Dr. Georgina Aye and Dr. Tammara Silipigni presented the annual state of the schools report to the City of Fairfax School Board at the regular school board meeting on Monday, February 6, 2023. The principals outlined how they are spending federal funds (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief or ESSER), how they are supporting student academic and social emotional needs and focusing on school culture.
At Katherine Johnson Middle School, Silipigni discussed the multi-tiered support structure (MTSS) meetings to focus on students at risk of academic or emotional concerns. The MTSS team, comprised of administrators, counselors, department chairs, and resource teachers, address student concerns “by name and by need” and work with interventions for support. In addition, all teachers at KJMS provide one hour each week after school for academic support.
Over 85 percent of students at KJMS are academically on task and can access learning seminars with teachers to help find their passion. These seminars are led by teachers and offer another way to connect with students throughout the school.
Dr. Silipigni praised KJMS teacher Julio Dejo, the after-school specialist. Over 815 students per week participate in an after-school activity such as Model UN, Math Club, basketball, and drama. KJMS will be a pilot school for team sports with volleyball.
ESSER funded staffing at KJMS include academic supports for special education students and English learners. The school also has a full-time social worker to support emotional needs of students.
The two schools share a transitional counselor who spends time at each school during the week. The counselor focuses heavily on the beginning of the year to support Fairfax High School ninth graders and their transition to high school and will shift time to Katherine Johnson MS at the end of the year to help prepare eight graders for their time at FHS. “Its very powerful and has been very successful to support transitions,” said Aye.
In her first state of the schools report, Dr. Aye highlighted her goals as she began her tenure leading Fairfax HS including a culture of community for both students and staff, and supporting students that might have fallen behind during the pandemic. “We know that every student has something to offer, and we look for every student, every strength, every day,” said Aye.
Dr. Aye focused a portion Fairfax HS ESSER funding to provide a social worker to help run student support groups. There are several groups to help support students and parents alike.
“We know that mentors matter”, said Aye. Currently there are 60 students that are actively being mentored by teachers to be that “one champion” for them in the building.
Fairfax HS is working to support students with academic success. The school has learning lounges with teachers and peer tutors after school. There is also Saturday school to assist any student struggling in math.
Last month, the board heard from Fairfax County Public Schools Region 5 with updates on all four city schools. The board will hear from elementary principals on March 6, 2023.