School History

Vienna Elementary School, founded in 1870, is located in the heart of the Town of Vienna, which was named “Fourth Best City in America” in 2005. We are one of the oldest continuously operating public schools in Fairfax County. We are delighted that our renovation process has kept the charm of our unique building while providing us with a modern and beautiful learning environment for our students. Throughout our school’s long and vibrant history students have learned and excelled in a small, caring environment that maintains high expectations for student achievement.

How did the town of Vienna get its name?

A strong sense of community involvement and pride is the foundation of Vienna Elementary School. Students from diverse backgrounds and learning styles are embraced. Over twenty languages are spoken by students who are enrolled in our English for Speakers of Other Languages program, and our special education students, from preschool through grade six, are vital members of our school family. The entire school community benefits from celebrating the uniqueness and talents of each individual student. Creating a safe and caring environment is a priority at Vienna Elementary School. We utilize the strategies of Responsive Classroom to support students in becoming contributing members of a learning community. Our Valiant Viking Program to promote character and citizenship through recognition of students who adhere to the Viking Virtues.

As a Professional Learning Community, the talented and dedicated staff utilizes best practices in education such as differentiation of instruction for all learners, small group instruction in language arts and math, after-school remediation workshops, and integration of technology across the curriculum. Students learn and achieve at high levels of success, as indicated by standardized test scores and performance in the classroom. The focus of instruction is meeting the individual needs of students to maximize their total learning experience through engaging lessons.

Vienna Schools of Yesteryear

Black and white photo of First Vienna School for White Children
First Vienna School for White Children

From 1870 to 1965, Fairfax County public schools were segregated by race, so there were separate schools for white and African-American children. The first classes for African-American children in Vienna were held in a church on Lawyers Road. H. L. Salsbury taught school there during the 1870-71 school year, and John N. M. Mathews taught there the following year. The first classes for white children in Vienna were held in this small building located on Park Street between Church Street and Maple Avenue.

 

Black and white photo Third Vienna School for White Children
Third Vienna School for White Children

When the town of Vienna incorporated in 1890, the second school for white children (a two-room school built in 1872) was replaced by this one-story building with two classrooms. This building is still standing today on Center Street at its intersection with Locust Street and is known as the Bowman House. After the building was no longer used as a school, it was purchased by the Bowman family who moved the structure to its present site and converted it into a dwelling.

 

Black and white photo of Second Vienna School for African-American Children
Second Vienna School for African-American Children

In 1896, the town of Vienna built a one-room schoolhouse for African-American children on Lawyers Road at its intersection with Malcolm Road. It was replaced in 1939 by a three-room school on Nutley Street.

 

Black and white photo of the Vienna Colored School, Circa 1942
The Vienna Colored School, Circa 1942

The three-room school on Nutley Street was originally called the Vienna Colored School. In 1948 it was renamed in honor of Louise Archer, a former teacher and principal.

 

Black and white photo of The Fourth Vienna School for White Children, Circa 1915
The Fourth Vienna School for White Children, Circa 1915

In 1915, the town of Vienna constructed a new four-room school for white children on the present site of Vienna Elementary School. During the winter of 1919-1920, this building was destroyed when an explosion, caused by a boiler malfunction, leveled the building. Fortunately the accident happened at night and no one was hurt. Students were temporarily housed in other buildings, including the old two-room schoolhouse, until construction of the current Vienna Elementary School was complete in 1923.

 

Black and white photo of Vienna Elementary School, Opened in 1923
Vienna Elementary School, Opened in 1923

The oldest section of the current Vienna Elementary School opened in 1923. Our school has the distinction of being the oldest building in continuous operation in the Fairfax County public school system.  

 

Black and white photo of Vienna Elementary School, Circa 1942
Vienna Elementary School, Circa 1942

In September 1965, all Fairfax County public schools racially integrated. This significant milestone ended 75 years of separation between white and African-American children in the town of Vienna and marked the beginnings of the ethnically and culturally diverse Vienna Elementary School community we know today.