August 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,


It is hard to believe that we are less than two weeks away from the start of a new school year! I hope that you and your family are having a wonderful summer, and have had the opportunity to enjoy the warm weather and the summer break.  I know that many of our students have already started sports and band practices at the high schools and the first home football games began this week at Mount Vernon and South County High Schools.  On Monday, we welcomed our new teachers to Fairfax County Public Schools with the “New Beginnings Program.” 


I know that many of our families are preparing for the first day of school.  Please refer to your child's school web site to see any lists of school supplies that are needed for this school year.  If you are able please consider contributing to a number of our back to school backpack drives such as,; or other local organizations that support our kids. On Wednesday August 21st there will be an opportunity for students to get free haircuts, back to school supplies, enjoy arts and crafts and meet local fire and rescue, police and the sheriff.


As we look towards schools re-opening on August 26th, I want to draw attention to the revisions of the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) Handbook that you and your student will be asked to sign.  The School Board made significant changes in our discipline policy this past summer.  The Board’s action followed external reviews of FCPS student behavior, discipline, disproportionality, and outcomes, and an internal review of best practices by the FCPS Office of Research and Strategic Improvement and the Chief Equity Office.  Revisions to our discipline policy are reflected in the SR&R.  More information on the revisions can be found below.  Please review the policy with your child.


I hope that you all have a wonderful end of the summer and are able to enjoy some of the summer concerts in the parks, walks along our beautiful trails in Mount Vernon or our historic sites. 


I look forward to another exciting year and hope to meet many of you at the Back to School nights.


Below you will find a few announcements and dates to keep in mind as we wrap up the summer and get ready to embark on another exciting year!  


Tips for Making a Successful Transition Back to School

Healthy Minds is back for our third year. Over the course of this school year, we plan to create weekly blog posts with the latest information related to youth mental health and wellness. Articles will include tips and strategies for increasing wellness and resiliency, as well as fostering success at home, at school, and in the community. We will further continue to alert you to special events in the area and other critical news. SUBSCRIBE to Healthy Minds to receive a monthly digest of our most recent articles throughout the school year. Here we go...


The transition back to school can be difficult for both students and parents. However, spending some time preparing for the year ahead can help produce positive outcomes. Getting the school year off to a successful start can have a big impact on your child's attitude, confidence, and performance both socially and academically. Here are some suggestions from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) to help ease this up-coming transition back to school and promote a successful school experience.


To learn more about Healthy Minds and to read the full article, please visit:, or click HERE.


Parent Resource Center

The FCPS Parent Resource Center (PRC) offers a welcoming and engaging environment for parents, educators and community members to access information and resources to support the success of all students, including those with learning challenges, special needs and disabilities. Free workshops, confidential consultations and over 6,000 lending library materials available at the PRC help ensure that ALL students are inspired, engaged and thriving. Walk-in, call or email us! We’re here to help!


The FCPS Parent Resource Center
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dunn Loring Center for Parent Services, Entrance 1
2334 Gallows Road, Room 105
Dunn Loring, Virginia 22027


School Board Approves Changes to Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook

The Fairfax County School Board approved revisions to the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) handbook for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. The Board’s action followed external reviews of FCPS student behavior, discipline, disproportionality, and outcomes, and an internal review of best practices by the FCPS Office of Research and Strategic Improvement and the Chief Equity Office. 


Six key revisions have been incorporated into the SR&R: 

o    Addition of an FCPS vision for discipline. 
o    Guidance for administrators on consistency and tiered responses to behaviors.
o    Changes to first time drug possession and use.
o    Parent notification.
o    A change in practice for students with disabilities.
o    Clarifying language around reporting bullying and Title IX violations.


To learn more about the changes, please click HERE.


Fairfax County School Board Adopts 2020-21 Standard School Year Calendar

The Fairfax County School Board has adopted the standard school year calendar for the 2020-21 school year, which starts school for students on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, and ends the school year on Friday, June 11, 2021.  


The calendar provides a three-day break for Thanksgiving—November 25-27, 2020. Winter break for students is scheduled from December 21, 2020, through January 1, 2021. Spring break is scheduled for the week of March 29-April 2, 2021, and Monday, April 5, 2021, is a teacher workday and student holiday.  Friday, August 14, 2020, is the first contract day for teachers.  A total of seven teacher workdays and seven staff development days—including three teacher workdays and three staff development days during the school year—are  included in the 2020-21 calendar.


For more information, please click HERE.


STEM Fest 2019

Magic of Mothers is a 501[c][3] non-profit that aims to provide a learning platform for all by engaging and empowering students through the use of innovative educational activities and support. Focused on spreading STEM beyond the classroom, they have hosted STEM workshops, math and science competitions, and conduct summer camps and robotics classes. They are builiding a STEM ecosystem and engaging high school and college students to share their STEM journey in FCPS with other students. It is a great platform for high school clubs to showcase their cool STEM stuff like Robotics, coding, visual arts etc to share with a broader community.  If you are interested in helping , volunteering and sponsoring Magic Of Mothers 2nd annual FREE STEM Fest  please email at


Election Day High School Student Program


Would you like to learn more about the electoral process and earn service learning hours?

The Office of Elections encourages you to become an election page for the upcoming November election if you are either:


1) Enrolled in a high school government class or
2) At least sixteen (16) years of age, and fluent in English (mandatory) and also fluent in one of the following languages, Spanish, Vietnamese, or Korean


For more information, please click HERE, or visit:


Election Officers Needed for the November 5 General Election

Fairfax County needs hundreds of election officers for the General Election on Tuesday, November 5. Please apply now if you would like to work during this election. For the best chance to receive a precinct assignment, apply by October 10.


Election officers are paid $175 for working a full day, although they can volunteer their time. Election officers must be registered to vote in Virginia and must attend a three-hour training class before they can work at the polls. Training classes are offered at multiple locations around the county starting in September. Advance registration is required. No walk-ins are permitted.


The Office of Elections is also seeking bilingual officers who speak Korean and English or Vietnamese and English fluently. Bilingual election officers are especially needed in Annandale, Falls Church, and Centreville. Learn more about becoming an election officer or call the Office of Elections at 703-324-4735, TTY 711.


FCPS Announces Appointment of New Assistant Ombudsman for Special Education

Dawn Clements, who previously served as Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) educational specialist, pyramid support liaison in the Department of Special Services, has been named the new assistant ombudsman for special education, effective August 1. Clements will be primarily responsible for supporting parents who have special education concerns and will provide deeper knowledge and more experience with the special education process.


To learn more about the Assistant Ombudsman for Special Education, click HERE.


Important Dates to Remember

August 26 - School Begins


August 30 - September 2 - Labor Day Break - Student Holiday


October 14 - Columbus Day - Student Holiday


November 1 - First Grading Period Ends


November 4-5 - Student Holidays


November 27-29 - Thanksgiving Break - Student Holiday


December 23-January 3, 2020 - Winter Break - Student Holiday


School Board Meeting

The next School Board Meeting will be held on September 12, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Jackson Middle School.  Information about upcoming meetings and agendas can be found here