A Message from Marshall Pyramid Principals

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Dear Marshall Pyramid Parents and Community,

We reach out to you today as a united group of educators to acknowledge the events that have transpired portraying the anger and hurt that exists in our country.  Racism and hate have no place in the Marshall Pyramid, rather our schools are places that strive towards inclusiveness and compassion for all while providing hope for the future. To our Black and African American families and community members, we echo the words of our Superintendent, Dr. Brabrand as he shared with FCPS staff today, “we see you, we believe in you, and we stand with you.”

At each of our schools, we have made a commitment to bring awareness to social and emotional issues within our buildings through an equity lens.  Every school in the Marshall pyramid has an equity lead who partners with the Principal to ensure staff have the tools to recognize and take action on inequities within our buildings. We have participated in professional learning on equitable and culturally responsive practices and are committed to furthering our learning in order to address the topics of racism and equity with our students and with each other.

During this time, we will not sit silently. We have all worked together to create places and spaces where all are welcome and seen. In our classrooms and within our school communities, we will continue to learn about, value, and embrace each other’s differences while working to change the conditions that allow injustice. Please know that your schools are here for you and stand with our Black and African American community. It is the diversity of our community members who make the Marshall pyramid a wonderfully unique place to live, work, learn and grow.  We recognize that everyone may be impacted by these recent events differently and we welcome you to reach out to your school’s Principal, school counselor, or clinical staff with any questions or concerns. 

For additional resources, please consider the following:

As a community, we are here and we stand together.  

Sincerely,

Your Marshall Pyramid Principals

Nicholas Zapadka - Freedom Hill ES, Ashley Castillo - Lemon Road ES, Joshua DeSmyter - Shrevewood ES, Erica Riley - Stenwood ES, Mary Tam - Westbriar ES, Hallie Demetriades - Westgate ES, Amy Miller - Kilmer MS, Jane Quenneville - Kilmer Center, Jeff Litz - Marshall HS, and Chad Clayton - Davis Center

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Announcement of New Assistant Principal

GovDelivery 3 days 3 hours ago

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Dear Westbriar Families:

I am pleased to announce that for the upcoming school year, Ms. Christina Butzer will be joining Mr. Simms-Smith and I as our new assistant principal. By way of introduction and greeting, Ms. Butzer recorded a video for you - https://youtu.be/BV4o-AT_mrE

This is Ms. Butzer's 16th year in education. She began her career in FCPS as an 8th grade science teacher at Frost Middle School where she taught for 8 years. She then became an instructional coach at Poe Middle School where she led innovative instructional practices for 5 years and then was ready for a new challenge. Ms. Butzer has a son Donovan who is now a 4th grader. She remember volunteering in his 1st grade classroom and marveling at how masterful his classroom teacher handled the class and teaching essential standards. She immediately wanted to join an elementary school to learn more about implementing instructional practices at such a pivotal age that would bring about positive changes to student learning and achievement. As a result, she became an instructional coach at Daniels Run Elementary and have been there for 3 wonderful years. For a short period this Fall, she had the opportunity to be named acting assistant principal at Olde Creek Elementary. That experience confirmed that she wanted to take this next step in her career and support strong instructional practices and developing future leaders as an elementary school based administrator.   Ms. Butzer cannot wait to meet students and families.  If you would like to email her to welcome her as a Westbriar Falcon, she can be reached at cmbutzer@fcps.edu.

Ms. Butzer's official start date will be July 15th but she will be visiting our school sometime in June and working with Mr. Simms-Smith and I as we start to plan for the upcoming school year.

Thank you as always for your continued support,

Principal Tam

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Curbside Pick-up of Student Supplies

GovDelivery 1 week ago

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Dear Westbriar Families,

Thank you for the colorful chalk art on our sidewalks and stairways leading up to the school. Staff members enjoyed seeing all the signs posted in the main lobby. We all appreciate the many ways you have shown us your support and appreciation during this time of distance learning. I cannot believe the time has come for us to get things ready for summer break and that includes an opportunity for you to pick up your child’s supplies left at school prior to school closure on Friday, March 13th. 

Below is the curbside pick-up schedule by grade.  We created this schedule to allow for an organized process for families to retrieve their items.  Teachers have packed into grocery bags your child’s supplies and items left at school. 

Here is the process for curbside pick-up:

  • Drive your car into the bus loop (main entrance of our school) for curbside pickup.
  • Use both lanes in the bus loop to allow for more cars.  Please follow the orange cones upon entrance into the bus loop.
  • Stay in your car.  This is curbside pickup only.
  • Give your child's last name and grade to the staff member. They will place your child's bag in your car or trunk.
  • Return library books and other school items to the other staff members on hand.  If you need to know what is checked out, log into your child's Destiny account (Westbriar homepage - Library link- Westbriar Catalog) or send Mrs. Fuselier an email at kmfuselier@fcps.edu. 
  • We apologize for the inconvenience of requiring multiple visits by families with siblings, but we cannot accommodate our 940 students in any other way and still ensure safety for all.  We unfortunately will not be able to make any exceptions. 

Please notify your child’s teacher if you cannot pick up at the appointed time and let them know that you want to donate your child’s supplies to our school and not come for curbside pickup.  Here are some questions parents may have:

  1. Can someone else pick up my child’s bag?  Unfortunately no, we need to ensure student items are returned directly to their families.
  2. If I live across the street can I ride my bike or walk to pick up if I wear a mask and gloves?  Due to health and safety guidelines, please come for curbside pick-up in your car.
  3. Will I see my teacher?  Yes, teachers are invited to your grade level pick up time and many will be there to wave good-bye to you for the summer.
  4. Should people in the car have on masks and or gloves?  It is your preference if you want to wear masks/gloves in your car.
  5. Will teachers/staff be wearing gloves/masks?  Yes, all staff members assisting with this process will have on face masks and gloves.
  6. If my child lost something in the lost and found, will I be able to retrieve it? If not, what happens to the lost items?  We will have the lost and found bins located outside the Kiss and Ride door, parents can come and look thru the items, please keep to social distancing guidelines when you are out of the car. Any items left after the week of June 8th will be donated to Goodwill.
  7. Medications at school, what will happen?   Please notify your child’s teacher if you wish to pick up medication left at school and it will be placed in your child’s paper bag. Any medications not picked up during that week will be stored over the summer break.

Monday, June 8th                  Grade 4

9-11am

Monday, June 8th                  Grade 2

12-2pm

Tuesday, June 9th                 Grade 5

9-11am

Tuesday, June 9th                 Kindergarten

12-2pm

Wednesday, June 10th       Grade 3

9-11am

Wednesday, June 10th       Grade 1

12-2pm

Thursday, June 11           Grade 6

9-12pm

 

This is a challenging way for all of us to finish out the school year without our normal celebrations and parties.  But it will not stop us for finding creative ways to celebrate our year together.  Therefore, we invite your child/children to post a sign or drawing for us to see while you are in the pick-up line, we will all be cheering when we see you. We wish you all a successful close to this school year as we approach the last couple of weeks of school.

Have a safe summer break and thank you for all your support.

Principal Tam

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

May Newsletter from Principal Tam and PTA

GovDelivery 3 weeks 2 days ago

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Dear Westbriar Community,

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms and caretakers in our community. Our staff is so happy to reconnect with students these past two weeks. We feel we have established essential learning structures for teachers and students with distance learning. Thank you for your patience and flexibility while we worked thru the technology glitches.

We completed grades for 3rd quarter and you should be receiving your child’s report card in the mail shortly. Please note that while current lessons and assignments are not graded, teachers will consider your child’s participation and growth shown during distance learning to help determine your child’s final grade. Thank you for helping your child login and take part in live sessions with our teachers.

I have some good news to share, our school qualifies to have another assistant principal join Mr. Simms-Smith and I this upcoming school year. I am in the process of setting up the interview panel consisting of essential stakeholders representing our school and community.  Mrs. Trish Vanstory, our PTA President has agreed to represent the parent community on the panel. I will let you know when we have completed the interview process and are ready to announce our new assistant principal. Stay tuned 😊.

As many of you may have heard, I am writing to confirm the passing of Mr. Brad Mitchell – a beloved member of our SACC team for many years. Mr. Mitchell passed away last Friday, May 8th due to complications from a fall at home. Our school community is saddened to lose such a generous individual who has touched so many students, families, and school staff. An email from SACC was sent this afternoon to SACC families. I do not have information regarding a funeral service or donation information yet, when I do, I will be sure to share with it you.

Thank you for the amazing support you have shown our staff and school.  Our staff enjoyed a wonderful Staff Appreciation Week, we are so appreciative of this invaluable partnership.

With much gratitude,

Principal Tam

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News About Virtual Walkers Club

For the month of May (5/4-5/29) we’re going to do our Westbriar Walkers Club.  The link to  an announcement was added to teacher google classrooms and the p.e. google classrooms as well.  The idea is for children to walk or run and keep track of their weekly miles.  On Sundays Mrs. Shoop will post a google form to the p.e. classrooms for students to input the miles they did just for that week.  She'll also post a map with our school totals as we walk across America. Let Mrs. Shoop know if you have any questions.  Here is the link to take part of our virtual Walkers Club:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/125nCSiAli7mKB8-_rQ5k5VdAG4kl38Ox3QbT14LaLU8/edit?usp=sharing

Library News

Mrs. Fuselier encourages all students to join and regularly check their grade Library Google Classroom. Read alouds, resources, information on office hours, and any Library announcements can be found there.

NEW: FCPS Library Services has added over 700 new eBooks and audiobooks, geared toward 5th and 6th grade, to our collection on the MackinVia platform. To access, you can find the link to MackinVia on the Destiny homepage, download the MackinVia app on any IOS or Android device or follow https://fairfax.mackinvia.com/. Login with your FCPS username and password using the BLUE BAR. More information on accessing these titles as well as a short video tutorial on using MackinVia can be found on the Library Google Classroom page.

Please feel free to contact Mrs. Fuselier at kmfuselier@fcps.edu or stop by my office hours M/T at 10:30; W/Th at 1:30. Go to Mrs. Fuselier’s Office Hours Google Classroom using code ubsoy6z to find the link.

From the Counselors

Our School Counselors, Mrs. Jefferson and Mrs. Plath, will be holding virtual lunch bunches throughout the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year.  Lunch bunches are a great way for students to connect with one another and their School Counselor, all while chatting and having fun. 

*** Parents must complete this form in order for a child to participate in a virtual lunch bunch. ***

Students will be contacted via their fcpsschools.net account when their lunch bunch is scheduled.  Questions?  Please contact Mrs. Jefferson or Mrs. Plath (bpjefferson@fcps.edu or mlplath@fcps.edu)

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeNR8OlL0vKmZU-WXWLxRJZB-ck9KtIFf70U_4XtKqJnUJcgA/viewform?usp=sf_link

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From our PTA

Hello Westbriar!  

We are in uncharted waters together, yet apart.  We hope you and your family are finding that place of calm, serenity and even fun.  It may elude you on a regular basis -- as it does us -- but it's the goal, right?  We hope you're able to reach out to friends and other parents who are going through the same thing,  We hope you're connecting, albeit from afar.  After all, it's our connections with others that are so important.  We are all in this together.

We are continuing to try and offer as much PTA involvement as possible in your kids' and your lives.  With that, here's what's going on:

Sprout School Supply Kits on Sale NOW!

With all the uncertainty, at least one thing we know for sure:  Our kids will need school supplies in the fall, come what may.  This year, more than ever, it's great to let the PTA and Sprout do the shopping for you!  Go to www.sproutsupplies.com/supplykits and enter school code WES004 to order your student's kit.  Don't forget -- you're ordering for NEXT YEAR, so if you have a third grader now, order a fourth grade kit.  *Note that some grades have different kits for AAP students. 

We know what you're thinking -- we don't even know whether school will be happening in the fall.  But either way, you'll need these supplies for your kiddos, and we will figure out how to get them to you if the school building is closed.  This way, Sprout takes care of the shopping for you and you can stay home, where it's safe.  

Refund policy:  Cancel your order before July 15, 2020, when Sprout starts delivering kits to schools.  Or, after receiving your kit, you can return the entire kit with all of its contents unopened within 30 days of delivery.  (Shipping to the warehouse facility is the responsibility of the customer at that point.)

Westbriar PTA End of Year Wrap-Up Meeting -- 5/28 @ 7PM

Our final (virtual) meeting of the year will be held on Thursday, May 28th, at 7PM.  Sign up HERE so we can send you the Zoom info.  (Please sign up by 6PM on the 28th to receive the Zoom info.)

At this meeting, we will be holding elections for officers for next year as well as passing an interim budget.  Here is our slate for PTA officers for next year:

President - Natalie Lueders

VP of Enrichment - Lindsay Weitz

VP of Membership - Kristy Creagh

Treasurer - Deirdre Naughton

Secretary - Julianna Lieu

If you would like to nominate yourself* or someone else* to run against the PTA slate for one of these positions, please contact Trish Vanstory BY 5PM ON MONDAY, MAY 25TH, so we can coordinate the elections.  *You must be a current PTA member to run for a PTA office.

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THANK-YOU NOTES

Thank you to Adam Strawn, who came early and stayed late at what became our last in-person PTA meeting on March 12th to present to parents (virtually and in person) about all of our distance learning resources.  Mr. Strawn, we cannot thank you enough for your time and your help.  We had a head-start on those weeks without teacher instruction because of your efforts.  Anyone who missed Mr. Strawn's presentation can click HERE to view the presentation and HERE to access the handout the presentation.

Thank you to Roopa Chowbey and Adam Strawn, who didn't let our quarantine stop the Science Fair from happening!  Our kiddos (32 of them!) were able to post their FlipGrid videos about their projects and hold live discussions over Zoom with a panel of judges recruited from Marshall High School and our community.  What a great way to show that science, school, and fun can still happen, despite our staying at home!

Thank you to Katie Bayer for putting together our Staff Appreciation Week, May 4th - 8th.  Katie really thought outside the box to come up with virtual presents and creative ways to show our love for our Westbriar teachers each day.  She worked hard and did an amazing job to make sure that every staff person in our school felt appreciated and loved.

--

Trish Vanstory

Westbriar PTA President

wesptaprez@gmail.com 

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Synchronous Distance Learning to start on Monday, April 27th

GovDelivery 1 month 1 week ago

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Dear Westbriar Parent Community,

Thank you for your patience as FCPS works through technology and access issues around Blackboard 24-7. We are excited to let you know that we have a plan to begin synchronous distance learning next week at Westbriar! Our staff is very excited to reconnect with our children in live sessions.

I know many of the tech challenges have been frustrating for you and your children, I want to reassure you that our staff is committed to providing a secure, engaging, and positive learning environment for our students. I am very proud of our staff for rising to each occasion and challenge, putting in many hours to develop lessons and activities with an online lense, and always ensuring that the needs of their students remains a top priority.

Since Monday, school staff has been engaged in migrating their classes into a more secure and reliable platform (Blackboard Collaborate or Google Meet) for synchronous instruction.   All classes will be ready for synchronous sessions and office hours on Monday, April 27th.

Grade level teachers will be emailing families information about how to access office hours, class sessions and learning resources. Please keep a look out for the email from your child’s classroom teacher that will be sent to you today or tomorrow.

How have we been preparing?

  • Teachers have been in training this week to create safe learning environments for your child using two FCPS approved platforms: Google Meets or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.
  • Teachers are creating virtual sessions in Google Meet or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to have them ready to go live this coming Monday, April 27th.
  • Teachers have been adjusting their curriculum plans to ensure essential standards will be taught.

What should students do between today and April 29?

  • Continue to learn asynchronously. We cannot wait to “see” them next week!
  • Go the teacher’s Google Class page or Blackboard 24-7 site to access asynchronous work/activities/resources.
  • “Visit” their teachers on Thursday using the new codes/links (email from teacher will instruction will be forthcoming)
  • Reach out to their teachers, school counselor, or an administrator with questions.

What can families do?

  • Encourage your child to stay engaged, complete assigned work, and access all resources posted by teachers
  • Tell your child to go “in” to classes at the correct times only. Tell them not to share their codes or links because if they do and that person logs in before they do, they will NOT be able to get into the classroom. 

Thank you for your patience and support of our school staff these past few weeks.  We appreciate our wonderful parents and families.

Take care,

Principal Tam

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Updated Third Quarter Grading Timeline:

Due to last week’s pause in teacher-led “live” instruction, the third quarter window has been extended until Friday, May 1, 2020. Students will work with their teachers to make up third quarter missing/incomplete assignments and complete reassessments by May 1, 2020. 

ParentVUE/StudentVUE access will be turned off to allow for teachers to enter grades from Thursday, April 23 through Friday, May 8. Grades will be available in ParentVUE/StudentVUE on Saturday, May 9.

Report card mailings to all parents/guardians who have not opted into electronic delivery will begin on May 12, 2020. 

More information about grading and reporting for the remainder of the school year will be available later this week. 

Parent Input Survey 2020

Each year, around this time, I post this link to provide parents the opportunity to provide input regarding their child’s placement for the next school year. You can fill out the input form at https://forms.gle/qXxEpULBLArBYR3G9 by May 18, 2020.

Yearbooks

Westbriar Elementary School

2019– 2020 Yearbook

$20 Hard Cover

$15.50 Soft Cover

Deadline to Order: May 1st

Order online at

barksdalephoto.com

Code: ask classroom teacher

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Update on Distance Learning

GovDelivery 1 month 2 weeks ago

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Dear Westbriar Families,

We had a great kick off to distance learning yesterday. Our teachers were so happy to reconnect with students and I know students felt the same. I know today was hard when live sessions were canceled.  I wanted you to know that yesterday, there were reports of security breaches in virtual accounts amongst our secondary schools that caused the immediate need to tighten security. Those security breaches resulted in my decision to cancel live classes in order to address security concerns before continuing with distance learning for our students. 

We held our staff meeting this morning to review the updated secure measures needed for Blackboard Collaborate Ultra courses.  Teachers will no longer be sending you an email with a link to access the virtual sessions. Instead, students will gain access directly through their Blackboard 24/7 course at https://fcps.blackboard.com/webapps/login/. Students are responsible for logging into their specific grade level, teacher session using his/her student login.  Only one login is permitted per user.  If your child does not remember their password, please contact your child's teacher.

This afternoon, teachers will be sending emails to parents with specific login directions for your child to access Collaborate Ultra sessions starting tomorrow, April 16th.  Please contact your child’s teacher if you have not yet received those specific login directions.  Please be reminded that students may continue to work on their learning packets and other teacher generated learning materials whenever we experience technical issues for login. 

Thanks again for your patience and support today as teachers worked on creating a safe online learning environment for your child. 

Take care,

Principal Tam

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Distance Learning Update for Today 4/15/2020

GovDelivery 1 month 2 weeks ago

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Good Morning Westbriar Families,

Yesterday, FCPS identified several online security concerns related to distance learning that needed to be addressed.  Notifications about a 2 hour delay for today, April 15th were sent out to schools and families yesterday evening.  FCPS has come up with solutions to address these security concerns.  Part of that solution is time allotted today to train our staff on putting security measures into place before distance learning can resume.

Due to these unforeseen circumstances, I have decided to cancel online teaching and office hour sessions for today, April 15th, so teachers can be trained on how to implement these new security measures and take the time to accurately put these measures into action.  If teachers are able to complete all the required updates and security measures today and are able to resume live sessions or office hours, they will contact you.  It was imperative to me that our teachers have adequate time to be trained on using these new security measures so they can ensure all students will have a safe online experience.

I know and understand the inconvenience this may cause.  Please know that I did not make this decision lightly and feel I needed to take these steps that would ensure the safety and security of each student’s distance learning experience - that is a top priority.  Our teachers had a great day of learning with their students and I know they want to reconnect with them as soon as possible.

Thank you for your flexibility, understanding, and support.

Principal Tam

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

April Newsletter from Principal Tam

GovDelivery 1 month 3 weeks ago

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Dear Westbriar Parent Community,

We look forward to kicking-off Distance Learning on Tuesday, April 14th. This is new territory for all of us and I have not doubt, we will go thru some highs and lows together. Thank you for your continued support.

Teachers and staff have been working to plan instructional lessons to be delivered in an online format that is new to many. They have attended trainings and have set up their accounts to virtually meet with your child for daily lessons and instruction. Please bear with us as we all transition to online learning for the rest of the school year.

The rest of my newsletter will provide information on: parent input for the upcoming school year, grade level schedules for distance learning, updates about our yearbook, and a reminder about Mr. Strawn’s FAQ session.

Please continue to reach out if you have questions, thank you.

Principal Tam

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Parent Input Survey 2020

Each year, around this time, I post this link to provide parents the opportunity to give me input regarding their child’s placement for the next school year. You can fill out the input form at https://forms.gle/qXxEpULBLArBYR3G9 , deadline for submissions is May 18, 2020.

Yearbooks

Our Yearbook committee along with our yearbook company Barksdale will move forward with the selling of yearbooks for this academic year. Parents, be on the lookout for communication from your child’s classroom teacher about where and when to submit pictures to be included in our yearbook. Barksdale will take orders online and yearbooks will be mailed to your homes.  Ordering information will be forthcoming.

Distance Learning Grade Level Schedules

You can access grade level schedules by going to this link: https://westbriares.fcps.edu/announcements/distance-learning-schedules

Please note that teachers built their schedules using guidelines from our district. Once we have put the schedule into practice, if there are changes to be made to enhance the support of student instruction, your child’s classroom teacher will let you know. Your child will have an hour of synchronous and asynchronous instruction from their classroom teacher Monday thru Thursday.  Fridays have been identified as our staff and grade level meeting and planning day.  In addition, classroom teachers will have office hours which will focus on touching base with individual students, small group work, and or communicating with parents.  Those hours are posted in grade level schedules.

For specials, your child can log onto their Blackboard 24-7 learning site at https://fcps.blackboard.com/webapps/blackboard/execute/launcher?type=Course&id=_1322476_1&url= (you may need to log into Blackboard 24-7 first) and there, your child can select from a variety of recorded lessons accessible throughout each week. Sessions are mostly 30 minutes in length so your child can select two 30-minute specials to attend within the hour window as stated on their grade level schedule. We are currently working with our specialists to schedule their office hours so students can get live online support. Once we have that schedule ready to be published, it will be uploaded in the same place as the grade level schedules as posted on our school website.

Families receiving ESOL and Special Ed support, your child’s case manager will be in touch with you (if not already) regarding those individualized schedules.

Technology Parent Q&A session on Tuesday, 4/14 @ 8 pm:

You are invited to attend Mr. Strawn’s second Technology FAQ session scheduled for Tuesday, April 14th at 8:00pm. He will be available to address questions pertaining to your child’s first day of distance learning. He can answer questions related to technology. Any questions regarding grading, scheduling, etc should be sent to your child’s classroom teacher or school administration.

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Reminder about Mr. Stawn's Parent Session this evening, 8pm

GovDelivery 2 months ago

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Dear Westbriar Families,

Please read below a reminder from our SBTS, Mr. Adam Strawn about the parent FAQ/training scheduled for this evening at 8pm.  There is a 250 person limit on the session so if you cannot get in, we will have the session recorded and posted for parents to review.  We are all looking forward to kicking off Distance Learning on Tuesday, April 14th.

Take care,

Principal Tam

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Hi Westbriar parents,

First, I’m very sorry this session is scheduled on an evening where some families already have other engagements or religious observances.  Tonight was chosen because it is the last weekday after a week of teachers practicing tech tool with their classes and I could not offer sessions from April 4-13.  This session will be recorded and posted in Blackboard under Westbriar Specials 19-20 in Technology.  I will also host another session on Tuesday, April 14th @ 8 pm using the same session link to address questions from the first day of learning.

That being said, if you are free and would like guidance, please join me in Collaborate Ultra starting at 8 pm tonight.  The link is at the bottom of this message.  First I will teach some general troubleshoot tips shortly after we begin.  We will practice using Collaborate Ultra which is one of our main tools in distance learning.  We will also address other outstanding questions, comments, and concerns.  Participant audio will be off for most of the session because of the large number of users, but the Chat feature will be available all evening.

Parent Q&A session on Friday, 4/3 @ 8 pm:

Best,

Adam Strawn

School-Based Technology Specialist

Westbriar Elementary

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Touching base and sharing a video with you

GovDelivery 2 months ago

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Dear Westbriar Families,

This past Monday, we held our virtual staff meeting where over 84 staff members received information and training about distance learning.  Our teachers are excited to reconnect with their students.  For the rest of this week, teachers will focus on attending virtual technology and other important training to help them plan distance learning lessons. 

I know many of our teachers have started to reach out to you to let you know about our web based virtual meeting tool called Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (BBCU).  They are using BBCU to connect with your child during distance learning so be on the look out for those communication invites from your child's classroom teacher.

Next week is Spring Break and learning packets will NOT be sent for that week.  On Tuesday, April 14th we officially kick off distance learning for the rest of the school year.  Until then, please play this video created for you to show you how much we have missed your children.  Here is the  "Westbriar Misses You" video link  https://flipgrid.com/2513d8b2.

You can view great Covid-19 video for families here: https://safeYouTube.net/w/7ZF3

You are invited to virtually attend a Parent Q&A session this Friday, 4/3 @ 8 pm.  Come join our School-Based Technology Specialist, Mr. Adam Strawn for a chance to experience Blackboard Collaborator Ultra (BBCU), FCPS’s tool for live lessons and virtual meetings, and ask other tool questions while we’re at it!

  • Go to this link at 8pm on Friday.  You may get an error message, simply refresh your screen and you will be joined to the session.  https://us.bbcollab.com/guest/c19710e2437341a89c0c2dc18268e022
  • If you cannot join online, you have the option to call and join the session at this number:  +1-571-392-7650     PIN: 776 872 6606

Before the start of distance learning on Tuesday, April 14th, I will send another newsletter to let you know where you can access grade level distance learning schedules.  Please note that all schedules will be a work in progress and can be subjected to change.  Any changes made after publication will be shared with parents by our teaching staff.

Take care,

Principal Tam

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Touching base with you - March 23, 2020

GovDelivery 2 months 1 week ago

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Dear Westbriar Families,

You heard by now Governor Northam's decision to close schools for the rest of the academic year.  As you also read in Dr. Brabrand's email to staff and community send this afternoon, "Our School Board is meeting later this afternoon in an emergency session and I will be working closely with them to determine our next steps as we face together this unprecedented challenge." 

Unprecedented is the right word to describe the times we are facing right now.  Soon after, I started to receive emails from parents and staff asking the same question, "what are our next steps?".  I want to reassure you that Dr. Brabrand and his instructional leadership team have tirelessly been working on a distance learning plan.  You can imagine the challenges of putting this plan into action within a school system our size and trying to ensure vital information is presented in an equitable and collaborative manner to all schools and families.

This morning, I held a virtual touching base meeting with school staff.  It left a warm feeling within me to see all 83 staff members participate to connect with one another, a connection very much missed by all.   While we connected virtually, it was so reassuring to hear their voices, see their faces on video, and connect together once again as a school.  I want to share with you what I told them this morning:

  • The distance learning plan is being ironed out and will be ready once it has passed various stages of approval.  I know FCPS leadership are working on this as quickly as they can to share this plan with staff and in turn, share it with our community.  I asked for them to be patient, to wait until it has gone thru the various stages of approval and then be ready for it to be rolled out. 
  • Last week, I was part of the virtual meeting with over a 100 principals to review a draft of the distance learning plan and I want to tell you that our instructional office has put together a plan that takes into account important stakeholders like teachers, parents, and students. 
  • There was a time line of when new content would be introduced that was shared with principals during that virtual meeting.  That timeline now will most likely be readjusted due to Governor Northam's decision to close all schools for the rest of the academic school year.  I believe the many people working behind the scenes will be getting it updated as quickly as possible.
  • Teachers and staff expressed missing their students.  We talked about ways we could reconnect with them so keep an eye out for those opportunities in the upcoming weeks.  We are also exploring ways to hold several virtual spirit weeks in the upcoming months.  As you know our staff is full of great ideas :-).

Please be reassured that while it is disheartening to see how much your child or children has missed their teachers, friends, and daily school schedules, we as a school system will continue to work behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transition to distance learning.

We all miss your children.  We all miss their smiling faces and the sounds of their laughter.  We all miss those precious learning moments with them.  We are determined to reconnect with them as soon as we can.  Hold tight until we can share more information with you.

Until then, please continue to reach out if you need anything.  We will get thru these next few months - together.

Take care and be safe,

Principal Tam

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Donations to the community

GovDelivery 2 months 1 week ago

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Dear Westbriar Parents:

I am very thankful to you for the generosity shown to several families in need with your donations of gift cards to purchase groceries.  I also appreciate that our wonderful PTA board has organized a way for you to drop off more gift cards so I can continue to distribute those cards to families in our community.

I am reaching out to ask for your assistance on another important matter.  Below is a message from one of our parents.  Please feel free to forward as applicable.  Thank you all for your care for our school and our community.

I will be in touch soon about checking out a laptop to families who does not have an mobile, tablet, or laptop device at home.

Take care,

Principal Tam

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Dear Westbriar Community - 

My daughter Eliza, a 4th grader at Westbriar Elementary, was born with a rare bone marrow failure disorder called Diamond Blackfan Anemia and needs a blood transfusion every three weeks to live because she can't make her own red blood.  Eliza's doctor and nurse coordinator from the pediatric Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Inova Schar Cancer Institute have requested that families and friends of patients circulate the emails below. Eliza's clinic services hundreds of children who need blood to survive.  Due to the extreme shortage, patients will only been given blood in very extreme cases and therefore many people/children, including Eliza, will not get the blood they need to keep them healthy.  This scenario puts extreme stress on organs, and places already compromised people at even higher risk.

IF you are healthy, meet the guidelines, and feel well, PLEASE consider donating to the Inova Blood Donor Services.  Even though your blood will not go directly to Eliza at this time, by donating blood, you will help many people by increasing the total available units that the hospital needs every day.  I've provided the links with required reading for eligibility and appointment information. 

Call 1-866-256-6372 or go to Inova Blood Donor Services - Save a Life Today. Give Blood..

 

If any of you are interested in donating directly to Eliza in the future for an ongoing basis, please throughly read the links I’ve provided and contact me.  Eliza can accept A+, A-, O+, O-. I'm gathering a list of people who may consider donating blood in the future, every 4 months or so.

tamiluddy@yahoo.com

703-887-9690

I hope all of you remain well.  

Thank you,

Tami Luddy

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Important update about Monday, March 16th and school access

GovDelivery 2 months 2 weeks ago

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Dear Westbriar Parents:

I want to be sure you are aware that Dr. Brabrand sent another community email this afternoon alerting us that until further notice, all FCPS schools and administrative offices will be closed and only essential personnel are to report.  This means the library and laptop check out scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, March 16th has been postponed until further notice. 

The following is information I copied/pasted from Dr. Brabrand's email detailing locations for families to get food during this closure, I figure it would not hurt to share this important information more than once:

Beginning tomorrow, March 16, we are expanding the grab and go food distribution sites to a total of 18 locations.  The food distribution is set up outside the schools.   Breakfast will be served from 8-10:30 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the locations listed below:

Annandale Terrace ES,  7604 Herald St.,

Annandale Bailey's Primary ES, 6111 Knollwood Dr., Falls Church

Braddock ES,  7825 Heritage Dr., Annandale

Brookfield ES, 4200 Lees Corner Rd, Chantilly

Burke School, 9645 Burke Lake Rd., Burke

Centre Ridge ES, 14400 New Braddock Rd., Centreville

Crestwood ES, 6010 Hanover Ave., Springfield

Cunningham Park ES, 1001 Park St., Vienna

Dogwood ES, 12300 Glade Dr., Reston

Garfield ES, 7101 Old Keene Mill Rd., Springfield 

Graham Road  Community Center,  3036 Graham Rd., Falls Church

Fort Belvoir Upper ES, 5980 Meeres Rd., Fort Belvoir

Hutchison ES, 13209 Parcher Ave., Herndon

Hybla Valley ES, 3415 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria 

London Towne ES, 6100 Stone Rd., Centreville

Mount Vernon Woods ES, 4015 Fielding St., Alexandria

Providence ES, 3616 Jermantown Rd., Fairfax

Weyanoke ES, 6520 Braddock Rd., Alexandria

Take care,

Principal Tam

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Updated information about school access on Monday, March 16th

GovDelivery 2 months 3 weeks ago

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Dear Westbriar Families,

I want to share some pertinent information regarding school access this coming Monday, March 16th.  Our school library will be open this Monday only, from 9:00am-11:00am for students to come and check out books to read while they are out of school.  Please come to entrance #9 (entrance closest to the Library).  If your child has left something at school, this is also a good time to come by our school to collect those items.

As you have read in my last newsletter, our school will be open from 12:00pm-2:30pm for families to check out laptops.  This pertains to students in grades 3-6 who does not have a laptop at home in order to access online county resources.  The laptop check out will take place at entrance #1 in the main lobby.  Several of our amazing staff will come in to volunteer to help us with this process.

I ask that you keep to these time slots (9:00am-11:00am for picking up student items or checkout out library books or 12:00-2:30pm for checking out a laptop)because we will have a limited number of staff volunteers.  I want to ensure we can adequately support families picking up items, checking out library books, or laptops.

In case you missed Mr. Strawn's presentation last Thursday where he showed parents how to access county approved online resources, here is a link to view that presentation: https://youtu.be/xPmlJg0K7Qs.  The YouTube video is an hour in length and will provide families with timely and helpful information.

Important reminder:  Food distribution will continue throughout the closures. Meals were served at five schools with plans to expand to additional schools next week. We are coordinating with community partners to ensure the locations and timing of food centers and pantries are being communicated with FCPS families. Breakfast will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and lunch will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at the following locations:

  • Bailey’s Elementary School, 6111 Knollwood Drive, Falls Church
  • Hutchison Elementary School, 13209 Parcher Avenue, Herndon
  • Hybla Valley Elementary School, 3415 Lockheed Boulevard, Alexandria
  • London Towne Elementary School, 6100 Stone Road, Centreville
  • Burke School, 9645 Burke Lake Road, Burke

I am thankful for your continued partnership.  Rest assured, our division  leadership teams are doing all they can to support schools and centers.  I will continue to reach out with updated information.  On behalf of our school staff, please know your family is not too far from our thoughts and we will continue to keep your children our main focus as we help one another navigate through this difficult time.  Continue to reach out to me should you need anything.

Take care,

Principal Tam

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

Technology Distribution on Monday, March 16th 12:00-2:30pm

GovDelivery 2 months 3 weeks ago

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Dear Westbriar Families,

On Monday, we will be distributing a limited number of laptops to FCPS students in grades 3-6 that do not have access to a device at home. Our school will be distributing to students between 12:00pm - 2:30pm.  You may come anytime in that window. Note that you must attend with your student to sign our parent consent form that allows us to assign a device to your student. We will also work with your student while on-site to make sure that they can log into the device before you leave.

Here are a few things to understand about the process on Monday:

    • There are a limited number of laptops available to our students and they are intended only for those students who have no other means to access learning resources from home. Please do not take a laptop if your student already has access to a computer or tablet at home.
    • The laptop is a temporary loan and will need to be returned to the school as soon as school resumes.
    • If you do not have internet access at home, while you are picking up a laptop, you may fill out the parent permission form for a MiFi wireless internet device. These MiFis will not be available for pickup on Monday, however we will put your request in the queue and let you know if a device is available for pickup at a later date.

Thank you for your patience and support of our efforts to provide an equitable experience for our students.

Sincerely,

Principal Tam

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

March Newsletter from Principal Tam and PTA

GovDelivery 2 months 3 weeks ago

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Dear Westbriar Parents,

Many of you have shared your concerns regarding the coronavirus. I am writing to reassure you that we are following guidelines given by FCPS on how we clean our school building so that we can start each day with clean classrooms. FCPS leadership has been proactive in sharing many resources with school staff to help us navigate the instructional school day. We will continue to stress the importance of daily hand washing at school.  

I want to reassure you that our school is in complete compliance in adhering to county and state mandates. Our wonderful staff remains committed to keeping the focus on the instructional day and providing your child the valuable structure needed to keep their school experience as normal as possible. Here is a link that you should bookmark where you can access real time information from FCPS: https://www.fcps.edu/news/coronavirus-update

This coming Monday, I will share a detailed plan with teachers on what distance learning would look like and will provide them time to plan and prepare in the event a decision is made to close schools. You can expect to receive detailed information from your child’s teacher that will help you and your family navigate the distance learning model at home – should that become a reality. Until then, we will continue to proceed as normal and your children remains our primary focus.

Take care,

Principal Tam

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Your Views and Opinions Are Important to Us!

This spring all Westbriar parents will be contacted through email with a link to the FCPS Principal Evaluation Parent/Guardian Feedback Form Online. This survey is part of the Performance Evaluation Program and offers parents an opportunity to provide anonymous input about various issues related to our school. These issues include instructional leadership, school climate, human resources management, organizational management, communication and community relations and professionalism.

The survey will be collected online between March 12 and March 26. When you receive an email from FCPS Surveys, please take a few minutes to complete the survey. Your opinions matter, thank you in advance for your support.

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FROM THE PTA

6PM THURSDAY, 3/12 -- Westbriar Cafeteria

COME HEAR ADAM STRAWN, OUR SCHOOL-BASED TECH SPECIALIST, SPEAK ABOUT THE DIFFERENT TECH RESOURCES OUR STUDENTS HAVE AT SCHOOL AND AT HOME.  Very helpful, especially if schools close and we utilize distance learning!

Mr. Strawn will speak at 6PM.  Come at 5:30 to get your devices up and running on the Westbriar Wifi.  PTA meeting follows @ 7PM.

*****

Your PTA wants you to know that we take the health and safety of our Westbriar family very seriously.  Therefore, we are canceling International Night, scheduled for 4/17, as well as our Westbriar 5K, scheduled for 5/9.  We will miss these fun, enriching, community unifying events.

Similarly, we are canceling the public event part of our Science Fair, which was to be held on Thursday, 4/23.  Instead, we will hold the Science Fair as scheduled on 4/24, and it will be restricted to Westbriar students and staff who attend during regular school hours.  If our children are in school, they can still have a Science Fair, which we are happy to save! More information to come on how your child can record a video presentation of their science project to be shared with students and school community.

For now, you've heard it all -- cough and sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands, and for goodness sake, stay home if you're sick.  We are hoping that any school closures turn into special bonding time with your family.  (And that you have plenty of toilet paper!)

PTA Dates at a Glance

Wednesday, 3/11 -- Spring Enrichment Class Registration Opens -- 21 great after-school classes for your student to enjoy! Go to www.westbriarpta.org to register.  

Tuesday, 3/24 -- Dining for Dollar$ at Chipotle, 213 Maple Avenue East from 4-8PM.  Don't forget to tell them you're with Westbriar when you buy your meal!!

Wednesday, 3/25 -- Spring Enrichment Class Registration Closes -- DO NOT WAIT -- NO EXCEPTIONS!  Register now!!

Thursday, 4/17 -- International Night -- CANCELLED

Thursday, 4/23 -- Science Fair open PTA event -- CANCELLED

Friday, 4/24 -- Science Fair exhibition for students and staff during school -- STILL ON

Monday - Friday, 5/4-8 -- Staff Appreciation Week!

Saturday, 5/9 -- Westbriar 5K and One Mile Walk -- CANCELLED

 

Thank You Notes

Thank you to Nandita Kalyan who organized our Westbriar Spelling Bee on February 20th.  Thank you also to Ms. TamMrs. Fuselier, and Jan Srock who served as our Spelling Bee judges as well as Mr. Simms-Smith who served as our announcer.

Thank you to Amy Blas for putting an end to our winter doldrums and coming up with a great idea for our Westbriar community -- the 80s vs. Current Hits Dance on February 28th.  We enjoyed dancing the night away with our kiddos and had a great time reliving the "glory days of our youth" in our 80's attire!

Thank you to Crystal Petersen, who coached 14 Westbriar 6th graders to compete in the Virginia Science Olympiad, Division B, Fairfax Regional.  Our team did really well, placing 8th overall out of 24 middle and elementary school teams.  Next up:  Science Olympiad State Competition.  Good luck Falcons! 

Thank you to Crystal Petersen as well for coaching 16 of Westbriar's 5th and 6th graders from September until January to get them ready for the AMC 8, a national examination in mathematics for students in grade 8 or below.  Westbriar students were high achievers, averaging a 10.9 when the worldwide average for 5th and 6th graders was 8.5 and the worldwide average for all test takers, up to grade 8, was 9.43.  And thank you to Mrs. Cockerill for administering the AMC 8 test for Westbriar.

Thank you to Crystal Petersen for making copies every week for the PTA when called!  We know where she spends her Tuesdays ...!

Thank you to Suneeta Rana, our VP of Membership, for getting our Westbriar PTA named as a Fairfax County Membership All Star!  The award signifies that our membership has stayed the same or grown since last year.  Thank you, Suneeta!

--

Trish Vanstory

Westbriar PTA Presidentwesptaprez@gmail.com 

 

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

February 2020 Newsletter from Principal Tam and PTA

GovDelivery 3 months 2 weeks ago

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Dear Westbriar Parents,

The month of February has already been an exciting month for our school. We held our first curriculum night of the year on Friday, January 31st for PI Night (Parent Involvement Night). Even though this event fell on the last day of January, I am still including it in our February newsletter. Thank you for attending PI Night.  The feedback I received was that everyone had a great time, learned a lot of math, and enjoyed a slice of pie to cap the evening. Thank you to our wonderful school staff for coming out and supporting this educational event. Thank you to our fantastic math resource teacher, Mrs. Karen Hall for organizing this fun curriculum night for our school and community.

We celebrated the 100th day of school this week.  Students enjoyed various 100th day activities as prepared by their teachers and Mrs. Hall. I hope your child told you all the fun learning experiences they had on the 100th day of school.

Lastly, thank you for submitting your nominations in honoring our staff with yearly FCPS Employee Awards. Here are the Westbriar staff members who received the following awards:

Westbriar’s Outstanding Teacher -

Misha Chernov – General Ed Music Teacher

*Update:  Ms. Chernov won in this category at the Marshall Pyramid level.  Next steps:  Her nomination packet will be submitted to the Region level.  Congratulations Ms. Chernov!!

Westbriar’s Outstanding New Teacher -

Viann Le – Kindergarten Teacher

Westbriar’s Outstanding Professional Employee -

Melyssa Plath – School Counselor

Westbriar’s Outstanding Support Employee -

Robin Gourley – Kindergarten Instructional Assistant

Westbriar’s Outstanding Leader -

Amos Simms-Smith – Assistant Principal

 

Thank you to the staff and community members who nominated me for this year’s Outstanding Principal award. I am proud to work along side you as your child’s principal. Thank you for your partnership and collaboration.

Take care,

Principal Tam

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Parent Survey of Students Grades 3-8 About AAP Level IV (full-time) Services

Fairfax County Public Schools has engaged with external researchers to examine our Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) in grades 3-8, with a focus on Level IV services.  As one of several data collections in the review, researchers are seeking input from all parents of students in grades 3-8 through an online survey.  Individual survey responses will be anonymous, will go directly to the researchers, and will not be viewed by FCPS staff.  

Responses will be used by the researchers to craft recommendations for program improvements that will be shared with the FCPS School Board in late March.  Parents are asked to complete the survey only one time, even if they have multiple children in grades 3-8.  The survey is expected to start being sent directly to parent emails by mid-February and will close on February 28, 2020, in order to give researchers time to analyze results for their final report in March of 2020.  There will be a School Board work session on March 24, 2020 with the final report.  

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AMC8 Results:

Sixteen Westbriar 5th and 6th graders took the 35th annual American Mathematics Competition 8 (AMC 8) last November.  The AMC 8 is a 25-question, 40-minute examination in middle school mathematics for students in Grades 8 or below.  Problems are designed to promote problem solving skills and analytical thinking and range in difficulty level from 6th grade math up to High School Algebra and Geometry.  

Westbriar students did very well.  Three students earned a Certificate of Achievement which is given to students in Grades 6 or below who scored over 15 points, placing them approximately in the top 10%.  Three additional students placed in the top 25%, two of them just missing the Certificate of Achievement by one point.  Five additional students placed in the top 50%.

Westbriar’s team score was 49, narrowly missing the School Merit Roll by 1 point.  The school average was 10.9, one and a half points above the 9.43 worldwide average for all test takers (up to Grade 8).

Well done to all the students!

Thank you Mrs. Crystal Petersen in helping organize this event for our school each and every year.

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From the PTA

Hello Westbriar!

We hope you're staying warm and dry in the winter rains, and we hope you'll come out and join us at some fun PTA events in the next couple of months!  We especially hope you enjoy a happy Valentine's Day full of love and laughter with your kiddos.

PTA Dates at a Glance

  • 2/24/2020 -- Science Fair registration opens
  • 2/28/2020 -- '80s vs. Current Hits Dance 03/12/2020 --  Evening PTA meeting
  • 4/3/2020 -- Deadline to register for Science Fair 4/17/2020 --  International Night (moved from 3/13) 4/23-24/2020 -- Science Fair

On 2/24, your child can register for the Science Fair on our PTA website -- www.westbriarpta.org -- and start working on his/her project!  The Science Fair will take place on April 23rd in the evening and all day on April 24th.  Registration deadline is April 3rd -- don't miss it!!

 

'80s vs. Current Hits Dance, 6:30-8:30PM on 2/28, Westbriar Cafeteria 

Come dance the night away with a DJ in our cafeteria!  Free admission and glow sticks!  And grab Ben and Jerry's for dessert!

 

Thank-you Notes

Thank you to Ms. Karen Hall, who put together Westbriar's first PI Night on Friday, 1/31.  Thank you as well to Westbriar administration and staff for their wholehearted support of this celebration of math through games.  And thank you to our Westbriar community who donated over 50 pies, Rice Krispy Treats, and other desserts to support our love of learning!

Thank you to Jesse Holtslander and Nisha Thakker, who have put together a slate of great dining out options so our Westbriar community can enjoy one another's company and benefit the PTA at the same time.  

--

Trish Vanstory

Westbriar PTA President

wesptaprez@gmail.com 

1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182 | Main Office: 703-937-1700
Attendance: 703-937-1717 | Web | Twitter

15 minutes 38 seconds ago
Westbriar Elementary School News and announcements
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