Local Schools Receive “Common Sense Recognition” — Chesterbrook Elementary School in McLean and Cunningham Park Elementary School in Vienna are two of the 23 Fairfax County Public Schools recognized for their digital citizenship. [FCPS]
Ramen Chain Coming to The Boro — “A Japanese ramen chain that has 61 shops in 10 countries will make its D.C. area debut this fall, when it’s expected to open a branch in Tysons Corner… [Santouka] is expected open inside a modern, brick-lined space in the new Boro mixed-use development (1636 Boro Place, McLean) by early November.” [DC Eater]
Parking May Arrive Along Maple Avenue — “A consulting firm aiming to squeeze some additional parking in Vienna’s commercial core has come up with a unique option: Turn parts of Maple Avenue into parking strips.” [Inside NoVa]
Capital One Hosting Code Fest — “Girls Computing League, a nonprofit working to empower underrepresented groups in technology, will host its first national code fest InnovateGCL later this month. The Sept. 14 event at the new Capital One headquarters in Tysons Corner, Virginia, will have over 150 students showcase and develop new ideas on the topics of artificial intelligence, health, finance, education and many more.” [WashingtonExec]
Man Pleads Guilty to Robbing Falls Church Pawn Shops — “An Arlington man previously convicted of a pair of bank robberies in Alexandria is facing more jail time. Budder Khan, now 29, pleaded guilty today to robbing two pawn shops in Falls Church, federal prosecutors announced. [ARLnow]
USAID Deploys Fairfax County Rescue Team to the Bahamas — “Members of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team [were] deployed to the Bahamas as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) responding to Hurricane Dorian.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Blue, Yellow Line Metro Stations Reopen — “The six Blue and Yellow line stations south of Reagan National Airpor — Braddock Rd, King St-Old Town, Eisenhower Ave, Huntington, Van Dorn Street and Franconia-Springfield — will reopen as scheduled Monday, September 9, with completely rebuilt platforms and several customer improvements.” [Metro]
School is back in session, and a local McDonald’s is hosting a fundraiser for public education.
The McDonald’s at 3009 Galls Road is donating 5% of their profits to charity now until Friday (Sept. 13). Each day — with the exception of the weekend and Monday — the proceeds will benefit a different school in the area.
The store will also offer students free ice cream cones from 3-5 p.m.
Community members can come to support specific schools on the days shown below.
- Wednesday (Sept. 4) — Camelot Elementary School
- Thursday (Sept. 5) — Stenwood Elementary School
- Friday (Sept. 6) — Fairhill Elementary School
- Tuesday (Sept. 10) — Pine Spring Elementary School
- Wednesday (Sept. 11) — Woodburn Elementary School
- Thursday (Sept. 12) — Jackson Middle School
- Friday (Sept. 13) — Falls Church High School
“As owners of the restaurant and members of the community, we wish to honor the schools in our market area to celebrate,” a press release said, adding that the owner wants to use this event as an opportunity to celebrate the location’s recently remodeled building.
Photo via Moving Merrifield Forward
Dominion Energy Backs Electric School Bus Push — “Dominion Energy announced an initiative to bring electric school buses en masse to school districts around Virginia. The effort comes amid a Fairfax County group’s call for its school district to transition to all electric buses.” [Patch]
McLean Program Encouraging Green Thumbs — “The McLean Trees Foundation’s Neighborhood Tree Program returns for its sixth year… For $50, the foundation will help McLean homeowners select a tree and then deliver it, help to plant it and offer instructions on caring for it.” [Inside NoVa]
Transforming Tysons Into a Walkable City — “According to its comprehensive plan, Tysons is aiming to become ‘a true urban downtown for Fairfax County’ by 2050. But the question on a lot of people’s minds is how they will get there, and how they will get around within the four-square-mile area.” [Greater Greater Washington]
New Track at McLean School — “Fairfax County officials, school staff and students on Aug. 22 dedicated a new track on the grounds of Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean… The soft-surface track is 1,550 feet long, or just more than one-quarter mile, and will be used by Franklin Sherman Elementary students and community members.” [Inside NoVa]
Foust Shares His Favorite Local Spots — Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust shared some of his top picks of things to do and places to go around McLean in a guest article. [Connection Newspapers]
Therapy Dog Comes to Vienna School — “The student services department at Thoreau Middle welcomes therapy dog Jackson Granados as part of their clinical team. Jackson will be at Thoreau part-time with school social worker Joy Granados visiting select classrooms and students and traveling the hallways at arrival and dismissal times.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]
New HQ in Tysons Building — “Strategic consulting firm Dean & Company has signed a 36,205-square-foot lease at 1600 Tysons Boulevard, with plans to move its corporate headquarters [there]… The company currently operates out of 8065 Leesburg Pike in Vienna.” [Commercial Observer]
Silver Line Work Affecting Tysons — “Beginning later this month, pedestrians and drivers will encounter daily lane and partial sidewalk closures along eastbound and westbound Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) and northbound and southbound Route 123 (Dolley Madison/Chain Bridge Road), along the Silver Line Phase 1 alignment in the Tysons area.” [Inside NoVa]
Labor Day is coming up on Monday (Sept. 2). For people staying in the Tysons area for the holiday weekend, some government facilities will be closed and public transit options will be operating on modified schedules.
Tysons Reporter has rounded up a list of public services that will be affected by the upcoming holiday.
- All county offices, schools and libraries will be closed on Labor Day.
- The State Courts will be closed for the day.
- The Metrobus and Metrorail will adopt a Sunday schedule for Labor Day and resume typical service on Tuesday.
- The Fairfax Connector will operate on a Sunday schedule for Labor Day.
- The Metrorail will operate on a Sunday schedule from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. on Labor Day. Normal service will resume Tuesday (Sept. 3).
- Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services will be closed from Saturday (Aug. 31) until Monday (Sept. 2).
- United States Postal Service offices will be closed Labor Day.
- The Vienna Community Center will have reduced hours on Labor Day from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
- The Town of Vienna’s government offices will be closed Labor Day.
- The McLean Community Center will be closed on Labor Day.
- The City of Falls Church’s government offices and buildings will be closed Labor Day.
- The City Council Work Session, originally scheduled for Monday, will be moved to Tuesday (Sept. 3) at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Center (223 Little Falls Street).
- The Mary Riley Styles Public Library will be closed on Sunday (Sept. 1) and Monday (Sept. 2).
- Falls Church Community Center will be closed for cleaning until Tuesday (Sept. 3).
Speaking of closed offices, Tysons Reporter will be on a break as well on Monday.
With school now back in session for Fairfax County, the county’s public schools have several programs to help hungry students.
Nineteen Fairfax County public schools, including Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, will take part in the Community Eligibility Provision, which provides all of the students at those schools with free breakfasts and lunches daily.
At the other FCPS schools, household size and income will determine eligibility for the free or reduced meals program — approximately 38% of FCPS students qualify, according to FCPS.
Students from households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families may also be eligible. The program also caters to foster children and students who are homeless, migrant or runaway.
Households may apply for free or reduced-price meals at any time during the school year by filling out the applications, which will be distributed via mail and are also available at the principal’s office in each school.
FCPS will follow the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines in the chart below:
Earlier this year, Jackson Middle School and Graham Road and Timber Lane elementary schools joined 39 Fairfax County public schools in participating in the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program, a new after-school food program that provides free meals or snacks to any student.
The following schools plan to open the salad bars by:
- Sept. 18: Spring Hill (8201 Lewinsville Road)
- Feb. 12, 2020: Westbriar (1741 Pine Valley Drive)
- March 25, 2020: Haycock (6616 Haycock Road)
- May 20, 2020: Churchill Road (7100 Churchill Road)
FCPS wants to bring salad bars to all of its 141 elementary schools and has salad bars opening at about 30 schools per school year.
Second image via FCPS
School Safety Matters — With school starting back up again, the Fairfax County Police Department has some safety tips regarding school buses, driving, pedestrians and bicycling. [Fairfax County Police]
Police Investigating McLean Crash — “Officers are investigating a crash at Old Dominion Drive and Valley Wood Road in McLean. Use caution and expect delays.” [Fairfax County Police/Twitter]
What’s It Like to Live in Tysons West? — “Tysons West is one of those small neighborhoods that is mainly made up of a few high-rise apartments, businesses and car dealerships… Today, [Westwood Village] is still a pocket of Tysons West that some residents call a hidden gem.” [The Washington Post]
Capital One Acquires Investment Bank — “Capital One Financial Corp. is officially getting into the mergers-and-acquisitions market, announcing Monday [Aug. 19] it will acquire Tysons-based investment bank KippsDeSanto & Co.” [Washington Business Journal]
Tysons: The Next Travel Destination — Forbes has an article explaining why Tysons is a “hidden travel gem.” [Forbes]
Park Authority Board Honors Falls Church High School — “Falls Church High School and Sully Historic Site volunteer Isabel Richardson have been named the Youth recipients of the Fairfax County Park Authority’s 2019 Elly Doyle Park Service Awards.” [Fairfax County]
There’s Something in the Water — “A Smithsonian researcher has just stumbled upon a major discovery in the swamps in and around D.C.: a new species of blood-sucking leeches with up to 59 teeth.” [Patch]
Ahead of the new school year starting next week, Fairfax County Public Schools debuted a new partnership with an app that will help parents track when the school bus will arrive.
After a pilot program, the FCPS Office of Transportation Services announced FCPS will offer the “Here Comes the Bus” app for the 2019-2020 school year yesterday (Monday).
“[The app] uses HTTPS like a bank or online store, making all communications between a device and the site are encrypted and secure,” according to FCPS, adding that the app uses GPS to track the locations of the buses.
Started in 2001 by a pair of graduates, the app has nearly 1.5 million registered users and is used in school districts across the country, spanning Orlando to San Antonio.
Since the app tracks the bus routes instead of individuals students, FCPS wants people to remember that bus substitutions can affect the accuracy of the app and that app shouldn’t replace communication with students about their whereabouts.
The app is free for parents and guardians and provides real-time bus locations through text or email alerts, according to FCPS. The app will be available to use starting next Monday (Aug. 26) for FCPS families.
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) once again faces a transportation dilemma as it looks ahead to the upcoming school year.
The county recently made an all-call for new bus drivers. The district is short-staffed by roughly 100 drivers — primarily in the McLean area, FCPS Director of Transportation Francine Furby said.
There are two hiring events coming up on Tuesday, July 31, at Cedar Lane School (101 Cedar Lane) in Vienna and the Thursday, Aug. 8, at Edison High School (5801 Franconia Road) in Alexandria. Both events will run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
This isn’t the first time FCPS faced a bus driver shortage. According to WAMU, there was another county shorage in August of 2017, when drivers were paid $18.82.
Furby said that the issue is ongoing and exacerbated at a national level, not just in Fairfax County. “I think it’s because of the economy now,” she said, explaining that bus drivers tend to take on other positions within the school district due to promotions.
Now, the county will offer drivers a raise to $19.20 per hour — $0.19 cents higher per hour than the salary for the previous school year.
Furby said that FCPS transportation office workers would be pulled out of their current positions answering phone calls from parents and instead be asked to drive students.
While some of the office workers are all set to start in their new roles, Furby said that the other office workers will receive the training and resources required for FCPS bus drivers.
She also said that there is a recruitment bonus of $1,000 for existing employees who refer a friend for a bus driver position.”We do know recruiting people by word of mouth is very effective.”
Qualified candidates need to be able to pass a physical and a drug test, clear a background check, have a safe driving record, take a 5-week course and obtain a commercial driving license. Drivers will be assigned to where they are most needed in the county, according to Furby.
“It can cause students to get into school late and get home late,” she said.
Tonight (Monday), the Fairfax County School Board is set to discuss a proposal that would change how local school boundaries are adjusted.
The draft policy on the table would look at a new set of criteria for establishing school boundaries. They include:
- “socioeconomic and/or racial composition of students in affected schools”
- “the safety of walking and busing routes”
- “operational efficiency”
“When boundary changes are being considered by the School Board, the changes shall not be restricted by the boundaries of individual schools, administrative areas, zip codes, or magisterial district,” according to the draft.
Some critics of the proposal pointed to the removal of criteria — such as “instructional effectiveness”– for boundary change considerations as a possible threat to property owners.
The meeting is set to start at 5 p.m. tonight at 8115 Gatehouse Road, Room 1600 with the redistricting proposal slated for 6 p.m. on the agenda.
The board is then slated to approve the draft in September ahead of its incorporation in the Capital Improvement Program draft in December.
Image via Google Maps
For the nearly 56,000 students in Fairfax County Public Schools living at the poverty line, obtaining school supplies can be difficult.
In an attempt to change this, FCPS is partnering with roughly 20 nonprofits and businesses to ensure that students will have the supplies they need this fall for its “Collect for Kids” campaign.
“Every school in FCPS is touched by need — some schools have as little as 1% of their students in need, while others have over 80% of students in need,” Kathy Ryan, an FCPS spokeswoman, said.
Community members can drop off new backpacks to various locations in the Tysons area, which FCPS will then hand out to kids for the start of the school year in August.
Backpack drop off locations include any Apple Federal Credit Union, the FCPS Gatehouse Administration Center (8115 Gatehouse Road), and a few other places. Some in the greater Tysons area include:
- Apple Federal Credit Union in Falls Church (1118 W. Broad Street)
- Freedom Bank in Vienna (502 W. Maple Avenue)
- Alya Salon (139 Park Street SE)
FCPS also has a goal to raise $25,000 dollars — monetary donations are accepted online.
“Increasing the awareness of the number of students in FCPS that need this yearly support is also a goal,” Ryan said.
Photo courtesy FCPS