September 2018 Newsletter

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Tamara Derenak Kaufax

Contact Tamara:

Phone: 571-423-1081


Angela Petro
Executive Admin Assistant

Upcoming Events

Regular School Board Meeting

9/13 7:00 p.m.

Luther Jackson MS


All-Day Work Session

9/17 12:30 p.m.

Gatehouse Administration Center


Regular School Board Meeting

9/27 7:00 p.m.

Luther Jackson MS


Regular School Board Meeting

10/11 7:00 p.m.

Luther Jackson MS

All-Day Work Session

10/15 11:00 a.m.

Gatehouse Administration Center

Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age

Movie Screening
Wednesday, October 3
Edison HS

6:30 - 8:00 PM
Doors open 6:00 PM

An award-winning film that probes into the vulnerable corners of family life and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games, and academics. The film offers solutions on how we can help our kids navigate the digital world.


Open to all schools and families in Lee District! Please join me at this screening to engage in this very important topic. Discover ways to promote healthy technology use for your children both in school and at home.


October PTA/PTO President Meeting

Tuesday, October 9

Bush Hill ES Library

7:00 - 9:00 PM

Joining Tammy will be Francisco Durán, Chief Academic and Equity Officer, to discuss new equity initiatives in FCPS. Come ready to share updates on your school and to collaborate with Tammy on ways the School Board and FCPS leadership can partner with PTA/PTO leadership to make this a great school year for our students!

Serve on FPAC

The Fairfax County Public School Board invites applications from Lee community members interested in serving on the Facilities Planning Advisory Council (FPAC). FPAC advises and informs FCPS staff and the School Board in the development of comprehensive, long term plans for facilities.


The Facilities Planning Advisory Council consists of 13 members, one from each Fairfax County district, three at-large representatives, and one representative from the City of Fairfax, each appointed for three year terms. FCPS encourages individuals with experience in construction, engineering, architecture, land use planning, development, demographics, government operations and financing to apply.


Contact FPAC

Tamara Derenak Kaufax's Newsletter

Welcome back! I hope that you and your family are enjoying these first few weeks of school.


Even though the majority of our classes were not in session this summer, the schools in Lee District did hold some classes, were recipients of national honors, and had some leadership changes. Please take a moment to read through this newsletter to get caught up on the exciting things that are happening in our schools. 


I hope to see you at one of the many back to school events over the next few weeks. Remember parental engagement is a key component to student success! We welcome your support in the classroom as a member of your PTA/PTO or by being a member of one of our many booster organizations. Here's my Back to School message about the importance of parental support. Wishing you and your family a successful school year! 

Visit from First Lady Pamela Northam

VA First Lady Students

First Lady of Virginia, Pamela Northam, visited Riverside ES on September 5. Mrs. Northam came to observe our PreK programs in FCPS. It was an honor to host her, and a joy to see her interact with our students!

VA First Lady Riverside
School Board members, along with school and county staff, meet with First Lady Pamela Northam.

Lee HS, Bush ES Named Unified Champion Schools

Congratulations to Lee High School and Bush Hill Elementary School for being named Unified Champion Schools by Special Olympics International. Out of the 131 schools selected nationwide in 2018, 6 were chosen in Virginia, with Bush Hill being the sole elementary school from the state. Lee and Bush Hill demonstrated a commitment to creating a school environment that promotes acceptance and inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Through the ten standards of excellence, Unified Champion Schools successfully implement Unified Sports, where students with and without disabilities compete as teammates, Inclusive Youth Leadership that provides opportunities for all, and Whole-School Engagement that impacts the entire school climate and influences how students act both at school and outside our doors. With these efforts, FCPS can reduce bullying, fight stereotypes, and build relationships, all leading to a Unified Generation that Chooses to Include!

Summer School Visits

Summer School

One highlight of my summer was visiting Crestwood Elementary School and Hybla Valley Elementary School to observe summer programs. Thanks to a growing partnership that began with Alexandria churches and Bucknell ES, the summer STEAM program expanded to Hybla Valley this summer. This curriculum keeps under-served students safe, engaged, and academically motivated over the break. Crestwood ES hosted their Bridge to Kindergarten (B2K) class, as well as a Young Scholars class. These classes nurture academic potential in underrepresented populations. Highlights this summer included a visit from a local meteorologist, work on unplugged robotics, engineering projects, and a trip to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum. Thank you to the FCPS teachers and volunteers who facilitate these programs and help our students develop a love of learning.

Summer School TDK
Young scientists in action at Hybla Valley Elementary School.

Welcome New Principals!

I am thrilled to welcome three new principals this fall to Region 3.

Marguerite Saitta, Crestwood ES

Marguerite Saitta joins Crestwood Elementary as their new principal. Before joining this community, Ms. Saitta served Rolling Valley ES and Hybla Valley ES as an ESOL teacher, and most recently served as the intervention administrator before becoming an assistant principal at Hybla Valley ES. Best wishes to Crestwood this year!


Andrew Smith, Franconia ES

Andrew Smith was recently announced as principal of Franconia Elementary School. Mr. Smith has served the Franconia community as an assistant principal since 2015. Before Franconia, Mr. Smith was an assistant principal at Hayfield ES, and a special education teacher at Braddock ES. I am thankful for his leadership in Lee District. Go Mustangs!


Dawn Hendrick, Rose Hill ES

Dawn Hendrick is the new principal of Rose Hill Elementary School, a dedicated educator for almost three decades who has served our Region 3 schools for 21 years. Ms. Hendrick taught at both Cameron and Riverside ES, and served as an assistant principal at Mount Eagle ES. Ms. Hendrick's most recent tenure as principal for Woodlawn ES showed tremendous leadership and results.

Rose Hill Elementary students wrote welcoming messages to their classmates for the first day of school.

Whitman MS PTSA Wins 2018 Virginia PTA Family Engagement Award

Whitman Middle School PTSA was named winner of the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion PTA Award for its efforts to promote a diverse culture within its membership. The school's PTSA supported our Spanish speaking families by using the Spanish parent liaison and creating multilingual communications.There was a great focus on developing personal relationships with students and families by hosting a wide variety of unique programming. These included a STEM + Families Microsoft Technology Event, a community tea, a workshop on talking with teenagers, and a Fall Festival. The PTSA also enhanced their website and Facebook page for improved communication options. On top of the service to our school, this group gives back to the community through a monthly project with the National Capital Area Food Bank. Congratulations to the Whitman MS PTSA!

Volunteer with GrandInvolve


GrandInvolve - Changing the World - One Child at a Time 

We Need You! Join us in GrandInvolve - a program which facilitates volunteer opportunities in Fairfax County's Title I Schools. GrandInvolve recruits older adult volunteers who are interested in providing mentoring, reading and math tutoring, or classroom assistance. We are currently seeking a core group of community volunteers for the GrandInvolve Lee District Steering Committee. Tasks include developing timelines, establishing goals and objectives, networking in the community, and developing community partnerships. 

Become part of GrandInvolve - an Award Winning program that is already successfully providing tutoring services in 16 Title 1 Schools in Fairfax County. To learn how you can be involved, please contact: or visit our website:

Bush Hill Elementary teachers put a new twist on the welcome walk by biking around the neighborhood to greet students.