School History

Navy Elementary School opened in February 1956. Prior to February, Navy’s students were housed at the old Floris schools on West Ox Road.

Black and white photograph from 1955 showing the two schools at Floris. One is a single-story building with a bell tower on the roof. The second building is much larger with three stories.
Built in 1911, the one-story Floris School housed students in the primary grades. This building still stands today near the entrance to Frying Pan Park. Upper elementary students were housed in the old Floris Agricultural High School building that had been built in 1920.

Navy Elementary School began construction in March 1955. Designed by the architecture firm of Ballou & Justice, our school originally had nine classrooms, a cafeteria, and a library.

Black and white photograph of the original front entrance of Navy Elementary School. The entrance faced West Ox Road and had a small parking lot in front.
Navy Elementary School, February 7, 1956. Navy was built the Blackwell Engineering Company of Warrenton, Virginia, at a cost of $312,184. Photograph courtesy of the Virginia Room, Fairfax County Public Library.

In 1956, when Navy Elementary School opened, the total student enrollment in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) was approximately 33,600. Within ten years, that number would grow to more than 94,000. During that same time period, enrollment at Navy grew from 250 on opening day to 433 elementary students and 26 preschool Head Start pupils in 1966. Our first principal was Louise Rinker Harrison.

Black and white photograph of Principal Harrison seated at her desk. The walls are unadorned because the school had only recently been completed.
Principal Harrison, February 7, 1956. Courtesy of the Virginia Room, Fairfax County Public Library.

Navy Elementary School was dedicated on the snowy afternoon of March 18, 1956. In May of that year, Navy held its first annual Fun Festival and Bazaar to raise funds for playground equipment. Guest entertainers included Ray Haney of WRC-TV, the Fox Studio Dancers, the Morrow Theater Dancers, and Red Tannen. The festival also featured a band concert, a variety show, pony rides, and games. Television star Pick Temple, a cowboy folksinger, headlined the second annual festival in May 1957.

Black and white photograph of the May Day court. The students are posed in front of the original main entrance to Navy Elementary School.
May Day at Navy Elementary School, Undated.

A Decade of Change

The decade of the 1960s brought several major changes to Navy Elementary School. In September 1960, FCPS opened its first intermediate schools. Prior to this time, elementary schools in Fairfax County educated children in grades one through seven.

Black and white photograph of Navy Elementary School’s Safety Patrol in the late 1950s.
Navy Elementary School Safety Patrol, Undated.

When Navy opened, public schools in Virginia were segregated by race. In the early 1960s, FCPS began a slow process of desegregation which culminated at the end of the 1965-66 school year. In June 1964, FCPS closed Oak Grove, an elementary school for African-American children in the Town of Herndon, and reassigned some of the children to Navy.

Black and white class picture from the 1965 yearbook. 35 children and their teacher are pictured.
Miss Hitchcock’s Combined Grade 3 and 4 Class, 1964-65.

During the 1967-68 school year, a kindergarten program was piloted in several schools and proved so successful that one year later FCPS implemented kindergarten county-wide. Our school opened its doors to the five-year-olds of the neighborhood in September 1968. FCPS enrolled approximately 8,100 children in kindergarten during the 1968-69 school year.

Black and white directory photographs showing Navy Elementary School’s teachers and principal.
Navy Elementary School’s Faculty, 1964-65.

Renovations and Additions

In November 1957, the architecture firm of Pickett & Siess of Falls Church was hired to prepare plans for an addition to Navy Elementary School. Our little nine-classroom building, less than two-years old, was already becoming overcrowded. The contract for a six-classroom addition was awarded in May 1958.

Aerial photograph of Navy Elementary School taken in 1960.
Navy Elementary School, 1960, with the addition outlined in red. The addition was built by the Lindon Construction Company at a cost of $50,447. Photograph courtesy of Fairfax County GIS & Mapping Services.

During the summer of 1964, $10,000 was spent in grading, landscaping, and adding a large blacktop for a play area. By January 1973, enrollment at Navy had swelled to 453 students. The pupil-capacity of Navy was limited to 450 students at this time because our school used a septic system due to its rural location far from any existing county sewer line. This limitation led to the readjustment of Navy Elementary School’s attendance boundary in 1977, when some students were transferred to Flint Hill Elementary School.

Black and white photograph of the front exterior of Navy Elementary School showing the original main entrance to the building.
Navy Elementary School, Circa 1968

Navy’s first renovation occurred during the 1978-79 school year. A new library-media center, special education classrooms, the gymnasium, and a music classroom were added.

Black and white photograph of students playing recorders.
1981-82. The 1978 addition to Navy Elementary School was built by the N. S. Stavrou Construction Company at a cost of $531,450.

A third addition to Navy Elementary School was constructed in 1986. Built at a cost of $1.7 million, the addition included ten-classrooms, a new foyer, and an expanded cafeteria. An area of green space enclosed by the L-shaped classroom wing became our school’s courtyard. The bus loop and parking lot on Ox Trail were also built at this time, and Navy was connected to the county’s sewer system. A rededication ceremony was held in October 1986. Students sang, put on a talent show, and ate spaghetti with their parents in the cafeteria.

Black and white photograph of a teacher and a student at a computer workstation.
Pictured above, Mrs. Dixon helps a student in the computer room in 1987. The student appears to be working on an Atari 800XL computer. Introduced in 1983, the system contained 64 kibibytes of memory.

Air conditioning was installed in the 1950s-era sections of our building in 1990. By the turn of the century, rapid student population growth in western Fairfax County led to significant overcrowding at Navy. From 1999 to 2002, the number of portable classroom trailers in use at our school grew from seven to twelve. In June 2003, construction began on a fourth addition to Navy Elementary School.

Picture of the front exterior of Navy Elementary School during renovation. The picture was printed in the school’s 2006 yearbook.
Navy Elementary School, c.2005.

Explore the evolution of our school building, from 2002 to 2009, in this series of aerial photographs.

What’s in a Name?

Have you ever wondered how Navy Elementary School got its name? Find out in this video produced for the Fairfax County Public Schools cable television channel Red Apple 21.

The First Navy School

If you attended Navy Elementary School prior to May 2017, you might remember seeing a small white house that stood about 50 yards south of our school. That little house was originally a one-room schoolhouse called the Navy School.

Black and white photograph of a small house with white siding.
The former Navy School, circa 1969. After it ceased operation as a school, the building was converted into a dwelling. Photograph courtesy of the Virginia Room, Fairfax County Public Library.

Navy Elementary School’s first principal, Louise Rinker Harrison, began her teaching career at that little schoolhouse in the 1920s, when she was just 18-years-old! Learn more about the fascinating history of the first Navy School.

Creative Play

If you attended Navy Elementary School in the mid-1980s or early 1990s, you probably have very fond memories of the school playground. Designed by architect Robert Leathers, Navy’s “Creative Play Area” was constructed in the spring of 1982 by parents, community members, and students. A multi-level wooden structure, the playground featured mazes, slides, bridges, tunnels, and a dragon carved by chainsaws out of a 3,000 pound tree trunk. Take a look:

Fun Fact

In past years, Navy School's symbols have been an anchor and Captain Ness (an acronym for Navy Elementary School Students). Students selected the dolphin as our school's mascot in 1985.

Photographs showing Captain Ness and the dolphin mascots.
On the left is the cover of an informational brochure about Navy Elementary School featuring Captain Ness. On the right is the cover of our 1986-87 yearbook.

Then and Now

Navy Elementary School has experienced many changes since it opened in 1956, but some things remain the same, such as our commitment to academic excellence, community service, and strong home/school partnerships.

Elementary school experiences and memories last a lifetime. They give each of us the necessary skills to function as a member of a groups as well as an individual.
~ Dr. Barbara Fry, Principal, 1985-90
Two photographs of Navy Elementary School’s Safety Patrol. The top picture is from 1964, and the bottom picture is from 1999.
Safety Patrol, 1964-65 and 1999-00.
Photograph of the covers of four Navy Elementary School yearbooks.
Navy Elementary School Yearbook Covers, 1965, 1982, 1996, and 2019

A Glimpse Back in Time

In 1992, Navy Elementary School was the subject of the Fairfax County Public Schools cable television channel series Profile. The Red Apple 21 crew spent several days at Navy, gathering interviews with teachers and classroom footage. The resulting 29-minute documentary provides a fascinating snapshot of Navy in the early 1990s.

Glimpses of Navy (1981-2004)

Our Principals