James Ross

About five years ago, when Superintendent Watts gave the tip, it became evident that the seven million dollars in the bond issue would not build both Groveton and Mt. Vernon. At the time, the demographic data pretty much suggested a 2800 student capacity school for both Mt. Vernon and Groveton. Clearly Mt. Vernon was growing faster than the Groveton areas so Ned Orleans, who is now on the superintendent's staff, made the motion that the school board take the 7 million dollars and build Mt. Vernon and let Groveton go back to the drawing boards.

The name of the game was balance, to serve the diversities of the community. Dr. Watts got all of these people together and asked me to represent him in working with them. We had a couple of pre-sessions and formed a thing called a charrette. With all respect to my boss, that was a bad name.

The patrons in the Groveton Community were not happy with the wraparound design. Mt. Vernon is some new brick wrapped around the old Whitman school. As a consequence we came up with the campus plan. The concept was to utilize the old Bryant school for a capacity of 2800 students.

Mt. Vernon is built for 2800 in every aspect of its operations. We're cut down to 1400 in the academic halls, and having said that, there'll be vacant space in our building, quite a bit of it. But if we ever grow to 2800, you plug in you build two pods adjacent to the media center. Eureka, you're all the way up to 2800 2.gain. So it depends, if we never grow, it looked like a dumb move, if we do grow, it would have been a big saving.

For staff training, we're doing quite a bit of it. We would hope, now that it has been established, according to Mr. Lundquist, Associate Superintendent, we will open that building in September of '76. There was talk of January and, frankly, I did not favor it. You can't move in mid-year. So we're hoping in the summer of 1976 to move all teachers on board for 5 days for staff development. With the help of the Area office and Nat Emery in effect I've got lesson plans for each of those five days and there's sixteen different units we want. It's that kind of individualization of instructional techniques. Another part of it has been release time, to go to other schools and visit. I'm hoping that we're going to grow to size. We're too small to do some things now.

We're exploring the idea of getting rid of departmentitis. Couldn't we take English, Social Studies and Foreign Language and call it the Humanities? Can't we work together? You take an aspect of ecology and the way it affects man and come up sometimes with a three-hour block, with an English. Social Studies and a Science teacher.

Well, when you move, there's some loss of efficiency. If I have one overhead projector on each floor here, then I'll have four overhead projectors and they're fairly useable. However, when we're in three different buildings, do we need more in the way of equipment? I think it's going to be less efficient from the part of staff time. But at least there'll be space to do things. I

Suppose we got the money to have printing; we ought to produce a newspaper in-house. We ought to have the Business Ed. typists, vocational printing group, and the people who actually do the writing and editing for the newspaper all working as a team. I think the best word for the school, instead of "open" would be "flexible" or adaptable. There will be three classrooms upstairs in the English, Social Studies and Foreign Language section that are closed off with doors just like we've got here. The rest of the space is what we call flexible. Now we're working on the features to see to what extent they want it flexible.

I asked for 1.1 million dollars. We were initially awarded $549,000 and that makes the compromise $750,000. I cannot equip the entire vocational the entire fine arts, the whole kit with 3/4 of a million.

What we will do, we'll take with us all the old furniture. We'll buy just the new furniture that we need. Some people object to that. To me as a taxpayer, its unconscionable for us to take these chairs we're sitting in and throw them out and spend $75.00 a piece for new office chairs. I will not do it.

Volume One, Table of Contents
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