Employee News - Tuesday, 3/5/19

Greenbriar East ES fourth grade team


Greenbriar East ES' fourth grade team was mad about plaid for Twin Day! (Photo: Jennifer Eury, ESOL teacher)

FCPS Security Review Updates

Safety and security video; man replacing lock

Following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018, the School Board directed the superintendent's office to conduct an internal review of FCPS’ security programs, policies, and practices. As a result, the School Board approved additional funding for security training, upgrades to locks on doors at schools, and additional mental health experts. Watch this video for updates on FCPS' security review

Teacher Grant Applications Now Open!

The Foundation for FCPS invites teachers to apply for its discretionary grant program for the 2019-20 school year. Grant awards will range from $1,000-$2,500 and will be given to projects that are innovative and creative, enhance the standard curriculum and teaching methods, and have connections to Portrait of a Graduate. Grant applications will be accepted until April 5, with funding provided to the schools in August. See how to apply. You can also visit the Foundation's website or email foundation@fcps.edu for additional information. 

Support Services Employees’ Advisory Council (SSEAC) Representatives Needed

The SSEAC election will be held April 9-11, to fill the following two-year term representative vacancies: Group 1 – Bus Drivers and Attendants; Group 3 – Food and Nutrition Services; Group 4 – Custodial and Plant Operations; Group 7 – Management and Administration; and Group 8 – Educational Support.

A petition to nominate candidates is available on the SSEAC webpage on the intranet. Interested candidates must submit a petition signed by 20 employees who work in their specific community-of-interest group (i.e., instructional assistants and public health assistants should sign for Group 8 candidates) and must also submit a statement of no more than 50 words describing why they would best serve in the position. Petitions and statements must be returned by March 26 to Gatehouse Administration Center, Office of Equity and Employee Relations (EER), Suite 2517. If you have questions, please contact EER at 571-423-3252.

Photo of the Week 

Twain MS Science Teacher Chris Kniesly in a photo with a chicken on his shoulder

Some people carry a chip on their shoulder, but not Chris Kniesly! The Twain MS science teacher was recently named Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom 2019 Teacher of the Year. The award honors a Virginia educator for weaving agriculture into his or her core curriculum. Chris created a farm at Twain with chickens, aquaculture, and hydroponics, which incorporate life science and biology. (Photo: Life Touch)

Employee Assistance Program Tip of the Week: Friendships

People seem to have a natural need for friends–and with good reason. Friends increase your enjoyment in life, relieve feelings of loneliness, and even help reduce stress and improve your health. Guidance Resources has numerous tip sheets that can help you strengthen your existing friendships and create new ones. For example, visit Guidance Resources online and search "Fostering Friendships" or "Meeting New People." First-time users can register with web ID "FCPS" to create a personal username and password.

#OurFCPS Faces: Nahoka Nakayama

Nahoka Nakayama, Japanese Immersion teacher, Fox Mill ES

Nahoka Nakayama's sign says "Other People Matter."  


In 1991, the Japanese government sent Nahoka Nakayama to work as an exchange teacher in Fox Mill ES' Japanese Immersion Program. She taught Japanese in first-sixth grade classrooms for 18 months. Nahoka was "so impressed" with the program, she decided to stay. 

Nahoka’s primary focus is teaching first grade students math, science, and health. She says, “The immersion program’s goal is to teach these subjects by using the target language as a tool." She continues, “On the first day of the new school year, most students don’t understand any Japanese. They just look at me with puzzled faces, as if to tell me, 'Who are you? Why don’t you speak English?' Eventually, they start to understand my instructions. By the end of the year, they can speak, write, and read Japanese." Her favorite aspect of the job is having “Wow!” moments throughout the year. She adds, “I do not think I can have such happy feelings in any other job.”

Principal Brian Moose says, “[Nahoka] is invaluable to the success of our school. She is an expert teacher who sets a standard for others to follow.”

Nahoka sees bilingual education as her life’s work. “Since I started teaching in the Japanese Immersion Program, I have learned a lot from my students. I feel that Immersion students have “compound eyes,” [from] learning concepts in a language that has a totally different structure from English. They can see things from a different point of view." 

Yoga plays an important role in Nahoka's life. She started practicing hot yoga 13 years ago to maintain good health. “It helps me not only physically, but also mentally. I do it almost every day.” In 2017, she began to enter yoga competitions. “Last year, I won the third place medal at the International Yoga Competition in Beijing, China.” She also incorporates poses and breathing exercises into her classroom. She says, “I believe that yoga helps [students to become] better learners.”

Arigatou gozaimasu, Nahoka! 

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Check Out the Latest Issue of Audit Buzz

In this issue of Audit Buzz, the Office of Auditor General (OAG) provides an overview of the different school audit types performed throughout the year, highlights OAG's FY 2019 Mid-Year Report, and summarizes key takeaways from recently completed audits. The newsletter also features OAG's breakout session at the January 2019 School Finance Conference and provides a look into current and future work. Read Audit Buzz now.

"It's failure that gives you the proper perspective on success." Ellen DeGeneres

2019 FCPS Educational Leadership Cohort

The 2019 FCPS Educational Leadership Cohort will be offered by Virginia Tech University. Applications for this master’s program are due to Virginia Tech by Friday, March 15. Specific questions about the program can be directed to Susan Li, graduate academic program assistant for Northern Virginia, susanli@vt.edu, or John Gratto, Principal Preparation Program coordinator for Northern Virginia, john1112@vt.edu.

Attend the Office Support Employee Professional Development Conference 

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 breakout sessions around topics of interest to them that support the FCPS Strategic Plan goals: Student Success, Caring Culture, Premier Workforce, and Resource Stewardship.

Register in MyPLT for the conference general session. All registered participants will be notified when individual breakout session registration opens. Please contact Joan Carboni with questions at jecarboni@fcps.edu

Register for FCPS' Special Education Conference

FCPS will hold its 14th Annual Special Education Conference on Saturday, April 6, at Lake Braddock SS, from 7:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. This year's conference focuses on building inclusive and post-secondary practices to support the development of 21st century skills and Portrait of a Graduate attributes. Visit the conference website for details.

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!