Dolphin Digest - April 2018
Spring is in the air! This month we will have Dr. Curt Hinson (Aka: Dr. Recess) here at Stratford Landing on April 17th and 18th working with our students and staff on how we can promote more exercise at recess as well as encourage games at recess that raise students' heart rates and lower stress and anxiety around play. He will host a PARENT NIGHT on Tuesday, April 17th from 7-8 pm here at school where he shares his research and innovation around recess and play. As you know, we are fortunate here at Stratford Landing to go ABOVE the recommended 20 minutes of recess per day and students have access to 30 minutes of recess each day. With this large amount of time (lower grades have two 15-minute blocks), it is important that students have things to do and a variety of opportunities to manage conflict and practice collaboration skills. Please take an hour out of the month to hear our passion around recess and play. This will also allow you to work with your child to ensure recess is a successful time at school.
We have had multiple reports of parents and students crossing both Riverside Road and Camden unsafely. This month I had multiple neighbors report that crosswalks are not being used and parents are taking children and darting in between cars. Student bike riders have also been reported not wearing helmets and not adhering to the rules of the road. Arrival and dismissal are times we are at a heightened awareness for students' safety. Please work with us and help ensure that everyone stays safe. Use crosswalks and talk to your children about bike safety.
We welcome our incoming kindergarten students on Wednesday, April 25th. Parents and rising kindergarten students can come from 9:30-10:30 for orientation or parents only can come from 6:00-7:00 pm for orientation. If you have not contacted Kris Rakes in the front office to schedule a registration appointment, please do so today!
Please remember that April 13th ends the 3rd quarter and students dismiss two hours early. April 16th is a teacher workday and students do not report to school that day.
Dolphin Digest - March 2018
School is closed this week for Spring Break (March 26 - March 30). On Monday, April 2nd there is a teacher workday so students return to school on Tuesday, April 3rd.
Spring is generally a busy time here at Stratford Landing so we ask that you take note of upcoming dates for events. We also know that additional dates will be added for fourth quarter grade level PBL (Project Based Learning) presentations, writing celebrations, end of year art walk, and other opportunities to have families join us to see all the hard work here at school.
This month our music team hosted two days of open classrooms to showcase what music looks like in our school. Over a hundred parents came to check out music class and left thoroughly impressed at learning happening in music. As one parent shared, "It's a whole lot different than when I was in school!" A big thank you to Mrs. Stephansky and Mrs. LaFleur for allowing this unique learning opportunity to happen.
Be sure to follow our school on Twitter as our "specials" teachers (music, art, PE, STEAM, computer, and library) often post snapshots of learning throughout the week. @StratfordlndgES is a great look into our school day!
Construction Updates: The final wing is near completion. This wing includes the rooms for band and strings as well as exterior access to the playground. We anticipate that spring break will deliver this part of the building to us and teachers will move to these rooms in early April. The final part of the project is landscaping and removing all of temporary classrooms. This includes the removal of the large pile of dirt facing Riverside Road. Much of that dirt will be used in grading in the back of the school. The fields and grassy areas will remain off limits for foot traffic in order to allow grass seed to grow in the coming months.
We have received lots of positive feedback from our new electronic sign. This allows up to date changes regardless of the outside temperatures. Thanks for letting us know how much you are enjoying the change.
We look forward to a fantastic spring here at Stratford Landing. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns as we move quickly through another year!
Maureen Marshall, Ed.D.
Dolphin Digest- February 2018
It has been a fantastic entry into 2018!
Over the break, a variety of accomplishments happened in our renovation. Here is an overview of what’s new and what’s coming next:
- All of our students and programs moved inside of the main building. Our fifth graders and all of our music programs were the final rooms to move inside.
- Door #6 (back door) continues to be closed for arrival and dismissal as the area with the quads and the mod is now an active construction side. Workers are securing these building for removal and grading the land for its final state.
- Sidewalks were poured in the front and back of the school. Students have a clear path to the crosswalk and no longer need to walk in the bus lane.
- Ceiling tiles are closing up parts in the hallway with exposed pipes. As a result, the hallways are getting warmer and brighter.
- All classrooms received new tables, chairs, and book cases. Furniture is part of bond funds and is a required purchase with renovations.
- All classrooms have new Smart projectors and interactive whiteboards as well as sound systems with microphones to create an environment that allows students to hear the teacher rather than background noise. Bond funds were also used to purchase these mandated items.
- The modular and the individual quads should all leave the premises by early March.
- Some bike racks have been moved to the front of the building, allowing bikers who enter from Riverside to lock their bikes out front.
- Additional mulch has been place on the playground and surrounding areas due to the increased winter mud.
- We anticipate that most of the construction staging will depart Stratford Landing in late spring, allowing for the final stage of renovation, leveling fields and new grass growth.
- We are working with our PTA for a fiscal plan to replant much of the vegetation that was removed in the front of our school due to construction. Unfortunately, bond funds cannot be used for live plants.
- This spring you will see:
- A new sign in the front of the school
- New benches in the front of the school
- Playground sprucing and likely at least one new playground structure
Please let me know if you have any questions as we enter this final phase.
Now that my new office has a great visual view of the front of the school, I have noticed some troubling habits starting.
- Students are getting dropped off in front of the school between 8:30-8:50. Parents are leaving students unattended in front of the school.
- Parents are using the bus lane for this drop off in the thoughts that they can dodge out of Kiss and Ride before it even starts.
- Early cars in the Kiss and Ride lanes are also letting students leave before any staff are on duty.
- On warmer days, students are showing up on the playground as early as 8:15 with no adult supervision.
- To avoid the Kiss and Ride line, parents are dropping students in unsafe areas around the campus.
- Other than SACC students, patrols and morning news show students, no students should be dropped off before 8:55. If you have difficulty with an early work schedule, please work with your neighbors and friends to arrange for morning coverage.
Dress for the Weather (this is difficult with the swings in temperature lately)
During this time of year and typical winter days, we often have to consider a number of factors related to student activity outdoors. Common sense requires us to look beyond a specific temperature and consider factors such as wind chill, whether the ground is frozen or the sun is shining, how well the children are prepared to play outdoors (jackets, gloves, and hats), what activity the children are participating in, and the length of time to be spent outside.
It is the intention of the school to hold recess during cold spells and that parents should have their children prepared to play outdoors (jackets, gloves, and hats). During a NWS Wind Chill Advisory we limit recess to no more than fifteen minutes outside at a time. During a NWS Wind Chill Warning, we do not allow any outdoor activity. Outdoor activity includes general and physical education classes, recess, and scheduled fire drills. This does not include students walking to and from school, students waiting at bus stops, or student patrols.
Celebrating one’s birthday with classmates at school has been an age old tradition for many. At Stratford Landing we recognize the importance of birthday celebrations while respecting family differences regarding birthday celebrations, promoting the importance of healthy nutrition, and being mindful of students with life-threatening food allergies. Parents should please use the following guidelines when providing birthday treats for classmates:
Each student may bring a treat to share with ALL classmates (K-2) and all Pod mates (3-6) in celebration of his/her birthday. Pods are two classrooms combined, thus if you are bringing in treats for a 3-6 grade student, you will need to bring at least 60 treats. Please do not ask the classroom teacher if you can just bring treats to the classroom, our policy is that birthday treats are brought to the cafeteria.
Treats should be store bought with ingredients labeled. No home baked goods will be permitted to be shared with other students. Please, no products containing nuts. Treats should be single small sized servings.
It is also fine to bring in a non-food treat to celebrate your child’s birthday. Your child’s name appears on the morning announcements and they get a special birthday pencil too. If you have questions, please ask an administrator.
Parents should inform the classroom teacher at least 1 day in advance that their child will be bringing treats to share. Some classrooms may have additional treat guidelines based on specific food allergies of classmates. Please note and abide by these additional class policies.
You may have your child come home begging for a computer. This is because our students, especially in grades 3-6 are using so many features of FCPS G Suite for Education (GSE), an integrated communication and collaboration solution, hosted by Google and managed by FCPS. G Suite was formerly known as Google Apps for Education. Our entire school is working quarterly on a variety of Project Based Learning (PBL) activities that require access to tools (computers) for collaboration and communication. We also have students who access Level 3 and 4 AAP services working on Document Based Questions (DBQs), this has also moved to an online format to allow for greater differentiation, collaboration, and feedback.
Many parents have asked me, “Can they bring their own computer?” Absolutely! If you are able to provide a computer, here is some information you should know about your child bringing their own device (BYOD). Click here to find out more or please contact any administrator for additional information.
Last month I gave a presentation to the PTA regarding our homework policy and practices here at Stratford Landing. I am very thankful for the parents who came out and we got some great feedback regarding our policies. We have uploaded the PowerPoint presentation for further information. If you have questions, please let us know.
Subbing…we need you!
Every year we ask our parent population, “Have you ever thought of being a substitute teacher?” Every day a sub job is not picked up by our central substitute system. We know that the best way we can ensure coverage in every room, every day, is to get great people for our community into our substitute system. Are you scared, interested, befuddled? Please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We are a great group of people but sometimes, we get sick and can’t be in school. Please help us fill this dire need.
Visiting our Building
We have really enjoyed our new system this year that checks everyone’s ID when he/she is visiting or volunteering in the building. Please remember that if your habit is to walk your child to class, you also need a badge as our staff will stop you in the morning and ask you to return to the office for one before allowing you to walk to class. This ensures we know everyone who has entered our building each day.
School Counseling Week
Last week was National School Counseling Week. Stratford Landing’s school counselors are Eileen Keane and Stephanie Kasparek. They help students to be successful in a variety of ways. They provide whole class counseling lessons, as well as individual support and small groups as needed. They help guide us in anti-bullying practices and mindfulness ways. They also meet with parents and staff to develop 504 plans for students who require additional accommodations. We appreciate all that they do to support the emotional and educational needs of our students. Unfortunately, many of you that came to say thanks to them last week realized they were both out with the flu. Thankfully they are back now and healthy! They are both an amazing asset to our school.
Kindergarten Orientation and Kindergarten Jump Start
Mark your calendars! We have set Wednesday, April 25 as our Kindergarten Orientation.
9:30-10:30am – Parents & Rising kindergarteners
7:00pm – Parents only
Kindergarten Jump Start, an opportunity for children to work with all of our teachers, get a sense of the building, and understand what kindergarten is all about, will be August 14th, 15th, & 16th from 9:00am-12:00pm. Transportation is not provided.
Open House/Back to School Presentation
This year we will be trying something new. We are combining both our Open House and our Back to School Night presentations to one event! We have set the date for Monday, August 27th (students begin on the August 28th). Time and details of the event will be coming later this Spring.
SOL Dates! Please avoid making appointments and/or taking vacations on these dates.
May 14 (B)
May 21 (A)
4th Social Studies
5th Math (5th and 6th)
6th Math (6th and 7th)
**Happy New Year!
You will notice that our school looks much different than last month. I will highlight all of the changes in the Dolphin Digest this week. For immediate purposes, please note that arrival and dismissal procedures may change for some of you. Door #6 (the back door) is now closed since all of quads and mod are no longer occupied, thus, the next phase of the renovation process is to remove these structures and level the property. All students should use door #9 (door adjacent to the parking lot/kiss & ride line) or door #1 to enter and exit the building. Students who enter from the back of the school will find the walking path is still accessible.
Kindergarten and first grade families: Dismissal change regarding pick up of students who were previously walked to door #6 - Kinder students will no be walkd to Door 1 to be picked up by parents/guardians. First grade students will dismiss out Door 1 also.
SACC students may now enter and exit at the SACC room, door #2. There is also a couple of short term parking spaces for your convenience.
We are thrilled to having our entire student body inside of our building!
Impact Aid Student-Parent Survey
The annual Impact Aid Student-Parent Survey forms will be sent home with your child on Wednesday, November 1. Please return the completed, signed and dated survey no later than November 10. The findings from the survey will enable FCPS to obtain our fair share of federal funding.
Please note that there is an introductory letter on the back side of the Student-Parent Survey form from Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand. His letter provides background information on the Federal Impact Aid program and role that the Student-Parent Survey plays in attaining federal funding.
Additional information about the Federal Impact Aid program can be found at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/impactaid/index.html. For questions regarding the Student-Parent Survey, please contact the Impact Aid staff in Information Technology at 703-329-7655.
iReady/Universal Screener Fall Window Screening Complete
The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) School Board adopted a universal screener assessment for use with all elementary school students in kindergarten through grade 6. The purpose of this assessment is to identify students who may have gaps in foundational literacy and mathematics skills so that teachers can plan supports appropriate for each child. The reading portion also fulfills Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) state testing requirements for primary students.
The universal screener is an online, computer-adaptive assessment. Computer-adaptive means that the difficulty of questions will adjust based on each child’s performance. When your child gets a question correct, the next question will be a little harder. When your child gets a question wrong, the next question will be a little easier. Through this adjustment process, the computer will narrow in on just the right level for your child.
After each testing window, based on universal screener results, some students may require additional interventions in specific learning areas. If your child requires additional support, you will receive your child’s scores and a letter in the US mail this week. Children who fall below the 40th percentile will be given access to iReady computerized intervention during the school day for the recommended time of 45 minutes per week/per subject. Any child can also access iReady at home with the child’s FCPS ID number (user name) and password. If your child cannot remember his/her password, please reach out to Jane Cerza, our technology specialist at email@example.com to reset your child’s password.
All FCPS schools are required to take the Universal Screener/iReady assessment three times a year, yet only fifteen FCPS schools have been afforded the opportunity, for the second year, to participate in the online intervention pilot, providing our students and staff this powerful intervention tool. We are pleased that Stratford Landing continues to be part of the intervention pilot. Any child can access the iReady computerized program at home. Many lessons are now tablet accessible.
The iReady log-in is: https://stratfordlandinges.fcps.edu/node/2302
If you have further questions about this fall screening assessment, please contact your child’s teacher.
The next assessment window to measure growth will be January 2nd – February 2nd.
Kudos to our Stratford Landing Staff
We know that our staff at Stratford Landing is top-notch. The month of October was filled with various instructional interruptions that our skillful teachers planned artfully planned around to maximized both instruction and fun for students. After the first quarter I pause to give thanks to a tremendous staff for having the best school opening yet.
We know many of you have asked, “How do we give extra kudos to a specific staff member?” FCPS Cares is an opportunity for parents, staff, and community members to recognize FCPS employees for going above and beyond to help others and show they care. We invite you to submit your story so we can all acknowledge the good work of our Stratford Landing staff. For without these individuals, our school would not be a phenomenal learning and caring place for students and families. The link is below for FCPS Cares submissions and there is no limit to how many kudos you give.
Progress Reports – Due Home November 15th
On Wednesday, November 15th, Progress Reports will go home for students in grades 1-6. The FCPS Progress Reports are standards-based and students score a 1-4 on each standard. Here is the FCPS overview of standards based progress reports https://www.fcps.edu/node/31380
One of the goals of a standards-based progress report is to provide more grading consistency both within schools and between schools because teachers use expected standards to grade performance. This eliminates the potential for comparisons within a class to determine a mark.
Teachers will grade only on the standards he or she teaches during a given grading period and whether or not a student has demonstrated that he or she has learned the standard. Students will also receive a 1-4 rating on effort and work habits.
In talking to your children about their progress reports, here are some points to keep in mind:
Look at the progress report with an open mind- Listen thoughtfully to what your child thinks of the report and how accurately he/she believes it captures what has happened in school. If you have questions or need clarification, please contact the teacher by writing a note, sending an email, or making a phone call. Our teachers are happy to answer any questions and welcome the opportunity to talk about your child.
Focus on improvement and progress - Celebrate successes, particularly in areas where your child's put in extra effort—whether it's study habits, punctuality, teamwork, or concentration. Discover and discuss areas where your child feels he /she has improved. Encourage him/her to keep up the good work. Find out what your child feels he/she can do even more effectively in the future. Discuss some goals your child might set in academic areas. Be sure to set realistic expectations such as, “Next time let’s see how you can move from a 2 to a 3.” Share stories with your children about challenges you have in school and those you have at work, they are always relieved to know that things don’t come easy to parents all the time either!
Remind your child that everyone has strengths and challenges- A progress report is not an indication of your child's worth as a human being. Rather, it's an assessment of your child's progress, performance, and achievement in specific areas for one time period. Help your child understand that people keep learning, changing, and developing through school and life and we learn from our mistakes, so mistakes are really OK!
If you have questions, concerns, or compliments, please be sure to contact your child’s teacher. Two-way communication is key to your student’s success. I am always here if you have questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
On November 10th Stratford Landing will celebrate Veteran’s Day. If you missed the communication from PTA, please read here:
STARS FOR VETS - Please send in a copy of a military family picture or service family (name and branch on the back) to be displayed on the bulletin board in the front lobby by Friday, November 3 to your teacher. Pictures may not be returned.
Classroom Visitors: On Nov. 10, students will hear real life experiences and connect with veterans visiting their classrooms. We need volunteers to talk to classes about their service in the military. Call Mrs. Pennington in the the main office at 703-619-3600 if you are interested.
Principal's Coffee in honor of our community Veterans - 9:15 am - Cafeteria
Students should wear RED, WHITE and BLUE on November 10th!
THREAT ASSESSMENT MODULES
Threat Assessment Modules for Parents Only
Fairfax County Public Schools has a well-established policy and protocol for responding to threats of violence in the schools. To help parents and older students learn more about the role they can play in keeping schools safe, we have collaborated with the Youth Violence Project of the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia to develop short videos with useful information. These brief modules were developed for parents and children aged 12 and up, and you may want to watch the student video with your child to answer any questions which may arise. To access these modules go to www.schoolthreatassessment.com and use parent code pgvsdt and student code sy8zk2 as a password.
Are you nurturing your child’s integrity?
Your child’s values and sense of right and wrong will affect her choices and her relationships with others in and out of school. Below are a few self-check questions to see if you are consciously encouraging strong principles in your child. Answer yes or no below:
___1. Do you talk about the importance of honesty? Do you thank your child for being honest even when you don’t like what she says?
___2. Do you talk with your child about family and school rules and why they are needed?
___3. Do you keep your promises to show your child that it is important to honor commitments to others?
___4. Do you model good sportsmanship for your child when playing games?
___5. Do you expect your child to be responsible for her actions and hold her accountable for her choices?
How well are you doing?
More yes answers mean you are on the right track for raising integrity in your child. For each no, try that idea and see if you notice a difference.
Taken from: The Parent Institute, October 2017
We often hear from parents that kids today are used to instant gratification. Most school skills take time to develop. Use the word perseverance with your child as teachers have used this work to promote a Growth Mindset. Continued effort over time may not be easy. But sticking with a task and trying different solutions is the best way for students to learn and overcome obstacles. Share an example with your child on how you had to persevere, either as a child or now as an adult. These examples are priceless and children often will refer back to their parents’ struggles as they work through something difficult here at school.
Taken from: The Parent Institute, October 2017
Dolphin Digest October 2017
We have had a busy first month of school. Students are settling in well to routines and we’ve been gathering baseline data on our students. One of the biggest things that teachers do in the first month of school is figure out what your child knows, what he/she may have forgotten over the summer, and figures out the best instruction for your child. The first month of school is also critical for creating a warm and safe classroom climate. Students and teachers learn to work together to listen and learn from each other as this sets the stage for inclusivity, accepting mistakes, and working on class rules and expectations. Our first 30 days have been a phenomenal beginning!
This week we welcomed Ms. Pearl Graham to our front office staff. We are now fully staffed in the front office with Ms. Rakes, Ms. Pennington, and Ms. Graham in the outer office and Ms. Vonada, administrative assistant in the office with the window. Ms. Rakes handles school records, absentees, and a host of things related to students and files while Ms. Vonada is our finance assistant, building use person, and Dr. Marshall’s assistant. Ms. Pennington is our web curator as well as our parent liaison and Ms. Graham is doing a little bit of every job you can imagine. We are happy to have such a stellar team out front.
Today we kicked off our largest fund raiser, Rock and Run. Please see all the emails, PTA web site, and brightly colored handouts in the Wednesday folder for more information about how to volunteer and contribute to the fundraiser. Be sure to ask your children what Bubbles, Waverly, and their dancing dolphin pod announced as class prizes for this year!
Last month was our first Safety, Security, and Wellness (SSW) meeting. Parents and teachers came together to share ideas, concerns, and discuss next steps for the committee. As many of you watch the news, we are all aware of the tragedies that have taken place across our country this past week. We are also well-aware of weather-related disasters over the past few months. During the SSW meeting last month I shared how FCPS and Stratford prepare for all emergencies and our FCPS training and protocols for a variety of scenarios. Due to the security around the procedures, no further information can be posted on line but I am happy to talk to anyone who has specific questions.
Our school had a safety and security audit this summer by FCPS Safety and Security Office. The following was shared with the committee:
Since there is now a second story on SLES, the school needed to develop a process for students or staff stranded on the 2nd floor during a fire. The room closest to Riverside Road has an exterior strobe, alerting fire and rescue that the room is occupied if someone cannot make it down the stairs.
There is now an elevator at Stratford Landing and the school needed to develop a key check out system for those needing the elevator.
Our Preschool Autism Class and Early Childhood class-based preschool now have exterior doors that open to the grass near Riverside Road. It was suggested that due to the special needs of students, additional fencing be added to the grounds to ensure students’ safety if a child were to elope. This fencing will be reviewed after renovation as temporary fencing currently encloses the area. This would also include access to the blacktop and the possibility of a locked gate from the parking lot to limit access from the playground to the parking lot. Participants at the meeting had a discussion regarding limiting access as many middle school students use the path on school grounds to cut through from Sandburg to their homes behind the school. Some parents noted that this ensures their safety as it keeps them off of Riverside Road, Londonberry, and Camden while some parents did not like former students cutting through the grounds. Currently, 20-30 current Sandburg students (former SLES students), use the school grounds to access their homes, with no reported issues.
There is limited cell service in the building. This issue is being examined by FCPS Department of Information Technology and AT&T, the county carrier. In addition to the cell phone services issue, the portable radios carried by all members of the administration and counseling teams required new radios and a repeater added to the building to increase the distance capacity of the hand-held radios. This repeater was installed at the end of September, resulting in perfect clarity on the hand-held Motorola radios.
Parents and teachers were given the opportunity to work together on some current ideas around safety, security and wellness. Below are some of the highlights of table discussions:
Bikes & helmets – on any given day there are 20 unlocked bikes and students riding without helmets - we are asking for parental support on this issue. The group also discussed bike permits and will explore this idea and how area schools help keep students safe on the road.
Movement – how do we encourage students to get 10,000 steps, especially with 30 minutes of recess daily?
Blind spots on playground – we need to encourage parents to talk with their children about always having eyes on an adult during recess. If children cannot see an adult (who are strategically located around the field and playground), then this means the adult cannot see him/her. Teachers do recess duty and cafeteria duty. Mr. Johnte is on recess duty and takes the place of the classroom teacher who will be doing lunch duty. There is plenty of coverage, but the quads still prove to be a blind spot. Teachers are also working with their classes to adhere to visibility areas.
The field and playground are used a lot on the weekend and users don’t clean up after themselves – we are working on ways to get volunteers to come and help do a sweep of the playground on Monday mornings (and even Sunday nights). In addition, if you drive by on the weekends and see shenanigans on behind the school, please call FCPS School Security at 571-423-2000—security drives by extra due to renovation but many teens have been known to “hang out” and leave behind trash, to include bottles and cans. This results in a whole lot of trash on Monday morning.
Less sweets – how do we encourage parents to change the way we send birthdays here at SLES?
Inclusivity and Respect for Differences – We will share information at the November PTA meeting about the Responsive Classroom approach as the first line of offense for combatting unkind words and actions of others. Administrators have worked closely with children and families regarding specific incidents. Overall, we encourage families to talk about differences and how the expectation at Stratford Landing is that we are kind and respectful to EVERYONE. Students may be exposed to exclusion from a group or game. It is important that parents communicate issues immediately with classroom teachers and/or counselors. There is no issue too small and avoiding smaller issues leads to bigger issues. As we tell the children, if someone says something that makes you feel bad inside, you need to say something. As adults we might be tempted to say, “Boys/Girls do those things” – please don’t say this – as we respect each other, we must all be held accountable for what we say and do. There are times that developmentally students may do things (ie: 6th graders sometimes like to hang all over each other --- yes, this is actually developmentally appropriate, yet we need to regulate it somehow), but overall, we look at words and behaviors of individuals and we need to know things that happen, especially when adults aren’t looking.
To wrap up our Safety, Security, and Wellness committee, FCPS Police Officer Monica Meeks will be coming to SLES on Thursday, October 12th from 4:15-5:15 to share how the local Mount Vernon Police Department would like to work with our community to further our agenda and enhance communication between the police and the school. Please join us in the library with Officer Meeks.
Ms. Eileen Keane is heading up our SCA (Student Cooperative Association) this year. The classroom primaries have happened for candidates in grades 5 and 6. The next step is for these candidates to campaign for the school-wide election which occurs the week of Oct 10-13. Students should be on the lookout for posters around the school and speeches on the news next week. Classroom representatives for grades 1-6 will be elected by classroom during the week of October 23rd. There are two representatives per classroom. In order to reach the larger school community, classroom representatives will run in two categories bus riders and walkers/bikers/kiss-N-ride.
Thank you for sharing your children with us daily. We hope to see many of you next Friday, October 13th at our Rock-N-Run fundraiser as you are welcome to help out during the event and of course you can always run/walk with your child while they do their laps. Please remember to bring your driver’s license and check in at the front office for your identification badge on our new Visitor Management System.
Many thanks for your continued support,
Maureen Marshall, Ed.D
Dolphin Digest September 2017
Dear Dolphin Families,
What a great first week back! It was so wonderful to see so many new and familiar faces in our Dolphin Family this week. We had an outstanding Back to School Night on Thursday and our teachers are ready to go with family conferences over the next weeks. We are already planning for 2018 and anticipate combining both Open House and Back to School Night on Thursday, August 23, 2018. Mark your calendars now for the kickoff event.
We had a large turnout for our first PTA meeting last week. The PTA is extremely supportive of our staff and students and I hope you will consider becoming a member and actively participating this year. We are all getting to know everyone and practice our new routines and procedures.
We had our first fire drill on Friday and everything went very well! The students knew exactly where to go and were able to get outside quickly and quietly. We will continue to practice this procedure weekly throughout September and monthly until the end of the year. We will also have tornado and lockdown drills throughout the year. Both of these drills are announced to students and followed by a keep in touch email to families.
Renovation is moving right along! Our gym opened last Tuesday. It is light and airy with new windows, new exit doors, additional storage space, and a bright color scheme. Our cafeteria tables are also a big hit with students so be sure to come by and see the café space if you missed it last week. We anticipate our final phase of construction will turn over rooms in late fall and winter. New furniture will be delivered over winter break and the entire project is due to finish by early spring 2018. One major impact this fall will be that we cannot host any after school clubs, including scouts, after school due to internal construction work beginning at 4:15pm. We hope that clubs will be able to resume after winter break. We will keep the Dolphin Digger section updated on the web page as changes occur with construction.
We will be having the first meeting with our Safety and Security and Wellness Committee (SSWC) consisting of parents and teacher interested in this topic. Currently we have some parents who have volunteered to be a part of this committee although we are happy to add additional committee members. Our vision is to have both parents and staff work together to find solutions to problems and also be innovative with ideas and possible programming to have a safe, secure, and healthy student body. This summer I asked for the FCPS Safety and Security office to evaluate our building and grounds. This evaluation was completed and I will share the full report with recommendations with the SSW committee first and then at a full PTA meeting this fall. If you would like to participate in our first meeting, please complete this quick survey by September 8th so I can find the best time to meet for our first committee meeting. https://doodle.com/poll/bcywn9hcr7f2c293
If you plan to volunteer at all this year at Stratford Landing you will need to come in for volunteer training or if you are a returning volunteer, please see Kate Pennington in the main office prior to volunteering. All information regarding volunteer training can be found on our web site. We would like to welcome Mrs. Cathleen Vonada as our new administrative assistant here at Stratford Landing. Mrs. Vonada replaces Becky Whitehead who retired this summer. She handles school finances, building usage, and a whole host of other things. She also serves as the principal’s assistant, so please cc Mrs. Vonada on any email communication to Dr. Marshall. I hope you enjoyed the long weekend with your family. We anticipate that the second week of school will be filled with new friendships, strong routines, and additional excitement for a tremendous school year.
Many thanks for your continued support,
Maureen Marshall, Ed.D
Dolphin Digest July 2017
We hope you are enjoying your summer vacation. Here are some summer updates.
Tips to Preventing Summer Slide
Summer slide can happen to any child. Summer Slide happens when the skills students learn during the school year are lost or forgotten over the summer. When kids don’t practice their reading, writing, math skills during the summer months, they can fall behind by the time school starts again in August. Below are some ways you can help us prevent/reduce summer slide:
- Explore Stratford Landing’s PORTAPORTAL for educational websites, interactive math and reading games, low cost events, concerts and more in our local area! https://guest.portaportal.com/stratfordlanding
- Log in to iReady – you children can you the same login and password until July 21st.
- Read EVERY day! Read non-fiction, fiction, ebooks, poetry, newspapers and read out loud! For most children, twenty minutes is an appropriate amount of time to read for a child who is an independent reader. Fairfax County has a wonderful summer reading program with incentives and rewards for books read over the summer http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/srp/
- Cook with your children. This is one of the best ways to integrate math, reading and following directions. Let your child design the menu too! Help your child put together their favorite recipes in a cookbook.
- Take local day trips. Keep a journal about your travels.
- Play quick games with flashcards like Math War or Concentration to keep math skills sharp.
- Listen to Audio Books during your road trip.
- Take pictures and make a summer scrapbook.
- Try a virtual field trip or start some home projects.
- Make Bedtime Math part of your nightly routine!
Most of all have fun and enjoy as much time outside as possible!
The end of the year is always a time for transitions. We say goodbye to the following staff members and wish them well on their new endeavors!
Ms. Lim – 3rd Grade
This was a very hard decision and I feel so sad I didn't get to tell the students and staff in time, but I've decided to take the Korean Immersion Teacher position at Colin Powell elementary for the upcoming school year. This is something I was interested in even before coming to SLES, so I'm excited for the opportunity. It's been a pleasure working at SLES for the past four years. I've grown a lot as a teacher and I am so thankful I got to work with such an amazing staff, family, and students. I'm going to miss Stratford Landing so much.
Ms. Neely – 5th Grade
It is with mixed emotions that I write to tell you that my family and I are moving to California. I loved my experiences with you all and am a better teacher because I have known you. To my students, I have been privileged to teach you and watch you grow. I will miss each and every one of you and hope the best for you all as you continue onward. And even though goodbye is hard, I am excited for what lays ahead. My husband is in the Marines and has orders to report to a new duty station. My family and I look forward to California weather and the adventure that await in our next chapter.
Ms. Hanson – 4th Grade
I will be spending next year with my family. My daughter Nora was born this March, and I look forward to spending more time with her as she grows and learns. I already miss my days with my Stratford kiddos and getting visits from former students. I hope to see some familiar faces this summer and next year as Nora and I are often in the Stratford Landing area.
Ms. Peterman – 3rd/4th Grade
It is with a very heavy heart that I let the Stratford Landing Community know that I will not be here next year. I will be moving to Raleigh, North Carolina this summer. My husband got a new job opportunity there and we are excited to start this new adventure, especially because we will be welcoming BABY Peterman into our family this October! Moving is very bittersweet because Stratford Landing has been an amazing community for me over the years and I have absolutely loved teaching your kids, especially all generations of TEAM PETERMAN and all the girls I had for Girls on the Run when I was a coach for three years. I have seen tremendous growth academically and socially in my students and all the students I was fortunate enough to meet. They will always leave a lasting impression on me. I can’t thank you all enough for your support and guidance throughout my years here. This community is truly very special and I am so thankful I was a part of it. Please keep in touch!
Ms. Kang – 6th Grade
I am excited and sad to announce that I will not be returning next year to Stratford Landing. I will be transferring to Kings Glen Elementary in Springfield. As hard as it is for me to leave Stratford and my WONDERFUL colleagues and families, I am excited to be able to work closer to home. A huge thank you to everyone who has made the last three years memorable and who have taught me how to be a better teacher. I will miss you all!
Ms. Kosatka – special education teacher
I will be moving to Sangster next year, just minutes from my home. It has been difficult commute each day and at this point, I have realized I need to be closer to home. Thank you so much for bringing me in as one of the Stratford Family and for these past two years. I will miss you all.
Ms. Eikren – sixth grade teacher
I am both saddened and excited to let you all know that we are moving our family to Colorado at the end of the school year. It has been a pleasure getting to know all of you, and I appreciate everything you’ve all done for me and my kids during our time here. We are buying a house in Superior in between Boulder and Denver. It will be an office transfer for my husband, and I’m currently looking for a teaching job. I will miss all of the families, students and my tremendous colleagues.
Mr. Butler – third grade teacher
I have decided to take a leave of absence from FCPS for next year. I will be exploring Nevada and spending time with family. I am hopeful to return in the 2018-19 school year.
Ms. Ruffin – special education teacher
I have decided to seek a different experience next year in a Title I school. I won’t be too far, as I am going to Riverside Elementary School. I will miss my students and all of the supportive families here at Stratford. Thank you for making my first year teaching the best.
Ms. Harrell (special education), Ms. Newman (instructional assistant), Ms. Whitehead (administrative assistant), Ms. Condon (kindergarten IA) – retiring! We are thrilled that four colleagues are joining the ranks of the retired! Ms. Harrell is on her way to Texas, Ms. Newman will be spending time with family in Maryland, Ms. Whitehead plans to spend more time camping and seeing the country, and Ms. Condon will be spending more time with family and hopefully joining our substitute list! We wish them well!
We did not have to destaff any teachers this year due to the increase in the class size formula because of attrition. We are still interviewing for a couple of vacancies and still figuring out class sizes and a possible need for combination classes. As in previous years, your child will receive his/her teacher assignment via US mail during the week of August 21st.
July is a great month for school supply deals. We are having the same system to collect school supplies this year. Parents and teachers voiced overwhelming support for the bulk system of collecting school supplies. This system works when everyone signs up and everyone brings what they commit to bringing. Thank you in advance for helping us ready our learners for the 2017-18 school year.
School supply information for the 2017-18 school year can be found here: https://stratfordlandinges.fcps.edu/announcements/2017-2018-school-supplies
Dolphin Digest - June 29, 2017
We are thrilled that phase 3 construction (gym, cafeteria, kitchen, halls) started on our school today. If you came down Riverside Road you saw lots of trucks, cranes, and dumpsters. As a result, Stratford Landing school grounds, to include the playgrounds and fields, are CLOSED again this summer to allow the construction team to concentrate on the important work that needs to be done during the next two months.
For your safety and the safety of your children, please find different places to play this summer. As always, please remember that pets are not allowed on school grounds.
The school office is open this summer from 9:00am-2:00pm. School registrations begin on August 1st. If you have questions, please call the school at 703-619-3600.
School supply information for the 2017-18 school year can be found here: https://stratfordlandinges.fcps.edu/announcements/2017-2018-school-supplies
Dolphin Digest - June 7, 2017
Field Day - Tomorrow
As long as the weather cooperates we will have field day this Thursday, June 8, 2017. Grades 4, 5, and 6 will have field day in the morning from 9:30-12:00 and grades K, 1, 2, and 3 will have field day from 12:30-3:00. Field Day is a day full of fun activities, we have 19 different activities for the students to enjoy. Some of the activities are bowling, ice pops, temporary tattoos, frisbee toss, soccer shootout, home run derby, sack races, obstacle course, jump rope, basketball, and two water relays. Students will get wet at the water relay stations, they will dry out during the other activities but a change of clothes can be brought to change into after. It is not too late to volunteer at field day, if you want to volunteer please sign up using the links below. If you have any questions please contact Mr. Fannon at email@example.com or Mr. Magee at DDmagee@fcps.edu
Sign-up for grades 4-6
Sign-up for grades K-3
All K-6 classes are participating in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics) Week next week, June 12-16. With much support from our PTA, teachers have created driving Project Based Learning (PBL) questions to guide students through days of research, inquiry, and exploration. This is our first annual STEAM week and we anticipate that through project based learning, children will be engaged in the following topics:
How can you as an engineer design a way for the Three Billy Goats Gruff to cross the river ?
We can see that our school is under construction and animals are losing their habitat as a result. How can we, as environmentalists, use recycled materials to build a new, safe habitat to provide a home for the animals that live around our school?
How could you, as a scientist, design a safe space for creatures to thrive and grow in the area around our school?
How can you, as a conservationist, promote recycling and encourage less littering and pollution throughout our school and playground?
How can you, as architectural engineers, design and construct an outdoor learning space (water and electric wiring are available)?
How can you, as a mechanical engineer, design a product that will assist a person with a physical disability with an everyday task?
How can you, as an interested applicant, contribute to and be selected for the mission to colonize Mars?
*STEAM week kicks off tomorrow night @ Gum Springs Center with a free movie showing of "Hidden Figures" for all 4-6 grade students and their families beginning at 6:00pm
All library books are due June 9th. The last day to check out library books is June 8th. If your child receives a missing book notice and they think they returned their books Mrs. Snow will be happy to complete a shelf check for the missing book. Contact Mrs. Snow at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Primary Election Day
Primary Election Day is Tuesday, June 13, and Stratford Landing ES is a polling place. Most schools in FCPS are used as election polling places. This year, we will be using the new teacher’s lounge (located next to door #9) as the polling place. so that we can better monitor voters . We will be using the cones/signs in the hall to direct voters straight into the room from door #9. In past years we have used the cafeteria, but due to the small number who generally turn out for a primary election, we have offered a smaller, more secluded space for the election. By FCPS regulation and VA law, schools CANNOT make voters sign in prior to voting, therefore, our staff and the voting staff will work to ensure everyone voting remains in the voting area and if anyone without a visitor sticker is observed in the hallways, the office will be contacted immediately.
The Fairfax County School Board adopted FCPS' FY 2018 Approved Budget of $2.8 billion. It includes more than $50 million of reductions. Specific cuts that will affect Stratford Landing are listed below:
- $44 million for an average step increase of 2.5% for all eligible employees, resulting in raises for all instructional employees.
- Increasing the staffing ratio formula by 0.5 students per teacher resulting in a savings of $14.7 million, resulting in LARGER class sizes at Stratford Landing. Staffing formulas currently average the number of students in kindergarten, 1st - 3rd, 4th-6th and separate staffing by programs (General Education and Level 4 Center). We anticipate that averages will be between 26-28 students in grades K-3 and 28-30 students in grades 4-6.
- A full summary of the final budget, including increases, additions, and reductions is available at www.fcps.edu/budget.
We are waiting on our final permits to move into the two-story addition (phase 2). As soon as we can move, 6th graders and the art rooms will transition to the new space. Kindergarten, first grade, and all other classrooms currently located inside the building will move to the new addition and renovation will begin on the current spaces after June 23rd. The cafeteria kitchen will begin construction prior to the end of the school year. This will result in bag lunches rather than students going through the traditional line. We will send a separate "Keep in Touch" when this occurs as it will change the meal offerings on the lunch menu. We also anticipate construction to begin on the gym prior to the end of the school year. This is necessary because the summer is two weeks shorter than was estimated when the original plans were submitted by Design and Construction a few years ago. Summer is precious time to renovate common spaces. Mr. Magee and Mr. Fannon are working to ensure PE continues outside and in other school spaces as necessary. We will communicate when PE classes shift outside of the gym.
Any questions/comments/concerns, please reach out to an administrator or call the front office. Thank you for your continued support.
Maureen E. Marshall, Ed.D.
Stratford Landing Elementary School
Dolphin Digest - May 26,2017
Dear Stratford Landing Families~
I understand there are many conversations happening regarding student safety at Stratford Landing. Open discussion about what we can do as a school and community is important. Know that I too share the goal of keeping Stratford Landing a wonderful place of learning that is safe for everyone. As many of you know, my two children attend Stratford also and I can see this from both the parent and administrator perspective.
I encourage all of you to attend our last PTA meeting of the year, June 1 at 7:00pm. Typically we have 4-8 parents attend each month. Evenings are busy for all families but PTA meetings are a terrific place to meet other parents, raise concerns and find out about future events and plans.
A big part of the safety conversation is the building of a fence. Let’s discuss that very issue. I want to provide some information that may be helpful moving the conversation forward. It is not as simple as “yes” or “no” on a playground fence. I have gathered information over the past few months from both Design and Construction and the Office of Safety & Security.
Our part of Fairfax County doesn’t have fences around any playgrounds unless there is a large population at the school with special needs who access the playground and keeping running students in a specific area is a concern. All area elementary schools have open playgrounds, a few with fenced equipment. The middle school and the high school are the same.
Our students are not outside without adult supervision. That being said, our current “playground” has a very large footprint; maybe we modify that. We hired recess monitors a few years ago when early release Monday afternoons were eliminated and schools were mandated to provide 300 minutes of uninterrupted planning for all teachers. At that time Stratford Landing wanted to keep the 30 minutes of outdoor recess (most FCPS schools have 15-20 minutes). The only way we could adhere to the 300 minute guideline, the mandated state hours per subject AND the 30 minute recess was to remove teachers from this duty. Removing monitors would result in a shorter recess period. This can be a consideration as we approach a new budget cycle.
Our campus is alongside a community park. Currently there is a construction fence but sometime in spring 2018, that fence will go away. Prior to construction, classes used the park regularly as well as the amphitheater for instruction. The current construction plan also adds some fencing to the side of the school but not the entire field. Our property also abuts private homes. Any type of fencing will have to involve a community input.
As the county endures even more budget cuts which affect everything from class sizes, equipment, technology, salaries, the cost of a fence would not be something they usually cover. Additionally for FCPS to approve one fence would be challenging without assuming that specific cost for the other schools countywide. In my conversations with offices I have often been told that doing specific things to sites creates inequity among schools (why Stratford deserves one over other schools), it also sets a precedent for future county spending.
Let’s talk about all of this in an open forum next week. Working together will benefit everyone. Please bring any ideas you may have to share! I have proposed to our PTA the creation of Safety, Security & Wellness committee that would meet regularly to discuss this issue and a host of others that need parent input. On Thursday night I will also share about some changes for next year, class size estimates, construction updates, curriculum changes, and a few other important issues. I look forward to your sending me names of parents (your own or community advocates) who would be great to serve on the Safety, Security & Wellness committee. Ideally, representation from all levels, neighborhoods, and programs would be great. I hope to see many of you on Thursday night at 7:00pm.
Enjoy the holiday weekend.
Maureen Marshall, Ed.D.
Dolphin Digest - May 4, 2017
Dear Stratford Landing Families~
We have some exciting news! On Monday, May 8th, the first phase of our new construction will be complete and the main front entrance will open for students, families, and staff! In addition to the front entrance opening, our new library, office, clinic, teachers’ lounge, building supervisor’s office, and parent workroom will also be open for business. Needless to say this is an exhilarating time for all of us. You will see lots of activity around the addition until Monday. If you visit us here in the office today or tomorrow you might see quite a few packing boxes as the team of movers will be transitioning the library and the main office starting Friday. We will remain fully operational as we transition spaces (we just may look a little messy).
Feel free to walk your child(ren) in our main, front entrance on Monday morning and take a look at the beautiful work of our contractors. It will give you a nice vision of the entire project which is still due to be completed by spring 2018.
One thing you will note about the main entrance is the enhanced security feature. After the second bell in the morning at 9:10 when visitors press the bell to open the front door, only the first set of doors will unlock. This now requires ALL visitors to go through the main office in order to gain access to the rest of the school. We are thrilled with our full visual view of the front of the school, main lobby, and the door security system. We will be getting FCPSs new visitor sign in system later next month. This sign in REQUIRES a valid ID for all visitors, volunteers, and check-outs EVERY time you visit our school. I will have more information on this enhanced security once our training is complete later this month. In the meantime, we will continue our current sign in/out system.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I look forward to seeing you at the entrance on Monday, or anytime later this year. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we undergo our massive renovation project.
Maureen Marshall, Ed.D.
Stratford Landing ES
Dolphin Digest - February 13, 2017
We hope you have spent time getting to know our new website. One of the best features of this site is the search feature. We are still working to provide the information you need, so if you haven't had a chance to weigh in on our Google survey, please take a moment to let us know what you would like to see on the Stratford Landing website.
Your children will be taking the mid-year iReady assessments this month. We should have results to send home to families in March.
New Public Health Nurse (PHN) and School Health Aide (SHA)
We have had a sub in our clinic since our SHA, Aimee Convery left last week to begin her career in social work. We will continue to have subs until our new SHA begins on March 6th. Our new School Heath Aide (SHA) will be Jeanne O’Hara! Many of you may remember Jeanne as she was an office assistant here for many years prior to her departure in 2014. We are excited to welcome back a familiar face in a new role!
Michelle Brookhart, our public health nurse, was transferred to the South County Pyramid. We welcome Diane Pohl as our new nurse, who started this week. Diane is also the nurse over at Sandburg and already knows many of our families. She is available via email email@example.com. Welcome Diane!
Most of you know from reading our Dolphin Digest in June, that Mrs.Kelly Chapman (former primary teacher) took a leave of absence this year to undergo treatment for breast cancer. We are thrilled to report that Mrs. Chapman has done well with treatments and is set to finish by early March.. Fortunately for us, Mrs. Chapman misses us as much as we miss her, so she will be returning THIS YEAR. We have made Mrs. Chapman's position a coach position starting March 21st. Welcome back Mrs. Chapman!
Outdoor Science Learning Center If you ever saw Field of Dreams you know the saying, If you build it, they will come! This is where we are headed with our outdoor learning center. When the modular unit is taken away in 2018, there will be a large slab of concrete that the builders need to spend $25,000 digging up and throwing away. I think that is an ENORMOUS waste of money, especially with another $50,000 (or so), we can BUILD on top of the concrete an OUTDOOR LEARNING CENTER. Our vision is that this learning center can hold up to the number of children at our largest grade level plus parents. The possibilities our endless. Our staff and students have begun to think of ways that an outdoor learning center could be an enormous asset to our school. I feel very confident that our school community can raise additional funds for this project and I would like to hear from you! Please email me and let me know your thoughts on our proposed Outdoor Science Learning Center.
Here is our wish list so far:
- Large, covered pavilion
- Running water access
- Use for project based learning, family events, science experiments, art projects, concerts, special events, and so much more...
Welcome to our GMU Interns!!
Please welcome our GMU Professional Development Schools (PDS) interns. These four interns started in January and will intern at SLES until the end of April. We are thrilled that Stratford Landing was selected to host PDS interns. This is our third year hosting field students and our first year hosting interns. They will be at school every day and will have a solo experience in each classroom. Mr. Magee heads up the site-based program with supervision from Mr. Otha Davis from GMU. We hope to grow this program each year and we are excited to have these talented students with us daily!
Haley Cousins, Kindergarten, Mrs Amico: I graduated from George Mason University in 2013 with a BA in English. She found her passion for teaching while working as a literacy tutor that fall, and soon decided to return to school. Ms. Cousins will graduate from GMU this May with an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction. She is thrilled to be learning from Mrs. Amico and the Stratford Landing community as she builds the skills she'll need in her own classroom this fall.
Melissa Gallo: 2nd grade, Ms. Gardner: I’m originally from Nebraska, though my husband and I have lived in this area about six years. Besides teaching, I enjoy running, yoga, cooking, and travel. I have some experience teaching in private schools previous to entering this program at GMU, including a school in Cairo, Egypt. I have also subbed in Alexandria for several years. I especially love children’s literature and helping children succeed in reading!
Caitlin Bousquet , 5th grade, Mrs. Deaton: I am a graduate student at George Mason University. I am currently completing my final semester at George Mason, and will graduate in the spring with a degree in Elementary Education. I received my undergraduate degree in Art History from George Mason, and learning about art, artists, and museums continues to be a great passion of mine. Over the past four years I have worked for Alexandria City Public Schools as a long-term substitute, and as a special education paraprofessional working with students in, and out of the general education setting. As a graduate student at George Mason, I have had the opportunity to visit with several schools within Fairfax County Public School system each semester to observe a wide variety of schools.
Maria Barrios, 3rd grade, Mrs. Peterson Chapman: I am currently a graduate student at George Mason University and this is my last semester. In May, I will be graduating with a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in K-6. I will then become a licensed teacher and will begin my teaching career in the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. I am a product of Fairfax County Public Schools and am excited to be working in this school system.
- Karen Snow - Nominated for FCPS Teacher of the Year
- Dustin Hess - Nominated for FCPS First Year Teacher of the Year
- Kara Anderson - Nominated for FCPS Support Person of the Year
FCPS changed its structure for nominations. All school nominations go forward to pyramid consideration and then on to regional selection. Congratulations to all of our nominees. We will let you know if any of our nominees make it through the next level.
2 Hour Delay Reminders
This doesn't seem to be the winter for snow days, but we do have delays. Here is what happens during a school delay:
- K and 1st students eat in the classroom soon after arrival.
- Specials begin at 11:40
- Recess is optional and supervised by the classroom teacher
- No breakfast is served to students
- Morning preschool does not attend.
Snow Day Give Back
Some parents have asked, if we don't use snow days do we get them back? Since the school board changed the calendar to build in thirteen snow days, we have used almost all of them yearly. In the past, when we had three or five built in days, the school board would consider giving back a day or two. If you want to voice your opinion on snow days, please contact our school board representative, Karen Corbett Sanders as decisions regarding the school calendar are set by our school board.
Environmental Education Intern
In addition to all of our awesome classroom interns and student teachers, we also are very fortunate to have Dani Boutte, GMU Garden/Environmental Education Intern, has been working for the last few weeks to support the Discovery Garden and Green Club objectives for this school year. She has a desk in the library, next to Mrs. Snow. Please stop by and welcome her. She is at Stratford Mondays and Wednesdays—9:00-4:00 pm, through May, 2017.
Ms. Boutte is currently working closely with Michelle Dittman and Shelly Lynch (parent) to adapt FCPS outdoor science lessons using the new Science 5 E’s—Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate---EVALUATE, for parent/teacher instruction. She is adding a parent instruction sheet. We will have these lessons available as they are finished. Ms. Boutte will train our garden parent volunteers when the lessons are completed. Currently we have 11 volunteers. Additionally, she will be looking at grants, ways to improve, enhance our current garden, “Roots to Shoots” club (Mr. Lapko), outdoor learning spaces, recycling and green club goals. Ms. Boutte comes to SLES with many talents and skills and is very willing to support in any way she can! We are very fortunate to have her at SLES.
FCPS 2017-18 Budget Overview
- We must ensure we meet the basic needs of the school system and focus on two key priorities from the Strategic Plan Ignite: employee compensation and classroom resources.
- Budget priorities are aligned with FCPS’ Strategic Plan.
- If revenue does not meet FCPS needs, the Board will have to identify program cuts, compensation reductions, and/or fee increases.Proposed budget totals $2.8 billion, which is an increase of 4.9% over the FY 2017 Approved Budget.
- Instruction continues to be more than 85% of the budget.
- 89% of the operating fund is for personnel with more than 9 out of 10 positions based in schools.
- FCPS has already taken historic reductions since 2008 totaling over half‐a‐billion dollars, including the elimination of nearly 2,200 positions.
- Propose funding of $44.0 million for an average step increase of 2.5 percent for all eligible employees.
- Propose a four-year implementation plan to bring teacher salaries to market average. The FY 2018 investment totals $33.2 million, including a market scale adjustment. With this level of investment each year, full implementation of the new scale is anticipated by FY 2021.
- Nearly 95 percent of the FCPS’ funding comes from the Board of Supervisors and the state.
- FCPS is relying on the County to provide $2.0 billion, or 72.2 percent, of total revenue.
- The requested increase in the county transfer of $108.2 million, or 5.7 percent.
- FCPS’ next largest source of revenue, $631.4 million (22.5 percent), comes from the state in the form of state aid ($432.5 million, or 15.4 percent) and sales tax revenue ($199.0 million, or 7.1 percent).
- On average, other Virginia jurisdictions receive nearly 46 percent of their operating revenue from the state more than double what FCPS receives.
Governor McAuliffe’s Proposed Budget Amendments
- The Governor’s budget proposal would provide a net increase of approximately $3.3 million in state aid above FCPS’ FY 2018 Proposed Budget.
- Major changes include the elimination of the 2.0 percent salary increase; the addition of a one-time 1.5 percent bonus, effective December 1, 2017; and a decrease in sales tax revenue.
- Governor’s proposed budget includes no change to the acceleration of the VRS employer contribution rate.
- The State budget will be finalized in March, and FCPS will recommend adjustments to state aid and sales tax revenue prior to the adoption of the FY 2018 Approved Budget by the School Board.
Potential Changes to ERFC
- In order to lower the budget impact and improve program viability, changes to the program are being considered.
- Changes that would impact new hires starting on or after July 1, 2017, and non-vested ERFC 2001 members (those with less than five years of service credit as of June 30, 2017) include:
- Changing the eligibility requirements to institute a minimum retirement age of 55 with 30 years or service. Current eligibility is 30 or more years of service credit with no minimum age. (With the proposal to implement a minimum age of 55, there is no change to the eligibility requirement to be at least 60 years of age and have 5 or more years of service credit.)
- Increasing the averaging period for the final average salary (FAS) calculation from 3 years to 5 years.
- Changing the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to equal 100% of Consumer Price Index (CPI), but not more than 4% (currently there’s a fixed 3 percent COLA).
Also lowering the interest crediting rate on member accounts from 5% to 4% (interest credited each fiscal year on all amounts that have been on deposit with ERFC for the full fiscal year) is being considered. This change primarily impacts those terminating FCPS and withdrawing their ERFC contribution balances. Stay tuned for updates and potential cuts that will affect Stratford Landing ES.
Dolphin Digest - Jan/Feb 2017
We have a new website! We are "Under Construction" both at school and on the web!
Welcome to the new Stratford Landing Elementary School website.
We are honored to be one of the first schools to move to the new website format adopted by Fairfax County Public Schools this past summer.
When you begin to explore the site, if you are not able to find the information you need on our home page, you can use any of the following:
- Search Function, similar to the way you would look for information on Google,
- Top Menu, which links to main topics including About, Academics, Activities, Resources, and Contact Us, and
- Full Menu, in the upper left hand corner of the home page, which shows all the items under the main topics.
Our new site offers several important advantages, including:
- Displaying on mobile devices, an important feature because so many of you are coming to the site through cell phones,
- Enabling the easy sharing of content between school and Fairfax County Public Schools (for example, emergency alerts about weather closures etc. from the main site will be promptly displayed on the school site),
- Making navigation of sites easier for parents as children progress through the FCPS schools because all sites will feature similar menus, and
- Featuring accessibility to all users with disabilities (508 compliant).
If you have bookmarked our old website at https://www2.fcps.edu/StratfordLandingES/, be sure to update that with our new website address https://StratfordLandingES.fcps.edu.
While we have tried to include all of the information that you come to rely on, there may be something that we have forgotten. If this is the case, feel free to contact Kate Pennington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also interested in your opinion about the new website. Please help us by filling out a short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/fcpswebsurvey.
We hope you’ll visit the website often and stay involved!