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FCPS administration responds to community concern at Stuart High

Fairfax County school officials this week responded to concerns over the leadership and teacher morale at Stuart High School in Falls Church.

On a teacher working conditions survey conducted by the school system in January and February, Stuart received the lowest overall teacher satisfaction scores of any school in the county.

The results, released last month, show that just 25 percent of Stuart teachers who took the survey said the school’s leadership is effective. Just 37 percent said the school is a good place to work and learn.

These numbers are significantly lower than those of county’s other high schools. Overall, 76 percent of FCPS high school teachers found their school’s administration effective, and 85 percent said their school is a good place to work and learn. The survey prompted meetings among parents and community members to discuss the direction of the school.

Douglas Tyson, the assistant superintendent that oversees Stuart, sent a letter to the school’s families on Monday to respond to the growing unease.

“Administratively, FCPS is fully committed, from the superintendent through the ranks, in support of the administrative team at Stuart High School,” Tyson said in the letter.

Stuart Principal Prosperanta Calhoun started in that position in July 2012.

This year, Tyson said, the school system has added a mentor principal in Bruce Butler and a mentor director of student services in Shannon Tully, both recently retired from South Lakes High School, to support the current Stuart administration.

FCPS is also providing guidance to the school’s leaders in developing next year’s schedule and improving teacher recruitment and retainment.

“We believe in the school’s leadership team; more importantly, we believe in Stuart’s students,” Tyson wrote. “I am committed to increasing collaboration between the school and the community to build upon these improvements and successes.”



Robinson receives grant to support science summer camp for girls

Robinson Secondary School’s science department has been awarded a $1,000 grant to purchase robotics kits for a science summer camp for middle school girls.

The robotics kits will be used to teach students robotics, computer programming, design and electronics in a hands-on way. The STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camp will run for two 10-day sessions, July 14-25 and July 28-August 8.

Robinson physics teachers Melissa Booker and Jill Mahoney will teach the camp. Applications for the program are available online and will be accepted through Sunday, June 15.

The Northern Virginia chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association awarded the grants to the school. The nonprofit is dedicated to fostering knowledge of information technology and electronics.





Colvin Run Elementary students to talk with astronauts

Students from Colvin Run Elementary will get the chance to speak with astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday.

The Vienna school was selected by NASA from hundreds of applicants for the chance to speak with two American astronauts currently on the space station. Commander Steven Swanson and flight engineer Gregory Wiseman will answer students’ questions about their experiences living and working in space.

Tying the event into the science curriculum, students have been working with LEGO WeDo robotics in their new science lab at school, comparing their performance to the same LEGO WeDo robotics built by astronauts on the space station.