January 2020 Newsletter from School Board Member Karen Corbett Sanders

Karen Corbett Sanders' Newsletter

Dear Families,

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful winter break, and was able to enjoy some down time with friends and family. I was able to spend time with my family over the holidays and am always grateful for the opportunity.

My vision for 2020 is to ensure that every student, family and staff member is able to achieve their dreams in Mount Vernon’s schools. I had the opportunity to join my new colleagues at our first board meeting on January 9th and our first work session on the 13th.  I was pleased to have the support of my colleagues to direct the superintendent to expand our curriculum on cultural sensitivity and anti-bullying to more explicitly address the issues of hate and bias incidents and to help students to recognize the impact of their words and actions in person and on-line have on others.  Our work session on January 13th focused on the proposed Capital Improvement Plan and the Superintendent’s proposed budget.  We will continue these discussions at work sessions later this month.  Community members will have the opportunity to testify on these two documents on January 27th and the Board will take action at the first board meeting in February.

As we were saying goodbye to the outgoing board members on December 19th, the students of Mount Vernon and West Potomac High Schools’ government classes participated in a project based learning activity where they connected lessons from Hamilton to their lives and then attended a performance of Hamilton in Norfolk, Virginia.  I appreciate the community donors that helped make this happen.

Below are a few activities, announcements, and dates that you may find helpful in the next month. I am looking forward to a successful and productive second semester and wish everyone joy and success in this new year.



Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand Presents FCPS Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2021

FCPS Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand presented a $3.2 billion school operating fund Proposed Budget for the 2020-21 school year (Fiscal Year 2021), with a focus on employee compensation, to the Fairfax County School Board at its business meeting on January 9. The FY 21 Proposed Budget represents an increase of $172.2 million, or 5.8 percent, over the FY 2020 Approved Budget.

“In Fiscal Year 2020, we completed a multi-year plan to bring teacher salary scales to the market average,” said Brabrand. “The proposed FY 21 budget continues to prioritize market competitive compensation for our teachers and staff. Our focus is achieving success for each of our more than 189,000 students and that can only be accomplished by ensuring that we have the ability to recruit and retain the very best teachers.”

Learn more about the FY 21 Proposed Budget.


Capital Improvement Program (CIP)

Proposed Capital Improvement Program for Fiscal Years


Each year, Fairfax County Public Schools develops a five-year planning document known as the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to address future facility needs. The CIP assesses requirements for new construction, capacity enhancements, renovations, and site acquisition. Actual completion dates for CIP projects depend on cash flow and debt service limitations established by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Click on the links below for more detailed information.

Fairfax County Public Schools' Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand has released the school system's proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for the Fiscal Years 2021-2025.

Click HERE to view the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for the Fiscal Years 2021-2025.


FCPS to Add Electric School Buses to Its Fleet

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has been selected to receive funding assistance to purchase eight electric school buses as part of Dominion Energy’s initial deployment of 50 buses across the Commonwealth. These buses will join FCPS’ current fleet of roughly 1,625 diesel-fueled buses. 

FCPS was chosen in a competitive process after submitting an application with Dominion Energy during Fall 2019.

Dominion Energy will cover the difference in cost so that school districts pay no more for electric buses than they would for diesel models. Dominion will also subsidize the cost of necessary charging infrastructure.

Electric school buses in FCPS will benefit not only the school division and its community but the entire national capital area as they will help reduce carbon emissions, serve as a resource for national emergency planning efforts, provide stability and capacity to the grid with meeting increasing energy demands, and provide charging facilities for other jurisdictions in the area to use when traveling through Fairfax County.

To learn more about electric school buses, click HERE.


SAT Mock Test: February 1, 2020


SAT Prep Class: February 15 - March 1

sat p

FCPS To Implement Student Civic Engagement Activity Option Beginning January 21

Beginning January 21, FCPS students in grades 7-12 will be allowed one partial school day absence each school year to participate in civic engagement activities. The term “partial” means that the student is expected to attend school for some portion of the day.

Under the revised regulation, students and parents must complete the appropriate prearranged absence form and include documented evidence of participation in an organized event or activity. Parents or guardians must authorize student participation and are responsible for their students’ participation. Other than those activities required by FCPS course curriculum, civic engagement activities are optional. As such, civic engagement activities are not supervised by FCPS staff.

Civic engagement could include a wide variety of activities, including meetings with elected officials, volunteering for a campaign or participating in other activities within the community.  

Learn more about the student civic engagement activity option


13th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration: January 25th Luther Jackson Middle School


Time: 10am-6pm, *Snow date: 2/8, Sat.
Luther Jackson Middle School - 3020 Gallows Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
Children (under 6) Free, Children (6-12) $2, Adults $5.
Click here to buy ticket online with 10% discount.

Chinese New Year Festival in the Washington DC metropolitan area is sponsored by Asian Community Service Center (ACSC) annually. ACSC is a volunteer-based independent non-profit organization in DC area (and anyone is welcome to join ACSC).  

The Chinese New Year is the time for the entire family to gather together and give each other blessings to start a new year. This invitation is extend to all DC area residents to celebrate the Chinese New Year, to return to the traditions, and to embrace a bright future.


Healthcare College and Career Fair: January 27 Falls Church High School

Falls Church Academy and HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) will host  the second annual Healthcare College and Career Fair on Monday, January 27, 2020, from 9 a.m. to noon at Falls Church High School. This event is open to all FCPS high school students interested in learning more about healthcare certification programs and college and career options. 

Representatives from medical college programs, the healthcare industry, and the military will be on hand to answer questions about healthcare careers. To date, representatives from the following organizations plan to attend: Uniformed Services University, Northern Virginia Community College (Emergency Medical Services, Occupational Therapy, Dental Assisting, Health Information, and Diagnostic Medical Sonogram programs), Shepherd University, Inova Children’s Hospital, Virginia Commonwealth University Health Services Pipeline and Honors College, Tysons West Orthodontics, Fairfax County Health Department, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and SouthPaws Veterinary Clinic.

The Fair will be held in combination with the HOSA district competition involving healthcare students enrolled at Chantilly, West Potomac, and Falls Church Academies.

With healthcare careers projected to add nearly 4.0 million jobs by 2026 and healthcare practitioners projected to be among the fastest growing occupation group during 2020-26, there are many career options available and healthcare college programs grow every year. Students should register online.  Healthcare college or career representatives are encouraged to register online.

Click HERE for more information.


33rd Mount Vernon District Town Meeting: Mount Vernon High School February 1

When:Saturday, February 1, 2020
Where:Mount Vernon High School, 8515 Old MountVernon Rd.,Mount Vernon, VA 22309
Times:7:45 – 9:30am — Exhibit Hall
9:30am – noon — Program: Speakers, Audience Q&A’s and Virtual Tour


Gap Year Fair

Look Beyond the Classroom

FCPS School Counseling Services and Go Overseas invite you to attend this year's Gap Year Fair to learn about the growing array of gap year opportunities.  The fair will provide students with a broad exposure to gap year programs that emphasize experiential education and personal growth through travel, language immersion, directed study, outdoor adventure, community service, and internships.

The 9th annual FCPS Gap Year Fair will take place on Tuesday, February 4, at Marshall HS, from 6-8:30 p.m.

The fair begins with a featured speaker who will present a variety of possibilities students might choose to pursue during their gap time.  During the fair, attendees will be able to have face to face conversations with gap year program providers, trip leaders, advisors, and gap year alumni.  Attendees will gain a better sense of which gap year programs might suit their own unique interests and aspirations.

To find out more and to register, click HERE.


FCCPTA General Meeting: Gatehouse Café February 5

Wednesday, Feb 5th at 6:30 pm (presentation begins around 7:15)

Gatehouse Cafe

Additional background information:

What is the ACES Interface program?

ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Interface is a program created by Dr Anda, one of the principals of the original ACES study with Kaiser Permanente and the CDC back in the 1990's. The curriculum is extensive, with materials to do up to an 8 hr presentation. 

Who is sponsoring ACES Interface in Virginia?

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services has created a training structure through the CSB's throughout the state.  In Fairfax County, the program has been expanded to include FCPS, Neighborhood and Community Services, and the CSB. 


FCPS has a team of 6 trainers who seek to bring these materials to parents. 

Who is presenting on 2/5?

Janna White, FCCPTA Representative to the Trauma Informed Community Network, and Laura Thieman, FCPS Sr Social Worker.  Several other FCPS ACES Interface presenters will be in attendance to support and meet parents. These are school based psychologists and social workers.

Why ACES Interface?

The insights from this study have led to new ways of thinking about how to support people who have experienced adversity.  The data shows adversity is extremely common regardless of SES background, race or gender.  The presentation seeks to develop a common language in communities about adversity and resilience, reduce stigma, and create discussions on how people and communities can support resiliency.

For more information, please contact Jenna White: jennawhite235@gmail.com.


Important Dates to Remember

January 24 - End of Second Quarter

January 27 - Student Holiday

January 28 - Student Holiday

February 17 - President's Day - Student Holiday

School Board Meeting

The next School Board Meeting will be held on January 23, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at Jackson Middle School.  Information about upcoming meetings and agendas can be found here

The views contained within this newsletter reflect the views of the individual school board member who is the publisher of this newsletter and may not reflect the views of the Fairfax County School Board.

© 2020 Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, Virginia