George Fox Middle School
Our School’s Mission: George Fox Middle School’s students will be prepared for the twenty-first century with the mindtools and technological skills needed to be successful and productive citizens and with the attitude of being lifelong learners.
George Fox Middle School first opened its doors at the beginning of the 1949 school year. This school was the first school built after the retirement of George Fox, AACPS first superintendent of schools who served in that role from 1916 until he retired in 1946. Thus, this building was named in his honor. Ms. Mary Farrell was the first principal of GFMS and served in that role for twenty five years until her retirement in 1974. A college scholarship in her name is available to students who have attended GFMS.
George Fox Middle School is located off Mountain Road, nestled in the Green Haven Community of Pasadena, Maryland. It currently serves sixth, seventh, and eighth graders who move on to Northeast High School, located just a couple of miles away. Students from Solley Elementary, Highpoint Elementary, and Sunset Elementary attend George Fox Middle School.
The enrollment at GFMS has varied. As recently as 1996, there were over 1,000 students. After redistricting some students to Chesapeake Bay Middle School, GFMS’s enrollment has declined to approximately 730 students for the 2005-2006 school year. Staff changes have occurred naturally over the years but few staff have left by choice to teach in other county schools. Currently there is a blend of new, experienced, and seasoned staff teaching at GFMS.
The school is divided up by grades so that each grade level has language arts, math, and social studies classes in its own hallway. This has provided a school-within-a-school concept so that the building does not appear as large as it is and students can be more comfortable moving about the building with their own grade level.
The science classrooms are in a separate wing and each room has seven student lab areas with a teaching lab station. Our science teachers work with students concerning our local environment. A stream in the back of the building feeds the Chesapeake Bay, and for several years has been a service learning project for our students. Currently two science teachers are working with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation by raising terrapins for release and planting grasses in low lying areas of the bay. In addition we have created a garden in the front of the school to capture run-off water from our occasional downpours.
Our media center contains a computer lab as well as an area large enough to have two different groups of students engaged in work at the same time. The media center is networked, allowing students to work with technology and print material on their media-sponsored projects. The main gym is the size of traditional junior high gymnasium and can be divided in half by a dropped partition. A stage is available for assemblies, plays, and music productions. The small gym has the county’s first approved climbing wall paid for with PTO funds. In addition, the room can be used for dance, archery, and table tennis. Between the two gyms is a small room that is our fitness center where students are instructed on the proper use of free weights and exercise equipment. Music, art, family and consumer science, and technology education classes are equipped and located strategically as well.
The PTO has been extremely supportive of the school’s efforts to improve its capability to use technology. We have a full classroom computer lab that was originally built with funding from our PTO fundraisers. The PTO is currently working to replace much needed curtains for our two stage areas.
After school activities include various intramural games, jazz, math, environmental action, self-defense, ukulele, video, and yearbook clubs as well as the select chorus, band, and orchestra. Intramurals are offered for walkers and car riders on Tuesday afternoons and for bus riders on Thursday afternoons. Most clubs meet on Thursday after school with the exception of the band, jazz, and orchestra that meet before school.
I will let a current sixth grader sum up her first semester as a George Fox student. Lauren Kovalick recently wrote a letter to the Maryland Gazette which was published on December 28, 2005. Part of her letter read “If your child is still in middle school, I highly recommend your child to go to George Fox. It is a great school. The teachers are nice and the students are nice. I love that school.”