Mt. Vernon District Newsletter

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Contact Karen:

Karen Corbett Sanders

Phone: 571-423-1086


Annie Meier
Executive Admin Assistant

April 2016 Update

Wow, what a whirlwind it has been.  Since taking office 3 months  ago, I have visited 29 of the 43 schools that Mt. Vernon’s students attend.  I have had the opportunity to meet with about ¼ of the PTAs, the Hispanic Parent’s Association hosted by Edison HS and the West African Parent’s Association at Walt Whitman.  I also attend the monthly meetings of the Education Committee of the Mt. Vernon Council of Community Associations and the South County Federation Meetings.   I was honored to attend the commencement ceremonies for Mountain View and Bryant Alternative Schools.  Being in Bryant was particularly enjoyable since I attended High School in the building when it was Groveton.  It has not changed much. 
A lot is happening in Mt. Vernon including:


The School Board and Board of Supervisors have had numerous joint sessions discussing the budget challenges facing the school system and the County.   Most significantly, we need to address the salary gap that we have with our teachers.  Teachers in Alexandria City and Arlington County can make as much as $20,000 more per year than our teachers.  As a result, we are losing teachers to these jurisdictions as well as Prince William County where the cost of living is lower. 

We have had increased support from the state.  However, when taking into account the expected sales tax and student enrollment, FCPS estimates that we will receive an estimated $16.8 million more from the state.  Based on this and the proposed 3% increase from the county, the schools face a nearly $50 million shortfall next year.  However, we are optimistic that the County Board of Supervisors will allocate the revenues from the 4 cent increase of the property tax (not yet approved) and the yearend monies.  This would allow FCPS to begin to address the salary gap with our teachers, similar to what the County is doing for the first responders.
If you have not weighed in on the budget, I urge you to do so in advance of the Board of Supervisors mark up on April 19 and voting on April 26.

School Leadership

Dr. Anthony Terrell joined the faculty at Mt. Vernon HS in early March.  Dr. Terrell brings a wealth of experience to the school including a career military officer, expertise in teaching English as a Second Language and Advanced Academics.  I had the opportunity to attend his recent staff meeting and it was wonderful to hear how excited everyone was about the direction the school was going under Dr. Terrell’s leadership.  Please take the opportunity to welcome Dr. Terrell to our community.

Joseph Thompson, previously the Assistant Principal at Quander Road was appointed principal.  Mr. Thompson is a wonderful asset to the school and has long standing relationships with the students and parents in this community.

Last week, staff met with the community at Newington Forest Elementary to begin the process of filling the vacancy at that school.  I welcome any feedback that community members have on the process, on leadership characteristics or any other comments.

This week we will be announcing a new principal for the Ft. Belvoir School K-3 program that will open in the fall in the existing base facility.  The new school will be opened to serve 4-6 graders living in base housing.  That school will be led by the current principal of the Ft. Belvoir Elementary School. The opening of the new school on base will result in changes -in Woodlawn Elementary School’s enrollment, which will necessitate a minor boundary change.  We will be working with the effected communities in the coming weeks to discuss the possibilities.

Work with the Planning Commission

As the School Board Liaison to the Schools Committee of the Planning Commission, I am pleased to announce that FCPS and the Planning Commission are working together to develop recommendations to ensure that our planning and zoning ordinances reflect the needs of 21st century learning.  The two groups will begin meeting in April and will present recommendations to the Board of Supervisors in the fall.

Upcoming Events and Dates

April 8: Deadline for early registration and discounted tuition for summer enrichment institutes, camps, and classes: Institute for the Arts (IFTA), Elementary Institute for the Arts (E-IFTA), STEM Camp, Tech Adventure Camp, and Lake Braddock Secondary School Extended Day Adult and Community Education (ACE) enrichment classes.  For more information, visit the Summer Learning Programs page.


April 9:  The 11th annual Special Education Conference: Parents + Educators + Students = Success will be held on Saturday, at Hayfield Secondary School from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Conference information is available online or by calling 703-204-3941.

Registration now open for Adult Community Education

Opportunity to meet with me

Please call or email me if you would like the opportunity to meet in person to discussion issues or concerns about our schools.