reduce severe overcrowding in other parts of the county, as well as one middle school center at South County Middle School, which was really just a recognition of a program that was already there.

We've asked staff to come back to us in June with a report on a broad range of advanced academic issues. Among those I'm most concerned about is making sure that there is consistency and high quality in all of our centers, and especially that our area has strong, high-quality advanced academic programs for all students who need them.

I hope you're all looking forward to a wonderful spring!

Get Involved!

Attention JEB Stuart Alumni

Have you checked out and joined your new Alumni Association? It's free and full of info regarding current Stuart events andreunions. Register at www.jebstuartalumni.com. RECONNECT!  

Crossing Guards Needed for Westlawn and Bailey's ES
This is a great opportunity for just a few hours work a week, perfect for a stay-at-home parent or retiree, serving as a crossing guard for Westlawn Elementary or Bailey's Elementary schools. For more information on this part-time job through the Fairfax County Police Department, here is the job announcement:www.fairfaxcounty.gov/jobs/listing/detail.asp?job=12-1038
Support JEB Stuart and Annandale High Schools through Spring Mulch Sales
3 Cubic Foot Bag of Double Shredded Hardwood Mulch 
$5.50 per bag (one bag covers approximately 12 sq. ft. 3" deep). Pick-up or Delivery, Saturday, March 16, 2013.  
FREE Driveway Delivery for 30 bags or more (within Stuart District); Low $25 fee for delivery of fewer than 30 bags. All Orders Must Be Placed by March 6, 2013. Convenient online ordering at:www.stuartptsa.org- pay via debit card, credit card or PayPal or by check. Questions? Please email: info@stuartmulch.com 
Fight the winter blues by thinking about spring and ordering your mulch!  Once again the Annandale High School PTSA is providing you with an opportunity to purchase quality, natural dark brown hardwood mulch for your home or business. Let us ease the burden of hauling 60lb bags of mulch all over town!  We will personally deliver mulch to your driveway (15 bag minimum for delivery) on Saturday, April 6, 2013.  The mulch sale is critical to the success of the Annandale High School All Night Graduation Party (ANGC), a supervised, safe, non-alcoholic alternative for graduating seniors.  To order your mulch, please go to :

Annandale HS Spring Flower and Plant Sale   
We offer high-quality annuals, perennials, and  beautiful hanging baskets for great prices. Customers can order their plants online or using the old-fashioned but still acceptable mail-in order form. The pre-orders must be in by Tuesday, April 16.  Plants are picked up at the school on Thursday, May 2, 2013. To access the online order form, go to: