Ryan McElveen's June 2018 School Board Newsletter

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Contact Ryan:


Phone: 571-423-1089

Barbara Gibbs
Executive Admin Assistant


Ryan McElveen's
June 2018 Newsletter

This past week FCPS launched its summer feeding program, which provides free meals to students over the summer. See below for details.

Dear friends,


This past month we witnessed 13,000 Fairfax County seniors cross the graduation stage and move on to new stages of their lives. The best graduation speech I heard during the 24 FCPS ceremonies I attended came from Robinson alumnus Scott Ellis. After leaving college, he entered the world of theater as understudy to the lead in a Broadway musical. After he took the stage for his first performance, the producer abruptly fired him. He recalled crying in the theater basement and thinking that his career was over. Scott went on to have an exceptional career doing what he loves—producing and directing shows on TV and Broadway. Learning from his experience, he counseled Robinson graduates “to love yourself even in the hard times.”


Scott’s remarks spoke to the importance of resilience and perseverance—characteristics that are critical components of our FCPS Portrait of a Graduate. As we confront a society that often judges us harshly, we must first learn to love and accept ourselves for who we are. Only then will we be able to effectively help others and live up to our full potential.


In this month’s newsletter, I will share information on:

  • the School Board’s response to the Parkland school shooting;
  • the recent changes to the FCPS dress code;
  • and the FCPS summer feeding program.

I hope you have a safe and joyful summer!





School Board responds to Parkland shooting, recommends safety enhancements

In the immediate aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, I proposed a resolution, which the School Board approved unanimously, calling on state and federal officials to pass legislation that more effectively regulates access to firearms in the interest of public safety, funds public-health research on firearms-related issues, and advances mental health supports. Many school districts around the country drew upon the language in our resolution to craft their own.


In addition to passing the resolution, the Board commissioned an internal review of the state of our district’s safety and security practices. This past week, the Board received that report and committed to moving forward with initiatives in three areas: 

  • Physical security: Require all classroom doors to be locked at all times and replace outdated dual-keyed door locks.
  • Training: Hire additional staff to improve security training in all schools, such as enhanced lockdown drills and visitor management procedures, and increase the frequency of school-based security exercises.
  • Mental Health: Hire additional school-based mental health support staff members such as psychologists and social workers. All high schools currently have full-time psychologists and social workers, and additional staff would enable all middle schools and targeted elementary schools to have full-time mental health support.   

The Board continues to discuss the feasibility and cost of several additional proposals, including increasing the number of interior security cameras and School Resource Officers (SROs). While all high schools have interior cameras, the report proposed adding additional interior cameras in middle and elementary schools. All middle and high schools have School Resource Officers (SRO), and there have been suggestions to add SROs or provide other security staffing in each elementary school, which would require further discussion with the county government.

School Board adopts dress code changes, which take effect this fall

School dress codes around the country have unfairly targeted girls for generations, and over the years female FCPS students have shared numerous stories with me about feeling targeted, objectified and shamed as a result of the FCPS dress code. Their advocacy compelled me to bring forward a proposal to change our practices, which are detailed in the FCPS Student Rights & Responsibilities document.


The School Board voted on June 14 in support of my proposal to both remove the gendered language in our dress code and require that dress code conversations be held in private and respect the dignity of the student. Our staff will be working to train school-based employees on implementing these changes this coming year. I am hopeful that our actions in Fairfax County can catalyze a national dialogue about ending body shaming and maintaining student dignity.


The edited dress code language reads as follows:



FCPS offers free meals for students over the summer

Over the past three years, FCPS has worked with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and numerous community partners to ensure that all of our students have access to fresh and healthy meals throughout the summer. We now offer our summer feeding program at 19 sites around the county, where children 18 years old and under can receive a free meal and adults can purchase a meal for $2.00. We already have received commitments from community partners to continue expanding this extraordinary program to additional sites next year. Program details can be found on our website and below.

feeds photo