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:

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