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Back to School Update from FHS Principal

What you need to know before returning to Fairfax High School.

Written by Principal Dave Goldfarb.

Fairfax Parents –

Thank you very much for all of you who joined us at Rebels Reunite Tuesday afternoon. Over three-quarters of our student body submitted their required forms and received schedules and locker combinations. Many others received their schedules later in the week. We would like to thank the many parents who volunteered their time to make the event a huge success. If you attended Rebels Reunite, please provide us feedback over the next week by completing a short survey available at the following website:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PJF9HCF.

If your student did not bring forms and pick up a schedule this week, please tell your student to report to our Auditorium Tuesday morning. Schedules will be available for students by 6:45 a.m. Our goal is to have all students in their classrooms by the time class begins at 7:20 a.m. They must submit their Emergency Care Form and Health Form to their subschool in order to receive their locker numbers and combinations.

A NEW WAY OF EXTRA SUPPORT: Every Gray day, students will have opportunities to get extra support from teachers in two of their classes. Our new Intervention Time structure will have students go to an assigned period, which will allow a smaller number of students to have focused time (39 minutes) with a teacher to get the assistance they need. They will do this twice in between their second and sixth period classes. The schedule for the Intervention Times is listed in students’ planners and will also be on our website calendar (http://www.fcps.edu/FairfaxHS/info/calendar.html).

This new structure also allows teachers to be prepared to help individual students because teachers know which students will be coming to them each Intervention Time period. As our enrollment increased in recent years, students found it difficult getting help from many teachers because there were too many students in the room at one time. With our new Intervention Time, students who currently have earned B’s or better can be released at the teacher’s discretion to work in the library or socialize with friends in the cafeteria.

STUDENTS AND PERSONAL DEVICES: This year, we will allow students to use personal electronic devices at our school under certain conditions. Students who wish to bring and use their personal devices at our school must complete the following process to have them approved. Parents fill out Device Access form, which the student brings to our Technology team. Students must also have signed their Students’ Rights & Responsibilities (SR&R) document. The Technology team will apply a sticker to the device and keep device information in a data system. Our Technology staff will be in the cafeteria to register devices during lunches all of next week.

In the classroom, students may use their own devices with teacher permission only. This school year, students will be using online textbooks in their math and social studies classes.  Please note that it is optional and not a requirement of instruction that our students provide their own equipment. Over time, our teachers will find new ways that these devices can be productive tools for learning. Such devices are common among many of our students, and we think it is important that we make attempts to model how they can be tools of learning. We expect the productivity of the devices can outweigh the potential distraction, and we will support their use as long as they do.

Outside the classroom, there are two places and times when students may use devices – in the cafeteria during lunch and in the cafeteria and library during Intervention Times. Students cannot use devices in any other areas, including the hallways, during the school day. Signs will be posted throughout our school reminding students of these expectations. Students cannot make calls with their phones anywhere in the building during the school day – they may use the subschool and main office phones if necessary. Please help us out by not calling your students.

Unauthorized use will result in school staff confiscating devices. If this happens, students can pick up their device in their subschool at the end of the school day. This is a change from previous policy, when devices were held for longer times unless picked up by a parent.

Neither FCPS nor our school is responsible for any loss or damage to a privately-owned computing device or the software or data it contains. We also want to make clear that we cannot filter student access on their devices unless students choose to join the school’s wireless network. Students should not expect to be able to charge their devices at school or expect that our Technology team can provide technical support for their devices. The FCPS acceptable use policy (part of the SR&R) and all applicable regulations will provide the primary guidance on the use of any computing device in FCPS.  

I came across a Washington Post article that discussed how schools and parents can guide youth on technology use. We have formed a strong partnership on other matters, and wanted to share it with you: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/5-ways-to-teach-kids-to-use-technology-safely/2012/07/30/gJQAbEClLX_blog.html

SENIOR DUES: Class of 2013 – pay senior dues by Sept. 20 for a reduced rate and a free t-shirt! Dues are $20 through Sept. 20, but increase to $30 for the rest of 2012 and $40 in 2013 and the t-shirt will be $10. Dues can be paid before or after school on Gray days in Room A-144 and at Unite & Excite. Paw Prints are on sale for $25, and can be purchased before or after school on Gray days in Room A-144 and at Unite & Excite. If you have questions, please email the class sponsors Christina Owens (ccowens@fcps.edu) and Kristin Webster (kswebster1@fcps.edu)

PRINCIPAL’S COFFEE: On the first Friday of each month, I host an open forum for parents to share their feedback, questions and views about our instructional program and our support of our students. Our first Coffee will be next Friday morning, September 7, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in our Library. I will be joined by Diego Wilson, new administrator for the Fairfax Academy for Communication and the Arts. Mr. Wilson will discuss a proposed new Digital Art for New Media and Video Gaming course in the Academy offerings for next year. For planning purposes, please email Laura Beatty at laura.beatty@fcps.edu by Wednesday, September 5th if you know you plan to attend.

Calendar item: Our Back to School Night is Thursday, September 20, starting at 7 p.m. The first day of school is just a few days away – Tuesday. We’re going to have a great year!

Sincerely,

Dave Goldfarb

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