eNewsletter April 2016

PHILLIPS Expands to a Third Campus!

On March 1 PHILLIPS assumed operations of Fairfax-based Oak Valley Center, a high quality educational program that also serves children with special needs, following the retirement of its founder.

Oak Valley was renamed PHILLIPS School -- Fairfax and became PHILLIPS third special education day school serving the region, including locations in Annandale and Laurel, Maryland.

News from our Laural Campus

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Learning Critical Skill Sets

In March several high school students participated in a robotics class offered through the Howard County Public Libraries.  The HiTech Robotics Lab is made available through the STEM Education Center at the Savage Branch Library. School and library staff provided academic support so students could learn about robotics and technology through self-directed education and hands-on activities.  Students enjoyed the hands on activities and are looking forward to returning this month.

Sports Corner

We are Champions!

Athletic Director Scott Phillips and Basketball Coach Tracy Strong show off the 2016 Youth Athletic League Championship trophy and new uniforms made possible by a grant from Civitan.  The JV team had an undefeated season and the Varsity team came in third place in their division.

Career Tech Ed - Brian's Story

People with a disability historically are more likely to be unemployed. In November 2015, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was double the unemployment rate for people without a disability.  Fortunately, studies have shown that students with disabilities who participate in Career Technical Education programs may great increase their chances for postsecondary success in both academia and employment.  That is why PHILLIPS is proud to share our robust CTE program which partners with 18 business partners to provide work experience for our students.
Brian (pseudonym) is an 18 year old with ASD.  He has been working at the Lions Club for two years.  Initially, the Lions Club allowed Brian to work on Mondays (a day where there are no other staff or volunteers on site) so that he could acclimate to all of the expectations that surround a job (transferring from a school to work environment, following directions, staying on task, using appropriate communication skills).   After two years Brian has achieved a great deal: he is now able to go to the site two days a week – including a day when there are other adult volunteers in the room.   Recently, he was working at a table with another adult volunteer who was making a lot of noise.  Rather than overreacting, Brian calmly stated that the noise was a distraction.  The Lions Club has a rather loud buzzer that rings when people wish to enter the facility. Brian has learned to not react to the often startling loud sound.   This experience is laying the groundwork for this student with significant sensory issues to assist him in being more independent and learn behavioral expectations at work sites.

Science Club a Rocketing Success

What happens when you get together one student council science advisor, many curious boys, a couple of teachers, a serious science buff, a pile of science books, a pen, a piece of paper and lots of enthusiasm?

Since February 15, 2016, a group of 4th, 5th and 6th grade boys have been meeting as the Science Club of PHILLIPS School in Annandale.  At the first meeting, students came with their ideas and the subjects that they wanted to learn more about and the group voted to start with an ambitious project on air pressure.

 At the next club meeting they had multiple experiments to tackle and the finale was a vortex smoke ring pressure machine that knocked over a pyramid of cups from 20 feet away.  Awesome!

Armed with information about thrust, lift, drag, and air pressure, the boys were now ready to make their own rockets. They made prototype fins out of wood then with the help of the tech lab and two high school girls doing a 3D internship at PHILLIPS School, produced two sets of 3D fins for a the rockets.  Students, taking into consideration such details as size, weight, materials used, number of fins, and length, made predictions that the rockets would shoot 13 to 50 feet in the air. Surprise!! The longest rocket flew 168 feet down the field to the delight of all the club members.

At the next Science Club, students are undertaking the study of robotics and the command system that guides them. Don’t be surprised if you see robots roaming the PHILLIPS halls this week!

Family Partners - Mary's Story

The June 2 Fundraiser at Lebanese Taverna is to benefit Family Partners.  Why is your support so essential?
"Mary" came to Family Partners with her son "Kevin" after a long period of instability within the family. Mary was in recovery from substance use and worked tirelessly to regain custody of Kevin through the court system. She faced significant trauma growing up and survived domestic violence during her relationship with Kevin's father.

While she deeply cared for Kevin and wanted to ensure his safety, she needed to address her own substance use needs before becoming the mother she wanted to be.

Kevin was exposed to multiple illicit substances while Mary was pregnant - Mary was unaware of her pregnancy for some time while she was using. Losing custody of her only child due to substance use was devastating. Mary decided to use her circumstances as motivation to fulfill what she believed to be her true purpose: to be a loving mom.

When a counselor from Family Partners began working with Mary and Kevin it was clear that Kevin was still adjusting to living with his mom full-time. In utero exposure to substances had left him with struggles related to attention, focus, learning, and physical aggression multiple times each day. Mary was providing a nurturing home but felt both overwhelmed and ill-equipped to manage Kevin's needs.

Within the first month of home-based counseling services the Family Partners counselor reviewed the family's strengths and needs. As was the case with Mary, parenting strengths are often overlooked because perceived struggles take center stage.

During a strengths assessment the counselor helped Mary identify what she was good at and how these traits combined to create a resilient individual. Past guilt, doubt, and anguish initially prevented Mary from truly internalizing these positive characteristics until one day she broke down in session. The counselor asked her to describe what she was feeling. With tears in her eyes Mary said she had never considered what she has to offer.

After looking at her list of strengths, which the counselor had asked her to hang next to her mirror and read each day, she finally accepted her whole self. 
Family Partners works to keep families together.

Mardi Gras Masquerade

Plan your annual vacation from our Auction Trips!  Where will YOU go?


This year's gala is scheduled for May 14 at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner. Live and silent auction items offer a variety of experiences and trips including: a seaside home in Cyprus; a chalet in majestic Telluride, Colorado; bucket-list trip to the Masters Golf Tournament; and a trip to paradise enjoying the exotic beauty of Hawaii.

PHILLIPS Programs will be honoring BB&T with the Community Engagement Award for their substantial efforts to engage the community in advocating on behalf of and improving accessibility to services for children and youth with complex social, emotional, learning and/or behavioral challenges.
The event will highlight our recent developments in career and tech education.  PHILLIPS has expanded, adding a third campus, in Fairfax, to our school programs. We have added a micro greens farm, in the first phase, at our Laurel campus and are piloting a 3D printing project in Annandale. Additionally our students are completing the 4 bedroom house they have been building. This project will be showcased at the gala along with a student speaker and student entertainment. Come celebrate their accomplishments!

Dr. Sally A. Sibley Honored

Receives Fairfax Federation Award

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On Sunday, April 3, Dr. Sally A. Sibley was awarded the Special Gratitude Award by the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens’ Associations.  Sally joins past recipients including Congressman Frank Wolf, Congressman Jim Moran, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Kate Hanley, Supervisor Mike Frey and many others “for her many and diverse volunteer efforts benefitting Fairfax and Virginia residents with special needs.”   

The 66th Annual Awards Banquet recognizes and honors those citizens whose contributions have enhanced the quality of life for citizens of Fairfax County.  Nominated by Debi Alexander and Piper Phillips Caswell, they were pleased to have the opportunity to nominate a remarkable woman who has changed countless lives over the past four decades and made a huge difference in the lives of children and families across the Washington metropolitan area.

Gala Supports Career Tech Ed (CTE)

As you know, PHILLIPS serves children and youth, and their families, throughout the metro area (since 1967) who have complex social/emotional and behavioral support needs. We are helping these youth prepare for independence as adults and our CTE programs are a crucial part of stopping the traditional school to prison pipeline.  It takes awareness and funds to provide the necessary tools, and I hope you will attend.

This year’s gala has a greater sense of urgency as we are kicking off a capital campaign to increase our Career Tech Ed program, install a commercial kitchen and complete the build out of our hydroponic farm. These vital initiatives have captured the interest of a wide range of corporate sponsors who will be in attendance:

King’s Crown Sponsor
Venable LLP
Queen’s Crown Sponsor
Diamond Sponsor
Rob & Stephanie Arnall
CrossCountry Consulting
Deval LLC
Dina and Martin Friedman
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation
More Direct, Inc.
Dr. Sally A. Sibley
John and Martha Schwieters
Sharon K. Weiss
Ruby Sponsor
Bill and Debi Alexander
Michael and Robin Barr
Family of Steve and Gail Bartlett
Trudy and David Bell
Phil and Piper Phillips Caswell
Fred and Ann Lane
Moore/Simms Family
MorganFranklin Consulting
Paramount Mechanical Corporation
Partlow Insurance
Pricewaterhouse Coopers
Sonja Shockey
Dwight and Linda Robinson
Virginia Roofing
Doug and Tricia Wallace
Dave and Pat Williams
Emerald Sponsor
Brickman Group
Clean Tech
Gallagher Benefits
Jeff Kurzweil
Nino R. Vaghi Foundation
Josephine B. Scheffenacker Education Trust
Sapphire Sponsor
Access National Bank
Baker Tilly
Bessemer Trust
William and Gloria Cherkasky
Debbie Dogrul Associates, LLC
Marc and Anne Rafal
Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Esq.
S3E Engineers, Inc.
Sonny Merryman, Inc
Tom and Carol Wheeler
Printing Sponsor
L&E Meridian 


Don't wait another moment!  Buy a ticket or purchase a table today!

Leon Harris, news anchor at WJLA will be our host and we will be featuring the completion of the house our Building Futures students are constructing with some of the staff and students in attendance. We will showcase our new video about the career programs at PHILLIPS and you will see an amazing dance performance by a group of elementary aged boys - it is really touching!

The eventl features our usual amazing baskets, silent auction items and live auction along with a jazz band (from an area high school), a stilt walker, fortune teller and New Orleans signature drinks. Interested in a trip to Cyprus, attending the Telluride Film Festival, walking along the beach in Hawaii, or attending Redskins and NATS games? Priceless opportunities include the chance to attend the First Ladies (or will it be Gentleman's) Luncheon in the spring of 2017 and we have 2 coveted tickets to Broadway's smash hit HAMILTON in NYC!

Silent auction items include an overnight stay in one of the C&O Canal houses (they do have electricity and plumbing), hotels and restaurants, lawn seats to see Paul Simon at Wolf Trap if you missed out as they sold out quickly AND a once in a lifetime trip to the Masters Golf Tournament!!!!

Bring your friends, be amazed by the students and their accomplishments, have a ton of fun and support a great cause!!

See you May 14!

Save the Date!  May 24 Building Futures Open House!

Save the Date!  June 2 Fundraiser at Lebanese Taverna to Support Family Partners!

How Your Contribution Benefits Phillips Family Partners and Clients

A Gift of $5 Provides

A healthy school lunch; access to public transportation for a parent to get to work or a job interview; a reward item for a child with a behavioral plan

A Gift of $10 Provides

School supplies; storybook to read with children; personal care items for a child (i.e. soap, shampoo, toothpaste)

A Gift of $25 Will

Fill up the car with gas; parenting skills book for FP’s resource center, yearly subscription to favorite magazine

$50 Pays the monthly electric bill

A Gift of $75 Purchases

week’s worth of groceries; training video for FP’s resource center, sensory items for a child with autism

A Gift of $100 provides

Annual membership fees to local community center; study guides to prep for the SAT/ACT; registration fee for summer sport; assessment tool to evaluate the progress of a child or family

A Gift of $200 Purchases

a bed/mattress or other piece of furniture for family in need; athletic shoes and gear for a school sport; gym membership; summer parks program

$300 Covers

Conference fees to learn about updates in the field;  a new cell phone; overnight getaway with family/friends

$500 Provides

A laptop for a newly hired counselor; tablet for assisted learning or communication, covers a month of services for a child/family that is not able to afford treatment or does not qualify for funding

Our society should be judged by its concern for the quality of life for all its members without exception.