February 2018 Newsletter from School Board Member Karen Corbett Sanders

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Contact Karen:

Karen Corbett Sanders

Phone: 571-423-1086


Lisa Tolstykh

Executive Admin Assistant


Phone: 571-423-1055

Karen Corbett Sanders' Newsletter


Dear Families,


The third Grading Period is off to a great start! Thank you for  encouraging your student to stay on top of their studies and projects as it is easy to fall behind during this busy time of school year.


As always, I want to extend my appreciation for all of our teachers, staff, and parents for their dedication and hard work in ensuring that our children achieve success in school. I am truly proud of our students and staff!


During February we celebrate both Black History Month and President's Day.  These events offer excellent opportunities to explore history as a family.  There is no better place to do this than in the D.C. Metropolitan area and in our own area, Mt. Vernon.  This weekend’s holiday is an excellent opportunity to do so.  


Please find below an update on key issues affecting our community and opportunities to participate and volunteer.




In response to yesterday’s tragic school shootings in Parkland, Florida,  FCPS would like to share with parents and employees some of the safety procedures that are in place across the district.  FCPS has focused a great deal of attention to these procedures, and is vigilant about protecting the safety of its students and employees. The school division has spent considerable time and effort in planning and practicing safety and security measures appropriate for addressing a major critical incident. Among these measures are:

  • Close coordination and emergency planning with Fairfax County police and fire departments.
  • Comprehensive division-wide crisis management plan.
  • Individual school crisis plans, which include evacuation and parent reunification procedures, that are regularly reviewed and updated.
  • Lockdown drills.
  • Threat assessment process.
  • Employee training in crisis management and communication.
  • Strict visitor controls at all buildings.
  • Electronic door access technology to aid in visitor control.

In addition, we have Fairfax County police officers, as school resource officers (SROs), present in all secondary, high schools and middle schools; school-based security staff in all secondary, high and middle schools; and uniformed security staff that provides additional coverage at all FCPS facilities after hours. 


In specific response to the Parkland incident, FCPS school security has increased its presence at schools, and the Fairfax County Police Department has increased their patrol presence near and around our schools. While there are no specific threats to our area, this step is being taken out of an abundance of caution, and to provide reassurance to students, staff, and the community after the events that occurred in Florida yesterday.


 FCPS is fortunate to be in an area where the school division and the county work together to take every precaution in the event of an emergency. Safety and security is everyone’s job. Staff, students, parents and the community at large are reminded to incorporate safety and security awareness as routine, and to immediately report any unusual activity to the authorities.

The link below provides information on ways for parents to talk to children about violent acts:



Our thoughts are with the families and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the residents of Parkland.


Fairfax County School Board Adopts FY 2019 Advertised Budget

The Fairfax County School Board adopted the FY 2019 Advertised Budget of $2.9 billion, an increase of 4.9 percent, or $118.9 million, over the FY 2018 Approved Budget.  The FY 2019 budget includes an additional $53.1 million as part of a multi-year plan to ensure salaries are competitive. The School Board also passed as part of the Advertised Budget additional funding supporting equity-related work and funding to provide additional resources to high schools with the highest percentage of newcomer students in English for speakers of other language to support wrap-around services.  The School Board will present its FY 2019 Advertised Budget to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, April 10, and is scheduled to adopt the FY 2019 Approved Budget at its May 24 meeting. FCPS’ FY 2019 begins July 1, 2018.

Information about relevant budget dates, along with updates and budget news, is available online.


School Safety and Threat Assessment

Fairfax County Public Schools has a well-established policy and protocol for responding to threats of violence in the schools. To help parents and older students learn more about the role they can play in keeping schools safe, we have collaborated with the Youth Violence Project of the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia to develop short videos with useful information. These brief modules were developed for parents and children aged 12 and up, and you may want to watch the student video with your child to answer any questions which may arise. To access these modules go to www.schoolthreatassessment.com and use parent code pgvsdt and student code sy8zk2 as a password.


13th Annual Special Education Conference

Save the Date for the 13th Annual Special Education Conference! View all the details.

Saturday, April 21, 2018, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Hayfield Secondary School, 7630 Telegraph Rd, Alexandria, VA 22315. 


Parents will be able to register online or by phone 703-204-3941  This year’s conference focuses on building inclusive practices to support development of 21st Century skills and Portrait of a Graduate (POG) attributes for students with learning challenges,special needs, and disabilities. 


Parent Resource Center

The FCPS Parent Resource Center (PRC), located at  2334 Gallows Road, Room 105, offers a welcoming and engaging environment for parents, educators and community members to access information and resources to support the success of all students, including those with learning challenges, special needs and disabilities. Free workshops, confidential consultations and over 5,000 lending library materials available at the PRC help ensure that ALL students are inspired, engaged and thriving. To view the library resources and upcoming workshops online at https://www.fcps.edu/resources/family-engagement/parent-resource-center.  The latest edition of the Twice- Exceptional (2e) Newsletter is available at the center.  Please email prc@fcps.edu if you would like to be added to the 2e Newsletter distribution list and receive a copy of this issue.


Volunteering Opportunity at George Mason's Gunston Hall

Feb 2018

Discover how much fun you can have volunteering at a history museum!


Help students get excited about George Mason and his work to protect Americans' rights. Volunteer docents at Gunston Hall in Lorton, Virginia, lead school tours about Mason and his ideas, as well as life in the 18th century. Docents become part of the Gunston Hall Docent Association, a dedicated group of volunteers.


Visitors to the museum step back in time as they discover the history of Virginia and one of our country’s founders. Volunteers discuss topics such as the American Revolution, the writing of the Constitution, the fight for a Bill of Rights. Plus, they help students investigate the lives of people who lived on a Virginia plantation, from the gentry to the people who were enslaved. This historic site is located in a beautiful

wooded setting, just minutes from I-95 and US Route 1.


Volunteer docents help young people learn about these important and fascinating topics by being


• enthusiastic

• friendly

• committed to historical accuracy

• available on weekdays


Training starts in late February 2018. For more information or to receive an application, call (703) 550-9220 x238 or write to rebecca.martin@gunstonhall.org.


10709 Gunston Road, Mason Neck, Virginia 22079


High School Students Invited to Fairfax County 2018 Teen Job Fairs

Fairfax County high school students looking for their first part-time job, summer and seasonal job opportunities, or who want more information about potential career pathways are invited to attend one of six upcoming teen job fairs in Fairfax County. Job fairs will be held as follows:


•    Saturday, March 10, 1 to 3 p.m., Woodson High School, 9525 Main Street, Fairfax.

•    Saturday, March 17, 1 to 3 p.m., South County High School, 8501 Silverbrook Road, Lorton.  

•    Saturday, April 7, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Chantilly High School, 4201 Stringfellow Road, Chantilly.

•    Saturday, April 14, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mount Vernon High School, 8515 Old Mount Vernon Road, Alexandria.  

•    Saturday, April 21, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., South Lakes High School, 11400 South Lakes Drive, Reston.

•    Saturday, April 28, noon to 2 p.m., West Springfield High School, 6100 Rolling Road, Springfield.


Local businesses and agencies will be on hand to offer a range of opportunities including part-time employment, internships, and volunteer work for prospective students. Free booth spaces are provided to local businesses.


Online registration is available for students interested in attending.  Complete information about the Teen Job Fairs is available online.

Important Dates to Remember

February 19 - President's Day - Student Holiday


March 26-30 - Spring Break


April 2 - Student Holiday


April 13 - Third Grading Period Ends - Students Released Two Hours Early


School Board Meeting

The next School Board Meeting will be held on February 22, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at Jackson Middle School.  Information about upcoming meetings and agendas can be found here