Summer Learning and Return to School Input Needed

GovDelivery 3 weeks 2 days ago

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Dear Graham Road Families,

As we close out the 2019-2020 school year, I want to say a special thank you to each and every one of you for your partnership this year. Although things ended in an unexpected way, it was a wonderful school year and I am still honored to be your principal! 

I hope you will all stay informed and engaged as the discussions about how we will resume school in the fall continue. You will receive opportunities through surveys to share your ideas and opinions. The voices of Graham Road parents need to be heard. The School Board will be deliberating on proposed plans throughout June and hope to have a plan to communicate to staff and families by the end of the month. Currently, there are three approaches being considered, you can read a little about each one here: FCPS Return to School: Fall 2020. As you can imagine, whatever approach is chosen will set in motion even more strategic planning at the school level to guarantee your children are safe and getting the instruction and challenges they deserve from Graham Road. 

Also by the end of the month, students currently in grades K-6 will receive both a Mathematics and a Language Arts Essentials Summer Practice Book in the mail. Digital versions of the books will also be posted on the Continuity of Learning Blackboard page. These books will provide recommended practice activities for students to review essential content from the 2019-2020 school year; they are not intended to preview content from next year’s grade level but rather reinforce essential learning from this past year. 

As students access these activities from July 6 to July 31, they will also have the opportunity to join Graham Road teachers for summer learning. In collaboration with teachers from Pine Spring Elementary and Timber Lane Elementary, our teachers will use the summer workbooks as guides to plan additional live learning opportunities and hold office hours where students can ask questions and interact with teachers and other students their age. Our schools are working collaboratively this summer to provide all of our students an opportunity to learn and grow together. Any student interested in attending is welcome, we ask parents to fill out this form: Graham Road Summer Learning, so we can get students schedules and links to online sessions. 

Have a wonderful summer and we cannot wait to see you all again!

Lauren Badini


2831 Graham Road, Falls Church, VA 22042  | Main Office: 571-226-2700
Attendance: 571-226-2727 | Web | Twitter

Curbside personal item pick up, celebrating 6th graders, summer learning

GovDelivery 1 month ago

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Student Personal Item Pick Up

Last week, we distributed laptops to students in grades K-2 as well as MiFi home internet devices to students in grades K-6. At these individually scheduled appointments, students also received any personal items they left at school prior to the building closure. Teachers gathered all personal items from classrooms and organized in individual paper bags for each student. Please note that personal belongings include jackets, backpacks, lunchboxes, water bottles, medications, headphones or any items purchased for your child and left at school prior to the building closure. Personal items do not include student work or school supplies.

If you did not pick up student personal items last week by appointment, you will have the opportunity to drive through the Kiss and Ride lane on Monday, June 8th any time between 12:00 and 3:00 PM. You will be handed a bag of your student’s personal items. If your child did not leave personal items at school or you do not feel comfortable attending the curbside pick up, you do not have to come. 

Please make every effort to drive but if you cannot, you will see cones lining the sidewalks to ensure a safe, 6 foot distance between everyone. We also recommend wearing a face mask and children do not have to be with parents to pick up personal items. It will be a quick, grab and go process to support the safety of everyone. 

If you have instruments to return to school, please bring them to the curbside pick up. You can return library books but this is not required. We will check those items back in once school resumes in buildings. Medication will also be returned to you as well.  If your child had medication at school, you will be asked to sign a document stating that the medication was returned to you.

Virtual Promotion Celebration Video

We are so very sad that we will not be able to celebrate our current 6th graders in person. However, Mr. Youngberg and Ms. Sim have been busy working on a virtual celebration to be shared with all students and families. This celebration will include messages from staff members and video tributes to the special time students have spent at Graham Road Elementary.

Summer Learning

Graham Road will host virtual summer learning in the month of July. FCPS will be sending summer workbooks to students and we will have a Graham Road teacher available four days a week for one hour to support students in each grade level through Blackboard Collaborate Ultra links. If your child is interested in participating, please fill out this form and the teacher responsible for your child’s grade level this summer will reach out with times and secure links so he/she can join!

2831 Graham Road, Falls Church, VA 22042  | Main Office: 571-226-2700
Attendance: 571-226-2727 | Web | Twitter

A message from Principal Badini and the Falls Church Pyramid

GovDelivery 1 month ago

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Dear Falls Church Pyramid Families,

We are writing to you as your Pyramid Principals to share our sadness and outrage about the instances of racism and hate that have occurred in our country during the last few weeks, and over the course of time. These awful events are especially painful for our Black and African American community members.  We acknowledge this and want you to know that we see you and stand with you.  Racism and hate have no place in the world and no place in the Falls Church Pyramid.  The Falls Church Pyramid is a diverse community that we are proud to lead. 

As principals and school staff, we will not sit silently, as these events cannot be ignored.  Rather, in these last few days of school, we have asked our teachers to talk with students about racism and why we have to stand up to racism and hate.  

We will also work together to identify ways to continue these important conversations with our staff and students next school year.  Our schools will also continue to receive professional learning on equitable and culturally responsive practices.  We are committed to furthering our learning in order to challenge racism and injustice while promoting inclusive school communities where diversity is valued. 

Here are a few resources for families on these topics:


We wish you peace as we wrap up this school year, and we look forward to connecting with you soon.


Ben Nowak, Falls Church High School

Mike Magliola, Luther Jackson Middle School

Aileen Flaherty, Camelot Elementary

Candace Hunstad, Fairhill Elementary

Lauren Badini, Graham Road Elementary

Nikki Yacubovich, Pine Spring Elementary

Linda Ferguson, Westlawn Elementary

Dwayne Young, Woodburn Elementary


2831 Graham Road, Falls Church, VA 22042  | Main Office: 571-226-2700
Attendance: 571-226-2727 | Web | Twitter

Graham Road Updates - No School on Monday, May 25

GovDelivery 1 month 1 week ago

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Calendar Reminder: No School on Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day holiday Kindergarten Registration is OPEN

If you have a child who will be five years old by September 20, 2020, please register them for Kindergarten by visiting and filling out the form named Kindergarten & New Student Registration Questionnaire. Our registrar, Troy Newlon, can help with additional questions! Please email him at 

Even though school buildings are closed, it's important for all children new to our community and rising kinder students begin the registration process!

P-EBT Benefits

Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) provides temporary food assistance to cover the cost of meals students have missed due to school closures. Eligible Virginia households include those with children who receive free or reduced-price meals (FRM) as well as students enrolled in schools that provide free meals to all students through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Addresses for all children in grades K-6 eligible to receive this benefit and information has already been submitted so relief funds can be sent to the addresses on file for each child. 

If a family does not receive the P-EBT card by mid-June, because they have moved or the address at the time was incorrect, please call 804-726-7000.

For more information, please visit the Virginia P-EBT page.

Food Resources

2831 Graham Road, Falls Church, VA 22042  | Main Office: 571-226-2700
Attendance: 571-226-2727 | Web | Twitter

Distance Learning FAQs from Principal Badini

GovDelivery 2 months ago

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A message from Principal Badini

Greetings, Graham Road Families!

We are thrilled to have had such a smooth, exciting week of learning at Graham Road. While we are so excited to have resumed live instruction with so many students, we are also still delighted to make connections with students on the phone to hear how they are continuing to learn by completing learning packets, watching instructional videos on Channel 21, reading and helping out at home. 

I want to say thank you for the words of encouragement and the continued support from this community as we tried our very hardest to make things work for the last few weeks. Teachers worked tirelessly to plan and prepare to meet students online and when the systems failed us, it was a disappointing moment for us all. Nevertheless, we did what we do best at Graham Road, we kept moving onward and upward. Using the collective strength and knowledge of our team, we developed and put in place a new plan for students to access additional learning opportunities.  

Below you will find some answers to frequently asked questions. Parents received grade level updates from me over the last few weeks but below is a composite of answers that apply to our whole school. We will also add these FAQs and important links to our school public webpage. Visit, click the Full Menu and find the Distance Learning section. If you have more questions, please email me at I am happy to answer your questions individually and it’s likely that if you are wondering something, other parents are too! The more you share and ask of me, the better I can inform and support our community. 

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week! Had we been in school, we would do fun things each day to celebrate the teachers at Graham Road. Now, more than ever, they deserve our appreciation and encouragement. I cannot even begin to describe how hard they have all been working over the last few weeks. I encourage you all to reach out and share just how much you appreciate them!

Lauren Badini


Graham Road Distance Learning Frequently Asked Questions for Parents How do I support distance learning at home, especially when I am still working, taking care of other children and have no experience as an educator? 

The one thing we can guarantee all students have consistent, reliable access to is the mailed, paper learning packet. As you’re thinking about where to start, the learning packet is a good place to guide your child first. Learning packets were designed to follow what students would be taught if we were physically in school. They include routines our students are familiar with so they should be easy for students to complete. The live lessons, recorded lessons and additional learning opportunities are planned from and support the learning packets. When planning, learning packets are where teachers start and build from there. I encourage parents to do the same. 

Additionally, teachers have and will continue to connect with students either by phone or virtually to talk through students’ work on learning packets. If you have not or are not receiving packets on a weekly basis, email me or your child’s teacher immediately so we can find out why and get packets to your child.

Where can we find everything from my child’s teacher in one place?

Grade level teams have worked diligently to create sites to serve as a landing page for students so they have one place to visit to see everything they can do from home. Teachers have worked very hard on these sites and it shows - they are incredible! They are well organized and familiar to students as we have used Google products all year long. Students must be logged onto their FCPS Google Account to access the links below. They will be prompted to log in when clicking links below or they can log on by visiting our school website,, and clicking G-Suite in the top banner on the homepage.

Kinder Distance Learning

1st Grade Distance Learning

2nd Grade Distance Learning

3rd Grade and 3/4 Combo Class (Pakrul) Distance Learning

4th Grade Distance Learning

5th Grade Distance Learning

6th Grade Distance Learning

When and how can my child join his/her teacher live?

Students received a unique link in FCPS Gmail accounts to click at designated times to join teachers for live instruction through Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Students will use this one link every time they join their teacher and classmates for live instruction. Below are two videos that will help parents and teachers!

English Version: Getting to FCPS Gmail and the Blackboard Collaborate Message

Spanish Version: Getting to FCPS Gmail and the Blackboard Collaborate Message

The schedule for live, teacher led instruction is:

Kindergarten and 1st Grade - 10:30 - 11:45 and 3:15 - 4:00

2nd Grade - 9:45 - 10:15 and 2:45 - 3:15

3rd - 6th Grades - 9:00 - 9:45 and 2:15 - 2:45

Details about teachers’ online office hours to give students’ feedback were sent to directly to parents in each grade level on April 24th. More detailed schedules are also posted on grade level distance learning Google sites. 

Click here for tips and troubleshooting with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

What about our specialists (Art, Music, PE, Spanish, Tech, Library, Band and Strings)?

Our enrichment teachers have created a Google Classroom for all students to access choice boards and additional learning opportunities. Encourage your child to visit it here: 

Specialists Google Classroom

Additionally, specialists will be live for lunch bunches to connect and answer any questions from any and all interested students from 12:00 - 1:00 on the days listed below. Students only need to log onto the Specialists Google Classroom and join the Google Meet session. 

Monday: Mr. Lee (Art) and Ms. Lamm (Spanish)

Tuesday: Ms. Patel (Library) and Ms. Phalon (STEM)

Wednesday: Mr. Carter (PE) and Mr. Harkins (Music)

Thursday: Ms. Suchecki (Strings) and Ms. Bowen (Band)

How can students connect with the counselor, social worker and psychologist?

Students can visit our Counseling Site for links to wellness resources, lessons and videos. We will also post wellness resources for parents on our public website soon!

Are assignments being graded?

At Graham Road, we are not grading any work completed during distance learning. That said, learning packets do not need to be saved or turned in to teachers or the school at any point. However, teachers will be giving students feedback on their work on packets and other online learning opportunities through phone calls, virtual office hours or digital written feedback.

Will my child receive his/her 3rd Quarter report card?

All assignments due on or before March 12 will be used to calculate students’ 3rd quarter grades. No assignments shared by teachers after schools closed can negatively impact students’ grades. Due to the unexpected timing of the closure, there will be areas that were not assessed during the third quarter – those grades will print as NA (not assessed).

In addition to being mailed home, third quarter grades will be visible in ParentVUE and StudentVUE on Saturday, May 9 at 6 AM. FCPS anticipates printed report cards will be provided to the postal service by May 23. Delivery to homes will be dependent on the postal service.

Will my child be able to move onto the next grade level next school year?

Students who were on track for promotion prior to closure will be promoted onto the next grade for the 2020-2021 school year.

Can we pick up a school laptop? While we originally reported we have technology devices at home, it’s hard for siblings to share.  

We were fortunate enough to have enough equipment at Graham Road to distribute laptops to all students in grades 3 - 6 who did not have access to any device at home. Parents were asked to report devices at home for each child through a survey sent on March 12 and classroom teachers followed up with phone calls during the week of March 30th to double check home access. While the first phase of our distribution is complete and only included students in upper grades, should things change, parents will be notified. 

Because we recognize how challenging it is for siblings to share devices, especially those in younger grades relying on technology given to older students, we’ve made some adjustments to our schedule and recommend parents rely heavily on paper learning packets and additional learning opportunities provided through grade level distance learning sites that can be accessed at any time. By accessing the rich asynchronous learning opportunities (learning packets, recorded mini lessons, additional online learning opportunities), all children in the family can engage in academic work throughout the day. The schedules shared are guidelines to follow but we are understanding when multiple children are sharing a device. All live, teacher led instruction is recorded and teachers will make recordings available through their distance learning sites.  

Our school issued laptop isn’t working properly, how do we report the issue and get it fixed?

Reach out to your child’s teacher to share issues with school laptops. Teachers have a process they will follow to get help for you. They will need information about the device like the barcode and a description of the issues. Fixing the device may require a call with the parent, an interpreter (when needed) and our technology specialists to solve problems remotely. 

Our family still doesn’t have reliable access to the internet, what can we do?

Verizon and Cox are offering free and affordable internet during this time. Cox has also extended their free period through July with monthly costs being $9.95/month afterwards guaranteed for two years. More information is available on the Cox website: Families in need of support signing up or documentation to qualify for this program should reach out to our parent liaison, Annabel Arana, If you have tried to access these free programs still cannot secure internet access, please reach out to our parent liaison to share so we can take your name should we ever receive FCPS-issued mi-fi devices. 

Where do we go for food resources?

Fairfax County and Fairfax County Public Schools have worked together to develop a searchable map that includes community food distribution sites, including FCPS grab and go locations, community meal distribution sites, food pantries, and other related services. Visit and type in an address, you can view the closest food assistance sites!

Yearbook Sales

If you want to order a yearbook for your child, the cost is $17.  Please note that all orders must be completed online (no cash/checks). Visit the website and enter Yearbook Code 12106120 to get started. 

2831 Graham Road, Falls Church, VA 22042  | Main Office: 571-226-2700
Attendance: 571-226-2727 | Web | Twitter

Lockdown Drill

GovDelivery 2 months 2 weeks ago

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Lockdown Drill Today

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Every school in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has a crisis management and emergency preparedness plan in place. Keeping students and staff safe is a priority. We practice a number of safety drills throughout the school year, including lockdown drills which helps us know what to do if there is a potentially violent intruder inside the school or on school property.

Today, our school conducted a lockdown drill and teachers talked to students to prepare them for the drill. As a part of our safety training we also show students a video regarding lockdown drills so students would know what a lockdown looks like in the school.

I am very proud of our students today. They listened to directions and the drill was conducted in a calm and orderly fashion. Our students did a great job, and I encourage you to discuss the drill with them.  Additional guidance on discussions with your child about lockdown drills can be found here: Parent tip letter, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers can be found here: FAQs.

Our emergency preparedness plans have been developed in coordination with the FCPS Office of Safety and Security, local law enforcement, emergency management officials, and FCPS mental health professionals. The plans are regularly reviewed and updated and include procedures on how to respond to critical incidents such as fires, tornadoes, and other events. Students and staff regularly practice safety drills.

I will continue to keep you informed of safety and security measures in place at our school. If you have questions, please call or contact the school office.  I appreciate your continued support in these matters.



Lauren Badini


2831 Graham Road, Falls Church, VA 22042  | Main Office: 571-226-2700
Attendance: 571-226-2727 | Web | Twitter

Graham Road ES Distance Learning Updates

GovDelivery 2 months 3 weeks ago

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Dear Families,

It was a busy but safe week at Graham Road. We allowed students without technology access at home in grades three through six to check out their school laptops as we all prepare to fully engage in Distance Learning! The appointments followed strict safety guidelines but Ms. Annabel (parent liaison), Mr. Crawford (technology specialist) and I enjoyed seeing students from a safe distance.

This week, parents will receive more information about what distance learning will look like for your child. Our approach and schedule will vary by grade level. Parents will receive emails with specific schedules and links to teacher’s online classrooms (Blackboard Collaborate) and the Graham Road Distance Learning page in Blackboard 24/7. Please see the different ways students can learn from home this school year.

  Weekly Learning Packets

All elementary students have been and will receive weekly learning packet in the U.S. Mail. If you have not received a learning packet or need to update your address for future mailings, email or call your child’s teacher.

  Channel 21 Programming

Our FCPS cable television channels are now broadcasting learning activities. Students can watch on their TV through Channel 21 or can use these links to view building level instructional programming. Channel 21 includes elementary school programmingChannel 25 includes middle school programming, and Channel 99 includes high school programming.

  Teacher Led Instruction

Through an online platform, Blackboard Collaborate, teachers will be delivering lessons at scheduled times Monday through Thursday. Students can join the virtual classrooms at scheduled times by simply clicking a link shared by teachers. If a student misses the scheduled time, recordings of these lessons will be saved on the grade level section of the Graham Road Distance learning page in Blackboard 24/7. Parents will receive emails with grade level schedules for teacher led instruction this week. When and how to access this instruction will also be posted on grade level Blackboard 24/7 pages. Just as we do at the beginning of the school year, we will use this time to build a community of online learning, practice routines and procedures and make sure students understand expectations to start.


Additional Learning Opportunities

For students with access to technology, teachers will post additional learning opportunities and assignments in Blackboard 24/7.Our specials teachers, art, music, PE, tech and library, will also be posting lessons and activities for students. 

  Teacher Feedback and Connection

Teachers will provide feedback to students as they complete learning packets and additional learning opportunities. Depending on the student’s age and technology access, this might happen through virtual office hours in Blackboard Collaborate or through phone calls. 

If you have specific questions, please reach out to your child’s teacher or to me at We are excited and hopeful about getting into our new routine of learning!

Lauren Badini


Learning at Home Support

FCPS has prepared resources parents need to support learning at home in one place! Please visit Learning at Home: Support for Families for information on parents' and caregivers' roles in Distance Learning and strategies to ensure successful distance learning!

Your Partners in Education 

At Graham Road, our mission is to empower students, staff, and families.  With you, we will collaborate to provide equitable education so that we can all strive to reach our fullest potential as members of society. Please let us know when there is a question, concern or feedback to help us do better. 

Lauren Badini, Principal

Patty Hibner, Asst. Principal

Be Informed, Stay Involved!

2831 Graham Road, Falls Church, VA 22042  | Main Office: 571-226-2700
Attendance: 571-226-2727 | Web | Twitter

Graham Road Updates

GovDelivery 3 months ago

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Dear Families,

It has been such a wonderful week of connecting with so many of you! Teachers called every student to say hi, make sure they know to look in mailboxes and learn how they have been staying safe and healthy at home. I know some of you experienced delays in receiving learning packets. They are coming! As this is the first round of mailings, delays should be expected. If you don't receive and suspect your address is incorrect, please connect with your child's teacher. You can prepare for the next phase of distance learning by making sure you have your SIS and Blackboard parent accounts set up. For help, please watch these videos:



As we are focused on setting up structures and equipment now for distance learning, we will be sharing a schedule with families after April 14th to include when students can join teachers online for teacher directed instruction and when teachers will be connecting with students to give them feedback on learning packets and assignments posted in Blackboard 24/7. Please be patient with us as we develop a plan and put structures in place. 

In the meantime, please visit Blackboard 24/7 for learning materials, watch Channel 21 for elementary academic content and complete the learning packet mailed to your home!

Thank you for your patience and enjoy your Spring Break as families!

Lauren Badini


School Supplies Coming!

In addition to learning packets, students will receive school supplies in the mail. Each student will receive a composition notebook, crayons, colored pencils, number 2 pencils, pencil sharpener, glue stick, ruler, erasers, blunt tip scissors and a ruler. Please be on the lookout for these materials as well as your learning packets!

FCPS Blog - Ideas to Support Kids

The FCPS blog is a great place to go for resources to support your child through the school closure. We hope you enjoy the latest post: Keeping Your Child Occupied While Schools are Closed

Cox: Connect2Compete Connect2Compete Low-Cost, Home
Internet Program Expanded in
Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Your Partners in Education 

At Graham Road, our mission is to empower students, staff, and families.  With you, we will collaborate to provide equitable education so that we can all strive to reach our fullest potential as members of society. Please let us know when there is a question, concern or feedback to help us do better. 

Lauren Badini, Principal

Patty Hibner, Asst. Principal

Helpful Links Be Informed, Stay Involved!

2831 Graham Road, Falls Church, VA 22042  | Main Office: 571-226-2700
Attendance: 571-226-2727 | Web | Twitter

Graham Road Updates - March 29, 2020

GovDelivery 3 months 1 week ago

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Greetings, Graham Road Families!

We are still processing the announcement that Virginia public schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year. I want to express my deepest and most sincere disappointment. While we know this step is necessary to keep everyone safe, it doesn’t take away the feelings of sadness we are all feeling about the school year coming to an early end. We will miss you all every day but rest assured we are looking forward to finding ways to safely connect. Students will begin receiving phone calls from teachers soon if they haven’t already! We will continue our journey of learning, resilience and problem solving together safely from our homes.

I want to remind you of some pieces of the FCPS continuity of learning plan are already in place. Currently, students with access to a device and internet can participate in optional, self-directed learning activities posted on FCPS 24-7 Blackboard. Additionally, FCPS cable channels with learning activities are now available. New instructional videos are currently being developed and recorded and will be added to the programming. Channel 21 includes elementary school programming. Please consider having your children tune in!

Beginning March 30th, your child will be sent a packet of learning materials in the mail. These packets will be mailed to your home address at the beginning of every week until the week of June 5, 2020. You should receive a total of nine learning packets between now and June 5, 2020. If your address has changed, please log onto your Student Information System (SIS) Parent Account to make updates. If you do not have a Student Information System (SIS) Parent account, please click here to register for an account. An activation key will be sent to you to complete your registration, along with the simple steps to set up your account. Your username and password for the Student Information System (SIS) and FCPS 24/7 Learning: Parent View will be the same. The FCPS 24/7 Learning: Parent View will also allow you to access distance learning materials. Having these accounts set up is critical for the next phase of the school year.

Beginning April 14, students with access to a device and internet will be able to access additional materials on Blackboard. Parents can view these online learning materials by ensuring they have a Student Information System (SIS) Parent Account and are able to login to FCPS 24-7 Learning: Parent View. If you do not have a Student Information System (SIS) Parent account, please click here to register for an account. An activation key will be sent to you to complete your registration, along with the simple steps to set up your account. Your username and password for the Student Information System (SIS) and FCPS 24/7 Learning: Parent View will be the same.

Please reach out to me with questions, you can send me an email at and I will do whatever I can to help! We look forward to connecting with you all virtually and over the phone soon!

Lauren Badini


Food Assistance

In addition to the curbside food distribution sites run by FCPS food services, No Kid Hungry has launched a texting hotline to let parents know about emergency food distribution sites in their neighborhoods. Parents & caregivers can text the word FOOD (or COMIDA”) to 877-877 to find the nearest sites.

Community Assistance

Over the last week, we’ve learned of two local internet providers offering services that might be of interest and support to families during this challenging time.

  • Comcast is offering Internet Essentials which offers two free months of internet access
  • Cox Communications is also offering the Connect2Compete package which provides free internet initially and low pricing thereafter (see additional details below). They also have a hotspot finder to see if there are areas of connectivity nearby your location.
  • Dominion Power has shared that it will be suspending all service disconnections for nonpayment as it does not want “Customers should not have to worry about losing service during this critical time.” In addition, the company is planning to waive late fees and reconnection fees and is seeking approval from utility commissions where required to do so.
Cox: Connect2Compete Connect2Compete Low-Cost, Home
Internet Program Expanded in
Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources from our Counselor Tips to Helping Your Child Stay Calm during the School Closure

As the media puts out update after update about the coronavirus, everyone can feel an increasing sense of worry and stress. Children are no excep-tion. We encourage you to limit your child’s expo-sure to the media. This newsletter will provide you some ideas to help you and your child(ren) find a sense of calm in the midst of the stress and even find some fun at-home diversions that don’t involve turning on the TV.

Tip #1: Allow your child to recognize and acknowledge his/her feelings . While children may initially welcome a break from school, they may also have other feelings surface—from feeling unsettled about an interruption in their daily routines to stronger worry about the ambiguity of when life will return to normal. Sometimes, kids can’t name an emo-tion but may report how their body feels—stomach aches, fast heart beat, breathing fast, feeling sweaty. These could be physical signs that cortisol, the stress hormone, has been released into the body. Ask your doctor, if you are con-cerned about other causes of physical symptoms.
Tip #2 Provide a calming influence for them by practicing mindfulness and teaching your child to use mindful strate-gies as well. It may seem obvious, but deep breathing is the best way to reverse the body’s response to stress and perceived danger. This is a great way to activate the para-sympathetic nervous system which promotes a slower heart right, relaxed muscles, cooler skin, and a calmer stomach. If you want to use a visual to promote calm, here is a Youtube video you might try out: The title is “RELAX AND BREATHE: Do nothing for 10 minutes.” There are also many phone apps you can download, including: Calm, Meditate, and Headspace. These apps provide deep breathing exercises, guided medi-tations, and stories to listen to that promote sleep. The re-verse side of this newsletter provide a couple other sugges-tions of activities to calm the mind and body.
Tip #3: Talk to your child about the coronavirus. You can start by asking your child if he/she has any questions and invite them to share what they have heard. That way you can correct any misconceptions and share the facts of what you have learned. Be sure to take into account your child’s age and level of development when deciding how much to share.
There is a great article by the Child Mind Institute that you can read to give you tips about how to handle this conversa-tion. Go to: La informacion aqui esta escrito en espanol tambien.

Take a 4-3-2-1 Mindfulness Walk.

Even in a suburban setting, most of us have access to green spaces that are away from people. During your walk with your child, encourage them to engage their senses to take in the natural world. Have them focus on:
4 sights, 3 sounds, 2, textures to touch, and 1 smell. (we’ll leave taste out of this one...unless you want to bring a snack along!) Older kids can make note of their observations in a Naturalist Notebook. The Mind Up curriculum we use in school encourages students to pay attention to their senses as a way of breaking the cycle of worrying thoughts. When we train our brains to pay close attention to the world around us, we “change the channel” away from those thoughts; what better channel to go to than the Nature channel!

Take the Chain Drawing Challenge.

All you need is a piece of paper and a couple pencils. Place a line or shape on the paper and then tell your child it is his/her turn to add a line or shape to the drawing. Take turns back and forth until you both agree that the drawing is complete. For an added level of activity, you can then give your child the chance to color in the drawing with cray-ons or markers.
This act of cooperative creation can give you a chance to do some-thing fun together when you or your kids are getting bogged down by household chores, academic enrichment activities or boredom.

Play Indoor Balloon Volleyball.

Can’t go out-side? Then turn any room into a volleyball court with 6-10 feet of string and two chairs. You could even have more fun by decorating the net with yarn or streamers; but this is optional. Then blow up a bal-loon and, if desired, decorate that as well. For young-er children, please make sure that uninflated balloons are kept out of reach since these could be a safety hazard. Then let the games begin! Since this is just for fun, kids can make up their own rules about how many times the balloon can be touched before it goes over the “net.” And if you have more than one child, consider adding more than one balloon for an added challenge. Physical activity releases endorphins into the body that create a sense of well being. And kids with a lot of energy will use it up chasing down balloons!

Cites Consulted for this News letter include:
• Bennett, Steve & Ruth. 365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do With Your Child. Holbrook, Massachusetts: Adams Media Corporation, 1991.
• The Hawn Foundation. The Mind Up Curriculum; Brain-Focused Strategies for Learning—-and Living. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc., 2011

Developed by Louise Robinson, Daniel’s Run Elementary

Your Partners in Education 

At Graham Road, our mission is to empower students, staff, and families.  With you, we will collaborate to provide equitable education so that we can all strive to reach our fullest potential as members of society. Please let us know when there is a question, concern or feedback to help us do better. 

Lauren Badini, Principal

Patty Hibner, Asst. Principal

Helpful Links Be Informed, Stay Involved!

2831 Graham Road, Falls Church, VA 22042  | Main Office: 571-226-2700
Attendance: 571-226-2727 | Web | Twitter

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