Willow Springs School News, 9/29/23

For a translated version of this newsletter, please visit the

Willow Springs website.


Meet our music teachers.

Staff Spotlight: Music Teachers

(Left to Right, bottom row: Mrs. Young, Ms.Venne, Mx. Sevilla. Top row: Mrs. Berra, Ms. Vanhorne)

All students at Willow Springs participate in weekly general music lessons with either Mrs. Berra or Mrs. Young. Beginning in 4th grade and continuing through 6th grade, students can choose to participate in strings lessons (violin, viola, cello, bass). 5th and 6th grade students can join the band and play an instrument of their choosing. 5th and 6th graders who enjoy singing have the option of joining chorus. We believe in the importance of arts education and are proud to offer all of our students so many opportunities to express themselves musically. 

A Message from Mrs. Young - General Music Teacher

I've been at Willow Springs for 22 years! I enjoy how well-rounded the students are in their interests, and I've made a lot of lifelong friends among the wonderful staff here. Outside of school, I enjoy watching my son play baseball and fitting my many other hobbies around his schedule - writing, barre classes, archery, reading, thrift shopping, sweet tea runs, concerts, trips to NYC, and re-watching Gilmore Girls more times than I can count. 

A Message from Ms. Venne - Strings Teacher

I have been at Willow for six years. What I love most about teaching at Willow is how kind and supportive our school is- students included! Outside of school, I LOVE to read.

A Message from Mx. Sevilla

I’ve been teaching in FCPS since 2016 and this is my first year at Willow Springs, but I was a student here from 2002-2006. I really love being able to teach in the same community in which I grew up. When I'm not working, I like to spend time with my family, read, spend time outdoors, and cook.

A Message from Mrs. Berra - General Music Teacher

This is my 7th year teaching music at Willow Springs. I love teaching music because I get to see students grow throughout their years from Kindergarten to 6th grade. I feel very lucky to be a music teacher because I have a job where I can play instruments, sing, dance, play games, and have a very joyful day. It’s the best!  When I’m not at school you can find me practicing yoga, watching football (Miami Dolphins and JMU), baking, and spending time with my husband and daughter.  

A Message from Mrs. VanHorne- Band Teacher

I have been teaching Band at Willow Springs since Spring 2000. (24 yrs) I love teaching at Willow Springs because the staff always works as a team and jumps in to help each other when needed. Also, the students are enthusiastic about Band and they come to class each week fully prepared to play music!

When I'm not at school, I enjoy reading, keeping in touch with old friends through social media, walking, and playing with my 2 cats Mack & Zena. I also enjoy traveling to WV to visit family and friends. I am a HUGE West Virginia University fan and Willow Springs fan. Go Mountaineers! Go Team Willow!

Read more about our Music Program!

Our Willow Springs music teachers are a big hit!

A Note from the Principal's Desk

Dear Willow Springs families,

As September comes to an end and we get ready to begin a new month, this is a great time to reflect on all we have accomplished together and what we want to accomplish in the coming weeks and months. Our first month of school has been a great one filled with learning, fun, and friendships. We look forward to more opportunities to get together for learning and fun in October. Next week, we will have an AAP Information Meeting for parents and the Boosterthon kickoff. October 11th will be a big day at Willow Springs with the Boosterthon Fun Run during the day and the PTA meeting at night. We hope you'll join us!

What did you enjoy most in September? What are you hopeful for in October? Let's work together to make our hopes and dreams a reality!

Thank you for sending us your best everyday! Together, we make a great team. #GoTeamWillow


Dylan Taylor, Principal

Ipsa Stringer, Assistant Principal

Laura Tapper, Assistant Principal

Willow the Fox looks forward to seeing you at these upcoming events. Mark your calendars now.

A Peek at Willow's Planner

  • October 2  Boosterthon Kick Off in school; Custodian Appreciation Day
  • October 2  Advanced Academic Program Parent Information Night
    • 5 p.m. at Willow Springs and virtually via Google Meet
  • October 9 Staff Development Day
    • No School for Students
  • October 11  Boosterthon Fun Run; PTA meeting at 7:00 PM
  • October 13  Individual Student Picture Make-Ups
  • October 13 15 CogAT Testing, retakes only
  • October 17 - 19  CogAT Testing, 2nd grade students
  • November 5  End of Daylight Saving Time - Fall Back 1 hour

Boosterthon is coming.

Registration is open for our Willow Springs Fun Run kicking off on Monday, 10/2/2024. This is the first step to helping Willow Springs reach our fundraising goal this year. Our school goal is to raise $50,000 for enriching our Specials Program (PE, Music, Art, Spanish, Library) and STEAM. 

Once you are registered, you have access to all of the fun sharing and donation features to help us raise funds. Don't wait! Register today! Thank you for your support!

Murphy the therapy dog visited 1st grade classes this week and made everyone smile.

Special Visitor

Murphy the therapy dog visited us this week and went into 1st grade classes where he showed what a good listener and a good friend he is. He performed tricks for treats and let kids pet him. Throughout it all, he stayed calm and even fell asleep in one classroom! We love Murphy and look forward to more visits this year. 

The SEL Screener will be administered in October.

Social and Emotional Learning Screener Offered in October

One of the ways FCPS supports the mental wellness of all students is the SEL Screener.  

The screener is offered to all students in grades 3-12 in October and again in February or March. It addresses skills like achieving goals, understanding and managing emotions, establishing and maintaining relationships with adults and peers, and making responsible decisions. 

The SEL Screener also helps students evaluate their school community’s efforts to make them feel valued, included, and supported. Screener data is used to create the learning, experiences, and environments students need to be successful. Key updates to the screener this year include:

  • Different versions for students in grades 3-5 and 6-12. 
  • Fewer topics with more questions to provide schools and families with more data to support planning. 
  • Additional questions aligned with FCPS’ commitment to educational equity.  

SEL Screener results are sent to families via postal mail. Families who wish to opt their child out should complete the opt-out form in the Annual Notice packet or in SIS ParentVUE. 

For more information, please visit the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener webpage or contact your child’s school. 

Please note that the SEL Screener differs from the anonymous Fairfax County Youth Survey

Attendance matters!

🗓️ Attendance Tip:

Scheduling Family Trips or Events

Good attendance is an important life skill that will help students succeed in school and beyond.

When scheduling trips or family events, try to use weekends and school holidays, and refer to the FCPS Calendar when planning. Every day of learning is a day toward success. Keep in mind that absences add up quickly. Students who are absent 10% of the school year (or just two days per month) are considered chronically absent.

When possible, schedule appointments for your child outside of school hours. If your child needs to miss school because of an illness or another reason, you must report the absence to their school. Most schools have links to their attendance email or notification systems on their homepages. If you are unsure how to report an absence, please call your school’s front office.

Watch a video with tips on understanding FCPS' school calendar and visit our Attendance webpage for additional information.

Attend today, achieve tomorrow!

Join our Environmental Club


Join our Green Team

Work with others who want environmental improvements at our school.

Open to students in grades third to sixth, teachers, administrators, custodians, all WSES staff along with parents/grandparents (our WSES community).

Meetings will be held on the first Wednesday of the month from 8-9 a.m. in the cafeteria.

The Green Team’s first meeting is October 4.

Contact WSES Steam Teacher, Dr. Fisher-Maltese, STEAM, Get2Green Lead, cfishermaltese@fcps.edu.

Interested in participating in the TJ Techstravaganza in March 2024? Get more information here.

Calling All Junior Scientists

Fifth-Eighth Graders

TJ Investigative Science Outreach (TJISO),  a student-led organization at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology will be hosting their 11th annual science fair on March 16, 2024 and would like to invite fifth to eighth grade students from our school to participate. Admission to the science fair is completely FREE

Participants will complete a research project of their choice and present at the fair in-person on March 16, 2024. TJISO will help students prepare for this fair by holding multiple sessions to teach them important skills in STEM like brainstorming, collecting data, presenting, writing an experiment summary, using statistics, creating an experimental diagram, etc.

The first interest/brainstorming session will be on Friday, October 6, 2023 at 6:00 pm. This will be an in-person session  at TJHSST. During this session they will go over the goals and guidelines of this fair and introduce students to a multitude of project ideas.

All interested students should sign up using the form at this LINK

If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at tjhsstsciencefair@gmail.com or visit our website.

We hope to see you on October 6 for our kickoff meeting,

TJ Investigative Science Outreach

Activities and Clubs 

Visit the Activities/Clubs page on the WSES Website for more information.

All Foxes Need a Den and a Friend

The Willow Springs PTA cordially invites ALL families to join the PTA and become active members of our amazing school community! We are stronger together and strong schools and communities support healthy lives and high achievement for our children.

  • Join the PTA
  • PTA Page on the Willow Springs Website
  • PTA Facebook Page
  • Spirit Wear Online Store-We are excited to see our fellow foxes showing their Willow Pride in snazzy spirit wear!  Open 24/7 all year long!
  •  Our online spirit wear shop is open year round, 24 hours a day for your shopping convenience.

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