Employee News - Tuesday, 2/5/19

Herndon MS couselors


It's National School Counseling Week! Herndon MS students are in great hands, thanks to their amazing school counselors! (Photo: Herndon MS)

VDOE Teacher-Staff Working Conditions Survey Closes February 8

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) online Teacher/School-Based Staff Working Conditions Survey closes on Friday, February 8, at 11:59 p.m. School codes, along with the survey links, have been distributed to principals. This is the last chance to take the survey. Information collected from the survey is intended to be informational.

The Office of Business Services, in the Department of Human Resources, is coordinating this initiative. Please visit their webpage for more information.

Leave of Absence (LOA) Application Due 
March 1

Employees who intend to request or extend a Leave of Absence (LOA) for the 2019-20 school year must indicate their intentions by or before March 1. An LOA is an approved, unpaid, extended absence from work which exceeds 30 calendar days. Additional information about leaves of absence and the application process can be found on the FCPS Leaves of Absence webpage. Please contact the Disability and Leaves Unit with questions at HRConnection@fcps.edu or 571-423-3200, Option #1.

NOTE: The March 1 deadline does not apply to a leave of absence for child care.

Photo of the Week 

Sleepy Hollow ES Principal Eric Johnson and some first graders

From the Archives: Sleepy Hollow ES Principal Eric Johnson received a sweet surprise when a first grade class presented him with a beautiful book of poems written by the students. Eric tweeted, "This is awesome!" We agree. (Photo: Eric Johnson) 

Instructional Employees’ Voluntary Transfer Window

Current teachers, school-based technology specialists (SBTS), school counselors, and instructional assistants interested in pursuing other professional opportunities for the 2019-20 school year may do so during the FCPS Voluntary Transfer Window which opens February 4. Instructional staff interested in transferring to another school or work location should contact principals or program managers for more information regarding instructional vacancies for next year and to schedule interviews.

All instructional staff are permitted one voluntary transfer during FCPS' instructional employees’ Voluntary Transfer Window. The Voluntary Transfer Window closes for teachers, school counselors, and SBTS on June 24, and for instructional assistants on July 12. Get more information.

Teachers: Share Your Voice on Teacher Leadership

Teacher leadership is dynamic. The flow of ideas is never-ending when teachers are given time to share their voice and knowledge when issues arise. They are the experts in the building, and each can be a change agent if given the chance.

– Antonia A. Gilbert, "Schools Where Teachers Lead"

Interested in sharing your voice on the topic of teacher leadership? If so, join the Office of Professional Learning and Family Engagement's Educational Specialists for Professional Development for a #NoVAedchat! The Twitter chat will take place on Wednesday, February 27, from 8-9 p.m. Participants will exchange ideas and cultivate learning, while exploring the dynamic and rich topic of teacher leadership. If you are new to Twitter chats, please refer to these helpful tips. Register on My PLT to receive one recertification hour for participation (OPLFE-120017).

#OurFCPS Faces: Maurice Hirsh

Justice HS ESOL Counselor


Maurice Hirsh is only in his second year with FCPS, but he’s quickly making a big impact as an ESOL counselor at Justice HS. Maurice's responsibilities include being in charge of meeting students’ academic, career, and social-emotional needs. “As an ESOL counselor," he says, "I also help students adjust to their very different lives in this country.”

Colleague Brenda Mejia states, “Mr. Hirsh realized early on that the great majority of his newcomer students were not just new to the United States, but often new to their own families. Because of this, he created a group of male students to talk about how it feels to be reunited with their families and how to deal with the issues that arise due to these circumstances. This 'Reunification Group' has been a great resource and comfort to those students."

The best part of Maurice's job is that “the students [at Justice] are truly remarkable. I have learned so much from them. The interactions with the students is the best part of my job.”

Maurice’s favorite quote is from Dr. Seuss' The Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” He certainly does care an awful lot, too. Principal Maria Eck says, “Maurice is one of the first faces that our newcomer students and families meet when they arrive at Justice HS. He welcomes families with a smile and takes the time to help students start to become familiar with what the school system is like in the United States. He finds a way to quickly build relationships with his students so that from day one, they feel comfortable coming to see him whenever they need assistance. [...] Maurice is a joy to be around and is appreciated by students, parents, and staff alike.”

In his spare time, Maurice enjoys watching The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Game of Thrones. He also likes to play board games. 

Thank you, Maurice, for making things better for so many students!

Office Support Employee Professional Development Conference Registration Now Open

The Office Personnel Advisory Council (OPAC) is sponsoring the inaugural Office Support Employee Professional Development Conference on Friday, April 5, at Hayfield SS, from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. This conference is for Schedule A office support employees (formerly US-19 and below). Superintendent Brabrand will provide the opening remarks, followed by a keynote address by Ron Culberson. Participants will then attend break-out sessions around topics of interest to them that support the FCPS Strategic Plan goals: Student Success, Caring Culture, Premier Workforce, and Resource Stewardship.

Register now in MyPLT for the conference general session. Registration for individual break-out sessions will open in early March.

The purpose of the Office Support Employee Professional Development Conference is to build stronger professional relationships throughout the Division with emphases on customer service, high-performing teams, and equity and cultural responsiveness. Please contact Joan Carboni with questions at jecarboni@fcps.edu. 

After-School Specials for Instructional Coaching

The Instructional Coaching Program is hosting after-school specials for teacher leaders interested in becoming an instructional coach for the 2019-20 school year. Sessions will be held on February 21 and March 7, from 4:45-7:45 p.m., at Willow Oaks. They will focus on the instructional coaching model in FCPS, the roles of an instructional coach, and the application process. Interested teacher leaders should register for a session in MyPLT by searching for course IC-1001. For more information, please contact Michelle Lis, mllis@fcps.edu.

Quote: Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day. - Anonymous

Fairfax County to Develop Countywide Strategic Plan

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. For example, what are your hopes for the future of our community? And, what challenges do you face living here?

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 to a community gathering.

Your input will help Fairfax County government set seven 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. Visit the Countywide Strategic Plan website for more information.

Celebrating School Counselors

Keep calm it's National School Counseling Week graphic

National School Counseling Week celebrates the special contribution of school counselors within America's school systems. It also highlights the extraordinary impact school counselors can have on student success and helping them plan for a career. Visit the American School Counselor Association for more information. And, a huge "Thank you!" to all of FCPS' outstanding school counselors!

Staff Staples

Note: Intranet access is required to open some of the links in this email. If you're using a mobile device or working remotely, you can connect to the intranet via the Pulse Secure VPN (Virtual Private Network). Email RequestIT@fcps.edu with questions. 

Employee News is sent to all FCPS employees every Tuesday. Please email EmployeeNews@fcps.edu with potential submissions or questions. Submissions are due by 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Thank you!