January 2019 Newsletter from School Board Member Karen Corbett Sanders

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Contact Karen:

Karen Corbett Sanders

Phone: 571-423-1086


Lisa Madeja

Executive Admin Assistant


Karen Corbett Sanders's Newsletter

Dear Families,


I hope everyone is having a great 2019 and are staying warm despite the polar vortex we are experiencing! This week marked the beginning of the second semester.  I am very appreciative of the work that is being done in each of our schools to support our students.  I hope that you have seen the video of the most recent visit to Mt. Vernon by our Superintendent.  In addition to the impressive work happening inside our classrooms, we saw a lot of great achievements by our athletes and our performing arts students this fall. I want to encourage you to support our students by attending sporting events, arts, and performances of our students. I look forward to a very successful second semester!  I will be thinking of all of our seniors who are making decisions on what to do after they graduate in June.  Please see information on gap years and college fairs below.


I want to thank everyone who testified at our public hearings on the Capital Improvement Program and the budget this month.  The CIP was adopted on January 24th.  I am pleased that the adopted plan includes a number of projects in the Mt. Vernon Magisterial District and includes important amendments on renewable energy projects at three schools with the intention to expand to more in the future as well as a commitment to eliminating trailers throughout the county.  The board will begin discussions regarding best practices and goal setting in its boundary policy this spring.  To learn more about the 2020-24 CIP, click HERE.


This evening we will be having our second work session on the Superintendent’s proposed budget.  We are optimistic that with the Governor’s proposed budget, we will be able to have a fully funded budget again this year.  The Superintendent’s proposal links our budgeting process (new monies) to the strategic plan Ignite.  This is an initiative that I have encouraged since joining the board.  I have been assured that the existing program budgets are being reviewed to align them with the strategic plan in the future.


32nd Annual Town Meeting 2019

Please join Mt. Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck and me for the 32nd Annual Mt. Vernon Town Hall Meeting on Saturday.


When: Saturday, February 2, 2019

Where: Mount Vernon HS, 8515 Old Mount Vernon Rd.

Times: 7:45 – 9:30 a.m. – Exhibit Hall Open

            9:30 – noon - Program: Speakers, Audience Q&A’s and Virtual Tour


Speakers: Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, County Executive Bryan Hill, Mount Vernon District School Board Member and Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders, New Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander Col. Michael Greenburg and other community leaders.  Have your questions answered, learn about issues important to you, connect with county agencies and service providers and mingle with your neighbors.  The highlight of the morning will be taking a “virtual tour” of the District with your “pilot” Supervisor Storck.


Click HERE for additional information.


"Heads Up" and "Talk It Out" Open House on February 4

Teens between the ages of 14-17 who are working through emotional, mental health or substance use challenges are encouraged and welcome to attend the Heads Up and Talk It Out open house with their parents.


The focus of the group, Heads Up, is to help teens develop strategies and tools to manage stress and weather life’s toughest moments. Together, with other young people, teens will learn how to collaborate, listen and learn from peers.


Parents are encouraged and welcome to join other parents for coffee, tea and connections with CSB Youth & Family staff in the concurrent Talk It Out session. This program will offer ideas for parents on how to help their teen achieve academic and social success while living healthy, prosperous lives in their community. Interventions that will assist in the aftermath of trauma or times of emotional distress will also be addressed.


The event will be offered on Monday, February 4 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. It will take place at the Merrifield Center on 8221 Willow Oaks Drive, Fairfax, VA 22031. After the Open House, join the groups which will begin on Thursday, February 7 at 6:00 PM.


Register now for this event.


For more information and events, click HERE.


FCCPTA Listening Tour Meetings

Please consider attending the Mt. Vernon FCCPTA Listening Tour Meeting. The meetings are designed to bring parents and PTA leaders together to share their thoughts, questions, and concerns on FCPS and the PTA.


Date: March 11

Location: Mount Vernon HS | 8515 Old Mt Vernon Rd, Alexandria, VA 22309

Time: 7:00-9:00 p.m.


Gap Year Fair for Students and Parents Set for February 6 at Marshall High School

FCPS’ School Counseling Services and Go Overseas are co-hosting the annual Gap Year Program Fair on Wednesday, February 6, at Marshall High School from 6 to 8:30 p.m. for high school students and parents who are interested in learning more about the growing array of gap year opportunities.


The evening will begin with a presentation in the auditorium from 6 to 6:45 p.m. by Holly Bull, president, Center for Interim Programs, followed by a program fair in the cafeteria from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m., with representatives from over 40 programs offering gap year opportunities. Students and their parents are encouraged to meet the representatives and learn about the variety of experiences available.


In the event of inclement weather the snow date and location will be Friday, February 8, at McLean High School from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Pre-registration for this event is highly encouraged.


Get more information about the Gap Year Program Fair or pre-register for this event


For more information, contact Sabrina Boyd at shboyd@fcps.edu


17th Annual ASBC HBCU College Festival

Saturday, February 23, 2019 | 8:00 am – 3:30 pm 
Walter E. Washington Convention Center

801 Mt Vernon Place NW, Washington, DC 20001


Over 70 colleges and universities will be represented plus other organizations

  • Some schools will offer instant admission, waive application fees, and conduct on-site interviews (Interview Guidance)
  • Seminars for students, parents, and guardians
  • Band and Choral auditions (Must pre-register and bring your own instrument for band auditions) (Music Audition Guidance)
  • The HBCU College Festival is FREE but everyone–students, parents, guardians, other family members, and counselors MUST register

Excitement about this event has spread from coast to coast–from Wasilla, Alaska to Washington, D.C.! In order to accommodate the tremendous growth in attendance and increase the Festival’s reach has prompted the relocation of the 2019 Festival to Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. To learn more, click HERE.


The HBCU College Festival is FREE, but everyone must register.


Volunteer Opportunities within FCPS

Make a difference in the lives of students across FCPS.  Every day, volunteers change the lives of students across FCPS and we offer several ways for people in the community to get involved.  Examples of volunteer opportunities in FCPS include:

  • Adult English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Volunteers help adult ESOL students who are new to the United States and our public education system adjust to the challenges of living in a new culture and using a new language.
  • Business and Community Partnerships allow organizations to engage. 
  • Citizen Advisory Committees are wonderful places for community members to provide advice to FCPS leaders. 
  • Family Members Looking to Volunteer at their child’s school should call the school’s main office for information about their volunteer program.
  • Mentor a Student through our school-based MentorWorks program. 
  • Students Looking to Volunteer in FCPS and elsewhere to meet the requirements of their service learning hours can find information on the Service Learning page.
  • Volunteer Learning Program (VLP) sponsored by Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, and the Fairfax County Public Library.

To learn more about these opportunities, please visit our website.


GrandInvolve: Changing the World - One Child at a Time

GrandInvolve - a program which facilitates volunteer opportunities in Fairfax County's Title I schools continues to grow. Learn how to help students in our local community succeed in school. GrandInvolve is looking for people who enjoy being with children and have an hour or more each week to volunteer. 


For more information, please contact info@grandinvolve.org or www.grandinvolve.org.


Arts Alive: Cappies Review of A Spare Me at Mount Vernon High School



Fairfax County Public Schools students are talented actors, musicians, and visual artists. Many FCPS high schools participate in the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Critics and Awards Program for High School Theatre, otherwise known as the Cappies.


The Cappies is a program through which high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. There are fifteen Cappies chapters across the United States and Canada. 


Check out this review of Mount Vernon High School's production of A Spare Me, written by Brooke Smith of Hayfield Secondary School. 


Fairfax County Strategic Plan: Survey for Residents Released

Fairfax County Government Strategic Plan – Take the Survey

Fairfax County Government has started working on a strategic plan to set priorities for 2020 and beyond, and they want to hear from everyone in our community:

  • What are your hopes for the future of our community?
  • What are the challenges you face living here?
  • What are the top priorities county government should address?

Getting involved is easy:

  1. Take the short online survey. It’s just five questions.
  2. Consider sharing your thoughts in person at a community conversation.
  3. Share the survey with friends, neighbors and co-workers and invite them along to a community gathering. 

Your input will help Fairfax County Government set 7 to 10 initial priorities. Then, they plan to dig a little deeper for input on those issues you deemed most important. This process will help set unified goals across the county for moving forward in January 2020.


Become part of this effort to shape the future together. Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/strategicplan for more information.


Important Dates to Remember

February 4 - Student Holiday


February 18 - George Washington's Birthday - Presidents' Day - Student Holiday


March 11 - Students Released Three Hours Early


April 4 - Third Grading Period Ends


April 5 - Student Holiday


April 15-19 - Spring Break


May 27 - Memorial Day - Student Holiday


School Board Meeting

The next School Board Meeting will be held on February 7, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Jackson Middle School.  Information about upcoming meetings and agendas can be found here