August 16, 2017

Please be sure to View Entire Message for important information.
Mustang Families,

It's quite possible many of you have been waiting with bated breath for my welcome back letter as it indirectly represents the culmination of what I hope was an incredible summer for all of you and your families! Family is where I would like to begin our journey this year. Family defines who we are as individuals. It shapes how we view the world and our ability to work collaboratively with one another. Here at George Mason High School, we believe together we're better.

Families come in different shapes and sizes. The operation of a family differs based on beliefs, values, and expectations. What remains similar are the necessary skills one must attain in order to achieve success.

Mustangs are family. Our core value is to excel in mind, body and character.  We can only achieve this by working collaboratively and trusting one another.

As we embark upon the 2017-2018 school year, our primary focus is to ensure all of our students are supported and feel a sense of belonging. We vow to establish a positive, safe learning environment where students can be risk takers and inquirers. 

I encourage everyone to spend the next three weeks with family and friends who remind us why together we're better! 

Sincerely,

Matt Hills
Principal

Laptop Collection and Distribution Update

We would like to send you an update on the distribution of new laptops. The delivery of laptops have been delayed, and we will have to push back the distribution of laptops to students.

Returning students will STILL need to return their laptop by August 24th because the insurance will expire at the end of August, and the Technology Support Team has to refurbish computers to distribute them to TJ Elementary for this school year. The Technology Support Team will still be available in the George Mason Library on:
  • Wednesday, August 23, from 1-3 p.m. or
  • Thursday, August 24, from 9-11 a.m. and from 1-3 p.m.
Students not available those dates & times can drop off their computer on Thursday, August 31st or September 1st from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the GM Library.
 
A reminder that Students must backup all files either on a personal flash drive or the best option...your Google Drive before you return your laptop. Move all files into a folder and drag & drop into your FCCPS Google Drive.

Students must clean the computer and remove all stickers. When cleaning the outside of your MacBook Air, first shut down your computer and unplug the power adapter. Then use a damp, soft, lint-free cloth to clean the computer's exterior. Avoid getting moisture in any openings. Do not spray liquid directly on the computer.
 

New Laptop Distribution Information

Rising 9th graders: We have changed the Personalized Learning Orientation from a face-to-face session to an online video of the presentation and a brief quiz. Parents and students must watch the video and students will need to complete the quiz prior to receiving their new computer. We will be sending this out shortly in a separate email.

New Student Laptop Distribution after New Student Orientation August 31st
We will hold a Personalized Learning Orientation and laptop distribution at 11:30, after the New Student Orientation at 10:00 a.m. (New to FCCPS students only)

Returning Students: We will send out information early next week on when returning students will be able to pick up their laptops.  We're hopeful for the week of August 28th.  Thank you for your patience.
All students will need to electronically sign the Acceptable Use of Electronic Media Agreement before using the FCCPS electronic media. The parent/guardian of each student will acknowledge the student’s signing of the Acceptable Use of Electronic Media Agreement before the student uses the FCCPS electronic media. (SB Policy 9.40 & Regulation 9.40 - signature page at the end of 9.40R)

Chilean Students Visiting GMHS September 9-22! Bienvenidos!

A La Carte Travel of McLean is organizing the upcoming arrival of 21 Chilean students to Falls Church on September 9th for two weeks (September 9-22).  We thank the families who are preparing to host these dynamic visitors from Trewhela's School in Santiago and we are seeking additional GMHS and MEH families to host! They are incredibly excited about their upcoming visit to our community.  At this time we still need one family to host a boy. If you are interested in hosting, please go to the following website to learn more about this experience and to sign up! Chile Exchange
 

We look forward to the visit!  

From the Transportation Office

Bus routes will be posted online by August 30th at www.fccps.org/bus/
 
Check out this new App showing the location of your child’s school bus…

Predictable Ryde
Student Parking Passes
 
Student parking passes for the school year 2017-2018 are $300.  Parking passes will go on sale for seniors beginning next week. Parking spots will be numbered and will correlate with the number on the parking pass. Students are asked to park in the assigned numbered spot. An announcement will be made when parking passes will be available for juniors to purchase.

Seniors can pick up parking pass forms from the Finance Office beginning Monday, August 21 from 9:00 a.m until 2:30 p.m. All parking pass forms must be filled out and signed by the student and the parent/guardian and returned to the finance office with either a check made payable to GMHS or cash. All fines/fees must be cleared before a parking pass is issued. Strict enforcement of parking regulations will begin Monday, September 18. Please note that students run the risk of being towed if they do not display the current 2017-2018 parking pass on their vehicles. Students are reminded that they must park only in the designated student parking lots. There are 2 designated lots for students—the first lot is directly across from the Virginia Tech Grad Center and the second lot faces Haycock Road.  Students are not allowed to park in the Faculty parking lots.
 
Notes from the Clinic
 
Greetings from the George Mason Health Room! We hope everyone has been enjoying a safe and healthy summer break!
Kelly Miceli, School Health Aide
Aimee Simons, RN School Public Health Nurse
 
The GM Health Room will be open on August 31 and September 1 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon for parents to drop off any medications. Each medication requires a signed Authorization Form, and these can be downloaded from the FCCPS website (www.fccps.org/forms).

Please note:
  • There are specific forms for inhalers and EpiPens.
  • Medications can be given 30 minutes prior or after the time stated on the prescription or Authorization Form. When indicating the time to be given, please remember to include timing on early school closings.
  • Students who self-carry their EpiPens or inhalers must have signed Authorization Forms on file in the GMHS Health Room.
If you have any questions regarding medications or want to discuss a health condition that will affect your student’s school day, please contact:
 
Aimee Simons, RN BSN
School Public Health Nurse
Fairfax County Health Department
simonsa@fccps.org
571-386-8771                
 
Vision and Hearing Screenings for ALL students in Grade 10 and all new students in Grades 9 – 12 will be held on September 28th and September 29th.  Parent volunteers are very welcome!
Important Information from FCCPS Food Service Director Richard Kane

Prices This School Year
 
Lunch prices for George Mason High School and Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School are $3.90 per meal and Breakfast prices are $2.50 per meal.
 
In the Food Service Department we have updated our computerized system that allows us to manage our business faster and better. The system is called Café Enterprise.
 
DEBIT ACCOUNTS FOR STUDENTS!
A great feature of this system is that each student has a “debit account” (not a credit account) with us. This means that money is deposited into the account, and then the student can purchase lunch using it. Each student has an account number which is the same as their student ID number. At lunch time, the student enters their number on the pin pad and the computer accesses the student’s account. If there is money in the account, the purchase is deducted. If the student is eligible for a free meal, the computer acts as if the student has meal credits in the account. If there is no money in the account, and the student is a paying student, the computer will ask for the price of the meal.
 
HOW CAN YOU ASSIST US?        
  • By sending your check in advance of school opening so we can get it deposited in your child’s account. Please send one check per school per student. Send checks to the Food Service Office or to the School your child attends with the child’s name and  student ID number made payable to : FCCPS Food Service or by creating an account online at www.myschoolbucks.com and pay by credit card. The following credit cards are accepted, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Card.
Parents can view their child’s account balance and pay for multiple children at different schools by creating an online account at www.myschoolbucks.com. All balances from the prior school year will transfer over.  To view your student’s account you do not need to use a credit card. If meals are purchased online there is a small fee to use this service.  Please remember, any funds sent to the Food Service Department must include student’s name and student ID to ensure funds are applied to the correct student.

The Food Services Department will be offering two lunch entrees with a choice of fresh vegetables and fresh fruit each school day.  Also available will be pre-packaged cold sandwiches.  Applications for free or reduced-price lunches are posted on the www.fccps.org website. You can also download the applications here:
Please return your free/reduced-price lunch application or send payment directly to food services to FCCPS c/o GMHS before September 5, 2017, to allow time to process before the first day of school.  Lunch applications are accepted all during the school year. It takes about 10 days to process them. We look forward to serving your students a nutritious lunch this school year. If you have additional questions, please call the food service office at 703-248-5534 or attend one of the PTSA meetings for a Q& A session at the beginning of the school year to meet the FCCPS Food Service Director Richard Kane.

Special Dates and Information Items 

·   Fall Sports practices are underway.  Any student in grades 9-12 who has not joined a team but would like to do so is urged to email our Athletic Director, Ms. Julie Bravin, at bravinj@fccps.org.
 
·  The New Student Orientation and New Parent Orientation will be held on Thursday, August 31, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.  The orientation is for 9th – 12th graders and their parents who are new to our district. The Mustang Ambassadors sponsor the new student orientation and the PTSA sponsors the parent orientation. The student orientation is a way for new students to meet other students and to hear about the many activities and programs available at GMHS.  It will be held in the Mustang Café. The parent orientation will be held in the auditorium and will have a similar program.
 
·  Freshman Orientation will be held on Friday, September 1, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. in the Mustang Cafe. This informative program will introduce all 9th graders to their teachers, administrators, counselors, activities leaders and Mustang Ambassadors.  Parents of freshman will meet in the Auxiliary Gym at 10:00 a.m. for orientation.

·  Meet and Greet the Admin Team on Wednesday, September 6 from 6:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
 
·  Back-to-School Night will be on Wednesday, September 6, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:40 p.m. (For parents of ALL grades.) 

·  GMHS Tailgate Party will be held on Friday, September 8, from 5:30 p.m. until kickoff against Sidwell Friends at 7:30 p.m.
·  FCEF 13th Annual Run for the Schools, Sunday, September 17
   Online registration www.fcedf.org/runfortheschools

·  Senior Information Night will be held on Monday, September 18, from 7:00 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. in the Mustang Café for seniors and their parents

·  Yearbook pictures for grades 9-11 will be taken on Tuesday, September 19 and Wednesday,September 20. Make-up pictures are scheduled for Wednesday, October 25.

·  Senior Make-up Pictures will be taken Monday, September 25 and Monday, October 2 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in the Auditorium.

·  Round Robin---Freshman, Sophomore and Junior Parent Night will be held on Thursday, October 5, from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the Mustang Café and 11 classrooms.  The classrooms will be announced at the beginning of the meeting. This is for parents of 9th, 10th and 11th graders.

·  Parent/Teacher Mini-Conferences, Friday, October 13from 7:45 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

·  All Night Grad Celebration Fundraiser, October 21, from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. 
 







 
 
A Letter of Introduction from our Director of Counseling Ilana Reyes

It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I write this note of introduction as the new Director of Counseling.  I am very fortunate to have the support of an amazing team here at George Mason High School and an embracing, supportive community.  Together the GMHS team and the community build a foundation to enable each student to succeed.  Our mission is to empower our students to Excel in Mind, Body and Character.  We are the base that gives each student the opportunity to become productive citizens and the structure to become a lifelong learner.  The transition from middle school into high school and the preparation for post-secondary life requires teachers, counselors, support staff, administration, parents and students to work together to make the years successful, memorable and enjoyable ones.  I look forward to working with you all to support your child’s success!

Notes from the Counseling Office  

BL 1 and BL 2 Assignments and Student Schedules

Students’ Block 1 and Block 2 will be posted throughout the high school the first morning of school, September 5.  All students will go directly to their Block 1 on the first day of the school.
Student schedules will be distributed during Block 1 on the first day of school and students will follow the schedule assigned to them.  If there are errors in a schedule, the student should schedule an appointment in the Counseling Office as quickly as possible.  After errors are corrected, the counselors will consider other requests for scheduling changes.  Changes that involve adding a new class must be completed by the 10th day of school! Students may not begin a new class after 10 school days have passed.  Adding or dropping a class after school begins requires a special form signed by the student’s parent/guardian, the current teacher, the new teacher, and the student's Case Manager/DP Coordinator/Athletic Director if applicable. These forms are available in the Counseling Office.
 
Returning Student Enrollment  

Returning student enrollment instructions for the 2017-18 school year were emailed to all families the week of July 5, 2017.  This data should have been completed by August 11 to ensure the required residency documentation and Student Health Information (Form D Regulation 9.60.1) is received.  If a computer is needed to complete this registration, please contact Ms. Bird in the Counseling office at birdb@fccps.org / 703-248-5526

Proof of Residency is required yearly and must be provided to Ms. Meier via email (meiera@fccps.org), fax (703-248-5556) or drop-off before your student’s registration will be approved and entered into PowerSchool. More details are provided in the online registration.
Notes from the Math Department

If your student is enrolled in:
 
A.   Calculus AB/BC, a TI-89 is required for the first day of class.
 
B.   Any other math class, a graphing calculator is required (TI-84, or TI-84 CE is highly recommended).  The Mathematics Department has a limited supply of old TI-83 graphing calculators that students may borrow.  
      
>Students are required to provide their own batteries or power cord.
>Students who did not return graphing calculators lent to them from past school years will not be eligible to borrow another calculator until the fine is paid or the calculator is returned in working order.
>Used calculators are sometimes procured from sources such as eBay or craigslist.  Please be certain that these calculators are in complete working order before purchase.
 
If you purchase a new calculator, please look for the redeemable points on the package and bring them to your teacher.

 
These points help the school repair old calculators and purchase new calculators at a discount.  Your help in collecting points is appreciated?
Attendance Information
Attendance Policy Regarding
Excessive Absences for Any Reason
“In courses for which high school credit is earned, a student who is absent for any reason twelve times from a class that meets daily or six times from a blocked class during a quarter will receive a grade of “F” for the quarter.  Long term illnesses supported by a medical doctor’s written requirement of medical confinement will be considered for an exception to be decided by the principal after consultation with the class teacher and guidance counselor. Students who are being provided homebound instruction are considered present for attendance purposes.”
 

 Reference School Board Policy 9.22



Absence requests for three days or more requires an 
Extended Absence Request Form.
 

Have an absence, tardy, or early dismissal to report?
 
You may:
 
-- Leave a message on the 24-Hour Attendance Line, 703 248 5501

-- Send an email to attendancegm@fccps.org
 
-- Send a signed note with your child (for tardies and early dismissals only)
 
2017-2018 Yearbook Ordering Information 

This year’s 2017-2018 yearbook for George Mason High School will be ordered directly through our publishing partner, Jostens. Parents are highly encouraged to order early and online by going to www.jostensyearbooks.com. To go directly to the George Mason HS ordering site, click here. Order the yearbook early and save $25 off the end of year price of $100. Ordering the yearbook by September with personalization also gets your student four free icons! 

Parents may also call 1-877-767-5217 to place their order or send in mail orders directly, with check made out to Jostens.  For any questions, please contact:

Jason Baranowski | Jostens Yearbooks| 703-463-6061 
www.jostens.com
www.yearbookelevation.com
@ybkelevation
 
SENIOR RECOGNITION ADS: 
 
Please note, parents must go to this link Celebrate Your Student to create and purchase recognition ads. Parents are encouraged to complete their ad by November.  If you have any questions or need assistance, please email the yearbook staff at yearbookgmhs@gmail.com and they will be happy to answer your questions.
From the PTSA President
 
On behalf of the GMHS Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) welcome to the 2017-2018 school year! I don't know about you, but I'm still in summer mode and it seems waaaaay too early to think about getting school activities on your calendar. Still, we're pretty excited for next year and want to share a few dates with you:
 
August 31 at 10 a.m. in the Mustang Café and Auditorium
GMHS Orientation for Families New to Falls Church. Students meet in the Café and parents meet in the Auditorium
 
September 1 at 10 a.m. in the Mustang Café and Auxiliary Gym
GMHS 9th grade Orientation for students and parents
 
September 26 at 7 pm in the Mustang Café
Meet the new Superintendent Dr. Noonan -- A Joint meeting with Middle School and Elementary School PTAs
 
In each of these sessions we'll also share how the PTSA enhances the GMHS community. You'll have the opportunity to join the PTSA at the meetings (so bring your checkbook or credit card), but why wait?   To join on-line now, please go to this link.
 
I look forward to meeting you soon!

Warmly,
Mary Stevens, President
 
and the PTSA Executive Counsel
- Elizabeth Meade, Vice President
- Amy Kusic, Vice President
- Christina Goodwin, Treasurer
 
From the GMHS Athletic Boosters
 
Dear GMHS Families,                                                                                              August 2017
 
Please join the GMHS Athletic Boosters Association! Boosters supports athletic programs at George Mason High School and our goal is to help our teams, our athletes, our coaches, and our entire athletic community to grow and thrive.  As a 501c (3) school-affiliated organization that is formally recognized by FCCPS, Boosters coordinates with GMHS to help create a positive, supportive, and welcoming athletic experience for our entire community.
 
Why should I join? Over 50 percent of Mason students (and MEH 8th graders who are eligible to play on JV teams) participate in athletics. Your GMHS Athletic Boosters Association membership will directly support Mason’s unique commitment to developing the mind, body and character of each student. Through the sale of memberships, game vouchers, fundraising, and volunteer activities, Boosters has been able to enhance and support the athletic experience for our entire community. Additionally, Boosters is committed to supporting the athletic participation of all students, regardless of their ability to pay and actively manages the Bill Rose Fund that provides financial aid in the form of athletic fees, personal equipment, sports clinics, etc. to student-athletes facing financial challenges.
 
We Need You! Our organization is entirely dependent upon volunteers:  parents of MEH and GMHS students and graduates, GMHS Alumni as well as the FCC community at large. Our funding comes entirely from you, our members, and the FCC community at large and we cannot continue our work without your support. Through generous donations Boosters has been able to make major equipment purchases for our teams, provide seven scholarships to graduating seniors each year, provide concessions at athletic events, provide coaches with Mason apparel, along with numerous other programs that support all of our athletic teams.
 
How can I get involved? Along with joining Boosters and/or making a (tax-deductible) financial donation, there are many ways to support Boosters and our athletic programs:  attend a monthly meeting to learn more about Boosters; reach out to your athlete’s Team Parent or Coach to learn about volunteer opportunities; volunteer at and/or attend one of Boosters many fundraisers throughout the school year or contact me @ julie_donnelly81@yahoo.com.  I would be happy to hear your ideas and welcome your involvement in Boosters!
 
We hope you will consider joining Boosters because a strong and vibrant athletic community at GMHS enhances our whole community. You may mail in your membership with the form on the page below or join online at the following link: https://mason-fan-shop.myshopify.com/collections/booster-membership-directory-passes.  In addition, to learn more about Boosters visit our website:http://www.masonathletics.org and follow us on Twitter @gmhs_aba.
 
On behalf of GMHS Athletic Boosters, thank you for supporting Mason Athletics. Go Mustangs!
 
Sincerely,
Julie
 
Julie S. Donnelly, President
GMHS Athletic Boosters Association


 

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