City of Falls Church

The following were among actions taken at the Sept. 18 meeting of the Falls Church School Board. For more information, call 241-7648.

THOMAS JEFFERSON ADDITION -- The School Board approved design plans for a $1.5 million classroom addition at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School that would help to ease overcrowding.

Provided that the state also approves the plans, construction is expected to begin next spring and be completed before school opens in the fall of 1992.

Enrollment at Thomas Jefferson, the city's only school for second- through fifth-graders, has steadily climbed over the past five years from about 340 students to the current enrollment of about 390. Second-grade enrollment is particularly high, with about 110 students -- about 15 students more than in other elementary grades.

Space is at a premium at the 42-year-old school building, with laboratories and other new facilities forcing some classes into temporary buildings.

The addition will jut out at an angle from a corner of the existing building, on the side that faces South Oak Street, and include six classrooms. Expansion plans also include building a small storage area at one end of the gymnasium, and enlarging the cafeteria.

ENGLISH-AS-A-SECOND-LANGUAGE COMMITTEE -- The School Board established a new committee that it hopes will provide guidance on the special educational needs of students whose native language is not English.

By the end of November, the board will appoint 11 members to the multi-ethnic committee that will include parents, an English-as-a-second-language student, local residents and school officials. Members will serve two-year terms and meet at least four times a year.

School officials said they hope that including parents and community members on the committee will encourage residents whose native tongue is not English to become more active in the schools and the community.

About 55 students, or 4.5 percent, of the roughly 1,210 students enrolled in the city's three schools need English language training, including about 40 Hispanic students. The number of students requiring such training has remained stable over the past three years.

To integrate such students, the schools offer them about seven special classes, including instruction in English, math and the sciences.

The school system also offers English language training through its adult education program. This year, about 90 percent of students in the program, or 125 adults, have registered for English language courses.