Newsletter

Ilia Malinin, a 17-year-old junior at George C. Marshall High School in Idylwood, is serving as the first alternate for the men’s singles team at the Olympic Games this month.

The placement is an honor itself, but with sports continuing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a higher than usual chance that Malinin could compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, which will kick off with the opening ceremony at 6 a.m. tomorrow (Friday).

“As an alternate this year, anyone at any time could test positive, so you just have to be ready to go,” Malinin told Fairfax County Public Schools for a blog post.

Malinin’s parents both competed in the Olympics and had illustrious careers in singles figure skating.

His mother, Tatiana Malinina, finished eighth at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan while representing Uzbekistan. His father, Roman Skorniakov, also represented Uzbekistan at the 1998 Games and again in 2002 in Salt Lake City. He finished 19th each time.

Last month, Malinin won second place at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, earning him a silver medal. But U.S. Figure Skating chose Jason Brown, Nathan Chen, and Vincent Zhou for the men’s singles team, a controversial decision that left many heartbroken.

Team selections can include subjective factors, though, and the committee looks at multiple competitions of skaters.

The Games run through Feb. 20 with primetime TV coverage on NBC. Live-streamed events will be available through the network’s Peacock streaming service, among other options.

The ice skating schedule has the men’s singles program starting tomorrow with the medal event on Feb. 10.

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Kent Gardens Elementary School (via Google Maps)

McLean families are no strangers to overcrowded schools.

The challenges have been concentrated in the McLean High School pyramid, where the home of the Highlanders and feeder school Kent Gardens Elementary have been over capacity for the past decade.

At 121% capacity, Kent Gardens is experiencing one of the biggest space deficits in the county, trailing only Wakefield Forest Elementary School (132%) and Oakton High School (125%), according to Fairfax County Public Schools’ proposed Capital Improvement Program for fiscal years 2023-2027.

Capacity Deficits Projected to Continue

Kent Gardens had 1,023 students to start this school year in a building designed for up to 896 students. The school’s profile indicates that enrollment has dipped to 1,019 students as of November.

There are currently 11 temporary classrooms on site, with the most recent addition of trailers coming during the 2019-2020 school year.

According to the CIP, Kent Gardens has been over capacity since at least 2012, when it had 906 students and was at 111% capacity. While enrollment is expected to decline over the next five years, the school will still be at 118% capacity with 1,003 students by the 2026-2027 school year.

McLean High School has had more students than program capacity since the 2011-2012 school year. The introduction of a 12-classroom modular earlier this year helped cut the capacity deficit from 118% last year to 107% this fall, though enrollment appears to have grown from 2,347 students in September to 2,366 students, as of November.

Enrollment projections for the McLean High School pyramid through school year 2026-2027 (via FCPS)

FCPS says it is monitoring the school’s capacity after implementing a phased boundary adjustment in September that moved an estimated 190 high school students and 78 middle school students to the Langley High School pyramid.

However, the CIP indicates that overcrowding will persist at least through 2026-2027, when 2,317 students are projected to be enrolled and the school will be at 105% or 121% capacity, depending on whether the modular is still in place. Read More

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed?¬†Tell us!

Monday, Dec. 6

  • Santa on the Antique Fire Engine — 5:30-6 p.m. daily throughout December — Jolly Old St. Nicholas spreads the holiday cheer, distributing candy canes, on daily runs with the McLean Volunteer Fire Department.

Tuesday, Dec. 7

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live On Stage — 7:30 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) — A new touring production featuring actors who sing music and dance comes to Capital One’s new performance venue. Tickets start at $39.50.

Wednesday, Dec. 8

  • Holiday Tea & Sweets — 12:30-2 p.m. at St. Mark Catholic Church (9970 Vale Road) — Kick off the holiday season with treats and people ages 55 and up. Cost is $10.
  • Virtual Health & Care Job Fair (Online) — 1-4 p.m. — Inova, Sunrise Senior Living, and more than 30 other employers from the health and caregiving industries will participate in this free job fair hosted by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Work in Northern Virginia. Register online in advance.

Thursday, Dec. 9

  • Secret Things — 7:30 p.m. at 1st Stage Theatre (1524 Spring Hill Road) — A journalist investigates mysterious tips in her hometown involving Mexican-Americans and Judaism. Tickets are $50 with steep discounts available. The show runs through Sunday (Dec. 12).

Friday, Dec. 10

  • Mayor and Town Council Holiday Reception — 4-6 p.m. at Vienna Town Hall (127 Center Street S) — Enjoy refreshments while engaging with Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert and the town council in an informal, festive setting.
  • Disney in December¬†— 7 p.m. at George C. Marshall High School (7731 Leesburg Pike) — The school’s student choir performs songs from Disney movie classics.¬† Shows also take place on Saturday at 1:30 and 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 11

  • Story Time with Santa — 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Boro Park (8350 Broad St.) — Holiday stories, photos, hot cocoa, and more fill this free event, along with a Toys for Tots donation drive. The nonprofit Turning the Book will have a pop-up book store on the site from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Holiday Market — 12-5 p.m. at The PARC (8508 Leesburg Pike) — Take care of your holiday shopping list at this pop-up market of local artisans and small businesses from Celebrate Fairfax. The event is free, but food, drinks, and the merchandise aren’t. The market is indoors, so masks are required.

Sunday, Dec. 12

  • Psychic Connections in Criminal Investigations — 1-2 p.m. at Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library (7584 Leesburg Pike) — Meet Noreen Renier, a psychic investigator who has been featured on shows from “Larry King Live” to Court TV’s “Psychic Investigators.” A book signing follows her talk. Masks are required for the free event.
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Morning Notes

Editor’s Note: Tysons Reporter is following a lighter publishing schedule today (Friday) for Veterans Day weekend.

Falls Church Police Seek Man in Sexual Assault Case — “The City of Falls Church Police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the pictured individual who was in the area at the time of an assault. Late night on Wednesday, November 10, an adult female was sexually assaulted in the vicinity of 444 W. Broad St.” [City of Falls Church]

County to Add Veteran Services Coordinator — “Today, I’m excited to share that we will be hiring a Veteran’s Services Coordinator to improve the well-being of veterans in our community. This person will help vets access resources and advocate for new tools to help our veterans. Thank you to our vets for your service!” [Chairman Jeff McKay/Twitter]

See Marshall HS Veterans Day Display — “Students, staff, and parent volunteers at Fairfax County’s Marshall High School set up close to 400 American flags outside the school on Wednesday afternoon. The display is a tradition at Marshall, installed twice a year ahead of both Veterans Day and Memorial Day.” [ABC7]

County Adopts Plan to Eliminate Waste — “On Nov. 9, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Fairfax County Government and Schools Zero Waste Plan. This sets county government and Fairfax County Public Schools on a path toward zero waste by 2030 with two goals: diverting 90% of waste away from landfills or incinerators and decreasing the total amount of waste generated by 25%.” [Fairfax County Government]

Meadowlark Replaces Korean Bell Garden Totems — “Four freshly carved wooden totem poles — representing a king, queen, bride and groom — now stand guard over the Korean Bell Garden at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in the Vienna area. NOVA Parks officials held an installation ceremony for the poles Nov. 8…Traditionally placed at the entrances of Korean villages, the totem poles symbolically protect residents from misfortune.” [Sun Gazette]

Roaming Rooster Grand Opening Tomorrow — “Great news RR Fam! Rooster #5, our first VA location, officially hatches in Tysons Corner this weekend. As part of our grand opening, we will be giving out free samples, RR merch, and $20 gift cards randomly throughout the day on Sat & Sun. Come check us out!” [Roaming Rooster/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Election Day Is Here — “Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin were campaigning in many of the same, highly competitive parts of Virginia on Monday, trying to secure last minute support in a governor’s race that has captured national attention as a major referendum on Joe Biden’s presidency.” [Associated Press/WTOP]

County Leaf Collection Season Begins — “Leaf Season begins today Nov. 1. Fairfax County provides vacuum collection of leaves from the curb three times each season to a portion of the residences located in Fairfax County Solid Waste Collection Areas.” [Supervisor Dalia Palchik/Twitter]

Vienna Could Resume In-Person Meetings Soon — The Town of Vienna’s emergency ordinance allowing council, board, and commission members to participate in public meetings remotely due to COVID-19 concerns is currently set to expire on Dec. 7. It can be extended to Dec. 31 at the latest, but Town Attorney Steven Briglia expects the “broader methods of public participation” introduced during the pandemic will continue to be encouraged. [Sun Gazette]

Marshall HS Drama Plans In-Person Return — “Live theatre is back at Marshall High School after nearly two years. Statesmen Theatre will present William Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream from Nov. 11 to 13…Masks will be required for admissions, and concessions will not be available.” [Patch]

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Morning Notes

Lane Closed on Old Meadow Road Today — “The left lane of Old Meadow Road heading toward Route 123 will be closed for several hours beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, April 16, to permit minor asphalt repairs. This work was originally scheduled for Saturday, April 3.” [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Tension over Alleged Racism at Football Game Continues — Wakefield High School community members issued a letter on Wednesday (April 14) calling for a formal apology from Marshall High School in relation to a March 5 football game where players allegedly used racial slurs. Marshall’s coaching staff and parents have disputed that account, but some students recently released a statement criticizing their school for its handling of the incident. [Patch]

D.C. Airport Unveils New Addition — “After nearly 25 years, officials at Reagan National Airport on Thursday unveiled a much-anticipated addition, a sleek 14-gate concourse that will mark the end of operations of the much-maligned Gate 35X.” [The Washington Post]

Falls Church City Too Small for Retail Shopping — Even as Falls Church pursues a sizable mixed-use developments, Councilmember Ross Litkenhous says the city lacks the foot traffic or surface parking needed to attract retail merchants like Urban Outfitters or Macys. The city’s proximity to Tysons and Merrifield, though, means that residents still have many options nearby. [Falls Church News-Press]

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Updated at 7:30 p.m. — The superintendents of Fairfax County and Arlington public schools say the Virginia High School League should mandate diversity and inclusion training for all high school athletes, coaches, and officials after allegations of racism at a football game between Marshall and Wakefield high schools led to escalating tensions.

Stating that their divisions “embrace diversity and strongly condemn hate speech and racial intolerance of any kind,” FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand and APS Superintendent Francisco Dur√°n called the incident “an opportunity to take a step back and discuss how actions have consequences and that our words can deeply hurt others.”

“This situation has deeply affected both school divisions, our families, students, and our respective communities,” they said. “In recent days, it has provoked strong emotions in both communities, and has become divisive by pitting schools against one another. This is not about one team versus another; it is about our students and how we can come together to support them and take necessary actions to ensure this situation does not repeat itself. Our students deserve better.”

Brabrand and Dur√°n added that FCPS and APS will both “provide training and education for our athletes, coaches, and staff so that, together, we are all working to support students.”

The full statement can be found on the Fairfax County Public Schools website.

Earlier: Members of Marshall High School’s football community, including the coach, players, and parents, are refuting previously reported accounts of racist taunts against the Wakefield High School football team.

On Wednesday (March 17), Wakefield students came forward detailing their experiences in which they allege being called the n-word and “boy” during a game against Marshall High School on March 5. One student said he was spat on.

Wakefield players and parents have started a campaign calling for accountability from school athletics officials, including a petition demanding “an immediate apology” from Marshall and its football program that has garnered almost 5,000 signatures.

Arlington Public Schools confirmed that an incident occurred, and Fairfax County Public Schools said it had investigated and is addressing the reports, but in the last 24 hours, Marshall community members have issued statements and written letters disputing the Wakefield players’ accounts.

“Our players, coaches, and parents refute these allegations whole-heartedly,” Coach Jason Strickland said in a letter to the school community. “I believe our players, coaches, and parents because I did not witness nor have I been shown actual proof of these accusations occurring.”

Following up on the letter, an FCPS spokesperson said Strickland’s response addresses a “highly charged situation.”

“Families, students, and community members are upset and emotions are high. Regretfully, harsh words and accusations on social media have also contributed,” she said in a statement. “It would not be unusual for a coach to want to communicate directly with his or her players and their families about an intense matter that been publicly escalated by multiple parties.”

Parents of students at Marshall also penned a statement that refuted every claim made by the Wakefield community and criticized media reports for being one-sided.

“We at Marshall High School are defending the players of the Marshall Statesmen football team for remaining strong and resilient regarding the allegations of racism and other slanderous remarks by Wakefield High School players,” the statement said. “There is no culture of racism and bigotry at Marshall High School on the football team.”

They also said Wakefield students called Marshall students the n-word and other derogatory names. Further, they added, Marshall students had to wear masks, so they could not spit on students. Coach Strickland confirmed that Marshall was enforcing mask-wearing during the game. Read More

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Marshall High School players called members of the Wakefield High School football team in Arlington County racial slurs during a recent game, an Arlington Public Schools spokesman confirms.

Wakefield student-athletes Lukai Hatcher and Izaiah Lang took to social media last night (Wednesday) to post about the events they say transpired during an away game against Marshall High School on March 5.

“Me and my teammates were called racial slurs, taunted, and even spit on by Marshall players,” they said in a widely-shared joint statement posted on Facebook, Instagram, and elsewhere. “We also experienced unfair treatment by each of the refs and were harassed from the sidelines by coaches and Marshall parents.”

Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia confirmed a portion of the allegations.

“An incident did occur between Marshall and Wakefield high schools where Marshall players used racial slurs at the Wakefield football team,” Bellavia told ARLnow, an affiliate site of Tysons Reporter.

Wakefield Principal Dr. Christian Willmore says the racial slurs included the n-word and the word “boy.” He also confirmed that there was spitting.

A Fairfax County Public Schools spokesperson told Tysons Reporter in a statement that the school system has “expectations of behavior” for students and staff and that “allegations such as these are taken seriously.”

“We does not accept acts of intolerance,” the statement said. “When administration learned of the March 5 matter, we conducted a thorough investigation. The investigation was extensive and involved VHSL, officials, staff, players and families from both teams.”

FCPS personnel, including school leadership, regional office administrators, and the divison’s chief equity officer, are working with all the families involved and the coaches from both teams to develop a plan for restorative justice, the statement said.

“At FCPS, our primary responsibility is the safety and well-being of our students and staff. Every student must understand the value of appreciating each other’s differences, extending common courtesy, and treating each other with respect,” FCPS said. “We must all be committed to do better.”

Game footage shows a fight breaking out between the teams. APS confirmed that three Wakefield students were given three-game suspensions as a result of the fights, but the sanctions have since been knocked down to one-game suspensions, per Virginia High School League guidelines.

Marshall ended up winning the game, 19-18.

Hatcher and Lang alleged in their statement that what happened on March 5 has happened before.

“Marshall High School’s athletic teams have been known to demonstrate a culture of racism and unsportsmanlike behavior,” including foul play on the basketball court, they said. “We are shining the light on the continuing culture of tolerance for unjust and discriminatory practices in sports for minority athletes and seeking accountability in support of change.”

“We as a team complained to the refs all game about the way that we were being treated yet the flags were consistently thrown on us and even our coaches,” Hatcher and Lang added. “We should not be punished for defending ourselves and each other especially because during the entire game the refs, [whose] job it is to ensure each game is fair and who were supposed to protect and defend us, did not.”

The claims made against the referees, coaches and parents have not been confirmed.

Hatcher and Lang are pressing for change in the wake of the March 5 game.

“This isn’t new and enough is enough!” they wrote.

Photos via @JavellEdge/Twitter, @lukai_hatcher/Instagram

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Friday Morning Notes

Maryland Rejects Beltway Widening¬†— The¬†Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission unanimously voted against¬†widening the Capital Beltway, which Northern Virginia leaders have been hoping will help ease congestion around McLean [Maryland Matters]

Vienna-based Parcel Carrier LaserShip Launches Hunger Relief Program — “LaserShip launched the [Time of Need] program with a $10,000 charitable donation to¬†Food for Others, a hunger relief organization in northern Virginia. As part of the commitment, LaserShip is providing delivery services to help Food for Others transport food from its warehouse to a distribution center in Annandale, Virginia. Food for Others feeds over 2,600 local families each week.” [LaserShip]

Vienna Students Participate in Virtual Army 10-Miler — “Teachers, staff members, parents and a student from the Madison High Pyramid completed the virtual Army 10 Miler this weekend, and put an FCPS twist on their walk.” [Patch]

Photo courtesy Craig Fingar

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Local Student Making Masks For Medical Professionals — “Marshall High junior Juliette has made 150 masks to help medical professionals in the fight against COVID-19… Juliette is working with the Million Mask group.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Little City Officials Mulling Micro Loans for Businesses —“[The]¬†F.C. City Council will begin to move on a revised budget going forward at its meeting next Monday, and at its work session Monday night learned of aggressive efforts locally to help the most vulnerable citizens and smallest businesses for which even a $2,000 micro grant can make a huge difference for keeping their doors open.”¬†[Falls Church News-Press]

Jammin Java Lobbing Feds for Coronavirus Relief — “More than 450 venues across the U.S. are banding together under the new group called the National Independent Venue Association to present one voice to lawmakers…¬†Jammin Java in Vienna and the Birchmere in Alexandria are also members [of NIVA].” [Washington Business Journal]

Local Schools Make¬†“2020 Best High Schools” List —¬†“Seven Fairfax County schools were in the top 500 nationally [in the U.S. News and World Report’s list], including Langley, McLean, Marshall, Madison, W.T. Woodson, West Springfield, and Chantilly high schools.” [Inside NoVa]

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