The GFES JIP kids were VERY busy this Spring. If you were enjoying some of the festivities that are associated with peaking of Washington’s Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) you may have heard their wonderful singing voices off in the distance…
On April 2, 2016 GFES students from 1st-6th grades performed Japanese songs at the Willard Hotel. During that performance, students from all six grades sang 365日の紙飛行機 (365 days, paper airplane), the theme song to a popular Japanese TV series.
On April 16, 2016 1st and 2nd grade GFES JIP students performed at the US-Japan Foundation-sponsored Japanese Street Festival. Students sang three songs in Japanese.
After six months of hard work, with dozens of FLAGS and FACE speakers at public hearings and thousands of letters and phone calls by FLAGS and FACE supporters, we have achieved the largest increase in FCPS funding in over a decade. With increased state and county contributions, the FY 2017 budget will increase by 5.7 percent ($88 million) compared to FY 2016. There is still work to do, especially testimony before the School Board on May 17. There will probably be NO CUTS to FCPS language immersion programs or 4th grade strings this year. (We will have to fight again next year because the budget deficit will be larger than this year, but we are safe for this year.) The Board of Supervisors approved its budget on April 26, and the School Board approves its budget on May 26.
THANK YOU to everyone in the community who has gone above and beyond in so many different ways to save these incredible programs. On April 14th, the JCC invited School Board Member Jane Strauss, Board of Supervisor John Foust, Japanese Embassy Officials, Principal of Fox Mill Elementary School Brian Moose and World Languages Specialist Beatrix Preusse-Burr to visit our school. At that meeting, Ms. Strauss and Mr. Foust said repeatedly that they have never seen an advocacy campaign for the preservation of language immersion like this in Fairfax County. Our voices were heard loud and clear, and we succeeded against all odds.
In June, the JCC will be working with FLAGS to start laying the groundwork for next year’s budget fight, and we will support the fight for the Meals Tax , which will likely be on the ballot this November, as part of an overall strategy to diversify the County’s sources of income.
The Great Falls JCC is a proud partner of the Fox Mill Matsuri.
Families are invited to enjoy traditional Japanese games and crafts, Japanese cuisine, live performances (Kendo, Karate, Taiko, Karaoke, etc.) and even try on a Japanese kimono.
All School Board Members have been invited to participate, so let’s show them how much we love and support the Japanese immersion programs by showing up!!
Also, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you can spare 30 min to an hour of your time volunteering during the event. We need volunteers to man the Will Call station and to monitor the games in the Atrium.