CWES Weekly Happenings

From the Principal's Desk

Dear Families,

I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. If your families celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Shana Tova! A celebration of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah sets off ten days of contemplation that culminate in Yom Kippur next week. This week also marks the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. CWES will be commemorating the anniversary with a special schoolwide moment of silence in classrooms on Friday, September 10, and students will be learning about 9/11 in age-appropriate ways this week. Join us for the Cougar Crawl the evening of September 10, a CWES event that was created years ago to celebrate unity in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Many of you have shared with me your concerns about the COVID positive cases at our school and the length of time that has elapsed for their investigations. Over the long weekend, the Health Department was able to complete four of our open COVID case investigations and one more today, leaving a few more cases still pending. The Health Department communicates with school administrators after a case is officially closed. The closure notification includes the names of all students who were identified as close contacts and the dates they are excluded from attending on-site events. To make 100% sure our families are aware of this important information, shortly after we receive the case closure notification, CWES administrators send each paused student’s family an email that indicates the date the student has been cleared to return to school. Please understand that we rely on this final written documentation from the Health Department for students’ return to school dates; we are not privy to information shared with individual families along the way. We are eager to have paused students return to in-person instruction, and we are doing everything we can to work with the Health Department to expedite things. We truly appreciate your patience and continued communication with us. And we are especially grateful that our COVID-positive students have not fallen seriously ill. Please continue to keep your child home if they are experiencing any symptoms.

We have put additional safeguards in place at our school this past week to further limit the number of other students who could be impacted if a student tests positive for COVID.

IN THE CAFETERIA, we found that, although our folding chairs were set up to be spaced more than three feet apart, they did not reliably stay three feet apart throughout the day given the normal hustle and bustle of student use. We have replaced all long tables using folding chairs with individual desks instead. We are now happy to report that all student seats in the cafeteria remain FOUR TO FIVE feet apart throughout the school day. You can see a photograph of our new cafeteria set up below, with our amazing assistant principals.



Ms. Milliron and Mr. Reeder in our cafeteria.

AT BREAKFAST, the numbers have increased, with over 80 K-6 students accessing it at least a few times a week. With different students eating on different days, we are not able to employ seating charts nor guarantee that students in different classes avoid close contact (which, unmasked, is anything under six feet, indoors or outdoors). We have adjusted the breakfast plan accordingly. We will now be sending students to their classrooms to eat breakfast. Here is the adjusted breakfast timeline:

  • 9:05 AM Students eating a school breakfast are admitted through the far side of the lobby (or into Door 3 for students on buses) to get into line for breakfast in the cafeteria. They retrieve a bagged breakfast and are released to their classrooms by 9:10.
  • 9:10 AM All other students are admitted into the school at 9:10 AM.
  • 9:20 AM The bell rings.

IN THE CLASSROOM, we have stopped having students gather on the carpet for stories or morning meetings, because we had difficulty guaranteeing three feet of distance in this location. We rolled up the gathering carpets and used the additional floor space to move the tables in the classroom further apart from one another. Where we could, we reduced the number of students seated at each table. This means students not seated at the same table are well over 3 feet away from students at other tables, it increases the likelihood that students seated at the same table might also be reliably 3 feet apart throughout the day, and it reduces the number of students we would have to pause as potential close contacts in the event of a COVID positive case.

AT RECESS, we have noted that a large percentage of CWES students play without masks. While masks outside are not required, they are strongly recommended. We ask you to consider asking your children to keep their masks on if they can comfortably do so. Over the new week or so, we may make further modifications at recess to reduce how many students are playing in the same place at the same time.

Thank you for your cooperation and partnership during this challenging time. We are hopeful that these changes will mean fewer students are exposed to infection and fewer students are paused for in-person instruction during future investigations. We are committed maximizing in-person instruction while keeping students safe.

Warm regards,

Diane Leipzig, Dr. L

Former Cougar Makes the Ultimate Sacrifice


Lieutenant Paul Fridley

We learned this week about the passing of a former CWES Cougar and child of a former CWES staff member, Lieutenant Paul Fridley. On Tuesday, August 31st, 2021, Paul lost his life in an MH-60S helicopter crash off the coast of San Diego, California with four other members of his squadron.

Some of our teachers remember Paul fondly from his elementary days at Canterbury Woods. After graduating from Woodson High School in 2011, he went to UVA and enlisted in the Navy. His mom, Pam, served as a Cued Language Transliterator at our school.

The Fridley family has been an integral part of the Canterbury Woods community for decades and still live in the neighborhood. Paul is survived by his wife, Sarah. Below is a link to the fundraiser set up by the HSC-8 Officers Spouses Club to help his family during this difficult time. If you are able, any contribution is appreciated.

Please keep the Fridleys in your thoughts and prayers as they navigate this unimaginable loss.

Cougar Crawl, Friday, September 10



This Friday, September 10th

5:30pm - 8:00pm

CWES Back Field

  • Arrive at CWES between 5:15 and 5:30pm (Friday, Sept. 10th) to put down a blanket & chairs on the field behind the school.
  • Join your CWES friends to "Crawl" around the neighborhood. The “Crawl” starts at 5:30 PM. It is a short (approx. 1 mile) walk along the sidewalks of some of the streets that surround CWES.*Please see "COVID Restrictions Update" section below for more information on safety guidelines.
  • Kids grab a Cougar Crawl Glow Band at the end of the crawl! (while supplies last!)
  • Enjoy dinner and music on the back field with other CWES families!
  • Watch the Woodson Precisionettes Dance Team perform their latest routines!
  • Enjoy a treat from Anita's Frozen Ice!

Don't want to pack your own dinner?

  • Pre-order A Whole Domino's Pizza, Chick-fil-A sandwich meal, and drinks, and have them ready for pickup following the "Crawl!"
  • PLEASE NOTE: To limit additional physical contact, the CWES PTA will NOT be selling food the day of the event.
  • ALL food orders MUST be PRE-ORDERED by 12:00pm on Thursday, September 9.



The CWES PTA is working hard to ensure this year's Cougar Crawl remains a safe event for our school community and does not add to the existing community spread of the COVID-19 virus.


The Cougar Crawl typically draws in several CWES families and friends and to ensure the utmost safety of the event, the CWES PTA is requesting the following additional restrictions to be implemented during the Cougar Crawl:

  • All Cougar Crawl attendees should wear masks at all times during the event, with the exception of eating dinner with immediate family members.
  • Families should set up their blankets/chairs at least 3 feet away from other families, to allow for some social distancing.
  • Families should plan to eat with their family members ONLY at their designated family location.
  • The actual "Crawl" start times will be staggered by Grade-level. The grade level walk times will be shared in additional announcements next week and at the beginning of the "Crawl." We ask that families choose a start time to join the walk based on their child's grade level. For families that have children in more than one grade level, we request that you choose one timeframe to complete the walk with your family.
  • Please do not attend if you or a member of your family is not feeling well.

We ask that all CWES families deciding to attend, adhere to these guidelines to help our community ensure the Cougar Crawl remains a SAFE and fun event for all.

Thank you for your understanding! See you at the CRAWL!


Counselors’ Corner


Hello from your School Counselors, Ms. Sutton and Ms. Wilson! We had the pleasure of meeting many of you at Open House and now we want to take this additional opportunity to say “hi” to all of our families!

The past two weeks have been an exciting time as we’ve returned to in-person instruction. We also know that change can be anxiety-producing for many students, especially during a time with additional uncertainty due to COVID-19. We’ve compiled a few resources for you to explore:

1.    “Going Back to School” – A social/emotional tip sheet for parents of elementary students.

2.    COVID & Kids’ Mental Health – A page by Child Mind Institute, which provides articles on a range of specific topics for parents including “Back to School (and Work) Anxiety”.

3.    100 Coping Strategies – Hang this list on your fridge. As you and your family try different strategies, highlight the ones that work for you!

We hope that you find these helpful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there’s anything we can do to support your family.

Tiffany Sutton, Grades K-3,, 703-764-5681

Becca Wilson, Grades 4-6,, 703-764-5672

iReady Testing Notification

The online iReady assessment (also known as the universal screener) provides an initial view of all students’ foundational skills to help teachers identify students who may have challenges in reading or mathematics. This fall, students in grades 1-6 will take the iReady reading and mathematics assessments. More information about the assessment can be found on the FCPS Universal Screener Parent Notification webpage. For questions, please contact your child’s teacher.

October Webinars at the Parent Resource Center

Family Digital Wellness: What is our Next Normal: A Webinar for Families

Do you know a child, teen, or young adult in your life who is struggling with their media use? The Clinic for Interactive Media and Internet Disorders (CIMAID) is here to help!

Webinar Highlights

  • Ages and Stages How Media and Technology affects your child at each stage of their development
  • Types of Media and Technology: Different Types of Devices, Apps, and platforms used by children and families
  • Health Effects: How your child's media use affects their wellbeing and development

The CIMAID team can help you address and reduce the negative consequences of Problematic Interactive Media Use (PIMU), while helping the children, adolescents, and young adults in your life adopt and sustain healthy lifestyles and behaviors.

Join Kristelle Lavallee Collins, MA, Senior Content Strategist from The Digital Wellness Lab.

Friday, October 1, 2021, 10-11:30 a.m.

Register for Family Digital Wellness: What is our Next Normal: A Webinar for Families


SIBSHOPS: An Exciting, Virtual Workshop for Brothers and Sisters of Children with Special Needs!

The Sibshop workshops are for children in grades 2-6 enrolled in Fairfax County Public Schools who have siblings with special needs to:

  • Meet other siblings in a relaxed, virtual setting.
  • Celebrate the many contributions made by brothers and sisters of children with special needs.
  • Share sibling experiences and receive peer support.
  • Play games and have fun!

Presented by FCPS School Social Work Services   Registration is free, however, donations are accepted to support the cost of future Sibshops: Donate Here

Monday, October 11, 2021, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. *School Planning Day – students are not attending school 

Register for SIBSHOPS: An Exciting, Virtual Workshop for Brothers and Sisters of Children with Special Needs!

Mark Your Calendars

Tuesday, September 7: Rosh Hashanah

Friday, September 10: Cougar Crawl

Thursday, September 16: Yom Kippur

Thursday, September 30 (6:30-7:30 PM): Back to School Night (Virtual)

Thursday, September 30 (7:30-8:00 PM): First PTA Meeting (Virtual)