J. E. B. Stuart High School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 38°51′24.49″N 77°8′58.1″W / 38.8568028°N 77.149472°W / 38.8568028; -77.149472

J. E. B. Stuart High School
J. E. B. Stuart High School is located in Bailey%27s Crossroads
J. E. B. Stuart High School
J. E. B. Stuart High School
J. E. B. Stuart High School is located in Northern Virginia
J. E. B. Stuart High School
J. E. B. Stuart High School
J. E. B. Stuart High School is located in Virginia
J. E. B. Stuart High School
J. E. B. Stuart High School
J. E. B. Stuart High School is located in the US
J. E. B. Stuart High School
J. E. B. Stuart High School
3301 Peace Valley Lane
Falls Church, Virginia 22044
School type Public, high school
Founded 1959
School district Fairfax County Public Schools
Principal Penny Gros
Staff approximately 180
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,985 (2016)
Language English
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Red, white, and blue
Mascot Raiders
Feeder schools

Glasgow Middle School

Poe Middle School
Rival schools Falls Church High School
Athletic conferences National District
Northern Region

J.E.B. Stuart High School is a high school in Fairfax County, Virginia named for Confederate cavalry leader J.E.B. Stuart. The school is part of the Fairfax County Public Schools district. The school has a Falls Church address but is not located within the city limits of the City of Falls Church.


At the time the school opened, the Fairfax County school board was opposing racial integration of its schools and the name reflected the school board's sentiments.[1]

In the School Board meeting minutes of 5/20/1958,[2] Lee High School was simply named "Lee" for the Lee district. The battle for the school name began on Dec 7th 1954,[2] three years before construction had started...and three and a half years before the school was opened. Numerous articles spoke to the acrimony in the communities of Franconia and Springfield who both wanted to claim the school name for their community. .[3]

This school was located on Franconia Rd, on the border of Franconia and Springfield, the area had a Springfield address, and it was in the Lee district of Virginia. The Property was part of the original Clermont Estate [4] where Fitzhugh Lee was born.

In Feb 4th 1958 Meeting [2] a local historical group suggested a compromise. The Upper Pohick Community League [5] submitted a letter proposing that the School Board adopt a policy naming Fairfax County schools for prominent Virginians instead of by place names and that the Franconia High School be renamed something like "Fitzhugh, Lee, etc."

In the May 6th 1958 meeting,[2] Mr. Solomon made a motion that all future new high schools in Fairfax County be named for some prominent American, now deceased. Mr. Solomon qualified it by stating that the "Franconia H. S." is not to be included in this motion, just those under construction, or proposed. Therefore, a place name was needed for this school. Fortunately both communities were in the Lee district of Virginia and a compromise was reached on a place name.

In a May 8, 1958 article in the Washington Post Mr. Woodson said ..."he is surprised and disappointed that we have this type of controversy among adults. I don't want the children coming to this school saying I'm from Springfield…I'm from Franconia…let's fight. Gangs tend to develop in communities where there is controversy. "[6] In a Northern Virginia Sun article dated October 8, 1958, Mr. Davis School Board member states …."He'd rather name a school Podunk then get into the battle like was over Lee High school." The article further notes that the name JEB Stuart was chosen because he had his headquarters on Munson Hill, the site of the school. "[7]

The naming of High Schools in order were Lee, (for the Lee district) Jeb Stuart and James Madison in 1958. Thomas Edison, George Marshall, and W.T. Woodson in 1960, Thomas Jefferson in 1962. In addition nine intermediate schools were named by the exact same School Board in May 1959. Among those school names were John G. Whittier and Henry Thoreau.[2] Fifteen schools were named and only one was for a Confederate General. In 1963 Lee was renamed at the request of the SPTA. (SB minutes 7/16/63). That was six years later.[2]

Regarding Fairfax County's reaction to Brown: It was not Fairfax County's choice either before or after 1954. Fairfax County Schools like most Southern Schools were under De jure segregation. After the Brown VS Board of education decision Daniel Duke[8] who authored Education Empire wrote: "Whether local school systems such as Fairfax County left to their own, would have moved forward to implement desegregation in the late 50's will never be known. Richmond removed any possibility of local option." [9] it was recognized in court cases that it was the state who was running the show, not the county. They didn't have a choice.[10] In the Virginia General Assembly: Delegates from Northern Virginia openly opposed the Stanley plans as well as calls for even more radical legislation. Virginia's 10th district was the only congressional district to vote against the Gray Plan.[11]

Munson Hill was steeped in Civil War history. JEB Stuart was named for JEB Stuart because it is believed his camp extended to the area where the school is located. Stuart's was famous for his Munson Hill Quaker Gun's deception.[12] The battle fought at Manassas in 1861, the first major engagement of the war, ended chaotically. Union troops streamed back toward the Potomac, many wounded. A home on Munson Hill, Church Hill House,[13] was seized for use as a field hospital, and the dead were buried nearby. Tradition has the military cemetery lying beneath the football field at J.E.B. Stuart High School. The Confederates soon took the high ground in the surge and retreat of armies, and it's likely the dead from both sides now lie together in the ultimate reconciliation.[14]

The school has been featured in National Geographic magazine,[15] and has received national recognition by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Baccalaureate program. President George W. Bush chose to speak there about education during the 2004-2005 school year.

In 2006, then-principal Mel Riddile, former director Straight, Inc., drug rehabilitation program for teens,[16] was chosen as the principal of the year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.[17] Riddile moved to T. C. Williams High School in neighboring Alexandria City at the end of the 05-06 school year. Assistant Principal Pamela Jones took his place and retired in 2012. The current principal is Penny Gros.

Veteran math department chair Stu Singer retired in protest when Stuart administrators dismantled a remedial math program that had given Stuart the highest pass rate in the county. Singer later published a book on the program.[18] Singer labeled the dismantling of this program "education malpractice that can only be described as unconscionable." Math scores plummeted after the reorganization.[19] Other successful programs were also dismantled. Faculty morale fell to the lowest in the county, and many teachers retired or transferred out in protest.[20] In 2014, the district sent a support team to Stuart to help the beleaguered administration.[21]

In 2000, the school's music department began to gain prominence, being named a Blue Ribbon School for music by the Virginia Music Educators Association in 2003, 2006, and 2008. The school's band was named a Virginia Honor Band by the Virginia Band & Orchestra Directors Association in 2000, 2004, and 2006-2009. The band commissioned composer John Mackey to write a piece, which the band premiered on May 8, 2009 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the school. The school's top choir, the Madrigal Chamber Singers, were selected to perform at the Virginia Music Educators Association's annual conference in 2006 and 2008. Stuart has also hosted District X Band auditions annually since 2004, hosted the District X Orchestra event in 2005, and hosted Senior Regional Orchestra Auditions in 2007 and 2008.

On April 22, 2015, Fairfax County Superintendent of Schools Karen Garza named Penny Gros as principal of Stuart High School. Penny Gros had previously been the principal of Glasgow Middle School, the middle school for the Stuart High School Pyramid.


In September 2015, Fairfax County Public Schools reported a student body of 1,973 at Stuart High School. That student body was 0.2% American Indian/Alaska Native; 13.6% Asian; 10.1% Black/African American; 50.3% Hispanic/Latino (any race); 2.4% two or more races; 23.4% White.[22]

Name Controversy and Protest[edit]

In June 2015, alumni and students of the school began a petition asking that the name of the school be changed, alleging that it was named after J. E. B. Stuart amid massive resistance to the desegregation of public schools after Brown v. Board of Education.[23] The petition included serious allegations, stated as fact, which denigrated reputations of the 1958 School Board members and Superintendent. That petition called for the removal of 3 high school names, JEB Stuart, R.E. Lee and W.T. Woodson[24] The petition asked that the school be renamed after Thurgood Marshall. Alumni and actress Julianne Moore and producer Bruce Cohen added their support in August of that year with a separate petition.[25]

The school board took surveys of the school students [26] and the community separately.[27] In both surveys, only a small fraction of students or community members expressed their views. While the majority of those responding did not favor changing the name, over 35% of the respondents supported a name change, and others argued that the surveys were not issued properly and did not reach all of the desired participants.[28]

Some students have expressed their opinion that the discussion relating to the potential name change has been more disruptive and caused more harm than was ever done by the name JEB Stuart.[citation needed] Students who disagree with the renaming campaign report being labeled as racist by student advocates.[citation needed] In comparison, students who agree with the name change believe that a different name could be chosen to better serve the values of the Stuart community.[29] Some of these students have also testified before the School Board about the racism that persists at the school and the unease that they feel as minority students attending a school named after a Confederate General who sought to preserve the institution of slavery.[30] Others expressed concern that there is already a Marshall High School in the same school district, and that adding a second one would cause unnecessary confusion.[citation needed] Another suggested name is that of Barbara Rose Johns.[31]

The issue received sufficient attention that, in December 2015, the Fairfax County School Board revised its policy to allow for the renaming of existing schools.[32] In July 2016, the Fairfax County Public Schools Board voted to set up a working group to "further consider the community concerns regarding renaming" the school. The schools superintendent will present the work of the Ad Hoc Committee to the School Board no earlier than April 2017.[33]

Senior traditions[edit]

During the summer, the rising senior class used the portion of Peace Valley Lane, which is across from the school to paint their names. This tradition is usually done at nightfall to avoid cars from running over the student's work or the students themselves. Behind the baseball fields, the symbolic "S" rock formation was turned into the graduating class's year. In the 2008-09 school year, principal Pamela Jones decided to get rid of most of the rocks, due to students changing the rocks to different numbers or letters. She has also claimed that students were making obscene drawings and/or hate symbols. Another tradition that most rising seniors look forward to is the privilege to leave class 15 minutes early, which gives seniors the chance to get a head start to go to lunch before the underclassmen arrive. In the 2009-2010 school year, the senior class was stripped of both the ability to leave class early and the ability to paint the street because of actions taken predominantly by underclassmen.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Gjelten, Tom. A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story. Simon and Schuster, September 15, 2015. ISBN 1476743851, 9781476743851. p. 56. "In Fairfax County, the authorities did not merely refuse to comply with the Supreme Court's order; they defiantly named their next two high schools after Confederate army generals—J.E.B. Stuart and Robert E. Lee."
  2. ^ a b c d e f School Board (1922-09-06). "Fairfax County Public School Board Archived Minutes". Insys.fcps.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  3. ^ 5/7/1958 Washington Post "Feud over School Names settled by Fairfax Board 8/8/1958 Northern Virginia Sun "The history of the Franconia/Lee battle 11/20/1957 Evening Star "Franconia Name Opposed" 4/24/1958 Springfield Independence "Board Changes High School Name" 4/15/1958 Evening Star 'Residents Protest School Name"
  4. ^ "Clermont (Alexandria, Virginia) - Wikipedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  5. ^ "Upcl - The Sydenstricker Schoolhouse - Springfield, Virginia". The Sydenstricker Schoolhouse. 1954-07-26. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  6. ^ The Washington Post Archives 5/8/1958 "Feud over school names settled"
  7. ^ Northern Virginia Sun 10/8/1958 "Renaming of two schools"
  8. ^ Daniel L. Duke. "Project MUSE - Education Empire". Muse.jhu.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  9. ^ Daniel Duke. Education Empire Pg. 18 July 2005 Suny Series, Educational Leadership ISBN 0-7914-6493-8
  10. ^ "BLAKENEY v. FAIRFAX COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD | 226 F.Supp. 713 (1964)". Leagle.com. 1964-03-02. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  11. ^ David John Mays. Race, Reason, and Massive Resistance: The Diary of David J. Mays, 1954-1959. Books.google.com. p. 98. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  12. ^ "Munson's Hill: Battlefield Trickery in the Civil War". YouTube. 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  13. ^ Washington Post archives 10/14/1949 McClay's make cozy home of old Fairfax lodge.
  14. ^ Jane C Whitt. Elephants and Quaker Guns, Northern Virginia Crossroads of History,p.60 Vandamere Press, Arlington VA, 1984. ISBN 978-0918339034
  15. ^ "Record waves of immigration deliver teens from around the world to a rocky shore—high school in the U.S.A.". M
  16. ^ Mathews, Jay (November 17, 2005), "Readers Raise Concerns About Past Work of Top Principal", The Washington Post 
  17. ^ "2006 National High School Principal of the Year". 
  18. ^ Singer, Stuart Alan, The Algebra Miracle: The True Story of a High-Poverty School's Triumph in the Age of Accountability, lulu.com (2012). ISBN 978-1105416323
  19. ^ Matthews, Jay, How administrators killed Fairfax school's math success, The Washington Post, 25 May 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  20. ^ Shapiro, T. Rees. "Fairfax County's Stuart High struggles on teacher survey". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  21. ^ Shapiro, T. Rees In Fairfax, Garza announces new support team at Stuart High amid low staff morale The Washington Post, 23 June 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  22. ^ "Fairfax County Public Schools, High School Membership by Ethnicity, Race and Gender, September 2015" (PDF). Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Students Urge J.E.B. Stuart H.S. Name Change - Falls Church News-Press Online". Fcnp.com. 2015-07-08. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  24. ^ Ashford, Ellie (2015-07-27). "the Annandale Blog: Name change proposed for Stuart HS". Annandaleva.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  25. ^ Jang, Meena. "Julianne Moore Starts Petition to Rename High School Honoring Confederate General". Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  26. ^ theraidersdigest (2015-10-20). "Name change seeks accurate representation – The Raiders' Digest". Theraidersdigest.com. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  27. ^ "Fairfax County Public Schools". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2016-08-23. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  28. ^ "J.E.B. Stuart High School debates school name change | Articles". Fairfaxtimes.com. 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  29. ^ "J.E.B. Stuart High School - Students For Change". YouTube. 2016-05-11. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  30. ^ http://wtop.com/fairfax-county/2016/07/proposal-introduced-for-group-to-rename-va-school-named-after-confederate-general/slide/1/
  31. ^ Longmyer, Kenneth (2016-07-08). "From J.E.B. Stuart to Barbara Rose Johns". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  32. ^ http://wtop.com/fairfax-county/2015/12/public-can-soon-say-whether-fairfax-co-schools-should-be-renamed/
  33. ^ "Proposal to Change the Name of J.E.B. Stuart High School | Fairfax County Public Schools". Fcps.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  34. ^ a b "Stuart High School | Home of the Raiders | Stuart High School". Fcps.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  35. ^ "Jim O'Brien NBA stats". basketball-reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 

External links[edit]