In late June of 2015, BFA-Fairfax Middle School teachers met with principal Tom Walsh for a two-day retreat to discuss ways to best meet the needs of students in the coming school year. Tom provided donuts. Despite the donuts’ sky-high glycemic index, the middle school faculty sustained an engaging, thoughtful discussion that lasted all day, churning out ideas that had immediate and positive impacts on students. For instance, the staff agreed that homework would be eliminated in the middle school. Teachers charted the implementation of student PLPs. Technology integrationist Rhonda Siemons helped teachers generate methods for engaging families via Schoology. Perhaps most exciting was the decision that, beginning in 2017, each eighth-grade class would travel to Boston to support curriculum and instruction across core academic classes.
On April 20-21, 2017, students and teachers will be busy learning and team-building in one of our nation’s oldest cities. Mr. Psaros will spend much of this fall and winter teaching students about our nation’s democratic roots, with a look at our election process as well as a deep-dive into the origins of our constitution and its Revolutionary War influences. What better way to extend this learning than to stand in the Old South Meeting House, where Samuel Adams persuaded the Sons of Liberty to dump 30 tons of tea into the Boston Harbor? Or to visit the home in which Paul Revere lived at the time of his messenger ride to Lexington?
Mrs. Barnes-Cota will be teaching about forces, including the forces of electricity and magnetism. On the heels of these lessons, students will have the opportunity to stand mere feet from the world’s largest Van de Graff generator (see below).
On Tuesday, October 25, teachers and Principal Tom Walsh met with families to discuss the rationale for this field trip, as well as to answer questions from parents and students. Families were extremely encouraged and enthusiastic about making this trip happen. At the meeting, Tom made clear that our mission is to ensure that every student is able to participate in this trip, regardless of ability to pay, in keeping BFA-Fairfax’s commitment to the learning of every student and to the support of all our families.
Students, teachers, and administrators would like to thank the community for their continued support of our students. Fundraising efforts from last year’s “BFA’s Got Talent” show, as well as proceeds from middle school dances and bottle drives have helped to make this educational opportunity a possibility. It’s an exciting time to be an eighth-grade student or parent. We hope to make this trip to Boston a tradition at BFA-Fairfax Middle School for many years to come!