Fluvanna Review

Percentage of Fluvanna school-aged children not in public school lower than national average

One School Board candidate intimated students are leaving Fluvanna County Public Schools (FCPS) in droves.

Is that true?

Like most things, there are no simple answers.  Multiple factors go into a parent’s choice to homeschool or send a child to private school.

Six Fluvanna families agreed to tell their stories of why they don’t send their children to public schools. While each story is unique, most had two things in common: a dissatisfaction with their public school experience and a desire for more control over what their child learned and how it was taught.

Here are some facts:

FCPS are one of only 22 Virginia districts fully accredited four years in a row.

The FCPS on-time, overall graduation rate in 2017 was 97.4 percent, placing it fourth out of 132 districts. FCPS students categorized as disadvantaged graduated at 98.7 percent; black students graduated at 100 percent.
There are 169 Fluvanna school-aged students going to five private schools in Fluvanna: Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA), Effort Christian School, Open Door Christian School, The Light Academy and Saint Nicholas Learning Center.

There are 228 students who are homeschooled and 55 who have a religious exemption from attending public school.

All told, there are 452 school-aged children in Fluvanna who are either homeschooled or attend a private school in Fluvanna.

Nationally in 2016, 10 percent of school-aged children attended private schools and 3.4 percent were homeschooled – totaling 13.4 percent of children who don’t attend public schools. That’s according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Add a comment

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Adele SchaeferLong before Adele Schaefer became president of the Fluvanna County Arts Council (FCAC), she was a volunteer in both civic and political activities.

“Let’s just say that volunteering and taking on projects has been in my blood for a very long time,” said Schaefer. While in Northern Virginia, she was an administrative assistant to a Virginia state senator and held managerial positions in two non-profit membership organizations: the American Psychological Association and the Psychological Association of Pastoral Counselors. Nowadays, she sells real estate and once owned her own real estate company. Currently, she is an associate broker with Monticello Country Realtors. Her experiences through her volunteer and paid work have given her the skills and patience to work though complex problems with deliberate thoughtfulness and to maintain a positive outlook while remaining gracious. A sense of humor helps too.

In late 2011 a friend who was on the arts council asked if Schaefer would like to come to an FCAC meeting since they were looking for new members.

“I had very little knowledge as to just what the council did, so decided to check it out,” Schaefer said. She had only attended two meetings when she received a call that the FCAC president, Bill Anderson, had suddenly died. “At a hastily-called FCAC meeting to determine who was going to take his place, I somehow found myself as the new president.”

Schaefer has exercised her interest in the performing arts as a regular in the alto section of the Fluvanna Community Singers. As a child growing up in Ridgewood, N.J., and Fluvanna County, she was exposed to her mother’s love of the visual arts. Patty Stoughton was one of the original founding members of the Fluvanna Art Association. But Schaefer preferred performing on stage.

“I had graduated from the old Fluvanna High School at Carysbrook in the late ‘50s and had spent many hours on the Carysbrook stage under the fine directorship of Mrs. Eleanor Talley. So, with those memories holding a soft spot in my heart, it isn’t hard to understand how I became involved with FCAC,” she said.

As unexpected as her newfound position was, Schaefer has made a concerted effort to keep the performing arts thriving in Fluvanna.

“The long-time FCAC members were burned out at that point and I didn’t want to see something that was so important to the community come to a slow end,” she said. “It took some time just to figure out what needed to be done and who the players were, but the council members were so very supportive and we all kept moving forward.” Add a comment

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Think twice before you light up a cigarette the next time you drive.

Virginia is cracking down on smoking in a motor vehicle with young children around. As of July 1 it will be against the law to smoke in a vehicle, whether moving or at rest, if a child under age 8 is in the vehicle.

Breaking this law will be deemed a secondary offense, “which means we cannot initiate a traffic stop or take enforcement action unless there is some other criminal violation,” said Lt. Dave Wells of the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office.

The offense will be enforced much like seat belt violations, Wells said. “If a driver is stopped for another offense and they are smoking with a person younger than 8 in the vehicle, they can be ticketed,” he said. “The burden is on us to prove that the child is less than 8 years of age.”

Breaking the law will result in a civil penalty punished by a $100 fine which will be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Literary Fund, according to Virginia code.

People breaking the law will not be arrested but may receive a ticket, Wells said.

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Pole vaulterAlthough it was labeled as a “mini” invite, 11 schools participated in the indoor track and field meet held at Fork Union Military Academy’s (FUMA) indoor facility Dec. 13. The infield was a mob scene of athletes from all the schools lounging, stretching and preparing for their events.

Fluco athletes turned in some excellent performances and in the three meets the Flucos have participated in so far, a number of male and female athletes have already met standard times, distances and heights to qualify to participate in year-end District, Region and even State competitions.

The mini meet included 30 events: 15 for boys and 15 for girls. The Flucos had some good performances in the early events, but did not win until event number 20: the boys’ 1,600-meter run, or metric mile. Senior Jack Rice finished first in a time of 4:55.31, winning by approximately two seconds.

In the very next event, the girls’ 500-meter run, the Flucos gained their second first place, as senior Kristen Cabrera came in first with a time of 1:54.53, winning by just over four seconds. Then in event 23, the girls’ 1,000-meter run, another Fluco won. Freshman cross-country standout Emily Smeds was victorious with a time of 3:16.69, which was more than nine seconds better than the second place finisher. Nine seconds is an impressive margin in race of this length. Add a comment

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The Fluvanna County Rescue Squad (FCRS) took the first step toward giving ownership of their rescue squad building in Palmyra to the county on Aug. 4 with an overwhelming vote from their membership. Add a comment

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