Dolphin Digest - Welcome Back to School!

Dolphin Digest August 2019

Dear Stratford Landing Families,

As I finish up my first month of work with the Stratford Landing staff, students and community, I wanted to share my sincere appreciation for the warm welcome I have received.  I’m so thrilled to begin this journey together with you. I can’t tell you what this means to me both personally and professionally. I have been given such an incredible honor and opportunity to serve this wonderful community, and I’m prepared to offer 100% of my energy towards the success of every student here at SLES.

To say August has been busy for our school would be an understatement. We spent a lot of August reflecting on our practices as a staff. We connected with FCPS experts and resources to revise, refine and adjust some of our school-wide behavior management practices. We reaffirmed our commitment to Responsive Classroom by hosting a Responsive Classroom course here at Stratford Landing over the summer. This was a great opportunity for our new staff to receive professional development around Responsive Classroom.

You can learn more about RC here.

With nearly 30 new staff members, we have spent a lot of our summer supporting those new to Stratford Landing. New staff members attended a SLES orientation meeting. We were also sure to build in some fun team building opportunities for our whole staff to foster positive, productive relationships amongst staff. Each new staff member has a veteran SLES staff member as a mentor.  Each new staff member has had the opportunity to make great connections with veteran Stratford Landing staff. The feedback from our opening week together was positive, and many new staff shared they have felt supported since arriving at SLES. Kudos to some impressive, hard-working, passionate veteran staff members for providing such great support for those new to our building, including me! They were rock stars.

Also during our opening week with staff we had a lot of great opportunities to reflect on the years of success here at Stratford Landing. Staff were asked to share success stories and identify what they were proud of over the past several years. We named the kinds of things we were doing well for our students. We made some commitments to programs, practices and beliefs that we want to continue this school year. Lastly, we started looking forward and brainstormed lists of statements and ideas of what we want for the future of Stratford Landing Elementary. We will revisit these lists and ideas throughout the year. This will help us focus our mission, vision and beliefs for SLES in the years to come. We’ll use this school year to start collaboratively planning for what we want to accomplish over the next 3 years at Stratford Landing.

We spent a lot of our time this summer connected to instruction and curriculum. During the summer grade level teams met as a Collaborative Team (CT). These meetings were structured times for teams to dive deep into instructional practices, programs and curriculum. Teams also discussed and planned for differentiation and scaffolds so all students can be successful. SLES Teacher leaders also led our staff in professional development in both literacy and math. Once again, John Jacobs, our Region 3 Equity Lead, led our staff in meaningful conversations about our commitments to equitable instructional practices and maintaining an inclusive learning community. Erin Sylves, our Region 3 Educational Specialist, has guided our staff as we reflect on and refine how we support all our learners through multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS).

And what was all that work this August for? Our students!

We had a very successful opening week with our students. Our first day was an exciting, busy one. Many of you were able to get a snapshot with the one and only, Bubbles! It really has been a pleasure seeing all the families hugging and high-fiving their child good-bye to start off a great day, and many of those same children running back into their parents’ arms at the end of the school day. Which reminds me, students should always walk, not run at any time, during arrival and dismissal. I thought I’d sneak that in😊

Teachers at SLES have done an incredible job our first week of school helping keep students safe, providing routines and structures, and most importantly giving your child a sense of belonging! I’ve witnessed many Morning Meetings, Recess Circles and Closing Circles. These hallmarks of Responsive Classroom give your child multiple opportunities during the school day to build relationships with their classmates. I observed many community building activities in classrooms, and I can’t tell you how many students I heard laughing (in their classroom, with their teacher) all week long. It’s as if we’ve been back for weeks. Students at our school are very fortunate to have such caring, compassionate adults working on their behalf each day.

Some great conversation starters to help you speak to your child about their sense of belonging at SLES

  • What is something you think you bring to your classroom? What is something that you’re good at that could help others in your classroom?
  • Who would you like to be friends with that you’re not friends with yet? What could you say or do to help show that person you want to be friends?
  • Who is someone in your class you could do something nice for? What could you do? How do you think it would make them feel?
  • How can you be helpful to your classmates tomorrow? To your teacher? What does that look like?

I join the Stratford Landing Staff in thanking all our families for their partnerships and support. I’m eager to learn more about the Stratford Landing community, as well as create opportunities for community voices to be heard as we plan the future of our school together. Please be on the lookout for community engagement sessions, administration / parent listening sessions, parent focus groups and community surveys. I want to speak with families frequently!

Thank you so much! #podpride

Mr. Kevin Morris, Principal  

Dolphin Digest July 2019

I want to thank the students, families, staff and the school community for a lovely celebrations throughout the month of June.  I was overwhelmed with your kind words and remembrances of my time here at SLES.  The PTA planted a beautiful tree with a plaque in front of our school, the students made incredible books with detailed illustrations and wonderful memories, and the staff renamed the 6th grade Community Service Award the Dr. Marshall Community Service award and presented it to me on June 12that the 6th grade promotion ceremony.  It was indeed a fabulous way to end my career in FCPS. 

New Assistant Superintendent

The Region 3 Assistant Superintendent, Terry Dade, left on June 30th for a Superintendent position in Rochester, New York.  He has been replaced by Dr. Nardos King ( Grace Taylor and Evangeline Petrich remain as Executive Principals in the Region 3 Office.  Prior to Mr. Dade’s departure, he indicated a new principal would be appointed to Stratford Landing by August 1st.  Any questions regarding this appointment should be directed to the Region Office 571-423-1130.


If you need to register a kindergartener or if you are a new family to SLES, please make an appointment with Kris Rakes in the main office (703-619-3600) after August 1st to register your child(ren).

Prevent 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:

  1. Participate in Stratford Landing’s Reading Challenge this summer!
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Take local day trips. Keep a journal about your travels.
  5. Play quick games with flashcards like Math War or Concentration to keep math skills sharp.
  6. Listen to Audio Books during your road trip (these are FREE from the public library).
  7. Take pictures and make a summer scrapbook.
  8. Learn a new card came – if it involves math, even better!
  9. Try a virtual field trip.
  10. Make Bedtime Math part of your nightly routine!
  11. If you are thinking of managing “device/TV time” use the 2:1 or 3:1 rule of thumb, for every 2 or 3 hours of outside time, children earn an hour of “screen time”.
  12. Most of all have fun and enjoy as much time outside as possible!

Note:   As of July 13th, Stratford Landing Students will NO LONGER have access to the iReady Intervention Program.  In fact, FCPS will no longer allow any schools to purchase iReady intervention (even though they will continue with the assessment using iReady 3x a year).  Luckily, Stratford Landing has been approved for the math online pilot starting in the fall of 2019 but at this time we have NO APPROVED online reading intervention programs.  As we discussed at the final PTA meeting, this was disturbing for a number of families who saw the benefits of iReady both for their own child and for the benefits it provided to the teacher to easily differentiate and engage students while they worked with multiple small groups in the classroom.  I am still waiting to hear from county’s Instructional Services department on approved replacements.  Unfortunately, I haven’t received much and was not provided with the research report from the previous year as to why we could not continue with iReady.  As I shared at our final PTA meeting, our intervention triangles and end of year data showed promising results with this targeted intervention.  I am sure the new SLES principal will again have this as a priority as the school begins.

School Supplies

Stratford Landing will continue the tradition of signing up for bulk school supplies using Sign Up Genius. Allowing all supplies to be purchased and delivered to the grade-level by the first day of school results in a more efficient use of shared supplies throughout the school.  Shared supplies have a number of benefits for the students, teachers, and families.  Take advantage of the summer supply specials and sign up and purchase TODAY!  You CAN drop off or send supplies DIRECTLY to the school (8484 Riverside Road, Alexandria, VA 22308) now, be sure to indicate the GRADE LEVEL with you supplies.  Don’t delay, sign up now for school supplies!

6th Grade Community Service Requirement

All 6th graders are required to do a minimum of 5 hours of community service prior to promotion in June.  Students who go beyond 15 hours and choose to write an essay and be interviewed by a few staff members, will be eligible for the Community Service Award (recently renamed The Dr. Marshall Community Service Award) at promotion in June.  Mrs. Kasparek, our school counselor will explain this to them in the fall.  Service hours count from July through May and include activities outside of the regular school day. Be looking for additional information in the fall.   The video here explains Service Learning in FCPS.

Class Assignments

You will be notified either electronically or by mail of your child’s classroom assignment before Open House on August 22nd.  Bus assignments are also sent electronically to parents/guardians and these come directly from the FCPS Office of Transportation.  No lists are posted at the school.

Save the Dates:

  • Rising K Jump Start: Tuesday August 13th – Thursday August 15th from 9am-11am.  Parents must provide transportation.  This is a great opportunity to “try on” kindergarten before any bigger students enter the building! Just show up on August 13th at 8:50am, no need to RSVP!
  • Open House – Come and meet the teachers and the administrative team!  To limit the crowds, we ask that you come according to your child’s last name.
    • 1:00-1:30 – New Family Meet & Greet - cafeteria
    • 1:30pm - 2:15pm Open House A-L
    • 2:15pm - 3:00pm Open House M-Z

Back to School Night

Thursday, September 5th – Parent only event

(repeat sessions)




It has been a pleasure serving as your principal these past 5½ years.  I wish you and your families the very best and I look forward to seeing so many of you around the neighborhood.

Maureen Marshall, Ed.D.

Principal (until July 31st)





May 2019

Dear Stratford Landing Families,

I have been truly fortunate to be the principal at Stratford Landing Elementary School for the past five and a half years. After 25 years of service to Fairfax County Public Schools, I have decided to embrace a new opportunity and retire from Fairfax County Public Schools this summer. My career is not coming to a complete end as I am off to George Mason University this fall.  I have accepted a position in the Graduate School of Education in the Education Leadership Department. I will be serving as a full-time Assistant Professor working with graduate students studying to be school administrators.

It seems like just yesterday that I began my teaching career in Fairfax County. I remember so well my very first year of teaching and each subsequent transition to new endeavors and experiences, from Springfield Estates Elementary, Crestwood Elementary, Garfield Elementary, and my last stop here at Stratford Landing. Since my arrival, we have implemented a multitude of practices to keep current with our students’ needs and ensure all students and families feel a sense of belonging, significance and joy at our school. 

When I arrived at Stratford Landing, we quickly began the long process of our multi-million-dollar renovation which finished this spring with the overhaul of our playgrounds and completion of library murals. While we renovated our existing spaces, we embraced positive changes inside our school walls as well. We grew a large cadre of teacher leaders to distribute leadership tasks to a variety of staff with specific skills and passions. We have been working as a Professional Learning Community (PLC) where the focus is on the collaborative teams of teachers taking collective responsibility for all our students. The PLC process focuses on learning, collaboration and improved student learning. This process is deeply embedded at Stratford Landing and has transformed our school’s instructional practices. 

We adopted a variety of curriculum materials at Stratford Landing such as Being a Writer, Being a Reader, and Making Meaning in addition to strong regular intervention monitoring with the computerized Universal Screener and personalized intervention system, iReady. We increased our collaboration by using shared plan books so that every grade-level looked similar with instructional practices. Our social-emotional needs of our students came into clearer focus as our entire school became trained in the practices of Responsive Classroom, a Tier I support for social emotional skills, resulting in a more inclusive school climate. We also worked as leaders in the county as our teams learned and led with Project Based Learning (PBLs) and Portrait of a Graduate (POG) embedded lessons. This June, we will have our first Success Days, celebrating each child’s individual growth throughout the year.

This fall, our school started a new chapter of collaboration, working with community organizations and parents to support the Fairfax One initiative. We began conversations about race, privilege, cultural bias, and academic gaps between racial groups in order to ensure all students have access and opportunity to all our programs and support in a comfortable school environment. 

In the coming weeks, the Department of Human Resources and Mr. Terry Dade, Region 3 Assistant Superintendent, will share the next steps in the principal selection process. I am confident that they will take great care to appoint a principal who will maintain high academic standards, focusing on equity and access, as well as continue to foster a warm and inclusive school environment. My official last day at Stratford Landing will be July 31, 2019. 

It has been a privilege to work with such an outstanding staff, superb students, and an involved community these past years. I want to assure you that Stratford Landing will not miss a beat as a new principal transitions into the school. I know you will demonstrate the same kindness and support to the incoming principal later this summer as you did to me in 2013. 

I look forward to seeing many of you around the neighborhood, no longer as your principal, but as a neighbor and mom.

Maureen Marshall, Ed.D.






April 2019

Dear Dolphin Families,

Over the past few weeks, our students have thoroughly enjoyed our renovated and updated play structures.  These additions were part of the school bond funds that paid for our school renovation. This was the last part of our renovation, so we are now finished with our school renovation.  The next one will be somewhere around 2050!

April is the month of the military child. During the month of April we recognize the sacrifices made by all of our military families. Our military students make many sacrifices and face challenges that we want to acknowledge and support. We have over 100 military families here at Stratford Landing. Our military support group is has put together a bulletin board in our school to highlight this month. To show our support for our military families, we have designated several days throughout the month to “Purple Up”. Everyone is encouraged to wear purple on those days in honor of our military connected students. All Fridays in April are “Purple Up” days. There will be a popsicle social on Friday, April 26 directly after school. Stop by on your way home!

As a reminder, Thursday, April 25th is school picture day. Also of note, next week is Kindergarten Orientation on Thursday, April 11th from 9:30-10:30am (this section is WITH rising kindergarteners) and the 7-8pm is a repeat session, with parents only. We can’t wait to meet all the new dolphins! Please encourage any rising kindergarten families you know to attend either session!





February 2019

January seemed to get away from us with a blink of an eye and lots of weather-related delays/closures on top of workdays and holidays…it is hard to believe we are already in February.  It has been hard to get into a solid routine since winter break, but our teachers and support staff have done an amazing job of keeping everyone focused and on target when they have been here.  I am hoping that the groundhog is correct and we have an early spring!  

One major change last week was that Mrs. Hanna, our second school counselor had to resign her position here to care for an ailing parent.  We are working to replace her and have had substitutes to support Mrs. Kasparek with classroom guidance lessons.  The week of February 4-8 is School Counselor Appreciation Week.  Mrs. Kasparek is an integral part of our school.  Not only does she teach our students guidance lessons, she is always an ear to listen to children, lead children, and provide modeling and opportunities for children to always do the right thing.  Mrs. Kasparek works tirelessly to ensure Stratford Landing is a place where every child feels at home.  Take time this week to say thanks to an outstanding school counselor!  Thank you, Ms. Kasparek, for making Stratford Landing so special!

Stratford Landing is celebrating Black History Month by holding its PTA meeting this month on Wednesday, February 13th at the Gum Springs Community Center at 7:00pm. Gum Springs plays such a rich part of our history in this area.  Mr. Ron Chase, curator of the Gum Springs museum will be the guest speaker that evening, and he will also have the museum open for all who attend the meeting.  This is truly an experience that should not be missed.

Please remember to ask your child to stop by the lost and found located by Door 8 (near the playground entrance) should they be missing a hat, glove, or winter wear.  The lovely outerwear has been piling up.

Tomorrow, February 6th, students will come home with their progress reports.  We hope that you have enjoyed the regular communication prior to report cards from your child’s teacher. We believe that progress reports should bring no surprises to families.

In talking to your child about his/her 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 many areas you can bring up.” Setting goals such as, “You should only have 4’s,” can easily frustrate even the best student when they fall short by even one mark.
  • Remind your child that everyone has strengths and challenges- You and your child need to remember that a progress report is 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!

If you have questions, concerns, or compliments, please be sure to contact your child’s teacher.  Two-way communication is key to your child’s success.

I am always here if you have questions or comments at @email , 703-619—3600, or at arrival and dismissal daily. The administrative team is hosting a parent thank you on February 14th through arrival (8:55-9:30am) as 7-11 coffee will be available for all parents.  We hope you stop by on February 14th for a cup of coffee in the morning and some conversation.




December 2018

December 3-7 is Inclusive Schools Week. This year’s Inclusive Schools Week theme is Kaleidoscope of Friends. If you look into a kaleidoscope, you see an infinite array of patterns of brilliant light created by repeated reflection. Kaleidoscope comes from two Greek words: kalos, meaning “beautiful,” and eidos, meaning “shape.” And indeed, education takes on a beautiful shape when all children belong and are valued as contributing members of the school community. That is the vision of inclusive education; it drives decisions, actions, and core beliefs here at Stratford Landing Elementary School. Learn more about Inclusive Schools in FCPS by clicking on the highlighted link.

All students deserve access to the Fairfax County Program of Studies for which the state assessments will judge their abilities.  All students benefit from the opportunity to have friendships and meaningful social relationships. All staff take ownership for the educational and social outcomes for all students, whether a general or specialized educator. We believe in the capability of all students, educators, administrators, families, and community members to be kind, cooperative, resilient, resourceful, and capable of learning new and inclusive ways of teaching and learning as we move together in the direction of our shared inclusive vision. We are honored to have a school community where All means ALL!

In addition to our inclusive spirit and practice, next week, your generosity will allow our Care & Share Committee to donate presents to almost 200 of our own students in need to ensure they have a wonderful holiday too. 

At this time of year, we think a lot about gift giving – some of the best gifts parents can give their children this holiday season are the gifts of time and opportunities to enjoy reading. Experts tell us that the single most important way to encourage a love of reading in children is to read aloud to them. It’s recommended that no matter what age your child, set aside some time every day (we recommend 20 minutes) and read to/with your child.

Please be sure to check our Lost & Found at the end of the B hallway if you are in the building at all before break. It is OVERFLOWING with items. Wearing warm clothing is critical during the winter season as we go out for recess every day unless there is a weather advisory. We just need our students to remember to take all their items home daily and claim lost ones before break.

As the holiday season quickly approaches, we wish all of you a wonderful break. Please know that the iReady online instruction is available to students over break if you feel the need for them to engage in skill-based learning activities. We will see you back here on January 7, 2019.


November 2018

Discovery Garden/Outdoor Learning Classroom awarded Apple Federal Credit Union Impact Grant!

On November 20th, the Discovery Garden was awarded an Apple Federal Credit Union Education Foundation Impact Grant to create a Hortitherapy Garden and a Free Farmers Market. Hortitherapy engages a person in gardening activities to achieve mindfulness and other therapeutic goals. This grant gives Stratford Landing Elementary School the opportunity to create a hortitherapy garden where students will take responsibility for growing a garden, create a meaningful appreciation for life, and develop a sense of mindfulness. The largely food-based hortitherapy garden will also address the needs of our students and the surrounding community. We will use the harvested produce to establish a weekly Free Farmers Market at the Gum Springs Community Center where families in need can receive free healthy food for their families.

The grant was written by Ms. Mary Charlton, Outdoor Learning Teacher; Ms. Stephanie Kasparek, Counselor; and Ms. Michelle Dittman, ESOL/STEAM teacher.  The Grant packet required the school to write about a new and innovative program that has an impact on programs and services that benefit FCPS students and their families. When the school was presented with the check for $4,000 in November, we were told that we were one of the top applicants and they were very impressed with our plan. The team from Apple Federal Credit Union, our Region Assistant Superintendent and our Board Member toured our garden and are looking forward to learning about our progress and successes. The garden beds arrived this week!  Ms. Charlton and our students were busy putting the beds together.


October 2018

It has been a wonderfully warm first 6 weeks of school.  Students have been fortunate to have the feel of summer all the way through mid-October.  As students have settled in well to their classroom routines you should be getting regular communication from the classroom teacher and have hopefully met with your child’s teacher to share your hopes and dreams for him/her for this school year.  The better we know your child, the better we can serve both his/her academic and emotional needs.  Below are some highlights from the start of the school year!  We look forward to seeing all of our parent volunteers next week at our school’s major fundraiser day, Rock N Run.

October is Bullying Awareness Month

At Stratford Landing our grade levels spend the first quarter of school teaching specific lessons on bullying and bullying behaviors.   FCPS defines bullying as any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. “Bullying” includes cyberbullying. “Bullying” does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.” 

In 2015, our Stratford Landing PTA paid for author of Bullyproof Your Classroom, Caltha Crowe, to work with our staff on a comprehensive plan to prevent bullying.  We purchased her book and continue to teach the research-based lessons in all of our classrooms K-6.  I shared some of the information below at our PTA meeting this month and those parents in attendance encouraged me to post it as part of our Dolphin Digest this month.

Bullying typically does not emerge from thin air. It starts with small, mean social behaviors, such as name calling or exclusion.  These “gateway behaviors,” as they’re called by Elizabeth Englander of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC), may seem like just a part of normal childhood. But bullying experts have found that when such small acts of social aggression go unchecked, they can become the accepted mode of interaction. Once that happens, children may quickly move from poking fun or smirking to openly calling classmates mean names and then to pinching, shoving, and excluding the targeted classmate from recess games or classroom conversations.

Addressing the signs of bullying early, before the behavior and its impact get worse, is important to creating a safe and caring school and community.  Our staff is working hard to notice small behaviors, assess what they are seeing, and respond quickly and firmly in a respectful way.  We know that children will test boundaries and it is important that all adults are clear that mean behaviors are not acceptable.

As a parent, you can help to prevent “gateway behaviors” by teaching your children how to:

  • notice when they are caring and hold expectations for their behavior
  • prepare children for how they plan to get along before they set off to play
  • model how you deal with angry feelings
  • work with children to be assertive without being aggressive in standing up for themselves

Children need to understand how important it is to report issues to both you and/or school staff. Parents can help by encouraging children to talk about what is happening at school, in their neighborhoods, on the bus, etc.

As well, it is important to teach children the difference between telling/reporting and tattling.

  • Tattling is reporting to an adult about someone else’s behavior in order to get them in trouble.
  • Telling/Reporting is reporting to a responsible adult about someone else’s behavior in order to help someone – themselves or someone else.

At Stratford Landing, we never use the word “tattling” in a negative manner.  We acknowledge a student’s reporting/telling and say, “Thank you for letting us know that you know the rules.”  As parents it is important to encourage the open line of communication with your child. 

Parents and families can help children understand the importance of telling/reporting.  Bullying research has found states if we continue to tell children they are “tattling”, by third grade children stop reporting important things to adults.

Caltha Crowe’s research stated that bullying usually starts with small, mean, gateway behaviors that gradually escalate when adults fail to respond, or respond inappropriately. As adults, it is absolutely critical that we learn to see and respond immediately to gateway behaviors. Doing so will help transform our classrooms, school, and neighborhoods into places of safe and joyful learning for all children.  We appreciate your help as we work to keep our school, classroom, and community safe, joyous, and a place where everyone feels they belong.  If you have any questions, please reach out to our school counselors and school administrators.   Please know it is perfectly OK to report “something to keep an eye on” as this helps adults put our ears and eyes in potential trouble spots.


What is Capstone?

As teachers and students begin to settle into the school year and focus on the learning and content becomes more rigorous you will begin to hear your children and teachers talk about Project-Based Learning opportunities in the classroom and in 3rd, 5th and 6th grade you will begin to hear about the Capstone portfolio your students will be working on. As a school we have been implementing Project-Based Learning (PBL’s) for about three years. PBL’s are a way for our teachers to make learning more authentic and real for our students. Your children begin to look at the information they are learning through a new lens. They no longer are simply given the information, but they are asked to look critically at information, research about it and develop an outcome. They may look at science or social studies content through the lens of an engineer, museum curator or author to help them apply the understanding of material as compared to memorizing facts. At Stratford Landing our teachers utilize PBL’s or similar type activities to support the creation of the Capstone Project with students.

So what is the Capstone project? At its foundation the Capstone project is an SOL replacement. Several years ago the state of Virginia stopped standardized multiple choice testing of third grade science, third grade social studies and sixth grade U.S. History. School districts were directed to replace the test with a more authentic measure of student learning and mastery of the content. From that directive came the FCPS CapstonExperience.

The Capstone project gives us an avenue to delve deeper into the work and critical and creative learning that students are doing by reflecting on the process they used to reach their outcomes. Through their projects and PBL’s teachers and students also interact with Portrait of a Graduate attributes to develop skills so that they can be successful in the workforce. Students now take time to reflect on the learning they have done and the skill set required to be successful on the project. They are taught how to articulate the way they collaborated and communicated with peers to complete tasks and share work. They are required to maintain a portfolio of their learning and the self-reflections of how they worked to accomplish the tasks.

By incorporating the CapstonExperience and the Portrait of a Graduate attributes into our daily curriculum we are able to engage all our students with high levels of rigor and develop skills to help them be successful beyond the content and Standards of Learning. You will find more information about the FCPS CapstonExperience Framework below.

Learn more about the FCPS adopted Portrait of a Graduate skills at:

Capstone “begins with the end in mind.”​ It is a K-12 articulated experience that ends with students being able to articulate and present evidence from their K-12 learning experiences that demonstrate how they are creative, globally-minded problem solvers who are growing and developing in their Portrait of a Graduate skills. Students present to a variety of stakeholders and authentic audiences. Along the K-12 way, there are checkpoints for schools and students at 3rd, 5th, 8th, 10th and 11th or 12th grade with a common Capstone rubric.

What do students and schools do for Capstone?

● Students present a cumulative summary of their learning in a structured Presentation of Learning. Students provide evidence of some of the following (school choice - see “menu of options”):

○ Portrait of a Graduate self-assessment and growth

○ Interdisciplinary project-based and/or performance-based learning experiences

○ Reflections on academic and personal goals, acquisition of skills and content, and developing interests

○ Cross-curricular understanding of Capstone themes, concepts and big ideas

○ Written & Oral communication abilities that are aligned to the Virginia SOL


● Schools create the pathway, structures and instructional scaffolds needed for students to present their Capstone experiences. ​Schools receive support and resources from Instructional Services



Discovery Garden/Outdoor Learning


Outdoor Learning in the Discovery Garden is happening every day here at Stratford Landing!  We are fortunate to have a new, part-time Garden Teacher, Mary Charlton, and 30 minute blocks of scheduled time in the garden.  With the generous funding from our PTA last year, we were able to purchase benches, plants, mulch, supplies and equipment, to outfit an outdoor classroom setting.  This is a sample of some of the lessons students have had so far this year:

Week of September 17th—to learn more about Water Monitoring & Conservation Day classes worked on purifying "polluted" water.

Arrival of Autumn--- submerging leaves in water to observe them release oxygen bubbles as they breathe; observing leaves that are taking up red colored water and discussing how the tubes (xylem) of a leaf transport water and nutrients.

Outdoor classes are furiously trying to control the weeds and plant our fall vegetables! No watering necessary!! 

In the garden…Monarch Butterflies are Hatching

There are not many caterpillars left in the garden, but there are TONS of chrysalises and butterflies. If you see an "injured" butterfly, look closer! Often it is a newly hatched butterfly that has not uncurled its wings completely yet. It takes about two hours of the butterfly opening and closing its wings to get blood flow to the wing tips so it can fly! Please watch your step as they are frequently on the ground!

Planting News…The new garden bed is slowly getting filled in. Currently, the carrots and spinach have been planted. Garlic will be planted as it becomes available and cover crops will be planted as the summer vegetables are pulled.

Composting… Vermicomposter--The vermicomposter is up and running and is a favorite of most kids! The worms are eating about 4 cups of food from the cafeteria each week and this number will increase as the worms multiply! If your class is interested in hosting a vermicomposter please let Mary Charlton know. They are fairly maintenance free!  Thank you, PTA!  For purchasing our vermicomposter!

Green Club…first meeting in October!

This year The Green Club will have three areas of focus to support our environmental stewardship at Stratford Landing.

  • Three Rs –Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
  • Garden
  • Composting

Each class has selected three students.  Students will be work on one of the focus areas.  Meetings will be held monthly during morning meeting.  More information to come…


The Garden Committee met in September to review the SLES Plan for the 2018-19 school year.  The Garden Committee School Plan will target three areas:  1) Education: training/support for teachers, students and parents; 2) Student Ownership-*authentic learning -*Portrait of a Graduate (POG) -*Environmental Stewardship/Mindfulness; 3) Parent Volunteers, Garden Room Parents


Stratford Landing will be working on becoming a registered eco-school with the NWF Eco-Schools USA program.  We will receive assistance from FCPS Get2Green to eventually earn a Green Flag award. 


The Girl Scouts and RESET (Raising Excitement for Science, Engineering and Technology) will collaborate to create a native garden area.  This will be completely funded and completed by these two groups.  We are very grateful to have these two amazing groups share their talents, time, and effort with Stratford Landing. 


The Eagle Scouts are also meeting with our Committee members to provide a project that will support our garden.  More to come…


There are several exciting grant opportunities that we will be applying for in the next few weeks.  More info to come soon.


We have created a Vision Statement for our SLES Discovery Garden and Outdoor Learning:


Stratford Landing’s Discovery Garden and Outdoor Learning program is to develop and support hands on learning experiences through schoolyard-based lessons across all curricular areas. Children will also develop a knowledge of organic gardening techniques, nutrition, and healthy behaviors. They will utilize their structured independence to maintain the outdoor learning areas and gardens and empower a student based sense of ownership for this living laboratory. Further, the children will contribute to environmental solutions that benefit the broader community. They will promote stewardship and act responsibly to build trust and lead in all garden endeavors.



September 1, 2018

Greetings Stratford Landing families~

What a fantastic start to our school year.  We have seen so many returning students and many new students this week. The energy with our students and staff is simply amazing.  If you are a new family to Stratford Landing and would like additional information about our school or if you are a returning family to Stratford Landing and would like to brush up on school life, I strongly encourage you to go through this Welcome Back 2018-19 Presentation.  It might answer some questions you have, and it will update you on what is new this school year.  The PTA President Keely Kirk and the administrative team would like to welcome you to two casual information sessions where you can ask questions, meet other parents, or just engage more in the information from the online PowerPoint.   We love the opportunity to talk to people face to face and to get to know our parents better.  On Thursday, September 6th from 9:15-10:15 or 6:15-7:15 in the library, we will have two sessions for Back to School information and questions.  If these times don’t work for you, please feel free to email us and set up a time to talk.

Our entire staff has been working hard during this first week of school to get to know children and to establish a safe and welcoming classroom and school environment. This early investment during the first six weeks of school makes the whole school year go better. Our staff uses Responsive Classroom strategies to foster safe, challenging, and joyful classrooms.  All of our teachers (PK-6) are following The First Six Weeks of School by Paula Denton and Roxann Kriete.

We have specific goals for students during the first six weeks of school. During this time we establish expectations and routines, generate rules, and articulate goals—this is the foundation for a productive and cooperative year of learning. Teachers work hard to convey, from the very first day of school, the important message that we will do high-quality work in our classrooms in an atmosphere of support and collaboration. This atmosphere does not just appear, it must be carefully constructed upon many small, but critical, building blocks, and the first six weeks of school is the time to do it. 

Here are some coming things your child/children may mention in the coming weeks:

  • Students are introduced to the classroom and school environment, and to the expectations we hold about learning. We also introduce and establish expectations for behavior, the limits we will set, and the ways we will enforce those limits. We introduce the routines that help students learn while taking care of each other, the tools in the school, and the environment.
  • Students practice the expected skills and behaviors—at first with very close teacher guidance and structure, and then, as their familiarity and competence grow, with increasing amounts of independence.
  • Students can come to know each other and develop a sense of belonging through activities that help them define their commonality and their differences. Deliberately focusing on group-building activities during these weeks helps create the trust and safety essential for active, collaborative learning.
  • This sense of trust is not built solely on warmth and friendliness. It is also built upon students’ assurance that there are reasonable limits and boundaries for behavior and that their teacher will enforce them. Students should see that their teacher will exercise vigilance and good judgment to keep everyone safe.
  •  Students are introduced to a sense of order and predictability in daily school life.  This enables children to relax, to focus their energy on learning, and to feel competent.
  • Students use the technique of guided discoveries, to extend their ideas about the creative use of space and materials, develop guidelines about sharing particular resources, and learn how to care for materials.
  • Classrooms establish expectations about ways we will learn together in the year ahead. Teachers will generate excitement and enthusiasm about the curricula they will engage in this year.  It is our job as educators to help students achieve these high standards as we learn with and from each other.
  •  Students will also function with autonomy. Autonomy in a school setting means governing oneself with an awareness of the needs of the community. These needs vary—each year, each month, each week—according to the class composition, students’ maturity, what our classroom space allows, and what materials we have to work with.  Some students will acquire a high degree of autonomy relatively quickly; others will struggle and need support all year. Building this autonomy is the focus of our curriculum for the early weeks of school. It is exhilarating and exhausting work. It is an investment that pays off all year long.

In order to accomplish our goals during the first six weeks of school, every student and staff member will wear a nametag for the first six weeks of school.  This helps strengthen our school and classroom communities.  It allows students and teachers an opportunity to get to know each other’s names.  It is amazing what a difference it makes when you address each other by name.  If your child comes home with a nametag, please return it.

Teachers are experts on curriculum and pedagogy, but parents are experts on their own children -- how the children absorb information, what delights them, how they show that they're upset, what comforts them. During the first six weeks, we can create a climate of respect, trust, and collaboration with you!. Our parent conferences this year will be held in September and October.   At the conference the teacher will be asking you some things about your child so that he/she is better able to build a relationship with you and your child to support his/her learning.  During the conference the teacher will also share your child’s goals for the year.  Please be candid during these conferences because as parents, you have so much to share with us to plan for a fantastic year.

And finally, it has come to our attention that there has been quite a bit of confusion regarding our new perimeter fence.  The perimeter fence, which will be locked ONLY during specific school hours (9:20am-3:40pm) is the result of an FCPS Safety and Security audit we requested in the spring of 2017.  The Safety and Security team surveyed the entire property. They also reviewed our programs here at Stratford Landing to include our services for students with autism and our preschool special education programs which now have exterior doors directly out of the school.  Based on their review of our property and our new building design, there were areas of concern and they directed the Office of Safety and Security to install perimeter fencing for our school at the final stage of the renovation.

Through multiple social media posts, it is clear that there are some residents in our area who are not in favor of this fence.  As we follow the guidelines laid out by our Office of Safety and Security, our job is to protect the children on our property during school hours, even at the inconvenience of some.  I thank you for understanding and engaging with an administrator face to face when questions arise.  We work hard to make this the best school possible, and your partnership and support makes all the difference.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!  We can’t wait to see your children back here on Tuesday, September 3rd for another productive week of school.


Dr. Marshall, Principal

Ms. Prahl, Assistant Principal

Mrs. Shannon, Assistant Principal







August 21, 2018

Happy Summer Stratford Landing Families~

School starts on Tuesday, August, 28, 2018 (one week from today)! School Supplies

Take a minute to sign up for school supplies.  As you sign up, remember that you should be spending about $25 per child on supplies.  Feel free to purchase more to assist those families in our school who cannot finance school supplies: - You can drop off your purchases any day this week between 8am and 4pm or bring them with on Monday morning to Open House/Back to School Day. 

Open House/Back to School Day

This year we are combining both Back to School Night AND Open House to ONE event.  This Monday morning, August 27th, there will be lots of excitement at Stratford Landing ES! 

We welcome the entire family to participate in our school scavenger hunt in our brand new building, learn about the curriculum and expectations for the school year, and take a tour of our information about what to expect for the 2018-2019 school year. If your last name ends in A-L, you should plan to visit between 9-10am. If your last name ends in M-Z, you should plan to visit between 10-11am. 

Grade levels have already uploaded information about what to expect for the 2018-2019 school year.  Please take time to watch the virtual presentations while you have some time to relax this summer.  The link to presentations can be found here: 

If you experience any technical issues, please contact Mrs. Cerza, technology specialist, @email 

Class Assignments

Class Assignments and bus routes will be emailed to parents on Friday, August 24th.  If you do not receive your class assignment by late Friday evening, please contact Mrs. Rakes in the front office on Monday, August 27th.  6th graders need to submit proof of their Tdap booster before class assignments are sent out.

Communication &  Social Media

This year, we will communicate information to you in a variety of ways.  We use the News You Choose system for our regular messages from the principal and PTA news.  If you have not already done so, you will need to opt in to this system to continue to receive these communications.  You can opt in at   Today’s newsletter was also sent through the Keep-in-Touch system so that it reaches those who have not yet registered for News You Choose

The school has started an official Facebook page so that we are able to send regular announcements via social media as well as News You Choose and Keep in Touch.  You can find our page on Facebook here: .  We also maintain a very active Twitter site: .Please note that the best way to get questions answered in a timely manner is to call the school office at 703-619-3600 and don't forget about our regularly updated web page:

We will continue to use Wednesday folders for flyers and other important information as well.  Our adminstrators are also at arrival and dismissal daily for quick questions or just a hello.

Free Lunch Application

If you are applying for free meals, you have to complete a new application each year before Oct 10. You may now apply online for free meals by click here. It takes just a few minutes.  

Enjoy your final week of summer vacation!  Please let us know if you have any questions.


Maureen Marshall, Ed.D.













May 2018

At this time of the year, we sometimes get the question, “Who will my child have next year?”  At Stratford Landing, we do not take parent requests for particular teachers.  We welcome communication from you that would be relevant to placement such as qualities of a teacher you believe your child would respond best to, specific needs of your child, or family/neighborhood situations that impact learning. We have the same goal as you – to set your child up for their most successful academic and social learning. 

            Teachers work hard to consider how they group children with each other and also the characteristics the class would most benefit from in a teacher. Classes are reviewed multiple times by different school teams so that every child will have a wonderful school opportunity and are not finalized until August to ensure that we have taken everything into account.

            If you would like to give the team written feedback regarding your child(ren)’s placement for next year.  Please use the attached form or look for the form in the Wednesday folder on 5/23 and return it to school no later than June 1st.  Thanks so much for working with us to build a great classrooms for all children here at Stratford Landing.


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! 

Construction Updates:

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.

8:55 Arrival

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.

Birthday treats

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 @emailu or @email 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 15

5th Reading




May 16

3rd Reading




May 17

4th Reading




May 18

6th Reading




May 21 (A)


May 22

May 23

4th Social Studies




May 24

3rd Math




May 25

5th Science




May 28



May 29

May 30

4th Math




May 31

5th Math (5th and 6th)

June 1

6th Math (6th and 7th)




June 4


June 5


June 6


June 7



June 8




**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 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 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:

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

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 @email

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 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 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:

  1. 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.

  2. Movement – how do we encourage students to get 10,000 steps, especially with 30 minutes of recess daily? 

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Less sweets – how do we encourage parents to change the way we send birthdays here at SLES?

  6. 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.


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:

  1. Explore Stratford Landing’s PORTAPORTAL for educational websites, interactive math and reading games, low cost events, concerts and more in our local area!
  2. Log in to iReady – you children can you the same login and password until July 21st.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. Take local day trips. Keep a journal about your travels.
  6. Play quick games with flashcards like Math War or Concentration to keep math skills sharp.
  7. Listen to Audio Books during your road trip.
  8. Take pictures and make a summer scrapbook.
  9. Try a virtual field trip or start some home projects.
  10. 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:


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:



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 or Mr. Magee at @email

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


Library Books

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 @email 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.


FCPS Budget

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


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 Welcome Diane! 

Mrs. Chapman

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, be sure to update that with our new website address  

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 @email

We are also interested in your opinion about the new website. Please help us by filling out a short survey:

We hope you’ll visit the website often and stay involved!


Stratford Landing Renovation/Addition – Spring

In the school year 2016-2017, SLES will undergo a $25 million dollar renovation/addition. This project is estimated to take about 22 months and finish during the spring of 2018. Below is a VoiceThread presentation about the upcoming Stratford Landing ES renovation/addition. Please take some time to listen to the overview.  If you have any questions after viewing the presentation, please feel free to submit them here and we will do our best to answer them. 

SLES Renovation Overview