School History

Construction of West Springfield Elementary School began in March 1964. Classes started in September of that year even though our building was not yet complete. West Springfield’s 223 students were housed in temporary facilities at Garfield and Keene Mill elementary schools, and West Springfield operated separately from these host schools under the leadership of our first principal Glen Douglas Pond. Originally projected to be ready by October, construction delays, spurred on by labor shortages, pushed the opening date of West Springfield initially to December 1964 and again to May 1965. With construction largely complete in May, the School Board directed Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) administrators to open West Springfield immediately and move the students into the building on May 4, 1965.

Newspaper article photograph with caption showing seven smiling children in front of West Springfield Elementary School. The children closest to the camera, all boys, are carrying armfuls of books. The image caption reads: Home at Last – Students of the new West Springfield Elementary School, after eight months of attending class in neighboring schools, move, book and backbag, into their new school building on Deland Drive in the West Springfield area.
The Washington Sun Newspaper, May 6, 1965

Designed by the architecture firm of Sheridan and Behm, West Springfield Elementary originally had 20 classrooms and was built by the W. A. Sherman Construction Company for $472,000. When West Springfield opened, 11 classrooms, a library, and the administrative offices were ready for use, but the cafeteria was not finished and there was no playground so students played in the driveway in front of our school.  

Black and white photograph of the front of West Springfield Elementary School taken during the winter of 1968. Snow has fallen and is melting along the driveway. The grounds now have grass and small shrubs and trees have been planted.
West Springfield Elementary School, 1968

An Integrated School

From the founding of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in 1870 until the early 1960s, public schools in Fairfax County were segregated by race. In 1960, FCPS began a slow process of desegregation which culminated at the end of the 1965-66 school year. Prior to that time, African-American families who were interested in having their children attend a school nearer their home had to apply for pupil placement in previously all-white school buildings. Class photographs from 1964-65 indicate West Springfield opened as an integrated school with three African-American children enrolled.

Black and white West Springfield Grade 1 class photograph from the 1964 to 1965 school year. 32 students, the principal, and two teachers are shown. All but one of the children in the class is Caucasian. To the right of the class photograph are enlargements of the photographs of the three African-American children enrolled at West Springfield that year.
West Springfield Class Photographs, 1964-65

In April 1964, the School Board approved the transfer of two students from Drew-Smith, an all-African-American elementary school located in the Gum Springs community on Route 1, to West Springfield Elementary School. The two children named in School Board records were Richard and David Williams. There are no names associated with the children in our early class photographs, so at present we are unable to verify the names of the three children pictured, but the two boys are likely the Williams boys.

Collage showing the covers of three West Springfield Elementary School yearbooks. On the left is the cover of the 1967 to 1968 yearbook. It is a simple white cover with the word classbook printed in yellow and black. An illustration of books is in the bottom right corner. The 1982 to 1983 is in the center of the collage. It is a blue cover with an illustration of a horse – a mustang – our school mascot. The 1991 to 1992 yearbook is on the right. It features a collage of photographs of children surrounding a photograph of the school in the center.
West Springfield Yearbook Covers, 1967-68, 1982-83, 1991-92

Kindergarten

Did you know that when West Springfield Elementary School opened there were no kindergarteners in our school? A kindergarten program was piloted in several schools in 1967 and proved so successful that one year later FCPS implemented kindergarten county-wide. FCPS enrolled approximately 8,000 children in kindergarten in September 1968. Below are photographs of two kindergarten classes, one from our 1972-73 yearbook, and the other from our 2005-06 yearbook.   

Two class photographs are shown side-by-side. On the left, in black and white, is morning kindergarten class from the 1972 to 1973 yearbook. The teachers are Mrs. Sprunk and Mrs. Priheau. 23 students are pictured, all Caucasian. On the right, in color, is Mrs. Best’s kindergarten class from the 2005 to 2006 yearbook. The students in 2006 represent a wide variety of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds indicative of the diversity found in Fairfax County schools today.

Renovations and Additions

During the late 1970s, as new housing developments were constructed in the West Springfield area, the student population of our school rose dramatically. In 1979, FCPS administrators reported to the Fairfax County School Board that there were 420 students enrolled at West Springfield, but our building only had a capacity of 370 children. The following year, West Springfield’s enrollment spiked to 569 children. Redistricting and the opening of White Oaks Elementary School decreased our student population to 347 in 1985.

Color photograph of the exterior of West Springfield Elementary school from a 35 millimeter slide. The date the photograph was taken is unknown, but is thought to be in the late 1980s based on the clothing of the people in the image. The photograph shows the front of the building, including the main entrance, and was taken during the fall because the leaves on the trees have started to change color.
West Springfield Elementary School, Undated

When West Springfield opened our school lacked many of the features we enjoy today. Elementary schools constructed the 1960s were built with very limited funding and as a result had no air conditioning, gymnasiums, or music rooms. At West Springfield, physical education was taught by the classroom teachers in their rooms, or outside through structured play. The first addition to our school was constructed in 1986 and consisted of a combined gymnasium and music room. The second addition to West Springfield was built in 1989 and added classrooms for the School Age Child Care (SACC) program. The first school-wide renovation of our building took place in 1993. The most recent addition to our school was constructed in 2012.

Black and white ink illustration of West Springfield Elementary School as it appeared in 2001. The illustration is framed and hangs in the main office at the school.
This illustration was a gift to our school by the 6th grade class of 2001.

Our Principals

Fun Facts

In 2001, West Springfield teacher Katie Snead’s third-grade class was featured in the Washington Post’s KidsPost publication. The article reported that there were 370 children at West Springfield, our school nickname was the Mighty Mustangs, and that the most popular books in the library were the Harry Potter series, Lee Wardlaw's "101 Ways to Bug Your Parents," Andrew Clements's "Frindle" and "The Landry News," and the Magic School Bus series. Students stated their favorite activities at recess were basketball and playing on the playground, their favorite after-school activity was Hands-on-Science classes, and the weirdest item found in the school lost and found was a wig.