School History Sources (1970-2000)

Fairfax County School Board Minutes

February 11, 1971: Mr. Krytusa presented the tabulation of bids on the Louise Archer School addition and alterations with the low bid submitted by Burrows and Preston, Inc., for $534,100. Mr. Krytusa explained this addition would increase the school's capacity from 390 to 540 pupils. The staff recommended the contract be awarded to Burrows and Preston, Inc. Similar alternates will be available on this project as in the Franconia Elementary project. A total of $540,000 in bond funds has been allocated for this project. After brief discussion, Mr. Wrench moved on behalf of Mr. Wellborn that the School Board award the contract for the construction of the additions and alterations of the Louise Archer Elementary School to Burrows and Preston, Inc., for $534.100. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Plissner and carried unanimously.

April 22, 1971: Recommendation was made to straighten out the [school boundary] line on Route 123 and place this area in the Marshall Road Elementary attendance area from the Louise Archer attendance area involving approximately 40 students. A few students living in another area now attending Marshall Road would be transferred to the Louise Archer School. Approximately 115 to 120 students in the Barrister Place area now at Flint Hill School would be transferred to Louise Archer School.

June 29, 1971: The renovation at Louise Archer would add capacity for 150 more students and was expected to be completed in time for the opening of school in September 1972.

March 23, 1972: The Board adjusted the school boundaries of Flint Hill Elementary School, Oakton Elementary School, and Louise Archer Elementary School.

October 10, 1974: It was suggested the Louise Archer School be considered as one of the extended daycare program locations offered by the school system. There was a need in that section of Vienna for some 60 children. A community group had a proposal for childcare and senior citizen involvement. No action was taken.

December 8, 1977: The Superintendent reported that the residents of the Holly Hall Private School in Vienna were currently being housed in the Louise Archer Elementary School because the private school building had been damaged by fire recently. The residents of this school were severely handicapped persons requiring a great deal of care and supervision. The Support Services Department had been supporting the temporary housing of these private school residents by supplying meals through the food service division. Hopefully these private school residents would be housed again in their own facility by the following Monday.

February 8, 1979: Presentation of a film on the program at the Louise Archer Elementary School. Area III Superintendent Margaret Ford stated that a film had been developed by a member of the Area III staff while taking a human relations course and also as a part of the fulfillment of the program manager's operating objectives and to familiarize new parents in the community with the program at Louise Archer Elementary School. Dr. Ford stated this film was being placed in the videotape file for use by other schools and for other purposes in the school system. She introduced Judith Ramig, principal of the Louise Archer Elementary School, and Marty Treadwell, PTA President. Ms. Ford also introduced Candice Burt, the primary teacher and staff member in Area III office who had produced the film and who made the presentation to the Board. The film portrayed the various instructional programs carried on in the Louise Archer Elementary School as well as other aspects of the educational experience provided for students in that location. Chairman Page stated this had been an excellent presentation and a very good film. He felt that this was a good way for a school to explain itself to a community.

August 29, 1979: Allen Jensen, representing parents of Louise Archer Elementary School, complaining of inadequate planning, policy and procedures related to staffing of schools, particularly the 5th grade class of their school.

December 4, 1980: Cedar Lane Elementary School, Louise Archer Elementary School, Vienna Elementary School, Cunningham Park Elementary School, and Marshall Road Elementary School were a cluster of schools included in the elementary school consolidation study. Cedar Lane was eventually chosen for closure.

April 22, 1982: Mr. Caputo asked for a staff review of boundaries and school assignments of rising students from Louise Archer Elementary School, particularly the students in the gifted/talented program. Mrs. Collier raised concern over the proposed placement of a gifted/talented program at Louise Archer Elementary School in 1982-83. The consolidation of Lewinsville and Kent Gardens Elementary Schools precipitated some reassignment of students in G/T programs. Vienna G/T students were sent to Haycock Elementary School. The current plan is to relocate them in September to Louise Archer Elementary School. She recalled that the Board was told last fall that boundary changes would be made this spring which would increase the enrollment at Louise Archer. Recommendations for such boundary changes have not been made. Mrs. Collier pointed out that it now appears that Louise Archer will have fewer than 300 students enrolled in the regular program in September, thus "triggering" another possible consolidation. In light of this, she felt it might be unwise to place the G/T program there. She requested a staff review and report to the Board on this situation. She hoped additional boundary changes would be recommended.

June 28, 1984: Dr. Webb said there had been a turnaround in the kindergarten membership in that area. He said this group included Cunningham Park, Fairhill, Flint Hill, Freedom Hill, Louise Archer, Marshall Road, Mosby Woods, Stenwood, and Vienna Elementary Schools. He said the current membership for this group was around 3,700; and projected to increase over the next five years to 4,473, an increase of 770. He said there was an 18-room surplus this year, and in five years a 12-room deficit was projected. He said for several years there had been a decline in enrollment in the Vienna area and the surplus space had been used by special programs. He said many of these schools were small in comparison with other Fairfax County elementary schools, and did not have gyms or music rooms. He said when Mrs. Kahn requested a study of the ten schools, he had made the transition into a boundary study and a look at the possible relocation of special programs in order to provide a better balance for these schools. He said while Oakton was included in Mrs. Kahn's grouping, it was not included in his. He said Oakton Elementary was also projected to be over capacity during the next five years. He said there had been a faster turnaround in enrollment than anticipated, and the staff had not recommended a consolidation study this year.

October 24, 1985: Louise Archer and Glasgow Intermediate were the only schools in the county named for women.

October 30, 1986: Louise Archer reading teacher Ann Simmons had been selected Reading Teacher of the Year by the Greater Washington Reading Council and the Virginia State Reading Association.

April 14, 1988: A bond referendum was to go before the electorate in November 1988. The bond was for $179,960,000 to fund various construction projects, among which were… renewals at Garfield, Louise Archer, Mount Eagle, Keene Mill, Ravensworth, Bren Mar Park, Waynewood, North Springfield, Annandale Terrace, Haycock, Herndon Elementary School, Mosby Woods, Jackson Middle School, Frost Middle School, Herndon High School, and Oakton High School.  

March 8, 1990: The School Board awarded the contract for the renewal of Louise Archer Elementary School to Bildon, Inc., in the amount of $2,843,000.

April 25, 1996: Mr. Gibson extended his thanks to the communities at Wolftrap, Cunningham Park, and Louise Archer Elementary Schools for having hosted his school visits on April 12; e acknowledged the program called "Character Counts" which had been previously implemented at Louise Archer Elementary; he said that fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade students studied the lives of two prominent citizens every month; and that Gifted and Talented (GT), special education, and general education students had collaborated to write and produce a play about Rosa Parks.

June 27, 1996: Mr. Gibson said that on Wednesday, June 19, he had participated in a wonderful celebration at Louise Archer Elementary School, where the entire Vienna community had come to honor Principal Judith Azzara on her 20th anniversary as school principal; that Vienna Mayor Robinson, Town Council Representative to the School Board George Lovelace, and Area III Superintendent Loretta C. Webb had all spoken; that it had been a gala event; he extended his congratulations to Mrs. Azzara personally and on behalf of the Board; and he expressed his hope that Mrs. Azzara would continue to add sunshine to the school environment at Louise Archer Elementary.

July 25, 1996: The School Board awarded the contract for technology cabling at 13 elementary schools (Brookfield, Chesterbrook, Crossfield, Dranesville, Forestville, Great Falls, Haycock, Keene Mill, Louise Archer, Sangster, Terraset, Union Mill, and White Oaks) to A-Com, Inc., in the amount of $898,435.

June 12, 1997: The School Board Chairman was authorized to sign water line easement documents with the Town of Vienna involving the James Madison High School and Louise Archer Elementary School sites.

January 8, 1998: Mr. Gibson welcomed Dr. Domenech; he said that the Superintendent would be visiting Louise Archer Elementary School in Vienna the following day; and that he was certain that Dr. Domenech would receive a warm welcome at the school whose motto was, The sun always shines on Louise Archer.

February 26, 1998: Mr. Gibson said that he agreed that the Board should not take actions which would serve to dismantle a successful program; that the capacity of Louise Archer was 489 students; that if the Board prohibited pupil placements, the student body would be composed of 185 GT Center students, 35 special education students, and 269 general education students; that a viable K-6 general education program could not operate with 269 students; that the proposed amendment would serve to destroy the general education program at a traditionally African-American school, and would make Louise Archer the second smallest general education facility in the county; that one of the motivations for presenting the original recommendation was that, with 81 students in the GT Center at Sunrise Valley Elementary School, there were only enough students to provide three teachers for four grade levels which resulted in combination classes; that there were three GT centers in Reston because his predecessor on the Board had been reluctant to implement a boundary adjustment involving Crossfield, and instead chose to move the GT Center to Hunters Woods; that Hunters Woods Elementary then became the only Reston school which fed into its GT Center, and diverted those students away from the Sunrise Valley GT Center; that the motion moved students—some of whom were bused past Sunrise Valley, and some from the Oakton Elementary School attendance area who could walk to Sunrise Valley—and effectively reduced overcrowding, which was not caused by pupil placements; that a number of pupil placements were provided to accommodate the need of many families for before and after-school daycare service, which was provided at a private facility across the street from the school; that if the amendment was adopted, students eligible for GT Center services from Westbriar Elementary, which was located in the Marshall pyramid, would make a 40 minute bus trip to attend Louise Archer, while children who resided in the Madison pyramid and were enrolled in the day-care center would be precluded from attending Louise Archer, and would require private bus service to travel from their base school to the daycare center; that the interests of GT students could not supersede the interests of the other children attending the school; that Sunrise Valley Elementary School had a dynamic, vital instructional program, developed business partnerships with Perot Systems and AT&T, maintained a professional development program with Marymount University, dynamic student teachers, and an active and involved PTA; that the students would be welcomed and would receive excellent GT educational services with a bus ride which was half the distance that they would otherwise have to travel; and that he would oppose the amendment. The motion that the Board adopt the staff recommendation on Page C-1-1 of the Agenda Item, by assigning to Sunrise Valley Elementary GT Center students from Louise Archer Elementary GT Center and Mantua Elementary GT Center (Flint Hill [island], Westbriar [island], Wolftrap [island], and Oakton Elementary Schools’ GT attendance areas) passed 9- 3, with Ms. Amundson, Mr. Braunlich, Mr. Emery, Mr. Frye, Mr. Gibson, Mrs. Heastie, Mr. Moon, Mrs. Strauss, and Mr. Ward voting "aye"; and with Mrs. Brickner, Mr. Reese, and Mr. Thomas voting "nay."

April 15, 1999: Mr. Gibson said that he had been privileged last Friday night to be a guest at the Diamond Anniversary of Louise Archer Elementary School, in Vienna; that the school was founded in 1867 in an old Army building donated by the Town of Vienna to the First Baptist Church and constituted as the colored school of Vienna; that the building was still standing; that Ms. Archer had taken over in the early part of the century and raised the money to purchase the land and raise the building [partially correct, see School History Sources 1939-1948] on Nutley Street in 1939; that Ms. Archer had taken a great personal interest in her students and had taken them into her home during the summer; that she had died April 1, 1948, and the Fairfax County School Board had named the school Louise Archer School; that Louise Archer had become the last elementary school in Fairfax County to be integrated in 1966 [incorrect, see School History Sources 1948-1970]; that in 1999 the school boasted 50 different cultures living in harmony, and that the sun always shines on Louise Archer; and that Judith Azzara had been principal there for 23 years, and the community was fully supportive and proud of this school.

February 24, 2000: Mrs. Heastie said that she had attended a reception on February 19 at Louise Archer Elementary School sponsored by the Fairfax County Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Beta sorority; that brochures had been distributed on African-American historical sites from the 18th and 19th centuries, that Louise Archer was formerly called the Vienna Colored School and was part of the First Baptist Church of Vienna, which opened in 1867; that she had attended the Fairfax City School Board meeting on February 23.

May 25, 2000: Mr. Gibson said that on June 4 he looked forward to another ceremony honoring Judy Azzara who was retiring as principal of Louise Archer and who would be sorely missed; and that these people could not be replaced, but he hoped their “successors” would carry on the tradition.

Newspaper Articles

The Washington Post

January 20, 1973, Page E-1: Singer Burl Ives Hits The Generation Gap: Generation Gap Jolts Singer Ives. Photos show Burl Ives singing to students. Burl Ives has been a showman for 40 years and if he was disappointed yesterday when the children at Louise Archer Elementary School in Vienna didn’t ask him to play the songs that made him a showman, he didn’t let on to them. He taught the 540 school children the words to an ecology song, sang it with them a couple of times, and then asked for requests. They asked him to play “The Candy Man,” a recent popular son, and Burl Ives, 64, didn’t know the words. Nor did he know the words to any of the other requests made by the students. But he deftly concluded his presentation and walked off to applause. Burl Ives visited the Vienna school – his only scheduled stop at a Washington area school during his four days here – as a favor to his escort Andy Whalquist, whose daughter attends the school.

June 28, 1976, Page C-2: Vandals Damage Fairfax School. Vandals yesterday caused an estimated $2,000 in damages to the Louise Archer Elementary School, Fairfax County fire officials reported. According to a fire spokesman, the vandals entered the school through a rear classroom window, set fires in three trash cans in the halls and destroyed some books in a fire in the library. There was no structural damage to the school from the fire, which was reported about 3:30 p.m.

May 3, 1979, Page VA-14: Louise Archer Elementary School Super Fun Fair. Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Moon bounce, dunk tank (featuring four teachers), spook house, crafts, baked goods, and plants.