Lemon Road Community News 9.23.21

Message from Mrs. Castillo


Looking forward to rounding out this first week of fall with a fun spirit day for the students. Don’t forget to send your lion in a sports-themed shirt or jersey tomorrow. If they do not have a favorite sport or team, put on the LRES polo to show their school spirit.

Thank you to our amazing PTA for the community event last Friday. The ice cream truck was a huge success – and tasty at that. Thank you to all our families that stopped by and enjoyed a cool treat together.

We hope you learned a lot during our Back to School Night event last night. There was a fabulous turnout and we have received positive feedback about the timing and structure. If you have feedback about the virtual event, please let me know by emailing aocastillo@fcps.edu, we always want to hear the parent perspective about our events.

Thank you for collaborating with us to keep our students healthy and safe. We are so grateful for the support we have had at lunch! We continue to need volunteers every day during lunch – both indoors and outside. Please sign up and volunteer with us whenever you can. If you (or a neighbor, acquaintance, or friend) are interested in being paid to support lunch 10:30 – 1:30 daily, please contact Mr. Birge at mbirge@fcps.edu. Another volunteer opportunity will be to support classes with picture day on Monday, September 27. We will need volunteers throughout the day between 8:00 AM and 1:30 PM. If you can volunteer, please email Ms. Nealson at manealson@fcps.edu. Volunteers for Lifetouch will earn a small credit towards their child’s photo package. Parents that wish to order ahead may do so at mylifetouch.com and use our code: EVTCCJTVN.

I hope you and your family have plans to enjoy this gorgeous fall weekend with something outdoors! ~ Mrs. Castillo

P2 - Open-mindedness


Open-mindedness is the willingness to actively search for evidence that goes against one’s favored beliefs, plans, or goals.  Open-minded individual are able to weigh all evidence fairly, when it is available.  They see the other side and fight the tendency to have a bias for their own views.  And, rather than favoring the socially dominant views, they give attention to those that are less dominant. 

Advanced Academic Updates


Fairfax County Public Schools is committed to challenging all students through talent development and differentiated instruction to meet the needs of advanced learners.  FCPS offers a continuum of advanced academic services for all students in Grades K-12. The continuum of services approach allows for a focus on matching services rather than labeling students. Students have:

  • Multiple entry points for deeper learning opportunities in specific areas of need as they develop.
  • A cluster group of students with similar academic needs to continue growing in their learning.

Elementary Parent Information Meeting

A parent information meeting will be held at the PTA meeting on Wednesday, October 20. Avery Straw, AART, will provide information about levels of service and examples at Lemon Road, explain the screening processes, and answer questions about part-time school-based and full-time Level IV services.

Teachers, administrators, and Advanced Academic Resource Teachers (AARTs) work together to provide the following levels of service at the elementary level: 

Level I: AAP Curriculum and Strategies

All students (K - 6) have opportunities to think critically, reason, and problem-solve. 

  • All teachers use critical and creative thinking strategies in their lessons
  • Classroom teachers provide opportunities using materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework a minimum of once per quarter.

Because Level I services are for all FCPS students, there is not a screening process.

Level II: Differentiated Lessons

Some students are strong in one or more subject areas. Classroom teachers may adjust instruction for students in these areas by:

  • Providing different assignments and resources in those subjects
  • Grouping students by their strengths, interests, and readiness
  • Classroom teachers provide additional challenges using materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework.

Level II Services are re-evaluated each year.

Level III: Part-Time Program

Some grades 3 - 6 students have advanced academic abilities in multiple subject areas. They need part-time AAP services. 

  • Students work with students that have similar academic needs through weekly pull-out classes or weekly co-taught lessons with the AART and classroom teacher.
  • Teachers provide frequent opportunities to use materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework in Language Arts, science, social studies, and/or mathematics.

Students do not need to be evaluated each year.

Level IV: Full-Time Program 

Some advanced learners need a full-time advanced academic program with differentiated instruction in all four core content areas (Language Arts, mathematics, social studies, and science).  Students eligible for full-time AAP services are cluster grouped on a full-time basis and receive:

  • Full-time use of materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework in Language Arts, science, and social studies curriculum, and
  • Mathematics curriculum with depth and complexity that is at least one year above grade level.

Level IV services continue through Grade 8. Students do not need to be evaluated each year.

Screening for Levels II-IV

Multiple criteria are reviewed holistically to determine eligibility for all FCPS advanced academic services. Committees consider student work from opportunities with AAP lessons, examples of student reasoning or gifted behaviors from class discussions and activities, progress reports, achievement and ability scores, and parent input. Committees consider whether students have access to a group of students with similar academic needs to support academic conversations and growth in the classroom.

Eligibility decisions for Level II and Level III services are made by a committee at the local school.  To refer for Level II or III services, submit the AAP School-Based Referral Form to the AART and the local school.

Eligibility decisions for full-time Level IV services are made by the countywide central selection committee.  Screening for Level IV services occurs during specific screening cycles:  

    • Fall screening is available for students who are new to FCPS since January.  Fall referrals are due October 7, 2021
    • Spring screening is available for any Grade 2-7 FCPS-enrolled student.  The referral window is from the first day of school - December 15.

For more information, please visit the AAP website at: https://www.fcps.edu/registration/advanced-academics-identification-and-placement/current-fcps-students.  

Ability Testing

FCPS uses ability testing as one part of the holistic screening process for Levels II-IV services. Test scores are not weighted or prioritized in the holistic screening process.  

  • All students in Grade 1 take the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT).
  • All students in Grade 2 take the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT). 
  • NNAT and/or CogAT may be administered to students in Grades 3-6 who do not have an ability test score during the regularly scheduled testing windows.  

Parents or guardians may request a one-time retest in grades 3-6 during the fall testing windows. Please contact the school testing coordinator Morgan Birge, mbirge@fcps.edu, no later than September 30 to request the CogAT or October 15 for the NNAT.

Young Scholars

FCPS developed the Young Scholars Model to help identify students from historically underrepresented populations for AAP services. The model provides additional opportunity to nurture talent and build confidence so that students can meet their potential. 

Twice-Exceptional (2e)

Some gifted students also have learning disabilities. These twice-exceptional, or “2e” students need strengths-based instruction. Their learning challenges also must be supported. FCPS has created a 2e handbook to help schools and families understand how to identify and serve 2e students. You can find these resources by going to www.fcps.edu and searching “2e.”

Upcoming Important Dates

Friday, September 24:  Freaky Friday – Sports/Jersey Day

Monday, September 27: B Week; Lifetouch Picture Day

Friday, October 1:  Navy/Yellow Spirit Wear Day; Virtual Principals Coffee (8:30 AM); SCA Officer Election

Monday, October 4: Grade 2 Cox Farms Field Trip

Wednesday, October 6:  Walk to School Day

Thursday, October 7: NEW to FCPS (since January 2021), Fall Level IV referrals are due for those seeking placement.

Friday, October 8: Library Pumpkin Patch pumpkin drop off

Monday, October 11: Indigenous People Day (Student Holiday)

Friday, October 29: End of First Quarter - 2 Hour Early Release

Monday, November 1: Student Holiday

Tuesday, November 2: Student Holiday

2021 FCPS Student Calendar Quick Glance