School History: 2000-Present

At the start of the 21st century, Bucknell received an award in recognition of our school achieving outstanding School-wide Achievement Index (SAI) gains as a Project Excel school. There was a heightened focus district-wide in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) to close the student achievement gap, and Bucknell Elementary School led the way with a Minority Student Achievement Program.

Black and white photograph from our 2000 to 2001 yearbook showing a group of students posing in front of the school store. 15 students and four adults are pictured.
Bucknell's School Store, 2001

Also during this time, our school entered into a partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), creating a Junior FBI Academy at Bucknell. These two programs were featured before the Fairfax County School Board as part of the Spotlight series. Take a few moments to watch the Spotlight videos created for the School Board by staff from the FCPS cable television channel Red Apple 21.

Reading First

Principal Juanita Trapp departed at the end of the 2002-03 school year, and was succeeded by Joanne Jackson. In September 2003, Bucknell was the recipient of a $224,825 Reading First grant from the Virginia Department of Education. The grant provided funding to establish reading programs for students in grades K-3, and for professional development for teachers. Bucknell was one of 47 schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia to receive grant funding that year.

Yearbook photographs of principals Juanita Trapp and Joanne Jackson. Trapp's picture is from our 2002 to 2003 yearbook and Jackson's picture is from our 2005 to 2006 yearbook. Trapp is seated at her desk looking up from paperwork, and Jackson is seated in the library surrounded by a large group of students.
Principals Juanita Trapp (Left, 1990-03) and Joanne Jackson (Right, 2003-08/9)  

The Parent Center

During the 2010-11 school year, Bucknell Elementary School opened its first parent center. The center was staffed by three parent liaisons, and during its inaugural year offered parenting classes, English for Speakers of Other Languages classes, computer classes, and books for parents and children.

Two photographs of Bucknell's Parent Center from our 2010 to 2011 yearbook. In the photograph on the left, a large group of parents are in the center, seated in chairs around the room. They are listening to a speaker who is standing off camera. In the photograph on the right, four female parents are seated at a long table working on computers. There are one desktop and three laptop computers visible.
Bucknell's Parent Center in 2011. Computer classes were offered to parents who wanted to learn computer skills or simply improve their working knowledge of computers.

The Third Renovation

Our most recent renovation began construction in 2015. On November 11, 2015, the School Board awarded the contract for the project to Keller Brothers, Inc., at a cost of $15.9 million. During this renovation, the fallout shelter built in the 1960s was excavated, and new itinerant offices were constructed in that space. The three aerial photographs below show the progress of the renovation from 2015 to 2017.

Aerial photograph of Bucknell Elementary School taken on April 28, 2015, prior to the start of our school's third renovation. The school is pictured from the northwest from a vantage point above University Drive. The hillside next to the school is intact. The gymnasium and subsequent classroom additions are visible. There are several mobile classroom trailers behind the school.
April 28, 2015, before the renovation began.
Aerial photograph of Bucknell Elementary School taken on July 20, 2016, as our school's third renovation is underway. The school is pictured from the northwest from a vantage point above University Drive. The hillside has been excavated and a new building wing is being constructed on the site. The wing is two stories tall. The cinderblock walls are in place.
July 20, 2016, with the renovation in progress.
Aerial photograph of Bucknell Elementary School taken on June 20, 2017, as our school's third renovation is largely complete. The school is pictured from the northwest from a vantage point above University Drive. From the outside, the building looks finished. It has a brand new roof throughout the entire structure with blue paneling hiding the roof-top air conditioning units. The trailers are still visible behind the school.
June 20, 2017, with the renovation largely complete.

Watch 80 years of transformation to the landscape and our building unfold in this animated series of aerial photographs courtesy of the Fairfax County Park Authority.

This animated series of aerial photographs shows Bucknell Elementary School from directly overhead. The images behind in 2017 and progress back in time to 2009, 1990, 1976, 1960, and 1937. In 1937, the future site of the school is an open field with trees to the north and a small dirt road running through the middle of the property. In 1960 the building appears as originally constructed. The building is similar in shape to the letter L with a long classroom wing running north to south, and the smaller nine-classroom addition running east to west. In 1976, additional classrooms have been added to the rear of the building and blacktops have been paved behind the school. In 1990 the gymnasium addition is visible, connected to the nine-classroom addition. In 2009, the new library has been added on the south side of the building. It juts out from the structure in an arc. The building has been re-roofed and two mobile classroom trailers are visible on the north side of the building near the ball fields. A playground has been added east of the blacktop behind the school. The 2017 photograph shows the renovation still in progress. Portions of the building are being re-roofed. Construction trailers and classroom trailers are visible around the school on the north and east. The classroom trailers have been set up on the blacktop.

Our Principals

Principal Joanne Jackson departed Bucknell during the 2008-09 school year. Assistant Principal Raquel Alcarez served as the acting principal for the remainder of that year. She was succeeded by Sheila Eller, who was principal for one year from 2009-10. Timothy H. Slayter became the 12th principal of Bucknell Elementary School in 2010, and served in that role for six years. In 2016, he departed to become the principal of Cameron Elementary School, and Assistant Principal Nancy Mercer served briefly as acting principal until our current principal, LaRonda Peterson, was appointed to the position in November 2016.

Yearbook photographs of principals Raquel Alcarez and Sheila Eller. Alcarez's picture is from our 2007 to 2008 yearbook and Eller's picture is from our 2009 to 2010 yearbook. Both principals are pictured with two smiling students.
Principals Raquel Alcarez (Left, 2009) and Sheila Eller (Right, 2009-10)
Yearbook photographs of principals Timothy Slayter, Nancy Mercer, and LaRonda Peterson. Timothy Slayter and Nancy Mercer's pictures are from our 2012 to 2013 yearbook, and Principal Peterson's picture is a staff photograph taken in 2018. Slayter and Mercer are posed outside our building against a brick wall and Peterson's picture is studio portrait.
Principals Timothy Slayter (Left, 2010-16), Nancy Mercer (Center, 2016), and LaRonda Peterson (Right, 2016-Present).

A Look at Bucknell Today

Bucknell teachers are talented members of a professional learning community that aims for high academic results. Through collaborative team planning, co-teaching in an inclusive environment, and continual professional development on research-based instructional practices, teachers work to meet the learning needs of each student. In language arts, students participate in small group guided reading, Socratic Seminars, word study, and writing throughout all content areas. Students acquire higher-order math skills through small group instruction, hands-on manipulatives, and authentic problem-solving activities. Students explore topics in science and social studies using interactive methods of study, such as Smartboard technology, interactive notebooks, and project-based learning.  Students learn the scientific process and use this knowledge to conduct investigations that are shared in a school-wide Science Fair.

Photograph of nine students seated featured in our 2001 to 2002 yearbook. These students were new to Bucknell Elementary School that year and are of various ages. They are seated on a staircase inside the school with a hallway visible behind them in the distance.
Bucknell students, 2002

Bucknell also benefits from an award-winning mentor program that matches West Potomac High students with Bucknell students. Mentors provide homework help and school-success coaching for a variety of age levels. In addition, Bucknell’s 6th graders are fortunate to participate in the Bucknell-FBI/CAAA leadership and outreach program. 6th graders hear speakers, travel on field trips and participate in special events centered on leadership, positive self-image, fitness, and success in school. Bucknell is also proud partners with...

  • FBI/Citizens Academy Alumni Association
  • Hollin Hall Senior Center
Photograph of three students seated at their desks in a classroom. The students are working on laptops and are smiling at the camera.
Bucknell students, January 2017

Bucknell believes strongly in the parent-school partnership as a critical element to the success of students. Parents and family members are encouraged to volunteer, visit the Bucknell Parent Center, and connect with teachers and staff regularly. The parent center is open daily and is the portal for accessing school volunteer opportunities.  It also serves as a community and educational resource for parents.

The Bucknell school community believes in the ongoing power of education and the academic success of all students. The mission at Bucknell is to prepare students for advanced classes in middle and high school and to enable students to pursue higher education. “High expectations for all” and giving it “Your Bulldog Best” are words teachers and students live by at Bucknell Elementary.