January 2020 Newsletter from Rachna Sizemore Heizer

Rachna Sizemore Heizer's Newsletter

A Note from Rachna:

Hello all! Welcome to my first “News You Choose” newsletter! Thank you for choosing to receive my updates. I am humbled to be your at-large representative on the Fairfax County School Board. I recognize I am here to represent all of you – my constituents across the county - while working with my colleagues to ensure all our children receive the world class education for which Fairfax County Public Schools are renowned. I am committed to being available to you, transparent in my actions, and responsive to your needs.

What's in Here?

My goal is to provide information and resources to help you engage with our schools as well as highlight upcoming events of interest.

You will see my newsletter will contain the following each month:

  1. Office Hours - I plan to hold one weekday and one weekend or evening office hours monthly.
  2. Resources - Each month I will share different resources that may be of value to you and instructions on how to receive information from FCPS.
  3. Student or Staff Spotlight - Each month I will spotlight the amazing work of our students or staff.
  4. What’s Going On - Current School Board work, policy changes, and other current information about what’s happening with the School Board
  5. Upcoming Events/Highlights - I will share upcoming School Board meetings and events from all five of our regions around the county. Each month, I will try to highlight an event from a different school or center in each region.
  6. Advisory Committees - The School Board has multiple advisory committees that meet regularly to advise the Board on various topics. These meetings are open to the public and welcome public comment! Come check out one of these meetings, sign up to speak, or just attend and learn.
  7. Food For Thought - I end with an interesting article or thought on a topic and I welcome your thoughts in response.

I hope this will help you find ways to have your concerns addressed, questions answered, and ways to engage with our school system!

About Me

Just a few words about my background - I received my bachelor's degree in political economy and my law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. I started my career as a corporate attorney, working on mergers and acquisitions and employment law. I am now a college professor teaching classes in employment law, cultural competency, and leadership in human resources. I am also a disability justice advocate, having spent over a decade advocating for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce, education, and society.

I was born and raised in Northern California, but have lived in Fairfax County since 2001. I have two children and a stepson. My children have spent their entire educational careers in Fairfax County Public Schools - my son is a junior in high school in FCPS and my daughter graduated from FCPS in 2017 and is currently a junior in college.

As an at-large member, I bring a system-wide lens to ensure inclusivity, consistency, implementation fidelity, and excellence across our county. I believe Fairfax County is a wonderfully connected “neighborhood of neighborhoods” built on shared values of acceptance and community. I, along with my two at-large colleagues, are here to represent all of Fairfax County. I believe no matter where you live or who you are, you have the right to a high- expectations and high-quality education. My goal is to ensure every school provides our students a welcoming atmosphere that educates the whole child - fosters individual strengths, meets individual needs, and sets every child up for success on the path that is right for them.

Let me know how I can help you!

Yours in Service


Office Hours

Sunday, January 26 - 5:00 - 7:00 pm

Breeze Bakery Cafe, 4125 Hummer Rd, Annandale, VA (upstairs)

Wednesday, January 29 - 2:30 - 4:30 pm

Caboose Commons, 2918 Eskridge Rd, Fairfax, VA (upstairs)

Residents are invited to attend to discuss any topic related to Fairfax County Public Schools. Rachna offers Community Office Hours to give residents the opportunity to meet one-on-one to ask questions and share insights. Please sign in when you arrive.

Those in attendance will be seen in the order of arrival. Concerns which necessitate a lengthier discussion or additional information from staff will require further follow-up.


Office of the Family and Student Ombudsman - For those of you who have concerns or need support navigating our system

The Family and Student Ombudsman provides an independent, confidential resource for students, families, and community members, offering informal help to resolve concerns, problems, complaints, and other student-related issues.

The Family and Student Ombudsman will listen, review, and provide resources for information and referral; serve as a neutral advocate for fairness, equity, inclusion, and consistency; and foster positive working relationships.

The Assistant Ombudsman for Special Education is responsible for supporting parents who have special education concerns and will provide deeper knowledge and more experience with the special education process.


Armando L. Peri, Jr., Family and Student Ombudsman

Dawn Clements, Assistant Ombudsman for Special Education



Parent Resource Center - The PRC has a wealth of information, resources, and offers many free workshops for our family and staff

Parent Resource Center Liaisons offer supportive consultations for families and staff to answer questions, find resources, and discuss any concerns you may have about your child. Register here for free workshops. Attend free parent and educator workshops to learn the latest information to help your child succeed.

Can't make it to the workshops in person? View them online anytime on the PRC YouTube channel.

Keep in Touch - Sign up to receive information

FCPS News You Choose

To sign up for updates and select your subscriber preferences, enter your email address here to update your profile.

FCPS Calendars

Access numerous FCPS Calendars and subscribe here on our website.

Filter by specific categories including Fine and Performing Arts, School Board Dates, Job Fairs, and more!

Student Spotlight

We’ve got talent. Congratulations to the nine students from FCPS who have been named semifinalists in Society for Science and the Public’s 2020 Science Talent Search. Read about them - and their projects - here.

Irving MS Student

An Irving MS science student carefully pours a solution to determine whether it is an acid or base during a lab.

What's Going On

Civic Engagement

Did you know?  Beginning January 21, students in grades 7-12 will be allowed one partial school day absence each school year to participate in civic engagement. Learn more…FCPS to Implement Student Civic Engagement Activity Option

Get involved; January is National Mentor Month. Become an FCPS mentor; watch this video to learn more…Video: I am a Mentor

FCPS to Add Electric School Buses to Its Fleet

Fairfax County Public Schools 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. Read more here.

Capital Improvement Program

Fairfax County continues to experience uneven growth with changes in population, new development and student transfers. The Capital Improvement Program each year reviews our existing facilities, the current and five-year projected student membership, and capacity utilization data to identify future capital requirements, new facilities, capacity enhancement projects, and renovations, as well as the use of temporary classrooms, modular additions, and boundary adjustments. The FY 2021–25 CIP includes potential solutions for consideration to alleviate current and projected school capacity deficits. The School Board is currently in discussions about the FY 2021-25 CIP and is seeking public comment.

I welcome your comments and feedback via email or during public comment on January 27, 2020. Sign up to speak.

Here is a link to the CIP presentation and plan.

FY 2021 Budget

On January 9, 2020, the Superintendent presented the FY 2021 Proposed Budget. 

Here is a link to a short video of Superintendent Brabrand’s presentation of the budget.

The FY 2021 Proposed Budget presentation and document are available at https://www.fcps.edu/about-fcps/budget/budget-documents.

I welcome all comments and suggestions on the budget via email or during public comment on January 27, 2020. Register to speak.

Upcoming Events

Don’t miss important upcoming FCPS events and engagement opportunities; they’re posted online here.

School Board Meetings

We welcome you to attend our meetings and share your thoughts!

Can't attend? Many of our meetings are recorded and available on our YouTube channel here.

  • January 21, Work Session, 5:00 pm, Gatehouse Administration Center (GAC)
  • January 23, Regular Meeting, 7:00 pm, Luther Jackson MS (LJMS)
  • January 27, CIP and Budget Public Hearings, 5:30 pm, LJMS
  • January 28, Budget Work Session, 6:00 pm, GAC
  • January 30, Budget Work Session, 6:00 pm, LJMS
  • February 3, Joint Retreat with BOS, 10:00 am, VT Falls Church Campus
  • February 6, Regular Meeting, 7:00 pm, LJMS
  • February 10, Work Session, 11:00 am, GAC
  • February 20, Regular Meeting, 7:00 pm, LJMS
  • February 24, Work Session, 6:00 pm, GAC
  • February 28, Joint Budget Meeting with BOS, 2:30 pm, Location TBD

School Board

From Left to Right: Karen Corbett Sanders, Melanie Meren, Megan McLaughlin, Tammy Derenak Kaufax, Ricardy Anderson, Karl Frisch, Laura Jane Cohen, Karen Keys-Gamarra, Rachna Sizemore Heizer, Abrar Omeish, Stella Pekarsky, Elaine Tholen

FCPS Events

Academy Open Houses

Advanced technical and specialized elective courses are available at the High School Academies for students interested in pursuing coursework in a variety of options related to career pathways.

Marshall Academy, January 29, 6:00 - 7:30 pm

Fairfax Academy, February 4, 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Chantilly Academy, Fairfax County Firefighting Program, February 12, 6:30 - 8:00 pm

FFX Academy

Fairfax Academy hosting the Academy Experience.

Falls Church Academy College and Career Fair

Falls Church Academy and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) will host the second annual Healthcare College and Career Fair. This event is open to all FCPS high school students interested in learning more about healthcare certification programs and college and career options.

  • Monday, January 27, 9:00 am - noon, Falls Church HS

FCPS Gap Year Fair

FCPS School Counseling Services and Go Overseas are hosting the 9th annual FCPS Gap Year Fair.This event is for high school students and parents who are interested in learning more about the variety of experiences available and growing array of gap year opportunities. For more information, visit USA Gap Year Fairs.

  • Tuesday, February 4, 6:00 - 8:30 pm, Marshall HS

Super Transition Saturday

  • Saturday, February 22, 8:30 am - 12:15 pm, Luther Jackson MS

For our parents and educators of students with disabilities. It is never too early or too late to start planning for a successful transition from school life to life as a young adult. Join us to learn about Career and Transition Services (CTS) programming and course options for students with disabilities

Advance Registration is Required

Register by calling 703-204-3941 OR register online here.

More information about CTS services here.

Special Education Conference

Region Event and Highlights

Region 1: Hughes MS High School Musical Jr.

  • Thursday, February 27, 7:00 pm
  • Friday, February 28, 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, February 29, 3:00 pm

Region 2: Jackson MS 13th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration

  • Saturday, January 25, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Region 3: Hayfield MS Willy Wonky Jr.

  • Thursday, Saturday, January 23 - 25, 7:00 pm
  • Tickets

Region 4: Lake Braddock SS Chorus Children's Concert

  • Friday, January 24, 6:00 pm; Saturday, January 25, noon
  • Funding for Inova Children's Hospital - admission is one new toy or $5
  • Costumes are encouraged, view the flyer!

Region 5: Woodson HS Special Olympics FanQuest - Original January 18 event POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER - STAY TUNED FOR NEW DATE!

  • 5:30 pm Tailgate Carnival, 7:00 pm Basketball Game

Colin Powell Snow

Colin Powell ES students enjoy the snow on an early-release day.

Citizen Advisory Committees - Upcoming Meetings

Our citizen advisory committees advise the FCPS School Board on a variety of issues. These meetings are open to the public and welcome comment from the public. Interested in one or more of the topics below? Please come to a meeting to learn more and express your thoughts.

Got a concern or suggestion? Come to a meeting and let them know!

Adult and Community Education (ACE) Advisory Committee

The committee represents the community and brings attention to resource and programmatic issues associated with adult education.

  • January 22, February 26, GAC, Room 5050, from 6:00 - 7:30 pm

Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) Advisory Committee

The local advisory committee on gifted education shall annually review the local plan for the education of gifted students, including revisions, and determine the extent to which the plan for the previous year was implemented.

  • February 11, Alan Leis Center, Room 109, 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee

Provides recommendations on current job needs and the relevancy of career and technical education programs offered and to assist in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the local plan and application.

  • February 13, GAC, 8:30 - 10:30 am

Human Resources Advisory Committee

The purpose of the HRAC is to advise on achieving and maintaining a premier workforce within a caring culture.

  • February 3, GAC, Room 5055, 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee

Advocates for minority student achievement by identifying, reviewing, and assessing issues affecting minority student academic achievement within the policies, curriculum, practices, and procedures of FCPS.

  • February 12, GAC, Room 5055, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

School Health Advisory Committee

The advisory board shall assist with the development of health policy in the school division and the evaluation of the status of school health, health education, the school environment, and health services.

  • February 19, GAC, Room 1600, 7:00 pm

Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities

Committee for special education; current charge is to provide recommendations designed to improve and strengthen the relationship between parents of students with disabilities and FCPS school staff and central office staff.

  • February 12, Dunn Loring, Room 108, 7:00 pm

Title I Parent Advisory Committee

The Elementary and Secondary Education act (ESEA) requires that a school district consult with teachers and parents as the district designs and implements its Compensatory Education Title I program.

  • March 3, GAC, Room 2050, 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Facilities Planning Advisory Council

Provides accurate, timely, and relevant advice with regard to the development of strategic, comprehensive, and long-term plans for educational and educational support facilities within Fairfax County for Fairfax County Public School students. The FPAC is intended to enhance community outreach and input into the facilities planning process.

  • January 21, Work Session, GAC, Room 5050, 6:00 - 9:00 pm
  • February 4, GAC, Room 5050, 6:00 - 7:00 pm
  • February 18, Work Session, GAC, Room, 5050, 6:00 - 9:00 pm
  • February 22, Retreat, West Springfield HS, 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Food For Thought

Each month I will share an interesting article about education policy, practices, current trends, or more. The topics in these articles do not necessarily reflect my views or priorities, but aim to share interesting tidbits related to education. 

This month, I am sharing an article talking about the trends in STEM education. As technology is increasingly prevalent in many aspects of our society, it is interesting to see how that is reflected in trends in STEM education...Read online 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