2016 June Newsletter

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Megan McLaughlin Banner image

Contact Megan:

Phone: 571-423-1088

Terry Restino
Executive Admin Assistant

Message from Megan McLaughlin


2016 School Year Wrap-up


With the school year about to conclude, I would like to provide you with some Spring highlights:


• FCPS Budget and 2017 Fiscal Forecast

• High School Middle School Grading & Reporting Changes

• School Board/Board of Supervisors June Retreat

• FCPS Teacher Compensation Study and Teacher Workload

• Braddock District Principal Retirements & Changes

• Braddock District opportunities to serve on School Board Advisory Committees


I would also like to extend my congratulations and best wishes to our 2016 FCPS high school graduates as they begin their next adventures in life. I continue to be inspired every day by the remarkable, talented and caring students (as well as teachers and staff) within our school system.

Recent changes have been made to the School Board newsletter process, so I look forward to providing more frequent updates in the future. In addition, I welcome hearing input from our students, parents, teachers and staff regarding ways to improve our school system. Please email your input to: momclaughlin@fcps.edu


Best wishes for a wonderful and restful summer break,




FCPS Budget and 2017 Fiscal Forecast

Over the past year, I met with several County Supervisors to advocate for equitable funding for both schools and county services. After extensive community dialogue, the Board of Supervisors voted to increase FCPS’ funding by 5% ($88M). FCPS was able to close the remaining $9M budgetary gap via cost-savings and minimal budget reductions. As a result, FCPS will be able to provide employee pay raises that are comparable to those being given to county employees, reduce large elementary class sizes, and ensure more competitive teacher salaries.


Given the 2017 Fiscal Forecast and the importance of implementing cost-savings in a timely manner, I proposed a budget follow-on motion that was approved by my colleagues (10-2).  This motion directs Superintendent Garza to identify (Fall 2016) any potential budget reductions that require earlier board discussion and/or decision-making, prior to its May 2017 budget vote.


High School/Middle School Grading and Reporting Changes

In order to ensure FCPS high school students will benefit from fair and equitable grading practices, Dr. Garza created an extensive working group. After 18 months of examining this important issue and identifying educational best practices, they made several recommendations for Fall 2016, which were presented to the Board at their June 13 work session.  The recommendations included:


Limiting the use of zeros for late and/or missing work


Providing guidelines related to homework, test retakes, test corrections, and the weighting of individual grades.


The link below provides more specific details:

June 13 School Board Work Session - Grading and Reporting


As a school board member and high school parent, I remain concerned about the heavy volume of high school homework. For the past three years, I have met with student leadership classes in which they consistently identify homework as their #1 stressor.  Their input mirrors similar findings from other countywide and national surveys.


Per FCPS’ Homework Regulation 3205, high school homework should not exceed two hours each night, for both standard and advanced-level courses. This is based upon extensive brain research about student achievement and the impact of homework. FCPS also offers guidelines for elementary and middle schools, which can be viewed in the link below

(Homework Regulation).


I will continue to advocate for effective homework, and I welcome parent/student/teacher input about your individual experiences.


School Board/Board of Supervisors June Retreat


This past week, the two boards met for a one-day retreat to discuss joint budget priorities as well as the need for additional pre-Kindergarten services. For the past four years, I have advocated for stronger board collaboration and was very pleased with the dialogue that occurred. It is essential that our elected bodies promote the mindset of “One Fairfax” whereby all Fairfax County services are valued and supported.


Teacher Compensation Study and Teacher Workload

Highly effective teachers ensure strong student achievement. Therefore, I support FCPS’ recent efforts to study teacher compensation in comparison to the DC-Metro area. Currently, FCPS salaries and total compensation have been below the average for our region. With an additional $40M in funding from the Board of Supervisors, the School Board has approved increases to the teacher salary scales (July 2016) that will strengthen FCPS’ competitiveness within the region. Additional funding may be needed, after the compensation study is complete.


Recently, I participated in a teacher focus group (hosted by Fairfax County Federation of Teachers) to hear about concerns related to teacher workload. These concerns centered on increases in administrative tasks that negatively impact their instructional planning time.  I look forward to working with my school board colleagues and Dr. Garza in identifying solutions to their concerns.


Principal Retirements and Changes:


This year, we have several veteran principals who will be retiring from their elementary schools: Sharon Baumgarten (Little Run ES), Kathy Bruce (Bonnie Brae ES), Sheri D’Amato (Wakefield Forest ES) and Twila Mack (Olde Creek ES). In addition, Greg Brotemarkle (Terra Centre ES) will become the new principal at Waples Mill ES.  I join their communities in expressing deep appreciation for their dedicated leadership to our schools, and wish them well in their future endeavors.


Opportunities to Serve as Braddock District Appointee on School Board Advisory Committees:


For the upcoming school year (2016-17), I will be filling several one-year vacancies for the following School Board Advisory Committees:


Advanced Academic Programs

Adult and Community Education

Family Life Education

Human Resources (newly-created advisory committee)


You can learn more about these committees via the link below:


If you are interested in serving, please send your resume to: momclaughlin@fcps.edu


I will review resumes throughout the month of July, and hope to finalize these decisions before the school year begins.