Electric News for October-November 2018


10                Walk and Bike to School 2018
                    Early Release at 1:26 pm
11                2nd Grade and 3rd Grade Parent Coffee 9:00 am – 10:00 am
11-24           4th Gr. Swimming at W & L
12                Spirit Day – Wear Orange
                    PTA Sponsored Kindergarten Fall Picnic at Hayes Park 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
                    Halloween Costume Swap 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
17                4th Grade and 5th Grade Parent Coffee 9:00 am – 10:00 am
19                School Picture Day
                   1st Grade Fall Picnic at Hayes Park 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
22-24           Elementary Honors’ Chorus Tryouts
25                Early Release at 1:26 pm - Parent / Teacher Conferences
26                Parent / Teacher Conferences – No School for Students
31                SCA Trick or Treat for UNICEF
                    Halloween Parade 2:00 pm (Please, No siblings during class parties.)

1-5               Halloween Candy Collection for Ronald McDonald House
2                  ASFS T-shirt Day
5                  1st Qtr. Ends
                    Jr. Orchestra Auditions
5-9               SCA Food Drive
6                  Election Day / Grade Prep Day / No School for Students
                    PTA Meeting 7:00 pm
9                  2nd Gr. Concert 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm
12                Veterans Day Holiday - No School
13                Gifted Services Parent Review 8:00 am – 9:00 am
                    Jr. Band Auditions
14                Coat/Winter Clothing Swap 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
15                SCA Tasty Tales Family Event 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
16                Picture Make-up Day
21-23           Thanksgiving Break – School Closed
28                Outside the Box Day 9:00 am – 11:00 am (Please, No siblings.)
                    Report Cards go home

3-7               Book Fair
4                  PTA Meeting 7:00 pm
7                  ASFS T-shirt Day
12                Early Release at 1:26 pm
14                Spirit Day – Hat Day
17-20           SCA Candygrams 8:30 am – 9:00 am
21                Global Celebrations (Please, No siblings.)
24                Winter Break Begins – No School

January 2019
7                  School Resumes



Ms. Begley & Ms. Jones

Parent Teacher Conferences

Our Fall Conferences will take place on October 25th and 26th. Please make this a priority to schedule your conference with your child’s teacher.  

ALL teachers have sent out electronic or paper conference slips. If you have not received your Parent/Teacher Conference form, please email your child’s teacher.

CONFERENCES WILL NOT BE OFFERED AT TIMES OTHER THAN Thursday from 1:45-8:00 pm and Friday from 8:00am - 12:00pm.

Spring Conferences are March 7th and 8th.

Halloween Festivities

On Wednesday, October 31st we will continue the ASFS tradition of having a Halloween parade, weather permitting. The parade will begin at 2:00pm.  Parties in the classrooms will follow the parade from 2:30-3:15 pm and then clean up until 3:30pm. If you would like to contribute to the festivities, contact your room parent. Students are NOT to bring candy to school unless it is part of a bag lunch that you have packed for them.

If your child chooses to dress up, please following these guidelines:   

  • Costumes need to be child friendly and the child must be able to put their costume on independently.
  • NO part of a costume should be worn to school, including make-up or colored hair.
  • The costume must fit in a bag and the student will change into the costume before the parade.
  • Students are not to wear make-up, hair gels, wigs, artificial nails, false teeth, hair dye as part of their costume
  • No frightening masks or costumes containing liquid such as "blood."
  • No sharp objects, play guns, or weapons are permitted.

Our goal for the parade is to enjoy dressing up for Halloween and celebrating together.

If you prefer that your child, not participate in Halloween festivities, please send a note to his/her teacher by Friday, October 26th and an alternate activity will be provided. 

What to Work on at Home

  • With the trend back to shoes that tie, we ask that parents work with children at home on making sure that shoes can be tied.
  • Your child needs to know his/she address and phone number.
  • Have a back up person and cell phone on file in the school office in the event we cannot reach you. 

What Is Your email Address?

We have 15 “bad” emails for ASFS parents. If your email has changed since the beginning of the year, please email paige.prenger@apsva.us so we can have your current email and you will receive the monthly Electric News and all school based communications.

Shhh, We’re Learning

We want to make sure that our students have the best environment to learn, study, and grown in during the academic day. Therefore, we ask that people in the hallway talk in soft voices so that students are not disrupted from their learning. This is something we are all working on together. Thank you.

The Importance of Attending PTA Meetings

To stay involved and understand what is going on in APS and at ASFS, it is very important to attend the monthly PTA meetings. Each month we have a featured presentation and then a general meeting following the presentation. Babysitting is provided for all students while parents attend the meeting. In the coming months it is going to become extremely important to attend these meetings as we discuss the upcoming budget cuts and their impact on ASFS. We try to end the meetings at 8:30pm so that you and your child(ren) can get home, check homework, and be ready for school the following day.

Please mark your calendars for the upcoming PTA meetings: November 6th, December 4th, January 8th, February 5th, March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th, and June 4th.  

SOL Assessment Dates in Grades 3-5

As you plan appointments for your child, please be mindful that students in grades 3-5 will have SOL testing on May 14th through June 15th. Thank you for your attention to these dates.

Delayed School Openings Due to Inclement Weather

Please listen to local news stations for weather information in the morning if there is inclement weather.  One-hour delay means that school begins at 10:00am, 2-hour delay at 11:00am. Bus schedules are altered by the same amount of time. If we have a delayed opening on an early release Wednesday, we will have a full day of school and dismiss at 3:41pm.

Visitor Passes

As part of our security for all of your children, all visitors are required to stop in the front office, sign in, and wear a yellow ASFS visitor’s pass. If you do not have a visitor’s pass you will be asked to go to the office and get one. 

Designated Parking

We are having a bit of a problem with people parking in handicap spots and in the two reserved parking spaces.  PLEASE do not use these designated spaces unless you qualify to use them.

If your child is in Extended Day, do NOT use handicap parking spaces unless you have a sticker and you require this accommodation.


We will need accurate and updated leases and other requirements for residency. Know that we will follow up with you directly if you are not a resident of the ASFS attendance zone. If you know of someone who is in violation, please see Ms. Begley. These students are increasing our class size. We want every student that qualifies for residency in these three areas, but people who do not qualify need to move to their neighborhood school.  Residency is where the child lives and sleeps, NOT WHERE CHILD CARE TAKES PLACE. Help us to have students attend our school who qualify to attend our school ONLY.  Thank you for your help.

School T-shirt and School Color Day

On the second Friday of each month we will celebrate our school spirit by asking students and staff to wear their ASFS t-shirt and/or wear our school colors of black, gold, and royal blue.

The first Friday of every month, will be a different theme provided by the Student Council.

APS Homework Policy

Each year we print a copy of the policy from APS in regards to homework. In your first day packet you received a Program of Studies. This policy can be found on page 4 in that booklet if you would like a hard copy or it is available on the APS website.

Homework consists of academic or other activities assigned by the teacher to be performed primarily outside of class by the student by a certain date, without the direct supervision of the teacher, and assessed by the teacher after it is performed. 

Homework should

  • Prepare for, relate to, build on, reinforce, and/or enhance learning in the classroom.
  • Encourage a student’s sense of responsibility, develop a sense of personal accountability, promote learning, and improve study habits.
  • Strengthen the communication between home and school.
  • Be appropriate for the age and stage of development of the student.
  • Acknowledge individual differences among students through differentiation when feasible.

Teachers should clearly explain assignments to students and make the assignments available to students and parents by a variety of means, with the understanding that homework is primarily a student/teacher interaction.

The following guidelines intend to support principals, teachers, other staff, parents, and students in developing a common understanding of homework expectations.

In general, the following total amount of time spent daily on homework over four nights a week represents an average for the typical student.

Grade K:  maximum of 15 minutes plus an additional minimum of 15 minutes of reading or being read to
Grade 1:  maximum of 20 minutes plus an additional minimum of 20 minutes of reading or being read to
Grade 2:  maximum of 30 minutes plus an additional minimum of 20 minutes of reading or being read to
Grade 3:  maximum of 45 minutes plus an additional minimum of 20 minutes of reading
Grade 4:  maximum of 60 minutes plus an additional minimum of 30 minutes of reading
Grade 5:  maximum of 60 minutes plus an additional minimum of 30 minutes of reading
Grade 6-8:  maximum of 20 minutes a night for each course for a total of 90 minutes a night plus an additional minimum of 30 minutes of reading
Grades 9-12:  maximum of 30 minutes a night for each course for a total of three hours a night with the understanding that some advanced-level courses may require additional time to complete particularly the reading components to those courses

Report Card Present Level of Performance & Assessments in Reading

Students at ASFS are given assessments in language arts two to three times per year. They take a DSA (Developmental Spelling Assessment), a DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment)

The DSA is administered in September, January, and June. It is a spelling test to determine which spelling features have been mastered by the student and those that still need to be learned. Students usually begin in Letter Name using consonants, blends, and short vowels. They move on to Within Word which teaches various long and short vowel patterns in families of words. They next work with Syllables and Affixes.  Students might move into Derivational study before leaving elementary school. They study words and their language of origin as well as spelling them correctly.

Students are given the DRA to determine their instructional level for guided reading groups within classrooms. Teachers may administer the DRA in the fall, January (midyear), and May/June. The DRA assesses the student’s oral reading fluency, accuracy, expression, and phrasing. After reading a passage, students in grades K-2 are asked to close the book and retell the story from the beginning. The teacher also asks a few questions to be sure there is understanding of the main idea as well as the sequence of the passage. In the upper grades, each student has to write a summary of the story and answer a few short essay questions. They also receive a reading engagement score which asks them to name books and authors that they enjoy reading. Most students maintain a reading log in order to have that information readily available. DRA levels begin with 1 and go up to level 50. Teachers report DRA levels in the comment section of the report card.

Students in grades 3-5 are given a quarterly assessment called the Power Test. Results are shared in your first, second, and third quarter report card comments from the classroom teacher or from the teacher that delivers English/Language Arts instruction to your child. The content is based upon the Virginia Standards of Learning and the curriculum quarterly benchmarks. A passing rate is 70% or higher. No items are above grade level, only on grade level.

ASFS PTA News & No-Frills Fundraiser Update

Thank you to our entire ASFS community for a great first month of school. We are grateful to all of our ASFS families and teachers for your support.  We kicked off the year with a back to school checklist with the goal for all families to 1) Join the PTA, 2) Opt-in to the PTA Directory, 3) Submit Your Volunteer Form, and 4) Donate to No-Frills.  We are off to a good start: We are up to over 200 PTA Members for 2018-19 (20% of ASFS families), and we have received over 100 PTA Volunteer Forms. We could not host all of our programs and events this year without YOU, so thank you!

The ASFS No-Frills Fundraiser was launched in September in an effort to raise the funds needed to sustain the programs supported by the PTA while reducing the burden placed on the spring Auction. For our first month, we had 14% of ASFS families generously donate $15K. This brings us to 17% of our overall fundraising goal of $87K for the 2018-19 school year (excluding fundraising expenses). If you have not yet donated, please consider a tax-deductible donation of any size.  We have received donations from $10 up to $1,000. We are shooting for 100% family participation and no donation is too small -- or too large! Every person and every penny counts! Please contact Kristi Tsiopanas if you have any questions or need assistance with corporate gift-matching.

If you haven’t already, please take the time to support our school by making sure you complete the checklist above. Feel free to contact Dena Porter with any questions. Thank you!

Lice Make A Fall Comeback

Sanday Barrett at Arlington School Health

Here is how we notify the parents:

  1. We notify the parent of the child with lice via telephone; we send home written instructions for treatment with the child;
  2. We sent home Head Lice Alert letters to parents in the entire class when a case of live lice is identified in that classroom;  If another case is identified in the same class within a 4-week period, we don’t send home a new letter; However, if after 4 weeks a new case is identified, we send home the letter again.

New Middle School at the Historic Stratford Site

Ms. E. Smith

My name is Ellen Smith (or Ms. E. Smith, as the kids call me) and I’m delighted to introduce myself as Principal of the New Middle School at the historic Stratford site. It is truly a privilege to have been given this year to live at the HB Woodlawn program and plan for the opening of the New Middle School in the fall of 2019. Having said that – I can’t wait to meet all of you and the students who will join me!

Much of my time this year has been (and will continue to be) spent learning about and monitoring the construction that is happening here at the school site. There are three major phases of construction, some of which you may see as you visit.  First, on the playing field side of HB there is a parking lot being built, work done with storm water drains, and a new automobile drop off/pick up lane. Soon you will be able to see the addition beginning on the West side of the building. This addition will house an auxiliary gym, a beautiful library and commons area, and many classrooms. Finally, next summer, the interior of the original building will be polished and prepared for our students to make their own – new lockers, renovated main office and entrance, and lots of fresh paint!  I’m learning so much about massive construction projects and the coordination and prioritization that it takes to bring a building “online”! Check here for monthly construction updates!

I have, with the help of our amazing School and Community Relations Team, begun developing the website for the New Middle School. It is a work in progress, but I hope to keep it up to date with information about what is going on.  One of the most recent articles I’ve included is about the process of naming our school.  A committee has been formed, including a wonderful group of parents, teachers, and students, to research, brainstorm, and propose a new name for our middle school.  Many great suggestions have been coming in – and our committee is interested in your feedback. Check out the article on the NMS website for more information and to share your thoughts. 

For those of you who are beginning to think about middle school, either next fall or in the future, there are some opportunities coming up for us to meet and work together to envision the best middle school experience:

  • Middle School Information Night – October 22nd, 7-9 p.m. at Washington-Lee HS
  • ASFS PTA Meeting – November 6, 7:00 p.m. at ASFS
  • Middle School Information Session – November 14th, 1:00 p.m. at HB Woodlawn
  • Middle School Information Session – January 10th, 7:00 p.m. at HB Woodlawn

I’d love to see you and your future middle schooler at any of these and hear your thoughts about how best to support our students in transitioning into middle school!  



Each and every day we place our children on APS buses to bring them to and from school. During October 22-28, we will celebrate National School Bus Safety week. Take a few minutes to send a card to your child(ren)’s bus driver to thank them for their attention to your child and safety.

Getting Ready for School

  • Have everything packed into your child’s backpack
  • Encourage your child to wear bright colors so the driver can see him/her
  • Be at the bus stop 10 minutes early so that you child can begin his/her day in a clam manner and not rush to the bus

At the Bus Stop

  • Children should wait and the location of his/her bus stop
  • Children should not run and chase others or play in resident’s yards
  • Do not play in the street
  • Do not take balls or toys to the bus stop as this promotes running and chasing and can lead to a child or children in the street which is dangerous.

Thank you to all APS drivers and assistants!

Getting to Know! What are Lawnmower Parents?

Teaching Our Children Independence.

By this point, we’re likely all familiar with the term Helicopter Parenting, where parents keep an overly watchful eye on their child’s every move and then swoop in to save the day at the first sign of trouble. But have you heard of Lawnmower Parenting?

While the helicopter parent hovers and worries, the lawnmower parent takes it even further, stepping in to clear their child’s path of potential obstacles and challenges. This prevents their child from having to experience any feelings of pain, sadness, discomfort or disappointment.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you have likely come across a Lawnmower Parent. (Keep in mind these examples refer to middle and high school parents.)

A parent panics when they realize their child forgot his math homework on the kitchen table, so they run it right over to the school in time for class.

A student misses a day of school from illness, but instead of the student following up with you, the parent reaches out to the school to collect her makeup work.

A student is feeling really anxious about having to make a presentation in your class, so the parent contacts you to push for an alternate arrangement.

While it’s normal and natural for parents to want to protect their children, this type of parenting can have long-lasting, harmful effects.

When a parent constantly intervenes in a child’s life in this manner:
It sends the message that, “my parents – not me – are the only ones equipped to make decisions and handle challenges in my life.”

It creates youth who increasingly feel “entitled” and expect things to always go their way with minimal effort on their part.

Most dangerously, this type of parenting shelters children from experiencing and dealing with any type of adversity. It’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong and it’s out of the parent’s control. And when that happens, the child has no positive coping skills to deal with their situation, and may act out aggressively, negatively internalize what they’re feeling, or possibly turn to substances in an attempt to get a handle on their emotions.

Another name being given to this style of parenting, which may paint an even clearer picture is “Curling Parents.” Think back to the Olympic sport where the players slide a stone down the ice toward a target, but then rush just ahead of it to smooth and attempt to direct its path to success. Call it curling, bulldozing, snowplowing or lawn mowing—it all means the same thing, and it’s truly a disservice to our children. In order for students to develop into happy, healthy and successful adults, they must be taught, encouraged, and guided to begin to think, speak, and make decisions for themselves. They need to be allowed to learn from their mistakes and to be taught to process and handle adversity appropriately and positively. If it comes time that they have done their part advocating for themselves and a situation remains unresolved, then mom or dad can step in to assist.

Source: Karen Fancher: Pittsburg Moms Blog - The Rise of the Lawnmower Parent. June 25, 2016. Ramy Mahmoud The Dallas Morning News: Arizona Daily Sun - Guest Column: The dangers of lawnmower parenting and preventing failure. August 30, 2017. Murphy Moroney. PopSugar.com: Worried You’re a Lawnmower Parent?


Did You Know That? Grade Level Happenings


The Kindergarten Molecules In Motion

The Molecules are observing the change of the seasons as summer quickly turns to fall. They will enjoy their first field trip to Cox Farms to visit animals and many fall activities. Your Molecules have been learning about cooperation within a community and learning about the many community helper jobs. In math, the Molecules are busy learning more about counting, patterns, and graphing. They are working on learning how to have discussions with their peers about math content through “Math Talk”. The Molecules continue to work diligently on reading with the books in their personal reading boxes. They are writing true stories, as they become authors!


The First Grade Natural Wonders

In September, the Natural Wonders thought about their hopes and dreams, created classroom rules, and learned about the importance of C.A.R.E.S. (cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control). In reading, students began learning good reading habits. Students began Writer’s Workshop with a unit on Small Moment Stories. In math, students worked on forward and backwards counting, place value, and setting up routines to begin Math Workshop.

In October, the Natural Wonders will continue writing Small Moment stories. In math, they will work on strategies for solving and creating addition and subtraction story problems. In social studies, students will learn about symbols of the United States and Virginia. In science, the Natural Wonders will begin experimenting with balance and motion. 


The Second Grade Investigators

The Investigators are settling right into their new classrooms. In language arts we are working on describing characters, settings and important events after reading a story. We are working hard on writing personal narratives, or small moments, and adding descriptive detail to our writing. In math the Investigators are focusing on building up our addition and subtraction facts, and identifying the place value and value of 2 digit numbers. In social studies, our investigators learned all about the responsibilities of being a good citizen. In science we are currently learning all about weather, weather tools, and specific kinds of weather. We are excited to continue getting to know each other as we build our classroom communities!


The Third Grade Catalysts

The year has started off with a bang and the Catalysts are in full swing exploring the curriculum in third grade.The Catalysts have adjusted to the third grade daily routines.  It is amazing how much they have matured in just one short month. This month, the Catalysts will learn how things “change.”  In science, they will learn about animal adaptations. In writing, the Catalysts will continue to develop their skills using topic and concluding sentences in their compositions. Change in social studies will be demonstrated in how communities, and cities change over time. Students will also develop their geography skills. Get ready to be frightened and amazed.  Our third graders will be participating in Halloween celebrations on October 31st.  We will celebrate Halloween in our homerooms. Come join us for the festivities.  A great time will be had by all. See you there!


The Fourth Grade Energized Electrons

Fourth grade Energetic Electrons have completed their study of Virginia’s geography and will now launch their year-long study of Virginia’s history.  Students will begin by exploring the culture of Virginia’s first habitants (the Powhatan, the Monacan, and the Cherokee tribes) and then discover the impact of the first European settlers as they struggled to survive in Jamestown. So, begins the incredible story of how our nation emerged … and what an adventure it will be!

In science, the Energetic Electrons have been exploring natural resources, particularly those found in Virginia. In October and November, they will discover how electricity works through hands-on activities. Be sure to witness the creation of their electricity-based inventions for Outside-the-Box-Day in November, the Energetic Electrons will develop new strategies for solving real-world problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Finally, in both reading and writing, our focus for this first quarter is realistic fiction.  The Electrons  are discovering how to read “between the lines” to gain a deeper understanding of what authors mean as they write novels. We are working toward creating tension and rising action in our stories, leading up to a climax and then resolution. You can look forward to reading vivid and engaging stories soon! 


The Fifth Grade Technos

Our Technos are off to an amazing start this year! In the first month of school, we thoughtfully reflected on our academic experiences and goals to establish classroom cultures and norms that will help all of us learn and thrive as members of the ASFS learning community. To articulate the Technos final agreements, we created Hearts of the Classroom, which are on display outside each classroom! We then put these agreements into practice as we dove headfirst into our study of 5th grade subject matter. In this first month, these studies have included a deeper exploration of scientific investigations and all the forms that those might take, a refined understanding of number characteristics (especially even, odd, prime, and composite) and operations, the development of a mindset that encourages us to write as readers and read as writers, and an exploration of other cultures and cultural universals through the lens of an archaeological dig.

As our Technos move into October, we will further our scientific understanding of matter, improve our fraction and decimal number sense, refine our ability to perform computations with decimals and fractions, increase our appreciation for theme in reading, write more engaging personal narratives, and expand upon the concepts of cultural and cultural universals as we create our own! To review material already covered or to dive more deeply into current material, please encourage your child to check out the resources available on his or her Google Classrooms. In terms of logistics, please remember to send in your $75 class dues and watch your email for conference sign-up updates!


Literacy Tips from Our Team

B. Abraham, J. Downs, K. Kaiser, S. Schroeder

"Finding time to read"

Reading at home is important for so many reasons, but where can you find the time? If you are having trouble finding time each day for your child to read, consider these options:

  • Keep books in a tote bag for easy transport when you go out
  • Read before breakfast or during another quiet time of your family’s day
  • Keep books by their bed for easy access
  • Read while you wait at the doctor’s office, in line at the store, or at a restaurant
  • Download e-books or audio books from the Arlington Library website for reading on-the-go http://arlingtonlibrary.org/children/childrens-ebooks/; you could listen to these while you do other things around the house, such as cleaning up after dinner or after homework is done
  • Play reading and word games like Bananagrams, Scrabble, hangman, or Brain Quest
  • Read cookbooks or craft books together
  • Consider subscribing to a children’s magazine or check them out at the library
  • Read environmental print with your child: signs, posters, maps, and store directories

Most of all, reading at home is should be fun and enjoyable.  If your child does not enjoy what they are reading, please let your teacher know!


!Music Notes with Ms. Taylor and Ms. Shine!

5th and 4th Grade Musical News and Instrumental Reminders

Thank you to all of the families for your continuous support for our growing music program at ASFS! We are thankful to be teaching a Band or Orchestra instrument to more than 80% of the 4th grade students and over
70% of the 5th grade students! Your assistance, help, and endless guidance to the students is very appreciated.

We will continue to remind students about their weekly sectional, ensemble, and 100 minutes of practice each
week to ensure that students are achieving attainable music goals. We are also excited to start learning more
about our voices, instruments, and how to apply our musical knowledge and many talents in our weekly
general music classes.


If any 4th or 5th grade student is interested in auditioning for the Arlington Honors Orchestra or Arlington
Honors Band, please follow the LINK for dates, times, and required audition information! We hope every
student will take advantage of this great opportunity.

There is also a wonderful group for any 5th grade student interested in singing and auditioning for the
Arlington Honors Chorus! Please follow the LINK for dates, times, and required audition information.

We will be having an after-school practice session from 3:45-4:15pm on Tuesday, Oct. 16th and Wednesday, Oct.17th at ASFS on the STAGE for anyone who plans to audition for the ARLINGTON HONORS CHORUS. Please email Ms. Shine or Ms. Taylor for confirmation. Thank you!

Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, and 3rd Grade Music Class

Students will be exploring various folk songs, music concepts, and skills such as loud/soft, high/low, fast/slow,
up/down, and long/short sounds in our weekly music classes. 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!

Please note that the 2nd Grade Veterans Day Concert date will be November 9th!

On Friday, November 9th at 2:30pm and 7:00pm, all 2nd grade students will be performing a wide variety of patriotic, American songs with movement, props, and great singing voices! Students are asked to practice these songs at home to help memorize and know what each song will sound like on their concert day!

These traditional favorites can be found on the ASFS website under the Music Page/2nd Grade Concert.

In the next few weeks, be sure to look for information in the Electric News, Friday E-folder, and flyers in
backpacks for more about this concert or e-mail mary.taylor@apsva.us or michelle.shine@apsva.us if you have
any questions. If you are able to volunteer for both afternoon/evening concerts, please email us as soon as you are able. Come celebrate and sing about Veterans’ Day with us, November 9th at Arlington Science Focus School!


Library News

Ms. A’Hearn & Mr. McGuire

The number of books a student can check out depends on her/his grade level as follows:

  • Pre-K/Kindergarten: 1 book
  • 1st grade: 2 books
  • 2nd – 5th grade: 3 books

Student are encouraged to return books every week. Students who wish to keep books longer should renew them.

Students reimburse the library for books that are damaged or lost so that we can replace them and, once again, enable others to use them.
Arlington Science Focus Library Online Resources

To access MackinVIA : Click on the app icon or go to http://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



Chuck Harvey

Technology use at ASFS has been humming right along this year. The 4th and 5th grades have 20 computers in each classroom that are used extensively during the school day for writing and research assignments. Our 3rd grade just added laptops to their classrooms bringing their classroom totals to 10 per classroom. Our 2nd grade received iPads for every student this year and is making great strides in integrating them into the daily instructional routine.

ASFS uses a number of online subscription services to provide instructional support for related classroom activities. The two main sites are Reflex Math and MobyMax which can be found here on our student links page.  Additional sites of interest include SOLPass which was designed and is maintained by two former Fairfax County Teachers. This site contains review activities for the Virginia SOLs grades 3-12. Ask your teacher for the site password.

In the classrooms 2nd grade has been methodically moving into daily use of their student iPads. Using them in a variety of ways for research and interesting projects. Science City groups have been investigating coding. In the Space Shuttle Simulator Science City students have been learning about Mars and using online simulations for space flight and coding applications that allow them to move Mars rovers around the planet’s surface.  4th grade has been using interactive applications such as Kahoot for student responses. And different grade levels have been using both computers and iPads to complete rounds of Interactive testing. We also cannot overlook Investigation Station and it’s 3D printer.

The Arlington Public Library has many interesting online activities for students of all ages on their website including their newest addition Hoopla which is an online audiobooks service. It is free by using your library card information to login. Click here for more information.


Communicating Math Ideas with Academic Vocabulary

Ms. Stephenson, Math Coach

In September, students in all grade levels learned that mathematicians have their own specialized language, just as scientists and doctors have an academic language.  

Students also continue to focus on learning strategies that help them compute mentally and efficiently. Mathematicians operate on numbers using the four mathematical operations:  addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Since use of academic vocabulary and communicating math thinking are important components of developing mathematicians, please ask your student, “Which operation will be best for solving this problem?” and “Which strategy will you use?”  

With each operation, there are specific terms that can be used to label each number in the equation and/or word problem. Encouraging your child to use these terms as much as possible so they become a familiar part of their vocabulary. The terms for the four operations are described below.

Addends are the numbers we add to get a sum, or total.  In the primary grades, we call addends “partners”, but addend and partner can both be used, even with younger students.

Minuend minus subtrahend equals difference.  With subtraction, we focus on learning the term difference (the amount between two numbers), but some inquisitive mathematicians like to label all the numbers, as they’ve learned to do so in addition.  
Example:  50 – 10 = 40
(50 is the minuend, 10 is the subtrahend, and 40 is the difference between the two.)

We multiply two factors to get a product.  5 and 4 are factors of 20, because 5 x 4 = 20, and 20 can be divided evenly by these factors. The product is the total in multiplication, and the factors are the numbers that can be multiplied to make the product.  

Another important term that students learn with multiplication is multiple. The multiples of 5 are the “skip counting numbers” of 5, so you can even introduce this term to your kindergartener who is skip counting by 5 or 10.  (Students will later find common multiples of given numbers in the upper grades.)

The dividend is the total that is divided by a divisor (the number of groups) to get a quotient.  27 divided by 9 = 3.  The dividend is 27, divided by 9 groups to get 3 in each group.  

The more exposure in different forms that students receive with these words, the easier it will be to utilize and apply the words and concepts.  Thanks for encouraging the use of content vocabulary while working on homework or in real-world situations!


News from Ms. Bulford, RTG

ASFS Families, I am Debbie Bulford and I am the new Resource Teacher for the Gifted (RTG). I appreciate so many of you attending the October PTA meeting where I was able to present information about the giftes serves program in Arlington County Public Schools. As the RTG, it I s my role to advocate for the needs of the gifted learner.  I work with all students in kindergarten through fifth grade, teaching lessons that utilize critical and creative thinking lessons as well as the APS gifted curriculum. My focus is ensuring your child is receiving gifted services by working with teachers on daily differentiation and helping staff to design and utilize curriculum resources written specifically for gifted learners. I will also be co-teaching in some classroom and providing teachers with resources to go “deeper and wonder” with students in the content standards. My role is multi-faceted and I am fortunate enough to collaborate with teams throughout our schools and county to ensure gifted services are provided to all of students at ASFS.

Some Suggestions for Parents

I am frequently asked how parents can enrich the academic lives of their child. Each child has strengths, whether in math; language arts; science; social studies; music; visual and performing arts; leadership; athletics; or some other field. To help children discover what they do best, guide them to discover their own interests and abilities by:

  • Being attentive to your child’s comments and observations; guiding your child in discussions that lead to deeper meaning and/or research
  • Helping your child develop skills and interests, for example, in plant science, animal care, electronics, carpentry, mechanics, law, design, and crafts.
  • Encouraging your child to explore the beauty of diverse cultures-through language, poetry, story, song, dance, puppetry, cooking and crafts
  • Promoting and creating an environment that leads to self-expression, exploration and discovery
  • Emphasizing the effort and progress your child puts into a task rather than perfection
  • Showing your child through your own missteps how errors can be opportunities to discover and learn by modeling positive ways to address setbacks and solve problems
  • Instilling ways to help your child understand and regulate emotional reactions to life’s little hiccups
  • Promoting a healthy and balanced lifestyle
  • Being involved in your community through service and outreach

By finding and creating opportunities where your child can explore interests and nurture talent, you will be building the foundation of a child who will be a life-long and lover of learning.


Investigation Station Explorations

Ms. Lin

The Big Build at the National Building Museum – October 13, 10-4 p.m.
Saturday, October 13, 10 am–4 pm, FREE, all ages
Join us for a day filled with hands-on family fun. Discover what it's like to be a builder and meet plumbers, ironworkers, landscape architects, woodworkers, and experts in many other fields. A special feature this year is author Joshua David Stein who will lead story time with activities around his new book Brick: Who Found Herself in Architecture.

Participate in over 30 activities including:
• Cement mixing
• Virtual reality, augmented reality, and other technologies
• Decorative arts for the home
• Woodworking
• Truck petting zoo
• Storm water management
• Spackling
• Much more!

All Museum exhibitions are open and free to the public during the Big Build. To read more about the event, go to this website.

Virginia Tech Maker Festival – November 3, 10-3 p.m.
The 4th Annual Virginia Tech Maker Festival will take place on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 from 10AM - 3PM at the Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Center (7054 Haycock Road, Falls Church, VA 22043). Prepare for a full day of creativity, engineering, and discovery! Get ready for hands-on experiences, live performances, and interactive demonstrations that will inspire a wonder in science for all ages! Click here for more info.

Outside the Box Day – November 28, 9-11 a.m.
Please join us for Outside the Box Day on Wednesday, November 28th from 9 – 11 a.m.! We hope you will enjoy watching the students engage in one of the many Children's Engineering projects that will be taking place at ASFS. The students will be presented with a challenge, the criteria they will need to meet, and the materials they’ll get to work with. Then they’ll brainstorm possible solutions, choose the best one, and execute it. Be especially on the lookout for the children’s incredible problem-solving skills when they run into a problem, and encourage them to find solutions to their obstacles by thinking outside the box! You will be amazed by the children’s creativity!

Parents, please meet in the library at 9am before being dismissed to the classrooms. At this event, we ask that you not bring siblings as we want you to be able to fully participate with your child and his/her classmates in the classroom. Thank you!

Recyclables Needed for Outside the Box Day
In order for the children to complete their engineering projects on Outside the Box Day, each grade level will need specific recyclables. We will send out a list of what we’ll need in an upcoming e-Friday Folder and a hard copy in your child’s Friday Folder as the date gets closer. Please check to see what your child’s grade level needs, and if you can save other materials on the list for other grade levels, we would appreciate that as well! Thank you for helping to contribute to the success of Outside the Box Day! If you want to see an example of what kinds of recyclables we typically use, click here.



Ms. Taylor & Ms. Mintzer

For the month of October, we will be holding elections for 5th grade students running for an ASFS Office position, and Representatives for each classroom on Friday morning, October 12th. Results will be announced before the end of the school day. Please continue to check the monthly school calendar for Spirit Day themes and important events! At the end of October, we will be sending UNICEF boxes home with every student to help raise funds for a great cause. More instructions will be sent home with students at that time. Our first event will be Tasty Tales Night on Thursday, November 15th from 6:30-7:30pm. Families are invited to bring their favorite books, blankets, a flashlight, and their dinner to the multipurpose room. Students and their families can enjoy eating together, reading books, and sharing their favorite tales. We will also have a small snack bar with book themed treats to support the SCA. We will end the event with a few minutes of reading in the dark with the use of our flashlights. If you have any questions about this event or any future events please contact one of the SCA sponsors Ms. Mintzer and Ms. Taylor.


Technology News

Mr. Harvey

With an ambitious decentralized platform, the father of the web hopes it’s game on for corporate tech giants like Facebook and Google.


Last week, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, asked me to come and see a project he has been working on almost as long as the web itself. It’s a crisp autumn day in Boston, where Berners-Lee works out of an office above a boxing gym. After politely offering me a cup of coffee, he leads us into a sparse conference room. At one end of a long table is a battered laptop covered with stickers. Here, on this computer, he is working on a plan to radically alter how all of us live and work on the web.

“The intent is world domination,” Berners-Lee says with a wry smile. The British-born scientist is known for his dry sense of humor. But in this case, he is not joking.

This week, Berners-Lee will launch Inrupt, a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it’s game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon. For years now, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open. But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over.

“We have to do it now,” he says, displaying an intensity and urgency that is uncharacteristic for this soft-spoken academic. “It’s a historical moment.” Ever since revelations emerged that Facebook had allowed people’s data to be misused by political operatives, Berners-Lee has felt an imperative to get this digital idyll into the real world. In a post published this weekend, Berners-Lee explains that he is taking a sabbatical from MIT to work full time on Inrupt. The company will be the first major commercial venture built off of Solid, a decentralized web platform he and others at MIT have spent years building.


If all goes as planned, Inrupt will be to Solid what Netscape once was for many first-time users of the web: an easy way in. And like with Netscape, Berners-Lee hopes Inrupt will be just the first of many companies to emerge from Solid.

“I have been imagining this for a very long time,” says Berners-Lee. He opens up his laptop and starts tapping at his keyboard. Watching the inventor of the web work at his computer feels like what it might have been like to watch Beethoven compose a symphony: It’s riveting but hard to fully grasp. “We are in the Solid world now,” he says, his eyes lit up with excitement. He pushes the laptop toward me so I too can see.

On his screen, there is a simple-looking web page with tabs across the top: Tim’s to-do list, his calendar, chats, address book. He built this app–one of the first on Solid–for his personal use. It is simple, spare. In fact, it’s so plain that, at first glance, it’s hard to see its significance. But to Berners-Lee, this is where the revolution begins. The app, using Solid’s decentralized technology, allows Berners-Lee to access all of his data seamlessly–his calendar, his music library, videos, chat, research. It’s like a mashup of Google Drive, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Spotify, and WhatsApp.

The difference here is that, on Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod–which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.

For example, one idea Berners-Lee is currently working on is a way to create a decentralized version of Alexa, Amazon’s increasingly ubiquitous digital assistant. He calls it Charlie. Unlike with Alexa, on Charlie people would own all their data. That means they could trust Charlie with, for example, health records, children’s school events, or financial records. That is the kind of machine Berners-Lee hopes will spring up all over Solid to flip the power dynamics of the web from corporation to individuals.


Berners-Lee believes Solid will resonate with the global community of developers, hackers, and internet activists who bristle over corporate and government control of the web. “Developers have always had a certain amount of revolutionary spirit,” he observes. Circumventing government spies or corporate overlords may be the initial lure of Solid, but the bigger draw will be something even more appealing to hackers: freedom. In the centralized web, data is kept in silos–controlled by the companies that build them, like Facebook and Google. In the decentralized web, there are no silos.

Starting this week, developers around the world will be able to start building their own decentralized apps with tools through the Inrupt site. Berners-Lee will spend this fall crisscrossing the globe, giving tutorials and presentations to developers about Solid and Inrupt. (There will be a Solid tutorial at our Fast Company Innovation Festival on October 23.)

“What’s great about having a startup versus a research group is things get done,” he says. These days, instead of heading into his lab at MIT, Berners-Lee comes to the Inrupt offices, which are currently based out of Janeiro Digital, a company he has contracted to help work on Inrupt. For now, the company consists of Berners-Lee; his partner John Bruce, who built Resilient, a security platform bought by IBM; a handful of on-staff developers contracted to work on the project; and a community of volunteer coders.

Later this fall, Berners-Lee plans to start looking for more venture funding and grow his team. The aim, for now, is not to make billions of dollars. The man who gave the web away for free has never been motivated by money. Still, his plans could impact billion-dollar business models that profit off of control over data. It’s not likely that the big powers of the web will give up control without a fight.

When asked about this, Berners-Lee says flatly: “We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission.”

Game on.