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PotomacLifestyle.com

AUGUST 2019

Kids + Pets LET'S ALL GO TO THE DENTIST!

HAPPINESS UNLEASHED

THRICE AS NICE

EXCELLENCE. PASSION. INNOVATION. COURAGE.


OPENING

NOW

ENROLLING georgetownhill.com | 301-310-5105


SEPTEMBER 3

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9905 Counselman Road Potomac, MD


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Christina L. Cervieri, MD, is the Medical Director of APMI Ortho Sports. Her expertise as a boardcertified Orthopaedic Surgeon is unmatched and she has a wealth of experience. Dr. Cervieri’s educational background reflects her many passions and talents. At Yale, she studied philosophy, played Varsity Squash and Captained the Ski Team. On a semester abroad in Italy, she studied Studio Art and Art History. Ultimately setting her sights on a career in Medicine, she earned her Doctor of Medicine from the University of California, Los Angeles. After a year training in General Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, she went on to complete an Orthopaedic Surgery Residency at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and a Sports Medicine Fellowship at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, AL. Dr. Cervieri’s expertise has advanced APMI Orthopaedic, Sports Health & Regenerative Medicine in Chevy Chase as the premier destination for cutting-edge Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine treatment. We offer the latest innovative treatments in Sports & Regenerative Medicine such as PRP & Stem cell therapy as well as traditional modalities. APMI offers a full spectrum of care that includes surgical & non-surgical treatment options, physical therapy, acupuncture, and wellness services.

SERVICES WE OFFER

ORTHOPAEDIC SERVICES

PRP THERAPY

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LIFESTYLE LETTER

AUGUST 2019 PUBLISHER

KC Cole | kc.cole@LifestylePubs.com EDITORIAL COORDINATOR

Staci Sarg | staci.sarg@LifestylePubs.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Lauri Gross, Danielle Tepper

Kids and Pets!

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Monica Vidal, Jack Hartzman, Matt Mendelsohn, Rebecca Drobis, Howard Lansat

FOR MANY OF US, AUGUST IS A BITTERSWEET TURNING POINT IN THE CALENDAR YEAR. Summer freedom is drawing to a close, and the school bells will be ringing any day now. While the lazy days of sipping cool beverages poolside may be numbered, this month brings a sense of renewal. New routines, new clothes and new school supplies often come to mind in August. And because we dedicated an issue to both the men and women of our community earlier this year, it would only be right to celebrate some of our cutest residents: kids and pets! There’s no doubt we have some serious pet lovers in P ​ otomac. Meet a few pet children getting spoiled at Olde Towne Pet Resort as “Happiness Gets Unleashed.” Sprinkle on the fun and deliciousness at Sprinkles ice cream shop in the village. Come one, come all—even Sparky can enjoy a pet-safe ice cream treat! As we prepare for the kids to go back to school, we met with Leila Nassaj and her team of childcare experts at A to Z Fun Care.

CORPORATE TEAM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Steven Schowengerdt CHIEF SALES OFFICER Matthew Perry

We also explored the meaning of the common word “EPIC” at Fusion Academy in Rockville and how love and hope prevails. 

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER DeLand Shore ART DIRECTOR Sara Minor OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Janeane Thompson

Cheers to another wonderful month ahead, ​Potomac. We hope to see you around!

EDITORIAL MANAGER Nicolette Martin AD MANAGER Chad Jensen REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR Eric Williams WEB APPLICATIONS Michael O’Connell

KC Cole , Publisher

ARIZONA | CALIFORNIA | COLORADO | CONNECTICUT | FLORIDA | GEORGIA IDAHO | ILLINOIS | KANSAS | MARYLAND | MINNESOTA | MISSOURI | MONTANA NEVADA | NEW JERSEY | NORTH CAROLINA | OHIO | OKLAHOMA | OREGON SOUTH CAROLINA | TENNESSEE | TEXAS | VIRGINIA | WASHINGTON

PotomacLifestyle.com PHOTOGRAPHY BY MONICA VIDAL 6

Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019

514 W 26TH ST., KANSAS CITY, MO Proverbs 3:5-6 Potomac Lifestyle™ is published monthly by Lifestyle Publications LLC. It is distributed via the US Postal Service to some of the Potomac areas’ most affluent neighborhoods. Articles and advertisements do not necessarily reflect Lifestyle Publications’ opinions. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Lifestyle Publications does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. Information in Potomac Lifestyle™ is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.


INSIDE THE ISSUE AUGUST 2019

FEATURES 10 Thrice as Nice A to Z Fun Care Opens Third Potomac Location

14 Let's All Go to the Dentist! Kids Actually Want to See their Beloved Dr. Ben Liu and His Top-Notch Pediatric Team

20 Happiness Unleashed Four Paws Up!

32 Excellence. Passion. Innovation. Courage. The Acronym EPIC Reflects

20 10

Fusion Academy’s Commitment to Helping Students

32

14 DEPARTMENTS 6

Lifestyle Letter

10

Open House

14

Locals Only

24 Locally Owned 28 Giving Back 32 Inspired By


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OPEN HOUSE

Thrice as Nice A TO Z FUN CARE OPENS THIRD POTOMAC LOCATION

Pre-K Classroom: Rachel, director/ teacher assistant (right front with book); Vina, teacher infants, toddlers, preschool (front left); Monica, infant toddler room director (left back); Leila, owner director of operations (center); Mimi, substitute teacher (back right)

ARTICLE LAURI GROSS

WITH THREE POTOMAC LOCATIONS, THE APTLY NAMED A TO Z FUN CARE

PHOTOGRAPHY HOWARD LANSAT

SERVES LITTLE ONES FROM INFANCY THROUGH PRE-K WITH FUN, CARE AND LEARNING. Owner/director Leila Nassaj opened the newest A to Z Fun Care on Counselman Road to meet parents’ demand for more of what she offers at her Victory Lane and Falls Road sites since opening those in 2012 and 2017, respectively. She attributes much of her success to her staff.

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Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019


“My teachers have years and years of experience,” she says. “I see how much these children love my staff and my teachers. Sometimes the kids don’t want to go home. So, I know how much they give them love and attention. They really care about these children.” The teachers at A to Z Fun Care are also extremely welltrained and qualified. “Twelve of my teachers are level six,” Leila says, referring the Maryland State Child Care Credential system where level six is the highest. Leila insists on having a strong educational curriculum at all the A to Z Fun Care locations, so she employs the researched-based and award-winning system from Mother Goose Time. The kids think it’s just fun. The parents know it’s so much more.

TH E

Lisa

Vogel

Agency I N - HOM E C A R E

To ensure well-rounded enrichment, A to Z Fun Care encourages routine physical activity with both an indoor and outdoor safe-play area.

lisavogel agency.com 410-363-7770 We bill and collect from all long term care insurances. License No.R2635 Licensed as a residential service agency by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Health Care Quality.

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By far the best pediatric dentist that I’ve come across. Dr. Liu goes above and beyond in his services as well as putting my child at ease.

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Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019

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LOCALS ONLY

LET'S ALL GO TO THE DENTIST! KIDS ACTUALLY WANT TO SEE THEIR BELOVED DR. BEN LIU AND HIS TOP-NOTCH PEDIATRIC TEAM

ARTICLE LAURI GROSS | PHOTOGRAPHY MONICA VIDAL 14

Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019


SAY THESE WORDS ALOUD: “STRESS-FREE DENTAL EXPERIENCE FOR CHILDREN.” Now say them again so they sink in. This seemingly magical fantasy is actually reality at SuperKids Pediatric Dentistry, according to real-life patients and their parents. Dr. Ben Liu has established a practice dedicated to providing sophisticated, high-technology dental care for patients from newborn to age 18 in a beautiful, comforting atmosphere with gentle, respectful care. Each of Dr. Liu’s offices—in Sterling, Alexandria, Rockville and Potomac—adhere to

KID TESTIMONIALS “I LIKE DR. LIU BECAUSE HE MAKES ME LAUGH AND HAS FUN GIFTS.”

his high standards of trust and expertise. “From the minute my well-trained staff and I welcome you into our office, you’ll know we consider all our patients to be family,” says Dr. Liu, whose practice includes several other dentists in addition to dental assistants and office staff. Dr. Liu recommends bringing a child in for their first dental visit no later than their first birthday. “We will gently examine the child’s teeth and gums,” he

“I LOVE THE COLORFUL ATMOSPHERE AND HAPPY DOCTOR.”

says. “We may clean the child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride, and we will make sure the child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. And, most importantly, we will review with parents how to clean and care for their child’s teeth.” From the time a baby’s first tooth emerges from their gums through age 18, a person’s dental needs will certainly evolve. Everything from the proper amount of toothpaste  and the correct size and shape of the toothbrush to the best method of brushing and flossing should change as a child grows. Dr. Liu and his staff take time to explain these important nuances to each patient and/or their parents. They also help to break harmful dental habits, including thumb-sucking, and are happy to accommodate special-needs patients with private treatment rooms, a highly trained staff employing behavioral management techniques and more. Each SuperKids office features gleaming, bright decor with an open-concept floor plan. The waiting areas include countertop seating with plenty of outlets for patients’ devices and a large TV showing kid-friendly movies. Pops of color and gatherings of toys and stuffed animals bring smiles and help to ease the tension in little ones for whom these perks are more important than the fact that Dr. Liu uses the most advanced dental tools and practices. Dr. Liu offers several options for pain control and sedation, particularly for patients whose anxiety may cause them to actually pose harm to their own safety during a dental procedure. In these cases, and every case, Dr. Liu and his team regularly discuss each option with parents, to ensure the best experience and outcome for each patient. Parents say their kids don’t mind going to the dentist at all, as long as that dentist is SuperKids Pediatric Dentistry.

PARENT TESTIMONIALS “MY KIDS THINK THEY’RE GREAT AND NEVER FEAR GOING TO THE DENTIST— EVEN FOR A FILLING.” “AMAZING EXPERIENCE. I HAVE A CHILD WITH EXTREME ANXIETY. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DR. LIU.” “WE NEVER FEEL RUSHED, AND HE ANSWERS ALL OF OUR QUESTIONS. “LOVE THE WAY THE OFFICE IS SET UP—COZY AND DECORATIVE.” August 2019 | Potomac Lifestyle

15


Potomac Hair Design A boutique outpatient addiction center located in the heart of Potomac. Our program is evidence-based and entirely confidential. Day and evening programs, and free family support, are available.

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“I love coming here.” – actual patient 16

Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019

301-299-9575 POTOMACHAIRDESIGN.COM

10111 River Rd Potomac Shopping center between the Walgreens and Hunter’s Inn


Mention that you found us in Potomac Lifestyle! WHAT WE OFFER Educational program(curriculum for 6 months to kindergarten age) include: Math, science, social studies, reading, writing, spelling.

Separate classrooms for different ages Separate nap area for infants & toddlers

Certified Teachers (Level 6 of teaching)

Bright&Clean, with new and modern supplies, equipment, and materials

Nutritious meals(breakfast-lunch-snacks)

Educational toys and supplies

Multiple languages( English, French, Spanish, Farsi, & Sign language )

Safe playground area with brand new equipment

Certified teachers and staff with years of experience in early childhood education

Music & Dance classes Potty training

(301) 943-7775 | AtoZFunCare.com | AtoZfuncare@aol.com


AT O

ER NT

Z

PRESCHOOL & CHILD C E R A AR EC NC U F E

Clean, Friendly & Licensed DEVELOPMENT Early childhood a time for remarkable brain development; these years lay the foundation for subsequent learning. Nurturing nutrition, interaction and stimulus during this period are paramount: A to Z Fun Care provides a wonderful start on a child’s road to success.

OPPORTUNITY We believe each child deserves to grow and learn at his or her pace. Our responsibility is to provide the tools and the environment that will give each child the opportunity to develop to their greatest potential.

HIGHLY SKILLED All employees at A to Z Fun Care are highly skilled and trained with completed certifications by the Maryland Office of Child Care. Extensive background checks and qualifications in child CPR and First Aid are mandatory for all employees. They are also screened and selected for their natural warm and nurturing dispositions.

CONNECTION Our Programs offers a connected approach to literacy using the 5 areas of reading instruction established by The National Institute for Literacy: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Text Comprehension, Fluency and Vocabulary.

HIGHER IQs Foreign and Sign Languages are also instituted at our center, as studies have shown that children who are taught to sign may test 10-12 points higher on IQ tests and tend to hold expanded conversations at earlier ages.

Potomac Locations: 8916 Victory Lane | 10120 Falls Rd. | 10001 Councelman Rd


Happiness Unleashed

ARTICLE LAURI GROSS PHOTOGRAPHY MATT MENDELSOHN

THE OLDE TOWNE PET RESORT WEBSITE SAYS THEY HAVE THOUGHT OF EVERYTHING SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO. And they aren’t kidding. It is doubtful that you—or your dog or cat—could dream up a better pet resort than this one. Luxury accommodations? Check. Playground equipment? Definitely. Back-up generators? Of course. And we’re just getting started. Speaking of getting started, a visit to the Olde Towne Pet Resort (with locations in Sterling, North Bethesda  and Springfield) starts with an interview so the staff gets to know each fourlegged and two-legged client. This helps the team assess each dog’s personality to ensure the best outcome if the dog is in playgroups with other dogs or if the dog needs special attention during thunderstorms, for instance. The low pet-to-staff ratio means plenty of personal attention for each guest, whether they are staying in one of the facility’s classic, premiere, five-star or luxury suites. Certain suites allow pet owners to check up on their pets in real time via webcams. In the cattery, the felines can watch fish on TV. All the dogs’ suites are spacious and have solid walls between them, with glass fronts. All have self-filling water stations for a steady supply of cold, fresh, filtered water. A hospital-grade air filtration system and 24/7 staffing provide even more comfort and security. Even more than the safety, cleanliness and security, the dogs love the fun. “We offer five-star care and four-paw fun,” says  Robyn Leenaerts, vice president of Marketing at the Olde Towne Pet Resort. She says their clients tell them, “Short of themselves, no one cares for their pets like we do.” When pets go home, she says, “They are exhausted from having so much fun.” “It’s crucial to the well-being of a dog to socialize,” Robyn says. “We are very careful. We test every

PETS GIVE OLDE TOWNE PET RESORT FOUR PAWS UP 20

Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019

CONTINUED >


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August 2019 | Potomac Lifestyle

21


HAPPINESS UNLEASHED

(CON TI N U ED)

dog and give them an evaluation to make sure it is safe and healthy. We divide them by energy and temperament. We can have a small dog with a big old dog if they are at the same speed of play. We have a cardio run for dogs who want to burn off energy. They are completely happy and wiped out.” Some of the Olde Towne Pet Resort locations hold “Bark Day” celebrations on dog’s birthdays. The dogs might participate in holiday parades around the facility. On Valentine’s Day, dogs might leave Valentines for each other. Indoor and outdoor play areas provide toys and canine-appropriate structures for climbing, exploring and showcasing their agility. There are even swimming pools for the dogs for joint-friendly cardio play. Dogs enter the room-temperature water wearing a life vest and accompanied by a human helper. Afterward, a large blow dryer ensures they don’t return to their suite while still wet. The Resort offers spa packages including bathing and haircuts, facials, and nose and paw-rub treatments with a massage. At the end of their stay, each pet receives a report card. “These let you know the activities they did and who they made friends within day camp,” Robyn says. “Some dogs get overactive, so we pull them into a run in between, like a timeout. If they have corrective issues, we’ll let you know. We let you know good things and anything we are worried about,” she says. All the Olde Towne Pet Resort locations are owned by the Fried family. “This was their labor of love and a passion project,” says Robyn, who explains that the Frieds are real estate developers. The Frieds built the Springfield location first,  about 15 years ago. The Dulles facility came about five years later, and the Bethesda location opened about two years ago.   The Bethesda facility can board about 100 dogs at a time, while the others can handle closer to 140. Various play areas accommodate about 100 dogs in manageable-sized groups for day camp. Each location includes a retail area offering training tools, toys, leashes, collars, treats and grooming products. The only downside:  Your human children may want to stay, and your dogs may not want to leave.   22

Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019


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LOCALLY OWNED Photo Credit Monica Vidal

Photo Credit Rebecca Drobis

Photo Credit Rebecca Drobis

Photo Credit Monica Vidal

Owner Courtney Banks Spaeth Photo Credit Rebecca Drobis Master Sharma and the kids of East West Tae Kwon Do enjoying ice cream after a hard practice. Photo Credit Monica Vidal

24

Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019


DID SOMEONE SAY SPRINKLES? ICONIC POTOMAC VILLAGE ICE CREAM SHOP MARKS 30TH ANNIVERSARY WITH OLD FAVORITES AND NEW SURPRISES

WHOEVER SAID, “I SCREAM. YOU SCREAM. WE

“All prices and products have stayed the same,”

ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM,” HAS NEVER BEEN

Courtney says. “We have added. We haven’t sub-

TO SPRINKLES, THE ICONIC POTOMAC VILLAGE

tracted. Sprinkles is an institution even though

SHOP THAT HAS BEEN FULFILLING THE COMMU-

there is new ownership.”

NITY’S ICE CREAM DREAMS FOR 30 YEARS. Visitors

One of the additions to the store is the retail area

to Sprinkles experience a treat for the senses, but there

where shoppers find one-of-a-kind birthday cards,

is a distinct lack of screaming. It’s mostly happiness and

decorations, candles and other party supplies.

smiles, actually—and no shortage of giggling.

“It’s super popular,” Courtney says.

With a menu of bagels, smoothies, candies, pies,

As a dog-friendly establishment, Sprinkles welcomes

doughnuts and more, Sprinkles is actually an ice

canine visitors and even provides dog-safe ice cream treats.

cream shop plus a bakery and candy store.

And Sprinkles is a responsible steward of the environment.

While Sprinkles makes its own frozen yogurt,

“We try as much as possible to use all paper and

the ice cream is from Thomas Sweet and Hershey.

plastic that is recyclable, including spoons, and

A new line of vegan ice cream is coming soon, and

some things are biodegradable,” Courtney says.

the shop offers some non-dairy products such as sorbet. Sugar cones at Sprinkles are certified glu-

Sprinkles is also a popular caterer at corporate, community and private events.

ten-free. The Sprinkles crew uses organic ingredi-

“It is important for any business owner to partic-

ents for the smoothies and some other products,

ipate in the locality,” Courtney says. “We sponsor a

and they use local sources whenever possible.

lot of community events, from regional schools to

“We source from local farms, dairies, candy dis-

senior centers. We need to be citizens of our com-

tributors and creameries as much as possible,” says

munity. We have a social conscience, and any busi-

Courtney Spaeth, CEO and co-owner of Sprinkles.

ness owner nowadays that doesn’t is out of touch.” 

So, when customers see new summer flavors like

Sprinkles gives to and works with the veterans service

watermelon and peach on the Sprinkles menu this

organization Hope for the Warriors, the Katherine Thomas

month, they can be sure they’re eating real fruit.

School Treatment and Learning Center and more.

Courtney’s husband, Jon, is also an owner of

“The three owners [of Sprinkles] are very com-

Sprinkles, as is Sharon Gubinsky, who also serves

mitted and excited to be in the business and are

as CFO. The Spaeths’ daughter, Erica, is one of the

working hard to make sure that it stays as fun as it

store managers. This new ownership team bought

has always been,” Courtney says.

the store earlier this year.

And that is nothing to scream at.

ARTICLE LAURI GROSS PHOTOGRAPHY MONICA VIDAL

August 2019 | Potomac Lifestyle

25


Welcome to the “Cheers of Potomac” Neighborhood Restaurant for over 30 years. Come enjoy great food, great people and a great venue to host your next event. Bridal, Baby Showers, Engagement, Retirement Parties and more!

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Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019

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August 2019 | Potomac Lifestyle

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GIVING BACK

Everlasting Flowers (and Butterflies) POTOMAC ENTREPRENEUR OFFERS MEMORIES THAT NEVER DIE

ARTICLE DANIELLE S. TEPPER PHOTOGRAPHY JACK HARTZMAN

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Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019


“YOUR MONEY IS GOING TO HELP PEOPLE WHO NEED IT INSTEAD OF A STORE. A LOT OF PEOPLE NEED HELP. CHARITIES ALWAYS NEED DONATIONS. THIS IS A NICE WAY TO GIVE BACK.”

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August 2019 | Potomac Lifestyle

29


GIVING BACK

(CON TI N U ED)

SAHAR ITANI GREW UP HEARING THAT “WITH PRIVILEGE

The undying flowers serve as a reminder to the recipient that they

COMES RESPONSIBILITY.” She built her business around this

also gave back to the community in some small way.

idea, sending a percentage of profits to charities with every

“I’ve always wanted to do charity work,” Sahar says. “But I wanted

purchase of her meticulously handcrafted floral arrangements.

to be the only decision-maker for my business because not everyone

That’s not the only thing that makes Fleurs Et Papillons so special.

would share my vision, and you have to have so many different people

Sahar’s flowers just so happen to last years longer than those you

involved in a nonprofit. So I started a for-profit that helps nonprofits.”

might find at your local florist.

When Fleurs Et Papillons provides the arrangements for a charity

French for “flowers and butterflies,” Fleurs Et Papillons

function or fundraiser, a portion of the proceeds always goes to the

has been offering a unique twist on bouquets and baskets to

cause involved, such as education or cancer research. And the possi-

Potomac-area residents since 2016. The blooms aren’t fake (they

bilities are endless when it comes to providing beautiful keepsakes that

will eventually fall apart), but real, fresh flowers that have been

can be admired long after those special events and occasions are over.

chemically treated to live for one year—guaranteed—or perhaps

“My prices may be 50% more than regular fresh flowers, but I

even longer, as Sahar says some have lasted as long as three

would want people to know that they’re getting a whole year’s supply

years under her care. Her most popular product is roses.

in one purchase,” she says. “And your money is going to help people

The process involves treating the petals with different oils and softeners, stripping the color completely until they’re almost trans-

who need it instead of a store. A lot of people need help. Charities always need donations. This is a nice way to give back.”

lucent. Then color, any color at all, is reintroduced. The flowers

Fleurs Et Papillons does not have a storefront yet, but look for their

lose their natural scent, but she adds rose oil, which is absorbed

pop-up shop in Tysons Galleria this holiday season. To shop arrange-

back into the petals. The end result is a gift that keeps on giving.

ments and more, visit FleursPapillons.com.

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Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019


2017

“I WANTED TO BE THE ONLY DECISION-MAKER FOR MY BUSINESS BECAUSE NOT EVERYONE WOULD SHARE MY VISION, AND YOU HAVE TO HAVE SO MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE INVOLVED IN A NONPROFIT. SO I STARTED A FOR-PROFIT

SIDING WINDOWS ROOFS DOORS

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THAT HELPS NONPROFITS.”

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August 2019 | Potomac Lifestyle

31


INSPIRED BY

Excellence. Passion. Innovation. Courage. THE ACRONYM EPIC REFLECTS FUSION ACADEMY’S COMMITMENT TO HELPING STUDENTS RECOGNIZE THE POSITIVE FUTURE THEY HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE

WHEN

STUDENTS

ARRIVE

AT

FUSION

ACADEMY

IN

ROCKVILLE, THEY IMMEDIATELY FEEL WELCOME. Joy Funk, area that bears no resemblance to the front office of most schools. On the wall behind her stylish desk sits a surfboard-shaped mosaic, the pieces of which spell the word “Fusion.” It’s a nod to the school’s California beginnings, explains Head of School Joseph Kavitski. “The mosaic is a powerful visual representation of our community—a collage of distinctive, creative  and irreplaceable elements that form a one-of-a-kind school where every kid can flourish,” he says. “No matter the shape, size or color, each part fits together to create something beautiful.” Likewise, this transformational school helps students discover their unique path to life-changing success, like pieces of a diverse mosaic that complement a whole.    At Fusion, teachers are known as teacher-mentors, and each class is taught in a one-to-one arrangement. They believe  positive relationships are the key to unlocking the potential in every student, and their one-to-one ratio in the classroom grants Fusion the ability to customize every aspect of a student’s experience. This includes how they learn best, the start and end time of their day and more. CONTINUED >

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Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019

ARTICLE LAURI GROSS | PHOTOGRAPHY JACK HARTZMAN

director of First Impressions, greets them warmly by name in an entry


Individualized music lessons

August 2019 | Potomac Lifestyle

33


INSPIRED BY

(CON TI N U ED)

“While we offer 1:1 education, we’re so much more,” says Olga Marable, director of Admissions and Outreach for Fusion Rockville. “We’re a community of learning dedicated to creating a supportive campus environment where every kid can flourish emotionally, academically and socially.” Everything about the physical space of Fusion is the result of a careful, deliberate design process. It’s what Joseph calls the “psychology of the space,” and it’s done to achieve an atmosphere where everyone feels safe, cared for, engaged  and confident in themselves as learners. Officially, the inviting warmth incorporates aspects of feng shui. Unofficially, it feels like home. Pictures of students and their teachers adorn the walls. Students lounge on bean bag chairs in the

STEM

Homework Cafe or collaborate to solve creative challenges. They can compose music in the state-of-the-art music studio  or pursue other passions in the school’s other specialized spaces, a yoga studio and art studio. The staff makes a point of knowing each student’s name and personal story, including dreams and challenges. “Unless that student feels seen, heard and truly understood, learning and growth won’t happen,” Joseph says. “Learning should not be a painful experience, and it doesn’t have to be. We believe each and every student deserves to feel empowered, and we do our best to customize our students’ education experience as much as possible so they can truly learn to love learning again.” A prime example is Fusion’s innovative Homework Café, two relaxed and comfortable spaces where students can complete assignments with teacher assistance and socialize with their friends. The Fusion team finds that keeping homework at school eliminates nightly homework battles, improves the quality of family time, and keeps kids excited about learning. This is also a space for clubs, student meetings, games, wellness practices  and activities led by the director of Homework Cafe. While plenty of students are enrolled full-time at Fusion, others come there to retake a single class,

Homework Cafe

catch up over the summer, attend tutoring sessions, or try something new. Everyone’s journey that led them to Fusion is different. A Fusion parent says: “Fusion provided the flexible class schedule that [our daughter] needed while keeping a high level of academic excellence. During the individualized classes, the teachers … focus on the student’s needs, developing the topics through interactive discussions and connections to real-life experiences and examples.” For her daughter, this parent says, Fusion was “life-changing.” 34

Potomac Lifestyle | August 2019

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Potomac, MD August 2019  

August 2019 Issue of Potomac Lifestyle

Potomac, MD August 2019  

August 2019 Issue of Potomac Lifestyle