Employee News - Tuesday, 5/7/19

Cardinal Forest ES teachers enjoy their Teacher Appreciation Luncheon.


Cardinal Forest ES teachers enjoy a lovely lunch in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week. (Photo: Cardinal Forest ES) 

It's Teacher Appreciation Week!

We are so very appreciative of all that our amazing, brilliant, caring, and dedicated teachers do to ensure our students' success! It's also been fun to see the wide range of celebrations taking place at our schools. After all, our teachers definitely deserve the special treatment. Thanks a latte, teachers!

FCPS Recognizes Retirees at Annual Ceremony

One woman hugs another at FCPS' Retirement Ceremony.

FCPS' annual Retirement Ceremony, We Honor You, was held on Tuesday, April 30, at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Retirees, along with their family and friends, FCPS' Leadership Team, and members of the School Board attended the catered event. Each of the 165 retirees had his or her profile read by a member of the Leadership Team, received a retirement gift, and posed for a professional photo. View the Retirement Ceremony program, photos, and video.  

Photo of the Week 

Administrators and parents wash teachers' cars at Irving MS for Teacher Appreciation Week.

Irving MS' annual Teacher Appreciation Car Wash was open for business today! Parents and school administrators washed cars throughout the day as a way to show gratitude for their wonderful teachers. (Photo: Cindy Conley, principal) 

VRS Hybrid Voluntary Contributions to Increase in January 1, 2020, Unless Members Opt Out

The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Hybrid Retirement Plan is designed so that voluntary contributions automatically increase or auto-escalate by 0.50 percent every three years, continuing until members reach the maximum 4 percent in voluntary contributions. This serves as a way to encourage members to maximize their retirement savings.

Hybrid members have a unique opportunity to save for retirement by enrolling in VRS' voluntary 457 retirement savings plan, which provides pro-rated matching contributions to the defined contribution component of their retirement account. When an employee contributes 4 percent, FCPS contributes 2.5 percent! Hybrid members may want to review the schedule of employer matching on the VRS Hybrid 457 page on the FCPS website before electing to opt out of auto-escalation. 

ERFC Trustee Election Starts Today!

All eligible Educational Employees’ Supplementary Retirement System of Fairfax County (ERFC) members received an email today containing a link to vote in the 2019 ERFC election. Your employee identification number is needed to vote. Voting will end on May 9. As a reminder, only full-time, monthly-paid instructional, administrative, and educational support employees are automatically enrolled in ERFC. Please contact the Office of Equity and Employee Relations with questions at 571-423-3252.

#OurFCPS Faces: Heather Jones

Heather Jones, teacher, Sandburg MS family and consumer sciences teacher

Meet Heather Jones, a family and consumer sciences teacher at Sandburg MS. Heather was recently named the 2019 National Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Teacher of the Year by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS). Heather was recognized for her use of innovative methods, techniques, and activities to encourage interest in and bring awareness to family and consumer sciences.

Sandburg Principal Darwin Barker says Heather's teaching skills engage all of her students. He adds, "Heather is a dynamic educator, with an excellent grasp of how students learn, skillfully capturing their interests. She seamlessly integrates sewing and culinary activities, while incorporating 21st-century skills into her instructional practices. Heather works to raise awareness about career and technical education [(CTE)] competencies, preparing students for a promising future. She exhibits patience and tact, while serving as a mentor for students and novice teachers. Ms. Jones recently collaborated with our librarian to secure grant funds to produce videos for a school cooking channel, showcasing our students' culinary talents.”

In addition to teaching family and consumer sciences at Sandburg, Heather is department chair for FCS and CTE; mentors a first-year teacher; and advises the school’s Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America chapter, Real Food for Kids culinary teams, and Crafty Cooks after-school club. Find out more about Heather's incredible achievements!

Social Media: Three Things to Remember 

Three guiding principles when using social media: Protect students. Be professional. Use common sense.

If you use social media (and you probably do), please review FCPS' Social Media Guidance for Staff. Here's a sneak peek–three important things to remember when using social media:

  1. Protect our students. If a student has a signed opt-out form on file, please do not post photos or videos of him or her on social media. Also, avoid sharing students' full names as an extra precaution. 
  2. Be professional. You must maintain a professional relationship with students at all times, in-person and online. 
  3. Use common sense. Before posting, ask yourself if you would want your significant other, grandparent, or the superintendent to see it. If the answer is "No," please don't post it.

View FCPS Social Media Guidance for Staff. You can also find a link to the guidance on the Employee Resources page or search "social media guidance" on fcps.edu.

Spreading the Word About Teaching for FCPS

FCPS staff (two gentlemen in the back, center) met with friends and members of the Korean American Education Foundation about teaching for FCPS.

Sean McDonald (back, center, left) and Dean Brooks (back, center, right) are joined by members and friends of the Korean American Education Foundation.

Sean McDonald, director, Office of Talent and Acquisition Management (TAM), and Dean Brooks, TAM’s recruitment administrator, met with members and friends of the Korean American Education Foundation to discuss teaching opportunities with FCPS. By the way, FCPS is always looking for passionate educators to challenge and inspire our students. If you have friends or family members who are interested in teaching for FCPS, please ask them to visit the Instructional Opportunities webpage or email recruit@fcps.edu.  

Lucille Ball quote on the importance of loving yourself.

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

Many students struggle with emotional and behavioral issues that can affect their learning and overall wellness. Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and its many different aspects. Thursday, May 9, is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, which puts a spotlight on the significance of children’s mental health. 

CrisisText Is Available for Students 24/7

This is a quick reminder for staff that any student who is feeling extremely overwhelmed or is in crisis can connect with CrisisText. All students have to do is text “NEEDHELP” to 85511 or call 1-800-273-TALK. Please feel free to share this information, as appropriate.

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!