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Principal's Messages

posted Sep 10, 2009, 2:51 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 14, 2009, 8:07 PM by HSS PTSA Webmaster ]

Principal's Message - May 2009

posted May 8, 2009, 6:01 PM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated May 8, 2009, 6:17 PM ]

Dear Hayfield Secondary Families:

As we move closer to the end of the school year, our traditional school year closing activities are well planned and in some cases already occurring. High School Advanced Placement course testing started this morning, soon to be followed by the End-of-Course (EOC) SOLs, and then finally middle school team and high school class activities. Please check the Hayfield Secondary web site often for informational updates, www.fcps.edu/HayfieldSS.

With Prom and Graduation activities right around the corner, the Safe Youth Coalition and I ask parents to talk to their teens about substance use, risky behaviors, and the consequences of their actions. In terms of Virginia state laws attributed to underage drinking, our state legislators are really cracking down. If an underage drinker tests for a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02 or higher, they will lose their license to operate a motor vehicle for 12 months and they will be fined minimally $500 or required to perform 50 hours community service. If caught purchasing, possessing or attempting to purchase or possess an alcoholic beverage, the underage drinker will face up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and he or she could be assigned 50 hours of community service and/or have their driver’s license suspended for up to one year. Young people who have parents that model good decision-making, moderate alcohol consumption, and communicate parental expectations make better, informed choices.

Just in time, both the Federal and State stimulus monies are shoring up what would have been catastrophic program and personnel cuts directly affecting Hayfield Secondary, although additional resource and staffing reductions are being implemented due to FY10 budget constraints. Last year, FY09, we eliminated our Time Out and Summit Alternative programs, increased class size by .5 also known as pupil-teacher-ratio (PTR), and we received a smaller per pupil instructional allocation. This coming year, we will need to close one of our high school subschools due to a reduction of one assistant principal; the PTR will again be increased by .5, thus creating an average general education ration of 29.5:1; per pupil instructional allocations will again be reduced; all employees are having their salaries frozen with no cost-of-living increase; and several custodial and administrative assistant positions have been eliminated. We will need to do some restructuring of how we provide services to the community. Additional information will be forthcoming in early summer.

For all seasons there is a ti -- I publicly wish to thank the following staff members who will conclude their careers in FCPS by retiring this coming June 30 (as of the writing of this letter): Ms. DugganTurhune, Mr. Bill Engels, Ms. Arleen Jeszenszky, Ms. Patricia McIntosh, and Mr. Richard Wiley. Cumulatively, nearly one hundred and twenty years of experience in public education will be moving on. I will have more formal opportunities to convey the school system’s appreciation, but if one of these staff members has made a positive difference for your student, please thank them.

As we approach the final exam/cumulative project season, please encourage your student to focus, and take the exams seriously. Summer vacation time will soon be their reward. Go Hawks!

P.S. A reminder, FCPS does not recognize any “senior skip” days.

William L. Oehrlein, PhD
Proud Principal of Hayfield Secondary

Principal's Message - February 2009

posted Feb 2, 2009, 7:33 AM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated Feb 2, 2009, 7:39 AM ]

Dear Hayfield Secondary Families:

Part of our staff’s mission at Hayfield Secondary is to provide resource assistance and direction for families who are challenged financially and emotionally because of major crises that affect their students’ lives. We have two full-time social workers and school psychologists, as well as, ten academic counselors, who have been very busy supporting those families in which jobs and homes have been lost and/or other significant issues have impacted the learning environment. The major “need” issues are very real and I write to communicate back to you how proud I am of the Hayfield community for its support of our young Hawks this school year.

As many families are aware, several major issues: budget reductions, Fairgrade, and a new school time, are “in-play” and will directly affect students and families in the near future, depending on the upcoming actions on the School Board. All three of these will cause stress, as any change does, so I urge families to seek help if home stressors start to become overwhelming. I am including a list of hotlines below just in case. First, the budget, to be blunt, looks bad. Last year, we increased general education class size on average of .5 students per class which had the cumulative affect of reducing the number of class sections offered by about 15. We also closed our Time Out and Summit alternative setting programs, as well as, reducing per student instructional allocations for supplies. I have just announced to the school that our current Wednesday late buses have been eliminated due to budget constraints, although our Monday late afternoon buses will continue. In addition, full funding for the FCPS summer school program is in doubt, but no final decision has been made (In the past, summer school programs have been subsidized by several million dollars from FCPS in addition to the tuition charged to attendees).

I have been working closely, since September, with the Superintendent and other principals, to plan for implementation of a series of program reductions based upon the level of funding that is finally approved for 2009-10. I can tell you now that these reductions will directly impact our ability to deliver the level of instruction that Fairfax County is known for across the country. There simply is nothing left, in my opinion, at the school level that can be trimmed. At best, employees will incur a salary freeze with a reduction of another .5 in class size (approx. 15 sections), loss of at least one administrative position and several custodial and secretarial positions. Reality is likely to bring deeper cuts. More information will be forthcoming in the spring as the FY10 budget finalizes. Families may find this FCPS website informative: www.fcps.edu/news/fy2010.htm

The School Board voted recently to revisit the grading scale for next year, both in looking at the percentages assigned to letter grades and the weighting of Honors and AP courses. As a result, the Superintendent has been charged with bringing forth several options, in the near future, for consideration and implementation next school year.

In response to a group of parents who believe that the current high school start times are unhealthy, the School Board will be considering, in the near future, a bell schedule known as “Iteration 3.” This bell iteration assigns Hayfield Secondary’s school day as 8:35 – 3:25 pm. I believe there are major implications of this bell change and so I urge parents to become educated on the instructional ramifications while considering the impact on family schedules as well. There will be several community meetings prior to the School Board vote on this. High school and middle school principals have already made their positions known to Board members. The faculty will be reviewing “Iteration 3” in the near future as well.

I hope this update finds Hayfield families well as we start the second semester. We must, as much as possible, do what we can to keep our young people focused on their education in these turbulent times. Go Hawks!

William L. Oehrlein, Ph.D.
Proud Principal of Hayfield Secondary

Fairfax County Department of Social Services- South County Building (Medicaid, food stamps, housing): 703-324-7400

Koinonia - Alexandria (food, clothing, emergency assistance): 703-971-1991

Lorton Community Action Center (food, clothing, emergency assistance): 703-339-5160

Mount Vernon Mental Health Center: 703-360-6910

Principal's Message - October 2008

posted Oct 14, 2008, 9:12 AM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated Oct 14, 2008, 11:04 AM ]

Dear Hayfield Secondary Families:

A big thank you goes out to all those students, parents, and staff who made last week’s Homecoming festivities some of the best in recent memory. The week-long celebratory activities, enjoyed by faculty, students, and staff, culminated in Friday’s terrific pep rally, a parade through the Hayfield community, a hard-fought football game, and a well-attended Homecoming dance. Many alumni took advantage of the gathering to re-acquaint with former classmates and teachers, and Doris Torrice, Hayfield’s second principal for whom the field house is named, attended the game with some long-since retired teachers.

While most of us cringe at the sight of our dwindling savings in these tough financial times, there is one long-term investment, Hayfield Secondary, which continues to show improving returns. Consider the following rate increases:
  • Our recent graduates scored significant increases on their SAT results for each of the critical reading, math reasoning, and writing sections of the SAT exam.
  • All of our English and math NCLB subgroups- African American, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient, and special education- made their respective AYP passing goals; This is quite an accomplishment and is the first time that has happened in more than five years.
  • Collectively, we have had a seven percent SOL pass increase in Algebra 2 students compared to the spring of 2007; this achievement is particularly noteworthy since it marks the highest passing percentage since the creation of that SOL exam.
  • Eight percent more of our Chemistry students passed than the year before signifying a four-year passing rate high.
  • A nine percent increase in Geometry students passing the SOL compared to the previous year before achieving the highest passing rate in this subject in at least seven years.
  • Thirteen percent more of our Algebra 1 students passed that SOL as compared to the year before achieving the highest passing rate since that SOL was first given.
  • While middle-school Algebra students maintained a 100% passing rate on the high-school Algebra SOL exam, our eighth-grade passing math scores increased by seven percent.
  • The passing rate on the eighth-grade English and Science SOL tests both increased by four percent.
  • The spring 2008 high school SOL test scores in Biology, English Writing, World History 1 and 2, VA History, and the middle school SOL test scores in History 7, Reading 7 and Reading 8 passing rates were the highest they have been since those exams have been given.
  • Our cosmetology program had a 100% licensing pass rate.
  • And, our signature program, Advanced Placement, maintained a fifty-six percent college course exemption rate of 3+ even though we proctored an additional 118 exams last spring.

Certainly our students and staff have much to be proud of and your investment in Hayfield Secondary will continue to pay future dividends.

It’s mid-fall again, so please mark your calendars if you have not already for the upcoming Touching Base five-minute mini-conferences scheduled for the morning of Tuesday, November 11. We will follow the same format as last year providing opportunities for parents to touch base with teachers. Mini-conferences will start at 7:30 in the field house and middle-school lecture hall. Students will have a shortened day with bus pick-up times scheduled exactly four hours later coinciding with the start of school scheduled at 11:20 a.m.

All the best to you and your families, Go Hawks!

William L. Oehrlein, Ph.D.

Principal's Message - August 2008

posted Aug 12, 2008, 6:48 AM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated Oct 3, 2008, 9:51 PM ]

Dear Hayfield Secondary Families:
Welcome to the 2008-09 school year! We will begin our year with approximately 944 middle and 1764 high school students enrolled in our database. Our primary instructional initiative will be eCart implementation across the middle school four-core and high school Biology and Algebra.  Additionally, we will continue to refine our use of Blackboard, Kagan (instructional strategies), Turning Point software (interactive PowerPoints for student electronic participation), and other course-specific strategies. 
We have expanded our AVID program into eleventh grade; written and received several instructional grants, one of which will continue to fund our College Board SAT Online initiative which is free for all of our high school students (coordinated by English teachers); we will be streaming Arabic instruction to students throughout FCPS and the Commonwealth of Virginia via our high-tech classroom broadcast center; Hayfield has just hosted the FCPS system-wide Leadership Conference once again; and we will continue to serve as one of the main FCPS conference centers.
I just had the pleasure of mailing 293 perfect SOL certificates to students to recognize their achievements in content knowledge acquisition this past year. Once again, our College Board Advanced Placement (AP) students have done very well. AP course offerings are our signature instructional program. In spring 2008, the percentage of exams on which a score of 3 or higher was obtained (scale of 1 – 5) remained steady at 56 percent; however, we administered 118 more exams than in spring of 2007.
A fourth lunch has been added to our school schedule in order to facilitate the movement of middle school students in the lunch lines. Last spring, the department chairs took this schedule adjustment opportunity to examine the position of the constant period. They voted to move our constant period from third period to first period thus, first period will meet everyday. The department chairs and teachers came to the general conclusion that the instructional positives of a first period constant outweighed any negatives. The new schedule can be seen on our website under the "School Wide" pull down menu at the top of the page. 
We are continuing to expand our middle school after school program. Monday late buses, 3:30 p.m., will begin on September 15 and Wednesday late buses, 3:45 p.m., will begin October 15. More information will be forthcoming once school begins as we develop our available resources into clubs and activities. 
I have encumbered facility community use funds for two projects: the conversion of the stairwell landing by exit 2 into another enclosed gallery showcase and the addition of another building perimeter camera which will watch over the exit one entrance. Neither of these initiatives will impact instructional funds.
There is a new and improved Keep in Touch (KIT) email system in FCPS. All families are entered by default via the student SASI database. However, emails and data maintenance are entered through the WeCare initiative. Please sign-up for WeCare at the Hawk Fly-By packet pickup on August 13, 14, or 15; at Back-to-School Night; or at the Touching Base activity in November. KIT will be used to communicate with you during emergencies and other special times throughout the year. 
The fall sports teams have begun their initial practices, the marching band is practicing on the field, ROTC cadets have returned from their summer experience, and the building has been thoroughly cleaned. With all teachers returning by August 25, we are primed to have a terrific and positive school year. I recommend glancing at Hayfield Secondary's home page, www.fcps.edu/HayfieldSS, to note upcoming events, to obtain staff email addresses, and to gather other pertinent information throughout the year. All the best to you and your families as you enjoy the remaining summer days.

Go Hawks!

Dr. Bill Oehrlein

Principal's Message - June 2008

posted Jun 2, 2008, 11:07 AM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated Jun 2, 2008, 11:37 AM ]

Dear Hayfield Secondary Families:

The excitement of the approaching end to the school year grows with each passing day. By the time you read this letter, we will have concluded most, if not all, of our May testing. Now it’s time to celebrate. Parents of seniors have been mailed a packet of information containing all the important dates and procedures for senior activities. Last night, I attended the Senior Oscar Night and band/orchestra music concerts will complete this week’s evening events. Please review the calendar frequently on our Hayfield website at www.fcps.edu/HayfieldSS .

This year, we have successfully transitioned our entire network of 1,200 computers to the fcps.edu domain, trained our teachers in the most recent child abuse reporting laws and Internet safety protocols, fully instituted the College Board SAT prep software into classroom lessons, initiated the use of Turning Point interactive software in many teacher classrooms, and successfully completed the Advanced Placement (AP) course audit for all of our Advanced Placement teachers. A major initiative for next year will be the implementation of ECart software designed to formatively (periodically) assess learning of SOL standard-based lessons through questions designed by both our teachers and teachers across FCPS.

I recently had an email inquiring about incorporation of character education at Hayfield. For our faculty, character education is an infused concept throughout many courses including Peer Helping, Peer Mediation, Leadership, JROTC and others (these courses are taught in both MS and HS). It is also the force behind Student Responsibilities and Rights meetings administrators have twice a year with students and remains a core theme in our Academic Honor Societies and athletic teams. Ideally, character education should be infused with daily activities and be reflected and modeled in how adults comport themselves with adolescents. For example, we have recently initiated a positive rewards program across the building for on-time behavior in classes.

The FY09 FCPS budget has been on the minds of many, and it has caused some changes in the way FCPS does business. The immediate effects on Hayfield will be slightly larger high school course and middle school elective class sizes; the halting of new course introductions due to the cost of initial textbook purchases; a likely 15 percent reduction in instructional material supplies (we had a 6 percent reduction this year); the slimming down of the high school summer school program and the elimination of the middle school summer school program. The latter was replaced with an invite-only, not open enrollment, intervention program with limited seat availability. There is no middle school summer school in which a student can take a failed course for make-up. Next year’s preparation of the FCPS FY10 budget looks more problematic, so please stay tuned to the main www.fcps.edu website this fall for FY10 budget information.   

Once final exams have concluded, much more time will be available for summer reading. Here are five activities parents can employ to encourage teens to read:

  • encourage teens to read to younger siblings,
  • subscribe to a magazine or newspaper for family use,
  • read the book your child is reading in school and discuss it together,
  • turn off the TV and have a daily half-hour of silent reading for all family members, and
  • be a reader yourself.

A few of our teachers will be retiring this year: Yvonne Centala (HS English), Lynne Dubin (HS English), Patricia McClincey (MS Reading) and Rebecca Wilburn (Drama). Our sunset is their sunrise; best wishes to our retirees.

As we conclude this school year, we wish the best to our graduating seniors and take pride and reassurance in the hope and promise that they hold for our community.

Go Hawks!

Dr. Bill Oehrlein

Principal's Message - February 2008

posted Jun 2, 2008, 11:04 AM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated Jun 2, 2008, 11:05 AM ]

Dear Hayfield Secondary Families:

As Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) continues the budget construction process for the next fiscal year starting on July 1, there are some silver linings that have emanated from this process. Although, no one wants to see valuable programs eliminated, the process has forced budgetary decision makers to take a critical look at how we are spending money and on what. For those familiar with budget deliberation and construction, there are two common budgetary approaches, the recurring budget in which items are added when there is a perceived need, and the zero-based budget in which the entire organization’s budget is justified periodically. The upcoming lean budget year forces us in FCPS to move to more of a zero-based budget, one in which reduction, stream-lining, and elimination of programs will occur. That is not necessarily entirely a bad thing.

So far, principals have spent hours recreating and recommending to central administration the redesign plans for summer school offerings, programs that were revealed to have a $14,000,000 support base in addition to tuition that had been charged. Transportation routes have been repeatedly looked at and some consolidation of inter-school busing will occur. Some non-teaching positions have been eliminated as the original need for them has diminished, but their funding had simply continued as recurring budget items. Even operational savings can be achieved by examining mundane logistical practices. Switching to electronic communication of monthly pay balances to thousands of employees via the school system’s existing employee accessible intranet, rather than mailing paper copies, will save approximately $100,000 in tax dollars annually.

Certainly many of the upcoming programmatic reductions and cuts will be felt at the school level, but to quote a common axiom what doesn’t kill us, will make us stronger. More information about the budget will be forthcoming. I encourage Hayfield families to follow the process by visiting FCPS’s Financial Services web page.

All the best to you and your families,

Go Hawks!

Dr. Bill Oehrlein

Principal's Message - December 2007

posted Jun 2, 2008, 10:59 AM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated Jun 2, 2008, 11:02 AM ]

It’s Official!

The Rebecca S. Wilburn Auditorium was officially named on Thursday, November 29, by the FCPS School Board in honor of Ms. Wilburn’s contributions to the Hayfield Secondary Drama Program over the past 37 years. The naming makes it the third facility here on the Hayfield campus to be officially named — a long, detailed and involved process for sure. Other named sites are the J. Victor Lutz (former principal) Stadium and the Doris Torrice (former principal) Field House. The decree below highlights her contributions:


WHEREAS, Rebecca S. Wilburn has served the students of Hayfield Secondary School and the surrounding community as the drama teacher for 37 years until her retirement in August 2007, during which time she has directed and produced more than 150 theatrical productions performed by Hayfield students; and
WHEREAS, she has served as an instrumental figure in the Critics and Awards Program, an international organization that develops, recognizes, and celebrates high school theater and journalism students, and for which Ms. Wilburn continues to serve on the Steering Committee for the National Capitol Area and the National Board; and
WHEREAS, she has instituted and nurtured several events and traditions that have become part of the intrinsic fabric of Hayfield Secondary School, including the Annual Intermediate Courtyard Show, which promotes teamwork and originality, and the Annual High School Thespian Banquet, which celebrates the exceptional achievements of the students in all areas of theater; and
WHEREAS, she has consistently challenged and encouraged her students to discover and develop their own unique abilities and talents, instilling in each the tools and confidence to be a critical and independent thinker regardless of his or her chosen field and arming each with a comprehensive appreciation for literature and the arts; and
WHEREAS, with unrivaled passion and wisdom, she has taught two generations of students that the relentless pursuit of perfection should be the rule rather than the exception and that they should demand nothing less of themselves and others with whom they share a common goal; thus, along with her sense of fairness and complete devotion to her work, Ms. Wilburn has served as an esteemed role model and mentor and has earned the respect and gratitude of the students, parents, faculty, and extended community of Hayfield Secondary School;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Fairfax County School Board names the auditorium at Hayfield Secondary School “The Rebecca S. Wilburn Auditorium” in appreciation of Ms. Wilburn’s contributions to the individuals, communities, and school division in which she so happily served, thereby leaving a legacy of educational excellence in Fairfax County Public Schools.

Dr. Bill Oehrlein

Principal's Message - November 2007

posted Jun 2, 2008, 10:59 AM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated Jun 2, 2008, 11:05 AM ]

A Tough Budget Year Looming…

First the positive: thank you to all of our parents who joined teachers on Nov. 12 for our Touching Base activity. Teachers were busy sharing information during most of the morning thru five-minute conferences with parents. Now for the harder news: we are in the perfect storm of budget preparation times – increasing county student enrollment (1100+ projected), increasing employee benefit costs, and increasing fuel costs to run our buses and heat/cool our schools. With these increasing demands is the reality that lower property tax revenues, which make up 75 percent of our school system budget, are leading the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to say that the transfer of county funds to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will remain at last year’s funding level, meaning NO increase in the transfer amount. To assist with next year’s budget, fifteen percent of this school year’s local school instructional funds (not salaries) has been held from distribution to schools, thus, principals now, are becoming much more conservative in approving local purchase orders for the remainder of this school year.

School principals have been working with Dr. Dale to make recommendations as have FCPS assistant superintendents. Our reality now is that as of Nov. 12, FCPS is projecting a $98.78 million deficit for the next school year. Thus, programmatic cuts and reductions are being discussed. The superintendent’s recommendation includes many programs that are popular, that support underachievers, and some that we have become accustomed to as we have strived for a world-class school system. Two themes have emerged in the budget discussions I have been a part of: one is to not balance the budget on the backs of our employees as was done in the early nineties when we had a economic recession; the other is to protect, as much as possible, the classroom.

I urge staff and parents to stay informed of the budget discussions. Nothing is final until the school board votes early next spring on the proposed budget. The final budget will be painful no matter which programs are targeted. The silver lining of all this is that a big bureaucracy, such as FCPS, is forced to really examine efficiencies and the cost/benefit of doing business in the educational world.

No matter what the reductions are, we will do our best here at Hayfield Secondary to make our school an excellent place to work and learn.

Dr. Bill Oehrlein

Principal's Message - August 2007

posted Jun 2, 2008, 10:57 AM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated Jun 2, 2008, 11:02 AM ]

Dear Hayfield Secondary Families:

Welcome to the 2007-08 school year! Our administrative team is probably more excited than ever about the year ahead. Ms. Jean Bell, our new Associate Principal, was announced in June. Mr. Neil Kyle, former Director of Student Activities at Lee High School, will be returning to Hayfield as the Washington Hall Subschool Principal (he taught English here prior to 2000), and Ms. Valerie Winter, our middle-school Instructional Coach, will be serving as the Lafayette Hall Subschool Principal. Ms. Winter will be supervising the middle and high special education programs; Mr. Kyle will supervise the middle and high science programs; and Ms. Lewis will now be supervising middle and high ESOL and English programs.

As predicted with the second boundary adjustment, our enrollment has begun to increase once again. We currently have 963 middle school and 1590 high school students enrolled in our database. Thus, we will open with eight middle school teams and some additional ninth-grade sections. However, we have no need for trailers in our near future. We have expanded our AVID program into tenth-grade, written and received several instructional grants, one of which will continue to fund our College Board SAT Online initiative, free for all of our high school students, built a new TV broadcast center to host online languages to be streamed to students throughout FCPS and eventually throughout Virginia, hosted the FCPS system-wide Leadership Conference once again, and we will host the first ever Middle School Teacher Conference with several nationally recognized educational speakers for over 2400 middle school teachers in late August — in the middle and proud of it!

Our College Board Advanced Placement (AP) students have done very well, once again. AP course offerings are our signature instructional program. In spring 2007, the number of exams on which a score of 3 or higher was obtained (on a scale of 1 – 5) rose to 57 percent! The best results I can find on record for our school. Last year, 46 percent of the students scored 3 or better. Monday late buses will begin on September 17 and Wednesday late buses will begin October 1. A very late activity bus will run once a week exclusively for middle school students. We are continuing to expand our middle school after school program. More information will be forthcoming once school begins as we develop our available resources into clubs and activities.

Please sign up for the Hayfield Secondary “Keep in Touch” email system via the www.fcps.edu homepage. It will be used to communicate with you during emergencies and other special times throughout the year.

The fall sports teams have begun their initial practices, the Marching Band is practicing on the field, ROTC cadets have returned from their summer experience, the high school student leaders have had their retreat, and the building has been thoroughly cleaned- our floors could star in a floor wax commercial! With all teachers returning by August 27, we are primed to have a terrific and positive school session. I recommend glancing at our home page, www.fcps.edu/HayfieldSS, to note upcoming events, to obtain staff email addresses, and to gather other pertinent information throughout the year. All the best to you and your families as you enjoy the remaining summer days.

Go Hawks!

William L. Oehrlein, Ph.D.

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