THE FWSU STORY: Making Our Schools Sparkle

Sparkling floors, nicely mowed lawns, clean and organized classrooms – is there anything better than coming back to school each year and seeing everything looking shiny and new?


Today we want to use our blog to say thank you to all of our school custodians and maintenance workers.

The schools are hot and sticky all summer – but nothing stops them!

But it is not only in the summer that we feel their impact. They make a difference every day of the school year as well. We could not do it without you all!

Thank you!

THE FWSU STORY: New Teachers Arrive!

A sure sign that school is right around the corner is the arrival of the new FWSU teachers. Yesterday was that day. This year we are happy to introduce and welcome the teacher class of 2018.

Welcome FWSU New Teachers 2018

Welcome FWSU New Teachers 2018

The new cohort teachers in our system spend their first day learning all about our schools from administrators, outside experts, and their mentor teachers.  They also enjoy the opportunity to get to know each other as well.

The topics covered on the first day included an overview of FWSU by Superintendent Ned Kirsch, overviews of the curriculum by Linda Keating, an overview of a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) and an introduction to FWSU’s trauma-informed system by Dr. Joelle Van Lent, PsyD.

The new teachers will be working with mentor teachers throughout the year learning the “ins and outs” of each of our schools. In addition, the new teachers will be meeting and learning together once per month under the direction of Director of Curriculum and Instruction Linda Keating.

In future blogs, we will highlight more about the journey of our new teachers in their first year at FWSU. But until then we only have one word — welcome!




THE FWSU STORY: A Summer Look Behind the Scenes in IT

Summer is a time for students to relax, recharge and get some quality outdoor time. While they are away our schools are filled with staff making sure that everything is ready to go when students return. Today we want to feature or fabulous FWSU IT crew.

FWSU IT Technician Jason Smith assists an employee with a 1:1 Apple iPad device

FWSU IT Technician Jason Smith works on an iPad in Tech Central at BFA Fairfax

FWSU prides itself on the access to technology that our students and teachers have each day at school. Our philosophy has always been for our infrastructure and equipment to be easily accessible and not something that has to be thought about while in the classroom. Just like electricity, when you turn the switch on it just works. Of course, that’s easier said than done – but our team gets it done!


Here is a brief rundown of the work completed this summer at all of our schools:

  • Combined all 1:1 device management in a single system
  • Prepped and ready to deploy massive classroom management across the SU for both 1:1 and shared care devices
  • Institute SU-wide inventory management system 
  • Officially Centralized IT staffing into a mobile adaptable team that will cover all schools seamlessly.
  • BFA Fairfax deployed full google storage cloud-to-cloud backup system
  • Re-imaged Innovation Lab desktops computers
  • Prepped iPads for all students


Thanks to Jody, Brendon, Jeff, Jason, and Carol for all of your work this summer!

THE FWSU STORY: Summer Learning on the BFA Fairfax School Farm

What happens on the Fairfax School Farm in summer?

Who takes care of the gardens, the berry nurseries, the construction projects?

When students and teachers are gone what happens?

turning comnpost

The BFA Fairfax Farm to School Club takes care of business! 

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 9:00 and 11:00 throughout the summer members of BFA’s Farm to School Club come in to work on the School Farm.  Thanks to their efforts the school gardens are thriving, growing the vegetables for our Harvest Dinner, and for schoolwide “taste-testing.” The students in the club all have other jobs but they do their best to free 2-3 mornings per week to keep the School Farm operating.

chicken house windows

Shane Seals sums it up well: “Summer Farm to School is a great experience to learn how to garden and take part in a farming environment. It’s a good way to give back to the community and help build a foundation for the future of the school. The program has an amazing amount of diversity.”


The Club harvested and froze two gallons of blueberries that will find their way into the Farm to School Class’s kitchen curriculum in fall. They have timed the planting of vegetables so that the bulk of our produce will be available when school is in session. A portion of our summer harvests is donated to the Fairfax Food Shelf. When the garden is caught up, kids work on the chicken house or maintenance of the beehives. We are currently involved in clipping and drying parsley, sage, oregano, thyme. Each of the many tasks provides unique opportunities to learn.


“During the summer work at Farm to School, I have been able to increase my gardening and building skills and gain overall worldly experience. We are all hard workers who enjoy each other and the fruits of our labor,” said Alyese Caruso-Randall.

hoophouse repair

Isabelle Collum agrees, “Seeing your hard work pay off every week is such a rewarding experience, and knowing that you’re helping your school and community makes it so much better.”

tour visitors

The club members understand the importance of their volunteer efforts. “Summer Farm to School is a fun creative way to integrate community service and easy learning. Farm to School is a very extensive program that allows people to enjoy what they are doing and learn more about it. In the future I hope to see more faces come and enjoy their summer the way I do,” said Farm to School Club President Caitlin Allan.

spraying and mascot

But there is so much more involved than just work. Eli Silman adds it’s a great way to hang out with friends during the summer.” 

This may be the most important reason of all!

If you are interested in joining us this summer contact Farm to School Club President, Caitlin Allan.

THE FWSU STORY: FWSU Learning Featured at United Nations Global Citizenship Event

Last week Superintendent Ned Kirsch was an invited panel speaker for the first celebration event for the International Day of Education for Global Citizenship sponsored by The Mission of the Republic of Korea  and the State of Qatar to the United Nations. Superintendent Kirsch was the only PreK-12 educator in the United States that formally participated in the event.

International Day of Education for Global Citizenship

Other speakers included Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Professor of Economics and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network; Mr. Matthew Hodes, Director of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations; Dr. Eunhee Jung, CEO of IVECA; Ms. Marie Paule Roudil, Director and UNESCO Representative; UN Ambassador from the Republic of Korea Chull-joo Park; and Charges d’Affairs, Abdulrahman Al Hamadi from Qatar.

FWSU Superintendent Ned Kirsch addresses International Day of Education for Global Citizenship

photo by Mr. Issac Humphrie

Superintendent Kirsch was invited to speak about how FWSU has been engaging schools throughout the globe both personally and virtually as a regular part of learning. In addition, he spoke to the initiative that brought the UN Sustainable Development Goals to FWSU. Last year students and teachers in each of our schools engaged in projects that addressed the goals. While other speakers were talking about what could be, Superintendent Kirsch was able to illustrate how students currently can and do engage with the goals.

UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. The SDGs cover critical social and economic development issues such as poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice

The United Nations developed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to transform our world in 2015. Since then, 193 countries of the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda titled Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs cover critical social and economic development issues such as poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice.

After the presentations, the assembled guests were treated to celebratory musical performances by performers from across the globe. Pianist David Jeong, The UN Jazz Society Band, and Girls Be Heard were just a few of the featured performers.

This year FWSU students will continue their work engaging students around the globe, working to find solutions and answers to issues that affect us all and building inter-cultural competence to increase their understanding. This summer, student ambassadors at BFA Fairfax High School and their families are hosting 30 students from China in our annual summer cultural/language immersion camp and many of the ambassadors will also be visiting China this fall to continue their learning. Work is also underway to incorporate the SDGs across all areas of the curriculum to drive real-world learning and relevance for our students. Students in our elementary schools will again engage virtually through our work with IVECA. Finally, Superintendent Ned Kirsch will continue sharing the work of our students as an invited participant at the annual WISE Conference, part of Global Goals Week, this fall in New York City.


THE FWSU STORY: Thanks For A Great Year!

We want to thank everyone in the FWSU community for supporting our schools. This year was our 6th year blogging about our schools every day and we really appreciate you all taking the time to read and react to our stories. We will post some stories this summer and then get back to it full time in August.

Have a great summer, but before you do, take some time to stroll down memory lane with us with a look back some of our favorite pictures of the year.

Shannon Mahoney, Vermont Presidential Scholar

Shannon Mahoney, Vermont Presidential Scholar

Congratulations to Cathy O'Brien, Wellness Rockstar!

Wyeth at the State Geography Bee

Wyeth at the State Geography Bee