Monday Town Halls Changing to Blackboard Collaborate

Hello again friends and neighbors,

I hope you are staying safe and healthy. I wanted to share a change to my upcoming townhalls. Due to security concerns, I have switched from using Zoom to using Blackboard Collaborate for my Monday Townhall. My Facebook Live Townhalls will remain the same, as will my office hours.

Below is the updated information and links, along with other updates.

UPDATED: Town Halls Ongoing:

Every Monday I will hold a Town Hall Meeting either via Blackboard Collaborate or Facebook Live on alternative Mondays. Here is the information: All sessions will be 7-8 pm

Monday April 6th: I will be joined by Stella Pekarsky, School Board Member for the Sully District.

Our session will be on Blackboard Collaborate – please use Google Chrome to access.

        Guest link:

  • There is also a phone number available at that link if you prefer to call in

Future Sessions

  • April 13 Facebook Live - link will be emailed out as it gets closer
  • April 20 Blackboard Collaborate - link will be emailed out as it gets closer
  • April 27th Facebook Live - link will be emailed out as it gets closer
  • May 4 Blackboard Collaborate - link will be emailed out as it gets closer
  • May 11 Facebook Live - link will be emailed out as it gets closer
  • May 18 Blackboard Collaborate – link will be emailed as it gets closer
  • May 25 Facebook Live - link will be emailed out as it gets closer


A few updates:


School Board Budget Work Session

On Thursday, April 9 beginning at 10 a.m. our School Board will have a virtual meeting to discuss the impact of the Coronavirus on the FY 2021 Budget.

For the agenda, click here.

The Work Session will be live streamed on Channel 21 and at

Learning Packets Update

If you didn't receive your learning packet last week or want the packets to be fillable online - here is the info from FCPS about what happened and what to expect going forward:

“The team creating and arranging for the distribution of the learning packets intended to have all students receive the learning packets on Monday, March 30. While the content and  printing were completed according to plan, the packets were delayed during the mailing process. This delay created a situation where some students did not receive the learning packets during the week. Based on the advice from the US Postal Service and our mailing vendors, adjustments to the distribution process have been made which should ensure students have the learning packets by Monday of each week for the remainder of the school year.”

We will also be working to change the downloadable packets to fillable PDFs for kids who would prefer to complete them electronically (and save some papers!).”

How to Help: FCPS Foundation:

FCPS has a Foundation that provides support to our schools and has continued to be a resource for community members who want to help. Please consider making a donation to our Foundation to help our children and families in need.

Donate Here  

So far, the Foundation has:

  • Provided $40,000 to help order 30,000 school supply kits for students at Title I schools. The kits have 8 items in them, including crayons, paper, pencils, pencil sharpeners and scissors and will be mailed directly to the students’ homes
  • Committed funds to support the IT department in its purchase of MiFi devices so that students who do not have internet at home can access course content.
  • Given $17,000 to local food banks who assist our students
  • Provided $2,500 in grocery gift cards for distribution to homeless students.

More Information Here


Wifi Access

  • All Fairfax County library locations have exterior wireless internet access. Access is in parking lots from 6 am - 10 pm, seven days a week.
  • FCPS Schools also have Wifi Access in the parking lots for those who need it.

Please be mindful of social distancing requirements - Be sure to stand a minimum of 6 feet apart from others. Ideally, if you have a car, please remain in your car while accessing the Wifi. Thank you for keeping us all safe.


Food Resources:

Here is the latest for resources for food for families in need:

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency continues to evolve, we understand that individuals and families in our communities may have food assistance needs. Fairfax County and Fairfax County Public Schools have worked together to develop a searchable map that includes community food distribution sites, including FCPS grab and go locations, community meal distribution sites, food pantries, and other related services.

All FCPS students (regardless of age) are eligible for free grab and go breakfast and lunch, as well as other county children, under the age of 18. Adults picking up meals for children should let staff know how many children meals they need. Adults may pay $2 for the meals as well.

As a reminder, it is important to follow social distancing guidelines. Be sure to stand a minimum of 6 feet apart from others and practice regular hand washing, including prior to leaving a residence to pick-up meals, upon returning home, and before consuming food.

Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application

For those of you who may be experiencing a change in financial circumstances, here is the link to apply for Free and Reduced-Price Meals. This will also qualify you for a fee waiver in other areas.

Apply here


Office Hours Ongoing:

I am now scheduling regular virtual office hours with constituents for April and May. I will hold two office hours a week and you can sign up for 15 minute slots. If we end up needing more time, we can always schedule a longer follow up after our initial meeting.

Click on this link to sign up


Useful Links:

I have heard from many of you and shared your questions to our staff, who will update FAQs and information on the website with the answers as they become available. I appreciate your patience as we navigate these uncertain times.


Here is a link to FCPS FAQs  that may have the answers to many of your questions, including on grading for the 3rd and 4th quarter.

Daily Updates:

FCPS Provides daily updates to families. Here is the link

Distance Learning:

I hope you’ve had the chance to see our distance learning plan and hear from your principals and teachers this week as they reconnect with our students and prepare for distance learning. Teacher led new instruction will begin April 14th.

For those needing laptops:

If your student is in need of a laptop, please check with your student's school. To stay updated on what's happening at your child's school, click here to sign-up for your school's newsletter.

4th Quarter Grades

I’ve received many questions regarding 4th quarter grading: Following VDOE guidance, FCPS has decided that any work that is assigned while schools are closed will not be graded. This decision was made to be fair and equitable to all students. Even though there will be no “official” grades during fourth quarter, teachers will be providing feedback to students so they know how they are doing. Distance learning will be a new experience for everyone. All students are encouraged to reach out to their teachers and school counselors when they have questions throughout the rest of the school year. The virtual office hours will be a great time to connect with individual questions. Although the fourth quarter grade will be No Mark (NM), at the end of the year, final letter grades will be based on a student’s understanding of the content for the whole year or “mastery of learning.” Three quarters worth of grades will be used to calculate the final grade. Teachers will look at trends in how a student shows their understanding and learning to benefit the student. In other words, if a student was improving all year long, that improvement can help bring up the final grade. No fourth quarter grades will be assigned to elementary students due to equity issues of access to technology and limited student ability to submit work during distance learning. 


For the Class of 2020:

I have heard from many parents of seniors and from seniors themselves. We hear you and see you and are committed to trying to find some way to celebrate your achievements and give you the ceremonies you rightfully deserve. We just need to wait to see how this pandemic will play out. Please read Superintendent Brabrand’s letter to the Class of 2020 addressing your concerns.


For our Special Education Students:

Your case managers should be contacting you soon. IEPs, eligibility, and other similar meetings will be held virtually. Please be patient as our special education staff are working hard to train in how to support our students in a distance learning environment. Our central office staff, including our Behavior Intervention Teachers, our ABA coaches, and others will be working hard to support teachers in providing accommodations. We realize that we cannot recreate a live classroom experience in a distance learning model and are discussing short term and long term solutions to issues that may arise during this time.  Here is a letter explaining more


I’ve received many questions regarding students who are placed in a private school through the IEP process. These placements are funded by CSA (Children’s Services Act) office through state and local (Fairfax County) funding.  FCPS only covers the cost of transportation.  Multi-Agency Services (MAS) has been collaborating with each individual private placement to support their development of a distance learning plan. Many of our contract schools have already implemented distance learning, or are busy creating ways to support students virtually.  FCPS has offered support, guidance and our resources in the development of these plans.  Communication with our MAS families has been facilitated through their individual case managers as well as joint communication from other FCPS staff and private providers. Right now, MAS staff is collaborating with IT to develop a plan for student access to technology devices and online resources for those who may not currently have access.

A few final thoughts:

Again, I want to thank you for your patience during these unprecedented times. I will continue to compile your concerns and share them with staff. Many of the answers will be shared through the FAQs on the FCPS webpage.

Our staff have been working around the clock to pivot our entire system while feeding our neediest children and I appreciate their hard work and dedication. Since March 13th, we have served 190,542 meals to needy students and distributed over 6400 laptops, with more coming. We recognize things aren’t perfect and we will work to continually improve. Distance learning cannot replace live in person teaching nor can we replicate the community of school in a distance learning setting. We are trying to provide the best education we can without creating additional anxiety in this incredibly stressful time.

I am also very grateful for our medical professionals, law enforcement, and first responders on the front lines risking their lives for us all. Thank you to the transportation workers, our store clerks, our delivery personnel, and all those others out there working to keep us supplied. And I applaud all our students, staff, and families who have sent offers of help or support. 

I know this is difficult for many of us, those ill or worried about ill loved ones, those unemployed or concerned about employment, and all of us who are missing our friends, families, and our old lives. I know this is hard for our working families who are struggling to take care of their children while doing their jobs. I especially feel for those of you who cannot work from home and I am truly sorry. None of us wished this new world and I am sorry for those of whom it impacts the most.

I appreciate all of you who have taken time to share thoughts, thanks, concerns and especially those moments of joy many of us need right now. And I hear those of you who have been frustrated with me for trying to share moments of positivity in these times. I value all your perspectives. As always, I am here to listen and help however I can.

I wanted to also pause and share something personal for me. April 2nd was World Autism Day. This is very personal for me as my son has autism. At one point, I was very excited about being able to submit a resolution at our school board meeting recognizing April as Autism Awareness Month. At this meeting, I was going to speak about how my son taught me so much - about recognizing all types of abilities, of valuing differences, of redefining normal, that language ability does not equate to intelligence, and there are many ways to communicate and contribute. And that we all have an equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as fully included members of society. After all, we are all human. So I hope you don’t mind me sharing these words with you today.

In closing, I share this picture with you of my son, who speaks to the world through his music. I hope it brings you as much joy as it does me.



In Health



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.

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