Tysons, VA

Local Student Heading to London Parade — “Emma [W.], a sophomore and varsity cheerleader from George Mason High School, is one of more than 800 high school cheerleaders from across the U.S. who will be representing Varsity Spirit in the world-famous London New Year’s Day Parade.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Hotel Sold in Falls Church — “The Falls Church Marriott Fairview Park has traded hands for $52.2 million, more than $40 million less than what it sold for nearly a decade ago.” [Washington Business Journal]

How to Get Rid of Holiday Trees — “When you got the tree, what condition it was in at that time and how much it was watered factor into when you should take the tree to the curb. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue recommends getting rid of trees immediately or when they get dry.” [Patch]

FCPS Students Soon Able to Take Day Off to Protest — “Beginning Jan. 27, 2020 students in seventh through 12th grades will be permitted one excused absence each school year to engage in ‘civic engagement activities,’ according to Lucy Caldwell, school spokeswoman for Fairfax County Public Schools.” [WTOP]

Registration Opens Today for Little City Outdoor Classes — “Registration for Recreation & Parks Winter/Spring 2020 classes opens on Monday, December 30 for City of Falls Church residents.” [City of Falls Church/Twitter]

Photo courtesy Bill Johnson

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How overcrowded could McLean High School be four years from now? The proposed Capital Improvement Program for Fairfax County Public Schools has an idea.

The draft CIP says that McLean High School is currently at 118% capacity, with projections showing the population increasing to 122% capacity in the 2024-2025 school year.

While the new projections are lower than previous ones — the last CIP expected McLean High School to reach 127% capacity by 2022 — the overcrowding has sparked vigorous debate on how to get students out of the trailers.

One idea that county officials are pursuing would shift students from McLean High School to nearby Langley High School.

Langley High School has a current capacity of 83%, which is projected to drop to 78% by 2024, according to the draft CIP.

Meetings in the fall solicited community input on the proposed boundary change and are expected to continue next year.

FCPS staff have said they want to implement a decision so that the change can impact the 2020-2021 school year.

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Dozens of students and adults joined a climate strike today in the Town of Vienna as part of an international effort.

Protesters, elected officials, local groups — including 350 Fairfax and Mothers Out Front Fairfax — and community members gathered outside at the Vienna Town Green (144 E. Maple Avenue) from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

“WAKE THE HELL UP,” said one sign with a drawing of the earth on fire.

“‘Once we begin to act, hope is everywhere’ – Greta Thunberg,” another sign said with the message of the Swedish environmental activist who has sparked climate change activism among young adults and kids.

The strike in Vienna was a part of a larger effort organized by the Sunrise Movement, along with the help of youth coalition groups, ahead of the UN’s annual climate conference.

The student strike in Vienna is being organized by Katie M., a high school climate activist.

Katie told Tysons Reporter that she grew up in a family of climate activists. After becoming interested in climate change as a sophomore, she started planning strikes and events in D.C.

She said she decided to organize the strike in Vienna, because “D.C. already has a strong climate movement.”

Katie said that she was “really excited about the turnout” today and is hoping to plan another strike for Earth Day.

At the strike, protesters urged people to write a postcard to the Fairfax County School Board. The students and adult allies are pushing for a Green New Deal for FCPS that would switch all of the schools to net-zero carbon emissions by installing solar panels and energy-efficient windows. The plan would also continue the push for electric school buses in the county.

“I just want to make sure [my kids] have a liveable planet to live in,” Tiziana Bottino, a community organizer for Mothers Out Front, told Tysons Reporter about why she joined the strike.

While Bottino said that she’s impressed by the recent youth activism, she said the students shouldn’t have to be the ones calling for climate action.

“They should be worried prom,” Bottino said.

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Local students wanted to tackle a service project that would use disposable items, so they decided to make mats from plastic bags for veterans who are homeless.

Students in Sheryl Jones’ class at Kilmer Middle School (8100 Wolftrap Road) made the mats from donated plastic grocery bags, according to a press release from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

“The students really took [the idea] and then ran with it,” Jones, an 8th-grade science teacher, said in an FCPS video. “They watched YouTube videos to learn how to do it and then they created their own assembly line and system.”

The students said in the video that the insulated and waterproof mats are easy for veterans who are homeless to transport.

Each mat, which was roughly 6 feet by 3.5. feet, required about 700-800 bags and six to eight hours to weave. The students split up the duties, directing some to cut off the handles, while others wove the mats.

“Some of the Kilmer students even took the mats home to continue working on them,” according to the press release.

The students gave the mats to Homeless Hope, a nonprofit that provides clothing and supplies to people who are homeless in D.C., the press release said.

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Meetings to solicit community input on a proposed boundary change for two high schools in McLean seemed to raise more questions than they answered.

Roughly 200 parents, stakeholders and politicians, including Providence District Supervisor-elect Dalia Palchik and several incoming Fairfax County School Board members, attended the meetings at Langley High School on Monday (Dec. 2) and McLean High School last night (Wednesday).

McLean High School, which was designed for a capacity of 1,993 students, currently has 2,350 students. Meanwhile, newly renovated Langley High School has 1,972 students and could have up to 2,370, according to the presentation from FCPS staff.

The proposed boundary change would move some students from McLean High School (1633 Davidson Road) to Langley High School (6520 Georgetown Pike) to address the overcrowding issue.

There are 18 trailers at McLean High School right now, Jane Strauss, the Dranesville District representative on the school board, said at the Monday night meeting.

“It would be unfair to not consider a boundary change,” Strauss said, adding that Fairfax County does not want to move juniors and seniors from the schools. “You want to keep large cohorts of kids together.”

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Two meetings next week plan to gather community input on a proposed boundary change for McLean and Langley high schools in McLean.

In October, Fairfax County School Board approved an amendment to its Capital Improvement Program that kicks off a boundary study about moving some students from McLean High School (1633 Davidson Road) to Langley High School (6520 Georgetown Pike).

The meetings next week are meant to give locals a chance to provide feedback and talk to FCPS staff, according to a newsletter from McLean High Students, Parents and Community Expect Sensible School Size (McSPaCES).

The first meeting is set to take place from 7-8:30 p.m. on Monday (Dec. 2) at Langley’s cafeteria. The second meeting is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 4) at the cafeteria in McLean High School.

“McLean High is projected to have an enrollment of 2,500 by 2023 making it the most crowded of the 24 high schools in FCPS,” according to McSPaCES. “At least 500 students would need to be moved out of McLean High School for it to approach its building design capacity of 1,993 and not require trailer classes and/or modular class complex.”

Langley, which was recently renovated, has extra space to accommodate the students.

In a letter posted on McSPaCES from the assistant superintendents for the regions that include the two schools, they wrote that no decisions will be made at the meetings, which will include small group work and presentations from FCPS staff.

​”The community feedback from the boundary scope meetings will be collected and used to develop options,” the superintendents wrote. “The options will be presented to the community at boundary study meetings in the spring.”

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In two weeks, Fairfax County public school students plan to demand action on climate change in Vienna as part of an international strike.

“This is not a hypothetical. This is not a partisan issue,” Deepa R., a climate activist and junior at James Madison High School, said in a press release. “This is real, this is now, and this is the way that we as a species will die if we don’t take action.”

The strike is set to take place on the Vienna Town Green (144 E. Maple Avenue) from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on  Friday (Dec. 6), the press release said.

Elected officials and local groups are expected to attend the strike, including School Board Member Ryan McElveen, 350 Fairfax and Mothers Out Front Fairfax, the press release said.

The strike in Vienna is a part of a larger effort organized by the Sunrise Movement, along with the help of youth coalition groups.

After the nationwide climate strike in September ahead of the UN Climate Change panel, this strike aims to encourage young activists to strike during the UN’s annual climate conference.

The student strike in Vienna is being organized by Katie M., a high school climate activist who was recently honored along with fellow student Wendy G. by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for pushing for climate change, according to the press release.

At the strike, the students and adult allies plan to call for a Green New Deal for Fairfax County Public Schools that works switch all of the schools to net-zero carbon emissions by installing solar panels and energy-efficient windows. The plan would also continue the push for electric school buses in the county.

“The students also demand that the county require comprehensive climate education in schools,” the press release said.

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

Monday (Nov. 4)

  • Kids STEM Workshop — 9 a.m. at Kilmer Middle School (8100 Wolftrap Road) — Since Fairfax County Public Schools are out of session on Monday (Nov. 4) and Tuesday (Nov. 5), this is an opportunity for students in grades four through six to learn more about math and science opportunities. The tickets are $50.

Tuesday (Nov. 5)

  • Jedi Academy — 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Nova Fencing Club (3431 Carlin Springs Road) — Kids will have the opportunity to lean the basics of fencing from “Jedi Masters” at the Nova Fencing Club while using lightsabers. The cost of this camp is $80.

Friday (Nov. 8)

  • The Jungle Book— 7:30 p.m. at Creative Cauldron (410 S. Maple Avenue) — This production of “The Jungle Book” features Creative Cauldron’s Learning Theater program and will tell the story of the beloved children’s tale. Tickets start at $16 for students and are $20 for adults.

Saturday (Nov. 9)

  • Barre and Brunch — 11:30 a.m. at Falls Church Distillers (442 S. Washington Street) — This pop-up exercise class will give attendees a chance to participate in a barre workout class while enjoying food and drinks at Falls Church Distillers. Tickets are $35 and include a bloody mary or mimosa.
  • Book Binding & Foil Stamping Workshop — 2 to 4 p.m. at Botanologica (817 W. Broad Street) — For this event attendees will learn to make their own book and 10 foil stamped thank you cards. The tickets are $75.
  • TEDx Tysons — 10 a.m. at 1st Stage Theater (1524 Spring Hill Road) — An independently organized event, this Ted Talk will feature “Doorways” and talk about transitions and thresholds in life. Tickets start at $45.
  • Muslimah Fest — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center (3159 Row Street) — This empowerment and networking event celebrates strong women in the community. It will feature motivational lectures, talks, a modesty fashion show, quranic recitation, food, short films by Muslim women, beauty and health tips and spoken word poetry.

Photo via Nova Fencing Club

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Crescendo Studios opened a few months ago in Merrifield. Now, the education-oriented music studio can expand into a nearby space.

The music studio plans to use a currently empty space adjacent to the studio’s existing location (8101 Lee Hwy) to increase their clientele and take on around 90 students. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the expansion on Tuesday (Oct. 29).

“The majority of the students are expected to be between the ages of 7 and 17, though some adults may also enroll,” according to county documents.

“We talk about repurposing office buildings a lot,” Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross said. “I think this sounds like a cool idea and it’s right there near Mosaic, which is terrific.”

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Fairfax County voters will soon get the chance to decide the fate of a school bond referendum next week.

The general election ballot will ask voters if they want to approve a $360 million bond referendum for Fairfax County Public Schools.

For families in the Tysons area, the bond includes:

  • $19.5 million in construction funds for adding an addition to Madison High School in Vienna
  • $49.6 million in construction funds for renovating Cooper Middle School in McLean
  • $1.7 million in planning funds for renovating Louise Archer Elementary School in Vienna

The bond also includes $2 million in planning funds for a new “Silver Line elementary school.”

Madison High School is one of nearly a dozen high schools in Fairfax that is over 100% capacity, Tysons Reporter previously reported.

Fairfax County uses bonds to pay for renovating and building new schools.

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