Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Student Achievement, Mt. Daniel, and other Matters

I attended the Nov. 10 School Board meeting last night.  The Board covered a lot of issues, and I’ll mention some of them here.  A disclaimer – as most of you know, I have been elected to the Board, with a term beginning January 1, but this quick summary is my personal report and isn’t official minutes, and does not reflect the official view of anyone.

Most important, there is a meeting with the neighborhood and stakeholders on the Mt. Daniel construction proposal this Thursday evening at 7 pm.  Among other things, FCCPS will discuss potential revisions to the plan and timeline.  If you are planning to attend, FCCPS asks that you walk to the meeting or park your vehicle at St. James School where a shuttle bus will take you Mt. Daniel.  The first shuttle will leave St. James at 6:40 pm.  The form to RSVP for the event is here:

FCCPS also talked at more length about student achievement, especially at the elementary and middle school levels.  One very nice step was to compare our SOL pass/advanced pass rates for reading and math to similarly situated schools in Arlington and Fairfax.  A very quick summary is that MEHMS fares pretty well, and there is improvement and some additional work to do at TJ, but you may wish to review the scores yourself.  It remains my personal opinion that SOL pass rates, while valuable, may not be the best indicator of school quality.

Middle and high school parents in particular should review the Pride survey, which reports on drug use and violence (for FCCPS, for 9th grade and up).  The executive summary is here:$file/PrideSurveyExecutive.pdf.  Of particular interest to me were that (1) there is what seems a relatively low level of perceived peer disapproval of the use of marijuana, with only 34.6% of students in 12th grade reporting that their friends perceive the use of marijuana as wrong or very wrong, and (2) that for those 9th graders who have used tobacco, alcohol, or prescription drugs, the average of first use was between 12 and 13. 

The “Student Enrollment by Housing Type” revised chart is now out, which shows how many kids come from single family homes, how many from apartments, etc.  You can find it here:$file/Student%20Ratios%20per%20Dwelling%20Unit%20%202015-09-30.pdf.  I am going to spend more time looking at the data on this topic before commenting.

Last for this report, the Board authorized the use of joint planning funds to employ a real estate advisor to assist in review of the two proposals for the GM and MEH expansion under the “RFP.”   Of note, the motion to authorize the use of funds passed, but with Kieran Sharpe voting “no” in part because he expressed a desire for a joint meeting with the City Council before authorizing this expense.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Schools of the Future Video

FCC-TV and FCCPS have published the video of the Schools of the Future session. If you were not able to attend, you can find it here: If you are interested, I recommend it, especially for the presentations on energy efficiency and clean building.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Time to Vote

Good morning everyone.  Today's the day to VOTE!  Polls are open from 6 am to 7 pm, and please bring an ID.

Thank you all for voting, and for your commitment to the Falls Church community.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Last Call

Thanks everyone for listening!  If you have any final questions for me, or would like me to meet a friend or neighbor, please be sure to let me know.  I'll be happy to stop by or call someone, to answer any final questions they have.  PM or email to work great!


Voting Information

To help everyone get ready for tomorrow.
The polls are open 6 am to 7 pm.
There are three wards. Here is the map showing their boundaries.
Here are the addresses of the polling locations:
Polling Places
Ward 1 Thomas Jefferson School
601 South Oak Street
Parking: Oak St., Fellows Court
Parker Ave., Timber Ln.
Ward 2 Oakwood Apartments
501 Roosevelt Boulevard
Parking: Back lot
(entrance next to Convenience Store)
Ward 3 Falls Church Community Center
223 Little Falls Street
Parking: Community Center Lot,
Little Falls St.
Please vote!

My Elevator Pitch

So if I have not found you home as I knock on doors, here is my elevator pitch to ask for your vote tomorrow:

Who I am

- 17-Year Resident of Falls Church
- Triplets in Seventh Grade
- Former Government and Industry Executive
- Significant management experience
- Consensus builder

What I want to do:

- Improve our use of technology, and protect our kids online
- Retain our great teachers
- Engage parents and city taxpayers about our schools and plans for their future
- Strengthen school management and provide fiscal accountability
- Fund a new George Mason high school and larger Mt. Daniel elementary school while protecting taxpayers

Thanks for listening and voting.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Feeling Grateful

While this election has been very tiring, and the last few weeks in particular have been particularly difficult for reasons I suspect you all know, I am still feeling grateful.
So many people contribute to making these elections happen: the voters who answer the door when we knock and turn out in large numbers on election day; the volunteers who help our campaigns because they care about the City and schools; and the kids and spouses of the candidates, who put up with absentees mothers and fathers on weekends.
I'd like to especially thank the people who help inform people and make the election itself happen. It's amazing how many hours groups like the League of Women Voters, the Village Preservation and Improvement Society, the Falls Church Republicans and Democrats, Citizens for a Better City, the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce, the PTAs and PTSAs, and individual bloggers and commentators put in. And on Tuesday, I'll be again impressed with the extensive efforts of the folks from the Registrar of Elections, the Board of Elections, and the volunteers who run the polls. That's democracy in action.
See you all on Tuesday!

The Final Countdown

It's the last weekend day before Tuesday's election. There are a lot of good resources for you to get ready!
Local Pod-jockey Jeff Tornell has done podcast interviews of many of the candidates. You can find them all here. Hyperlocal Podcast Interviews
My website has links to candidate websites and Facebook pages, as well as the League of Women Voters online guide,Candidates Page and to all four community forums involving either the School Board or City Council candidates, Forums Page.  

Last, I released a final message, less than two-minutes long, last week.