Electric News for May-June 2018



Ms. Begley & Ms. Jones

Thank You for a Wonderful Year

Each academic year holds its own set of special memories and each year we watch our students grow, change, and develop. We recognize their achievement and academic recognition for student performance by the Governor for the sixth year, and so many other outstanding events.

We thank each and every parent for your support of the staff, curriculum, and events, that support your child’s learning. We look forward to a restful summer and an exciting 2018-19 academic year.

New Field for ASFS

This summer ASFS and Barrett are scheduled to receive artificial turf fields. We are very excited to have this field for our students in the fall.

Yearly Development of Class Lists

Kindergarten - Individual parent conferences are held during the summer and classlists are developed from those conferences. This information is shared with the classroom teacher.

  • All classes are reflective of our entire population.
  • Social and academic information from pre-school shared by parents is considered.
  • We try to make sure that all students have at least one known person in their new classroom.                            

First through Fifth Grades - Grade level meetings are held each spring with the classroom teachers, Ms. Hawthorne, Ms. Begley, Ms. Jones, our Literacy Team, Mr. Kirkman, Ms. Stevenson, and appropriate Special Education and ESOL/HILT staff to develop and build class lists.  

  • Educational and social considerations are involved in the development of the lists. Each class is built to reflect the academic, economic, social, gender, and ethnic diversity of our ASFS community. Classes include peer groups for all students. Our goal is to have classrooms that reflect our entire student body.
  • Current teachers build classlists and groupings for the following year as they discuss student proficiencies and social needs.   

Groupings for Mathematics in Grades Three through Five:    

  • End-of-Year Math Test
  • Beginning-of-Year Math Test
  • Information from previous year’s classroom teacher
  • Current teacher observation
  • Independent performance of students on tasks
  • Work habits

Groupings for Language Arts in Grades Four and Five:

  • End-of-Year Reading Level/DRA(Directed Reading Assessment) & DRP
  • Beginning-of-Year DRA & DRP
  • Comprehension level on DRA
  • DSA – Word Study
  • Writing Portfolio and rubric score sheet
  • Information from previous year’s teacher
  • Ms. Abraham/Ms Kaiser/Ms. Miller/Ms. Downs
  • Current Teacher observation
  • Independent performance on projects
  • Work habits

Any information about your child that is related to their academic performance is considered in classroom placement. All teachers at ASFS are highly qualified and endorsed to teach rich, rigorous curriculum to our student body. Therefore, teacher requests are not necessary.

Please do not ask staff to recommend teachers.  

End of Year Events

We do not show videos or movies unless it is a content rich clip such as those from United Streaming which is tied directly to curriculum study and content. The last two weeks of our academic calendar are as important to our children and to us as educators as any other two weeks in the calendar. We continue to teach content rich lessons, have homework, complete projects, and engage in meaningful learning activities. We use every minute of instructional time to enrich, engage, and extend your child’s learning, so they can become well rounded, enthusiastic, life-long learners. It is very important that students are in school every day through June 20th. If at any time, you have questions about activities or the timing of those activities, please call us. We continue to look for ways to improve our instruction and certainly welcome your feedback.

When To Expect in Your Child’s Report Card

All report cards will be distributed on Wednesday, June 20th beginning at 1:00 pm in the classrooms. Anyone absent on that day may pick their report card up from the office beginning June 25th.

Summer Office Hours

Our summer office hours will be from 7:30 - 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday. All new students may be registered at this time. This will be in effect from June 21st through August 10th.

Math Summer Reviews

Your child is responsible to download their summer math review from http://www.arlington.k12.va.us/instruct/math/math_summer_reviews.htm. These activities are for all students K-12. They are to be completed before the first day of the 2018-19 academic year.

SOL Test Results

Students in grades three, four, and five, who took the Virginia Standards of Learning Assessments, will receive their tests scores in the mail following the close of school. Please make sure that we have your correct mailing address in the office. These results will be mailed from the Planning and Assessment Office of the Arlington Public Schools.

A Special "Thank You"

On behalf of the entire ASFS community, I would like to thank all fifth-grade parents and students who will be graduating on to middle school next year. We have enjoyed working with you and your families over the past years at ASFS. We wish you great success as you continue your educational journey.

In addition, to those families and students that are moving out of the area, we thank you for your support and hard work at ASFS. We will miss your families, but you are always welcome to come back and visit.

Class Selection and Assignments for 2018-19

Class assignments for next year will be mailed to your home during the fourth week of August. Included in this letter will be your child's teacher's name, an invitation to the Open House on August 30th from 3:00 to 4:00 pm, and general information including updated lunch prices. Bus schedules will be mailed separately from the transportation office. Placement of students will be based upon the information mentioned above under Yearly Development of Class Lists. If you would like to discuss a specific need of your child, please set up a time to meet with me over the summer. I am always happy to talk with parents.

Back To School Night for Fall 2018

ASFS Back-To-School Night is Wednesday, September 12th at 7:00 pm.  Please mark this on your calendar so that you can attend. Students are not included in this event. Please make arrangements for childcare, so you can attend this very important evening and learn about expectations for your child during the academic year.

Thank you to All PTA members

The ASFS staff would like to thank all of the members of the PTA for their continued support of our programs and our classrooms. We appreciate the warm generosity of our PTA and the collaborative way we all work together for our children. We look forward to a wonderful 2018-19 academic year.

We especially want to thank our PTA President, Lisa Anbinder and her core of officers for the work they have done over the past two years. We want to thank Dena Porter for accepting the position for president of the PTA for the next two years. We all look forward to the election of and working with Dena and her leadership team in the upcoming year.

The entire staff and student body would like to thank the ASFS PTA for their generosity in providing financial support for our classrooms, technology, music program, field trips, and all the programs we enjoy at ASFS.

Summer School

Summer school for ASFS students will be at Barrett. ASFS will house students for Fun with Coding (STEM) and Math Academy.

Residency Specialist and Verification

If you attended our PTA meetings, you know that we talked a great deal about residency. You know we are experiencing significant growth and we need to make sure that only Arlington residents attend APS. This impacts our class size and our resources for children who should attend APS. Only families that live in the Key attendance zone may attend ASFS for the 2018-19 unless you have received an Administrative Transfer or are a sibling of a student already enrolled at ASFS. We do not accept tuition students because we are at capacity. We know that ASFS is a wonderful place for our children to grow and develop, but to attend ASFS, you must meet and continue to meet residency requirements. Residency is where you sleep and spend the majority of your time. If you have a shared custody arrangement, we must have a copy of the custody agreement, and the child’s residency is determined by where the child spends more than 50% of their time and sleeps. The guidelines are very clear and can be reviewed on the APS website.

We are presently going through every student file to make sure we have valid and current residence documentation. If you have moved and have a new lease, etc., please provide that to our office so that we can update your file. We will be calling parents individually, about residency. If you have moved outside of the ASFS zone, but still live in Arlington County, you may finish this school year and then move to your new school in September since we are in the 4th quarter. If your child does not currently live in Arlington County, you may not attend Arlington Public School and are subject to repayment of instruction through tuition.

The cost to educate one general education student in APS is approximately $21,000! Each student who attends APS without proper residency, raises our class size. Please help us to make sure that students in ASFS and APS are residence of Arlington County.

Out of State License Plates and lack of Arlington County Sticker

In reviewing the Virginia DMV regulations found at www.DMV.org, all vehicles MUST have valid Virginia State tags within 30 days of becoming a resident of Virginia. If you live in Arlington County, you MUST have an Arlington sticker on the windshield of your car within 30 days of establishing residency.

If you are active military and have a license plate from another state where you have declared residency, you must have an Arlington County sticker within 30 days of establishing residency.

We have our School Resource Officer assisting us and our County Residency Specialist assisting all APS school in ensuring that all students in APS are residents of Arlington.    

Help Us to Do a Better Job in the Office

If you are arranging play dates or changes in pick up procedures, please make those arrangements before schools begins. We have had an increasing number of “last minute” play dates or transportation changes between 3:30 and 3:40. While we try our very best in the office to accommodate changes, it is almost impossible during dismissal to do this. Please help us to make sure that your child goes to their needed after school spot by making these arrangements before the day begins and sending a note to the teacher, office, and Extended Day.  Thank you.
Avoid Summer Reading Slump

Much research has documented that children who do not read during the summer will not be able to read at the same level as they were in June. They need to practice all of those skills and strategies that were taught from September to June. It is extremely important for each child to read every day for 20-30 minutes. If they choose to read longer, so much the better.

Join the library program at the public libraries and make it a part of your summer schedule. If your child chooses a book that is too difficult, but wants to enjoy the story, read it to them. It is a perfectly quiet, cozy activity to do during hot summer days or nights.

If you are traveling to exotic places, read about them together as a family. Talk about what you have read and what you hope to see on the trip.

Have a wonderful summer vacation that includes reading.

Here are some suggestions to keep your little one engaged over the summer:

  • Go to the public library once a week
  • Keep a journal of your trips or activities
  • Take photographs of your vacations and make a scrapbook with words and pictures
  • Read daily for an hour
  • Keep a Reading Log for the Public Library Summer Reading Challenge
  • Visit museums
  • Take a nature walk
  • Start a bug collection
  • Practice addition and subtraction facts so that you know them automatically
  • Write a letter to a family member
  • Practice your multiplication facts
  • Start a bug collection
  • Write some poetry
  • "Share the pen" and write stories with your friends, brothers or sisters, and your mom and dad
  • Write a letter to your teacher
  • Complete the summer Math Review Packet
  • Have fun and be good for your parents
  • Help around the house/do your chores

Changes to FLES in 2018-19

With the adopted FY19 APS School Budget in place, the amount of FLES services have been reduced to a minimum of 60 minutes and a maximum of 90 minutes. As we work through the schedules of instruction for next year, we will be able to determine how ASFS will be able to provide FLES with the staffing we have been allocated. When we send our back to school letters to parents we will include the updated allocation.


How Young is Too Young to be Home Alone?


Opportunities Beyond the Classroom For Students


This list is tentative and may NOT be inclusive:

  • Administrative Team Oversees all programs and temporary or permanent removal will be the final decision of the administrators.
  • Distribution of applications takes place during the last two weeks of school. Students decide if they want to apply.
  • In order to afford more students opportunities, all areas except band/orchestra/chorus/SCA are one opportunity per student.


A Very Special Goodbye to Some Families

As we begin to look at the promotion ceremony of our fifth grade students, we want to thank their families for their generosity and volunteerism at ASFS. For some of our families, this is their last child at ASFS and we would like to acknowledge them. The Chung family, the Friemel family, The Hadi, Halberda, Juckett, and Kanner-Bitetti familes. The Koliopoulos, Rotter, Shrestha, and Abdellahi families. The Anderson-Garbow, Elkazoun, Gruver, Kondratiuk, Kosmich. Kuhse. Mitchell, Noyes, and Rood families. Farewell to the Shema, Ruger, Shemaninejad, Stilwell, Ueda, and Akay families. The Biggs, Brozak, Cozette, Erdenbaatar, Lowe, Markowitz, Maxwell, Menn, Wilson, and Yinsu families. Thank you to the Aspiotis, Batjargal, Colgan, Fan, Godoy-Lorenzana, Greenhaus, Hall, and Mason Families. The Merritt, Muckelroy, Roncka, Aldhwathi, Arvizu, Bujamjargal, Garcia-Palou, Lee, Merrill, Prasad, Querama-Caton, Vasquez, Walderman, Weissmuller, and Worrell families. We will miss your families greatly.


Did You Know That?

Pre-Kindergarten Stellar Stars

Ms. Bosley & Ms. Guzman-Randolph

In the month of June, the Stellar Stars will be sharing with their parents some things that they have learned by holding an End-of-the-Year Celebration. During the celebration, the pre-k students will be singing songs and performing movement activities that they have learned throughout the school year. The Stellar Stars will review the things that they have learned during this school year. They will write numbers and perform simple addition and subtraction problems. They will write sentences with the words that they have learned to write, and they will sound out words that they are not familiar with. They will spend time with the friends that they have made during this school year. The Stellar Stars will help clean-up the classroom. On the last day of school, the pre-k class will say good-bye to their friends and their classroom pets.

This is the last submission that the Stellar Stars will submit to the Electric News. The Education Center has determined that due to overcrowding, the pre-k program will be moving to Barrett Elementary School for the 2018-2019 school year. For the past 12 years, the pre-k class has been a part of the ASFS community, and it has been a wonderful experience! We have been fortunate enough to watch some of the pre-k students move throughout the grades at ASFS, and heir growth has been phenomenal. At some point in the future, the pre-k class may return to ASFS, but until then, we thank all the members of the ASFS community for their help and their kindness. We wish all of you the best!


Kindergarten Molecules in Motion

Ms. Buchman, Ms. Corey, Ms. Maniace, Ms. Mintzer, & Ms. Witherell

With increasing confidence and independence, Molecules in Motion have been learning and participating in culminating activities.The students have been learning about 4 different biomes; the woodlands, desert, ocean, and rainforest. These lessons were paired with a field trip to the zoo to see some of the animals they learned about in action. The Molesules in Motion continue to build their reading skills by learning how to select “just right” books. This will be helpful during the summer months when the students can go to the public library! The Molecules are learning to write All About Books so they can write all about the different animals and biomes they have learned about. Molecules are working hard in math to learn many of the different measurement tools used to determine time, weight, temperature, and volume. They can use this knowledge this summer to look at the temperature outside and measure various items. At the end of June, the Molecules in Motion will learn about Betsy Ross and her contribution to the American symbol of the flag, just in time for the Fourth of July! The Molecules are excited to continue learning this summer by reading books every day, practicing sight words, writing letters to friends and family, and practicing every day math such as counting objects or identifying coins while buying something! The Molecules are preparing to become great thinkers in first grade!


First Grade Natural Wonders

Ms. Goodman, Ms. Kallassy, Ms. Pollard, Ms. Worley & Ms. Zukas

During the month of May, The Natural Wonders continued to practice and apply C.A.R.E.S. (cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control). In reading and writing, students learned about the aspects of realistic fiction. They wrote many stories in which characters faced realistic problems and solutions. In math, the Natural Wonders learned how to answer survey questions and interpret data. They practice telling time to the hour and half hour on an analog clock, and how to use a calendar to identify days of the week, months of the year, and say and write the full date. In science, students conducted experiments with plants and plant growth. They learned about plant needs, plant parts, and edible and nonedible plants.

During the month of June, the Natural Wonders will participate in several culminating activates to demonstrate what they have learned and been most interested in during the 2017-2018 school year. In social studies, we will begin our Around the World Unit. Students will learn about different cultures and customs from around the world. We invite parents who have interest in a particular country to come and share their knowledge with their child’s class. The natural Wonders will conduct many important end of the year assessments. We ask that your Natural Wonder be at school on time every day, have a good night’s sleep, and eat a healthy breakfast.

Over the summer please continue to read every day with your Natural Wonder. Encourage your child keep a writing journal, and to continue practicing his/her fact fluency using Reflex Math. Most of all, please enjoy time together as a family! It has been a wonderful 2017-2018 school year!


Second Grade Investigators

Ms. Cherubim, Ms. Holston, Ms. Kallassy, Ms. Kiel, Ms. Leonard & Ms. Todd

The Investigators are getting ready to end an amazing year in 2nd grade! In language arts, the Investigators are working on comprehension and identifying the main idea of fiction and non-fiction texts. In writing, they are working on personal narratives one more time this year. It has been fun to look back and see how much growth the Investigators have demonstrated since they wrote personal narratives at the beginning of the year! In math, the Investigators are enjoying learning about graphing and probability. They just ended a unit on time, money, and measurement. In science, the Investigators are learning about life cycles and in social studies we are comparing the past and present.  Over the summer, the Investigators should continue reading, writing, and working on Dreambox or other math skills at home to prepare for next year. The Investigators will soon be third grade students! 


Third Grade Catalysts

Ms. Currie, Ms. Freeman, Ms. Hooser, Ms. Kniseley & Ms. Quinn

It has been a spectacular year for the Catalysts. We have enjoyed working with such an exuberant and motivated group of students. Soon, our young students will continue their academic journey to fourth grade. We wish the Catalysts success and happiness in the future.  

For the last weeks in June after the SOL’s, the Catalysts will continue to receive challenging assignments that extend their studies in language arts, science, social studies, and math. The students will work on using robust vocabulary to enhance their author’s voice in writing and developing their persuasive writing skills. In reading, the Catalysts will contrast and compare books, discovering meaning through context, and using prior knowledge to make connections. In math, they will continue to work on multi-stepped problems that require complex analysis. In science, they will review and elaborate on the concepts taught this year. In social studies, we will continue to study ancient cultures: Egypt, Mali, China, Greece, and Rome.    

The Third-Grade Team has enjoyed helping our students develop a love of learning and provide them the support to believe in themselves and their own abilities. It is with profound pride that we send the Catalysts off into the world, or in this case, fourth grade, with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that they have worked hard and developed their abilities to their fullest. Best wishes for a bright future.


Fourth Grade Energized Electrons

Ms. Habbershon, Ms. Kirschenmann, Ms. Lewis, Ms. Pickett, Ms. Strong & Ms. Wade

The fourth grade Energetic Electrons have been very busy studying Vigrinia history throughout this academic year.  As we get closer to our Virginia History SOL, please make sure that your child(ren) practice their review study guides to buff up on their Virginia history studies. We appreciate all of your assistance in making sure your child has a good night’s sleep, healthy breakfast, and on time arrival so that everyone can be available for learning, reflection, and demonstrations of knowledge. When you are talking with your child at home you may want to open the door for them to share some of the knowledge they have gained about history through conversations starters.

Conversation Starters

  • What are you most proud of on your progress report? What do you need to work on?
  • Who was Arthur Ashe? Why was he important in 20th century Virginia?
  • Compare and contrast Harry Flood Byrd and Linwood Holton. How were they similar? How were they different?
  • What are the three branches of Virginia’s state government?  What are their responsibilities?

Thank you for your support and volunteerism throughout this year.


Fifth Grade Technos

Ms. Caven, Ms. Gallagher, Ms. Lifland, Ms. Martin, Ms. Nhan & Ms. Sedlock

The fifth grade Technos are hard at work finishing their last quarter as Lightning Bolt students! In science, the Technos have finished our last unit on structures of life and are now reviewing fourth grade standards, including electricity, weather, and Virginia resources, in anticipation of the Science SOL. After that, we will begin learning about careers in science, including learning about different fields of study from real scientists! To prepare for SOLs, students should review class notes, their Science Fusion textbooks, and vocabulary assignments. In math, students are finishing up their last unit on probability and statistics. At home, the Technos can benefit from practicing computation, fact fluency, and reviewing math vocabulary concepts (such as geometry and probability). They will continue to learn strategies for practical problem solving. In language arts, students will be learning elements of a story and use their skills to write a short story. In reading, we will be studying novels set in the Medieval era in collaboration with our social studies unit on the Middle Ages. Be on the lookout for information about an end-of-year Medieval Banquet in June! To continue practicing skills in the summer, we recommend that our future sixth graders continue to practice fact fluency and to maintain computation skills particularly with decimals and fractions. We encourage the Technos to continue good reading habits, including reading a variety of genres, from chapter books to nonfiction to graphic novels and more.


Ms. Abraham, Ms. Downs, Ms. Kaiser & Ms. Miller

Summer is a great time to develop your child’s love of reading! But how can you encourage them to read? What if they don’t know how to choose a good book? How can you motivate them to read more?

Take a minute to explore some of these websites for ideas:

  • Make a plan to visit your local library regularly this summer. Take some time to explore the Arlington Library website for more information about the resources and summer activities at the library.
  • Model good reading habits yourself. When you are at the library with your child, be sure to check out a book for yourself. If appropriate, discuss your book with your child. Talk about: why you chose it, what connections you can make with it, and predictions or questions you have. Ask them to do the same with their books. Find other ideas for developing good reading habits at home from colorincolorado.org.
  • Take an active role in encouraging your child to read by having reading materials available for them to read. This article from the website ReadBrightly.com, discusses ways to encourage reading by having  books in various places around your home.  
  • Use a book list to get your child reading a variety of books. This link will take you to book list suggestions for a variety of ages: Read Brightly Book Lists.
  • Have your child participate in a reading challenge to help them set goals and track their progress over the summer. Scholastic.com offers a reading challenge for students that includes a reading pledge, list and log for your students to read and track their reading over the summer.

Most of all, make reading an important and enjoyable part of your daily life this summer!


Ms. A’Hearn & Mr. McGuire

MackinVIA : https://arlington.mackinvia.com/

  • To login: Type in Arlington Science Focus then click the blue “Log In” button
  • Then type in your OneLogin
  • Click blue “Submit”

User ID – Student/Lunch ID number
Password- Grades PK-3: Six-digit birthdate (example March 8, 2009= 040809)
                  Grades 4-5: google password
Tumblebooks: www.tumblebooklibrary.com
Username:  arlingtonsf
Password:  books

Families! Remember to register at any one of the Arlington County Public Libraries for the fabulous summer reading program! See the attached book list for some author and series recommendations for various grade levels. In addition, your children received lists of recommended titles when the librarians came to visit. Enjoy your summer and enjoy reading with each other!

As parents have asked about the possible opportunities beyond the classroom for upper grade students, we have assembled this tentative list:

FLES Features

Senora Ferree, Senora Moran & Senora Rubiano

In the coming weeks in Spanish we will be combining themes and topics we have learned so far in order to expand what we know and can do in Spanish.

We will also learn about the Spanish-speaking countries including geography, flags, countries, and capitals.  We will explore different cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world.

Want to keep your Spanish alive this summer?  Here are some ideas:

Try the free app duolingo https://www.duolingo.com/

Check out Spanish Playground. They have great interactive activities for the summer with games, songs, videos, and printable materials. https://www.spanishplayground.net/spanish-activity-calendars/

Visit one of the delicious Arlington restaurants such as Super Pollo, Dona Bessy, Abi Azteca  and sample food from Peru, Mexico and El Salvador. Make sure to practice to your Spanish while there!

Go to a  fun free bilingual concert in Arlington by 1, 2, 3 Andres http://www.123andres.com/.

Here are the dates and locations:

Monday July 23 4:00 Glencarlyn library
Wednesday July 25 4:00 Westover Library
Friday July 27 10:30 Clarendon Market Commons
Tuesday July 31 4:00 Shirlington Library
Tuesday July 31 7:00 Columbia Pike Library
Thursday August 2 1:30 Central Library
Thursday August 2 4:00 Aurora Hills Library

¡Feliz verano!  Nos vemos en septiembre.



Composed by: Ms. Taylor & Mr. Wilkin

5th Grade Musical Highlights and News

Mr. Wilkin and Ms. Taylor would like to thank all of the students, parents, and staff who helped make our recent 5th grade Spring Concert so wonderful! We are very proud of the students’ hard work, success, and music growth throughout the year and look forward to hearing about future musical events or special performances from our amazing 5th grade. As a final reminder, if any 5th grade student rented an ASFS instrument, please return after the Promotion Ceremony (6/20). Thank you! We appreciate your assistance, help, and endless support for the music program here at ASFS!

3rd & 4th Grade Music Class and INSTRUMENTAL REMINDERS

The students have been demonstrating a vast growth of knowledge when applying musical symbols through singing, instrument playing, and fun interactive style websites with music software! The 3rd grade students in particular, have been eager and excited to start learning a Band or Orchestra Instrument in the 4th grade. Mr. Wilkin and Ms. Taylor will be sharing important reminders and forms for any rising 4th and 5th grade student interested in joining the Instrumental Music Program.


If you would rather submit a hardcopy, please contact Mr. Wilkin or Ms. Taylor. More information will be sent in an email soon. Thank you!

We look forward to working with you for this wonderful, music opportunity.

The 4th grade students have begun to work on songs for their Spring Concert on June 12th (2:30pm and 7pm) and review the essential fundamentals for their particular instrument or voice. We will be sharing more information in the next few weeks. Thank you again for all of your support with the ASFS Music Program!

Important Kindergarten Announcement and Concert Reminder

The Kindergarten students have been working on songs for their “Happy Habitat Concert” on May 29th at 2:30pm and 6:30pm here at ASFS. Please note that this date and time is the new, correct information. Any additional details have been emailed, and feel free to email us with any questions or concerns. We are thankful to have plenty of parent volunteers and are excited to work with you! Please click on the link for extra practice with students at home: https://asfs.apsva.us/concert-prep/

Thank you again for all of your support with the ASFS Music Program!

PreK, 1st, 2nd Grade Music Class

Students are continuing to explore various folk songs, music concepts, and skills such as loud/soft, high/low, fast/slow, up/down, long/short, etc. In addition, every grade level will be learning how to play barred instruments, xylophones, glockenspiels, and metallophones. These skills will help students to understand melody, pitch, harmony, notes/rests and more!

Mr. Wilkin and Ms. Taylor would like to encourage students to seek private music lessons or summer music camps in the area! If you would like more information, please contact george.wilkin@apsva.us (Andrew Wilkin) or mary.taylor@apsva.us (Liz Taylor).



Ms. Lin

Rising 3rd Graders: Joining the Aquarium Club

Ms. Lin will be visiting all the 2nd grade classes in the coming weeks to talk about Aquarium Club and what responsibilities it entails. It is a job reserved for 3rd graders, and all who apply are accepted. Be on the lookout for those applications, as they are due by the end of the school year (no applications will be accepted from returning students in the fall.)

Fun Science Activities to Do over the Summer

Steve Spangler has some great ideas for how to have fun with science over the summer (and beyond!). Make a popsicle stick chain reaction, cook something in a solar oven, launch rockets with a launcher made out of PVC pipes and more can be found on his website:  http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/categories/experiments/summer-camp/

His YouTube channel, Sick Science, has lots of quick videos (usually less than 3 minutes) that show how to do these cool experiments. https://www.youtube.com/user/SteveSpanglerScience

Here’s a link to more ideas, such as making a model roller coaster, growing stalactite crystals, and making homemade ice cream in a bag.


Computer Programming over the Summer – Independent Learning

This year, students across all grade levels have been exposed to computer programming/coding either in their homeroom, in Investigation Station, or in their Science City rotations. The students have had a lot of fun “writing code” and learning valuable programming concepts along the way. To keep kids coding and accelerate their programming skills over the summer, they can continue to learn using many of the same apps that we have used at ASFS (see below).

A great resource for learning coding is https://code.org. Accounts can be created, and students can track their progress. 

Recommended Programming Apps/Websites (*Grade level suggestions are approximate)


  • Daisy the Dinosaur (http://www.daisythedinosaur.com/)
  • Kodable (http://www.kodable.com/)
  • Scratch Jr. (https://www.scratchjr.org/)
  • The Foos (http://thefoos.com/)


  • Lightbot Jr./Lightbot (https://lightbot.com/)
  • Tynker (http://www.tynker.com/)
  • Hopscotch (http://www.gethopscotch.com/) 


  • Scratch (http://scratch.mit.edu/)
  • Move the Turtle (http://movetheturtle.com/)
  • Cargo Bot (http://twolivesleft.com/CargoBot/)
  • Codecademy (http://www.codecademy.com/) 



Ms. Kim & Ms. Riley

Fifth graders are finishing off their time in ASFS art with clay and graphic design-inspired artwork. As their skills develop, these artists are able to create complex designs that have layered meanings and multiple interpretations. Be sure to engage your fifth grader in a conversation about the art that they bring home in June! Why did you make it? What does it mean to you? Is there a story behind it? What would you change about it (if anything)?

The artists from fourth grade have been focusing on the BIG picture as they zoom in on different small objects to create very detailed works of art. Be sure to engage your fourth grader in a conversation about the art that they bring home in June! Why did you make it? What does it mean to you? Is there a story behind it? What would you change about it (if anything)?

Third grade is working diligently on their clay unit; learning to pinch, pull, score, and slip to create a 3-D masterpiece that is all their own! Special paint called “glaze” is applied that makes the clay super shiny and glass-like! Be sure to engage your third grader in a conversation about the art that they bring home in June! Why did you make it? What does it mean to you? Is there a story behind it? What would you change about it (if anything)?

Second graders looked to the artist Paul Cezanne for inspiration with their still life paintings. Some students chose to paint fruit like Cezanne did, while others took a “sweeter” approach, opting for a still life with cupcakes and donuts! Be sure to engage your second grader in a conversation about the art that they bring home in June! Why did you make it? What does it mean to you? Is there a story behind it? What would you change about it (if anything)?

First and Kindergarten is working on some artwork that will both explore and celebrate the natural beauty of insects. Insects offer young artists a lot of rich material to study – including symmetry, pattern, and repetition. How will your little bugs come home to you? Be sure to engage your young artist in a conversation about the art that they bring home in June! Why did you make it? What does it mean to you? Is there a story behind it? What would you change about it (if anything)?

PreK artists are going to begin working on their artist’s portfolios soon! Be on the lookout for a special folder of PreK masterpieces!



Ms. Kelly Stephenson, Math Coach

Ms. Krysten Caven, Math Lead Teacher

Please help your child in maintaining mathematical skills and concepts learned this year so he/she enters the next school year with a solid foundation.  Below are some suggestions of ways to practice various components of mathematics:

Fact Fluency:

  • ReflexMath.com
  • outdoor games:  Toss a ball, and say a fact.  The goal is for your child to quickly respond with the sum (+), difference (-), product (x), or quotient (÷) before catching the ball.

Strategic Thinking:

  • Think Fun “Rush Hour” app
  • Think Fun “Solitaire Chess” app
  • Think Fun “Chocolate Fix” app
  • Sudoku games
  • Math Dice” http://www.thinkfun.com/mathdice-daily/ (to practice order of operations)


  • MobyMax.com
  • DreamBox Math (school code:  bqt4/w6rb)
  • extra pages from Math Expressions workbooks (if sent home)
  • APS Summer Math Reviews by grade level at http://www.apsva.us/Page/2003  (2017-2018 Updated Reviews will be posted soon)

Problem Solving:

  • BedtimeMath.org
  • NRICH tasks at http://nrich.maths.org/frontpage

Children’s Books with Math Connections:

  • Pigs Will Be Pigs
  • A Remainder of One
  • One Hundred Hungry Ants
  • Sir Cumference series
  • The Doorbell Rang
  • The Greedy Triangle
  • Bedtime Math series

These resources are just a few ways to practice. As you know, some of the most valuable practice involves real-world experiences that arise naturally. Conversations when shopping (About how much will our total be? How much change will we get?), at sporting events (How many more points do they need to tie the game? To win the game?), while hanging at the pool, or traveling the world will show your mathematician that math is a part of our daily lives. 

Wishing you a happy, safe, and fun summer with your families! 


Gifted Services

Mr. Kirkman

Spring is the time of the school year when we screen our students for gifted services. Students in grades two and four are automatically screened based on a score of 120 or higher on either the Naglieri Non-Verbal Ability Test (NNAT2) or the Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT) which were administered in fall of 2017. Students may also be referred for screening by teachers and parents.

The ASFS Screening Committee meet on May 2nd and 9th to review all referral files. By June 1st, parents will receive letters with committee decisions. Students may be found eligible for academic identification in Math, Science, Social Studies, and English/Language Arts. Beginning with our third graders – Art and Music identification may also be granted. I will provide information to parents so that a conference may be planned to review the committee’s decisions.  

If you have questions at any time regarding the screening process, or Gifted Services in general, please contact Mr. Kirkman, our ASFS Gifted & Talented specialist by email (John.Kirkman@apsva.us) or phone 703/228-7670. 



Mr. Harvey

Hi all, I have put together the following list – my own take on Top 100 space and astronomy websites this year. Stargazing beginners and amateur astronomers may find there some helpful and free resources for their favorite hobby. Thanks for sharing this with fellow stargazers!

1. Space.com
Combines space exploration, astronomy and technology content with daily news covering space science discoveries, space flight, and technology behind all this.

2. Cloudynights.com
Contains reviews of astronomy equipment and accessories prepared by expert and amateur astronomers.

3. N2yo.com
Provides web-based real time mapping tool tracking a large number (if not all) of satellites.

4. Heavens-above.com
Popular online astronomy programme with graphics generated in real time and customized for time and location.

5. Google.com/sky/
Allows you to view the Moon, planets, stars, constellations, galaxies, meteorites and more.

6. Astropix.com
Features deep-sky astronomical photographs, tips and techniques for digital astrophotography, and image processing in Photoshop.

7. Aa.usno.navy.mil/data/
Website with information on moon rise/set, lunar eclipse, positions and phase data.

8. Amsmeteors.org
American Meteor Society websites with articles, pictures and videos covering meteor showers, fireball sightings, and more.

9. Curious.astro.cornell.edu
Astronomers at Cornell University are providing answers to questions. You can also browse archives of previous Q&As.

10. Blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/
Popular blog by Phil Plait on astronomy, its beauties, myths and misconceptions. The blog has moved to Slate some time ago but you may find it still useful.

11. Neave.com/planetarium/
This is a virtual planetarium or interactive sky map, which is customizable by location and time of day. It’s a really useful tool for exploring the stars and planets.

12. Worldwidetelescope.org
Website that functions as a virtual telescope, bringing together images from the best telescopes to give you chance to explore cosmos from your device.

13. Skyandtelescope.com/observing/
A website built around popular astronomy magazines with a lot of useful tools.

14. Astrophoto.com
Images of galaxies, comets, nebulae and meteors.

15. Wikisky.org
Wikisky serves as an online interactive astronomy system with articles, gallery and forum.

16. Astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/constellations/
All you wanted to know about constellations listed in a very organised way.

17. Pixinsight.com
Astronomy software website for those of us who are interested in astro-photography.

18. Seds.org
Learning activities, information and news concerning the universe.

19. Cleardarksky.com/csk/
Graphical short-term forecasts of seeing related weather conditions at a large number of sites.

20. Spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/
A tool that allows you to look up where and when to see the international space station.

21. Scopereviews.com
A website with a long history providing advice to beginners and articles on telescopes, eyepieces and other astronomy accessory reviews.

22. Astrosociety.org
Astro news from San Francisco astronomers.

23. Astronoo.com
Astronomical website with articles about the cosmos, galaxies, planets and more.

24. Astronomycafe.net
Astronomy books that you may not have heard of.

25. Skymaps.com
Ultra high-quality maps of the night sky.

26. Stargazing.net
Website that provides free webhosting services to astronomy community.

27. Skymaponline.net
If you are looking for sky charts, then don’t look further.

28. Astronomycast.com
Discussion on various astronomical topics ranging from our solar system to cosmology.

29. Spacebanter.com
UK astronomy news discussion groups.

30. Astrobuysell.com
Contains new and used telescopes and accessories. UK site is also included.

31. Solstation.com
Online 3D sky maps.

32. Skyatnightmagazine.com
I don’t think there is an amateur astronomer in the UK who wouldn’t know this magazine.

33. Celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/
A regularly updated satellite tracking website.

34. Satobs.org
The site provides an introduction to satellite viewing and information on the many satellites in orbit.

35. Schursastrophotography.com
A good website with astro images.

36. Cosmotography.com
Images of various astronomical objects obtained with commercially available telescopes and cameras

37. Astronomyforum.net
Beginners advice, classifieds, observation tips, diary, and bulletins.

38. Telescope-optics.net
Interesting website for those who would like to learn more about telescope errors.

39. Aavso.org
Variable star observers’ organization.

40. Astronomycentral.co.uk
Astronomy news and resources.

41. Ianridpath.com
History, legends and myths about constellations.

42. Astronomynow.com
The UK popular astronomy magazine.

43. Nexstarsite.com
Website started in 2000 with astronomy user guides and equipment reviews.

44. Aaa.org
Amateur Astronomers in New York.

45. Theskyscrapers.org
Calendar, resources, stargazing forums, astrophotography gallery and library.

46. Rc-astro.com
Images of various star clusters, impressive nebulae, galaxies and the solar system.

47. Nightskyatlas.com
Online night sky atlas with views and charts useful if you are located anywhere in the world.

48. Panther-observatory.com
Gallery and stargazing tips.

49. Nightskyinfo.com
Regularly updated information about night sky, astronomy articles and observations.

50. Singastro.org
Discusses issues related to star-gazing, observing techniques and equipment.

51. Abmedia.com/astro/
Astro image galleries and astro-photography articles.

52. Allthesky.com/constellations/
Photoguide to the constellations.

53. Projectrho.com/public_html/starmaps/
Data and useful links for star mapping.

54. Hawastsoc.org
This organization promotes amateur astronomy in Hawaii.

55. Aoc.nrao.edu
Website of observatory in New Mexico with description of current events.

56. Astronomyclubs.com
Contains contact information for many clubs world wide.

57. Farnham-as.co.uk
Farnham astronomical society with contact details, meeting venue and programme, and a gallery of members’ images.

58. Earthstar.htmlplanet.com
Diary of an amateur astronomer with image archive and various equipment information.

59. Nlsa.com
This program has real time tracking of satellites.

60. Robgendlerastropics.com
Images from deep sky and solar system, including some equipment information, and other helpful articles.

61. Scopemaking.net
Website for you if you are interested in building a Dobsonian telescope, refractors, tripods, eyepieces and other astronomy equipment.

62. Davidpaulgreen.com
Free astronomy software, book and site reviews, dark sky survey and resume.

63. Astronomyforbeginners.com
Information on basic astronomy facts, reviews of equipment, night sky guide, astro-photography, and useful links.

64. Skyview.gsfc.nasa.gov
Virtual internet observatory providing images of any part of the sky.

65. Umich.edu/~lowbrows/
Amateur astronomy club providing information on open houses and events, an observer’s guide, and more.

66. Oarval.org
Amateur astronomy virtual observatory in Caracas, Venezuela.

67. Covingtoninnovations.com/astro/
Provides table of contents, ordering information, and preview of chapter one by Michael Covington.

68. Popastro.com
UK society for popular astronomy with a 60 year history.

69. Ycas.org
Schedule, telescope clinic, public observing, observatory information, and astronomy news.

70. Sctscopes.net
Astronomy basics, observing tips, photo advice, stargazing glossaries, and a lot of links.

71. Inconstantmoon.com
A new astronomy tour each night, with sky maps, astrophotography, clear explanations and animations.

72. Sjaa.net
Lunar eclipse information.

73. Cfas.org
Events, general and observing information, and news located in Orlando.

74. Saguaroastro.org
Astronomy club in Arizona providing newsletters, FAQ, gallery, observing notes, and downloads.

75. Science.nasa.gov/realtime/jtrack/3d/JTrack3D.html/
Website showing positions of various satellites.

76. Astroclub.tau.ac.il/skymaps/monthly/
Sky charts for every location.

77. Astronomyshed.co.uk
UK astronomy forum with general and newbie information.

78. Stargazerslounge.com
A very active astronomy forum.

79. Astrocentral.co.uk
A guide to amateur astronomy with focus on the solar system.

80. Southernskyphoto.com
Southern hemisphere night sky images.

81. Astrophotography.com.au
Photographic print gallery and how to.

82. Nightskyhunter.com
Website for amateur astronomers devoted to comet observation, atmospheric displays and other astronomical wonders.

83. Smokymtnastro.org
How-to astronomy articles, information on the sky tonight, and photo galleries.

84. Telescope-simulator.com
Website about what you can see with different scopes and eyepieces.

85. Stellarproducts.com
Astroimage galleries, stargazing tutorials, and astronomy products.

86. Capella-observatory.com
News and images from Capella observatory.

87. Robertreeves.com
Another website covering various aspects of astrophotography.

88. Webbdeepsky.com
Site for astronomers interested in the observation of deep sky.

89. Deepskypedia.com
Wiki type site which aims to help amateur astronomers plan their stargazing sessions.

90. Galaxyimages.com
Simply a website with astroimage galleries.

91. Astrocruise.com
Galleries of astroimages together with astronomy articles.

92. Astronomical.org
Materials on constellations, planet orbits, tips for beginners and other useful information.

93. Astronomyhints.com
Information on telescope designs mixed with some basic astronomy facts.

94. Radiosky.com
Provides software (some free), books, and hands-on projects.

95. Urban-astronomer.com
A good astronomy blog for those of us who are not luck enough to stargaze with powerful telescopes under dark clear skies.

96. Findascope.com
Information for first-time telescope buyers with FAQs and suggested telescopes and vendors.

97. Sky-watch.com
Although the founder of this site has passed away, you can find there a lot of useful information, astronomy articles and astrophotography gallery.

98. Backyard-astro.com
Contains sections with astronomy equipment, advice for beginners, books, the solar system and deep sky.

99. Amateurastronomy.co.uk
Information on astro imaging showing images of galaxies, star clusters, novae, supernovae, variable stars and other astronomical objects.

100. Stargazing in the UK
Blog about stargazing for amateur astronomers started in 2014.