Dr. Brabrand on tonight's Town Hall

Dear Fairfax County students, staff and families,

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. I’m hoping your children had the chance to reconnect virtually with teacher and classmates. It made a huge difference to my own teenager to watch how happy he was to “see” and talk to his friends and teachers. I know how important that connection and familiarity is for all our students in this time of extreme change and uncertainty. I am sorry that our face to face distance learning had issues in the past few and I’m excited to build on the successes of last week. Below, I’ve shared some data with you regarding the numbers from last week. If you are still having issues, please reach out to your principal for support.

For those of you who have questions or concerns or want to hear the latest, please join me Monday May 4th 7-8 pm(tonight) for my weekly townhall. Tonight, I will be joined by FCPS Superintendent, Dr. Brabrand. Details are below.

Today is also the beginning of Teacher Appreciation Week! I know I am incredibly grateful and humbled by the hard work and dedication of our teachers in going above and beyond to ensure learning happened for our students. Their flexibility in adapting to changing plans was nothing short of heroic. My son often takes flowers to his teachers for teacher appreciation, along with a handwritten note. I am sorry he doesn’t get the chance to do that this year but I hope his teachers, and all our teachers, know just how thankful he and I are for them. If you have a chance and so desire, please encourage your child to send a note of thanks to their teacher this week.

FCPS “By the Numbers” – Just a snapshot of what’s been going on.

  • Our synchronous “live” virtual learning last week
    • Monday 4/27 
      • 149,843 attendees and 36,248 sessions launched
    • Tuesday 4/28 
      • 304,677 attendees and 46,409 sessions launched          
    • Wednesday 4/29
      • 213,827 attendees and 36,107 sessions launched
    • Thursday 4/30
      • 276,208 attendees and 36,189 sessions launched    
  • Laptop Distribution: As of 4/28/20, FCPS has distributed 16,838 laptops and 1,076 MiFi devices which provide internet access
  • Meals: FCPS has served 643,021 meals since March 14 (through April 30)                 

I know my newsletters are long. I try to provide a guide to the content upfront so you can read what is pertinent to you – or skip it all together if you so desire. My goal is to be as transparent and keep you informed as best as I can. I do compile these myself so I appreciate your patience as I try to share information I think is valuable to many.

Again, please don’t hesitate to reach out if I can help your family.

In Health,


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Below you will find information on (in order):

  • My Monday Town Halls (Updated)
  • Summary of School Board Work Last Week and This Week
  • Office Hours Information
  • School Board Meetings Upcoming
  • FCPS FY 21 Budget News and Timeline
  • FCPS – Where to go to resolve issues
  • Useful FCPS and Fairfax County Links for Info or Help
  • Frequently Asked Questions, Part 2
  • Attendance During Distance Learning
  • Third Quarter Grading Update
  • Special Education Update
  • Fee Refund Update
  • Resources for the Class of 2020 and Graduation Update
  • McLean High School Overcrowding Update
  • “FCPS By The Numbers”
  • A Couple of Cool Opportunities


Monday 7-8 pm Town Halls:

Every Monday I will hold a Town Hall Meeting

TODAY, MAY 4th – Dr. Brabrand, FCPS Superintendent, will be joining me via Blackboard Collaborate and Facebook Live

Blackboard Collaborate Link Here and Link to Facebook Live Here

Future Town Halls

  • May 11
  • May 18
  • May 25

Summary of School Board Work

Last Week

Lots happened this last week. I was grateful to hear from nearly 150 of you on Zoom and Facebook Live with my colleague and friend Laura Jane Cohen (Springfield District Member). Thank you for all your great questions and respectful participation.

I was also fortunate Sunday night to join my at-large colleague, Abrar Omeish, and Kimberly Boateng, the student representative to the school board Sunday night for a Facebook Live event. We were joined by representatives from the Fairfax County Department of Family Services who spoke about county resources to support families in need. I have shared many of these resources below.

I participated in two school board meetings last week as we did a deeper dive into distance learning for our special education students, discussed the FY21 adopted budget, and picked up back up on other aspects of our regular work. We heard an update on new regulations passed by the Virginia assembly that may have an impact on our school system as well as discussed a draft update to our Students Rights and Responsibilities (SR& R) Handbook.

Here is a link to the Virginia General Assembly post session report

Here is a link to the SR&R Presentation

Meetings are recorded and available to view on the FCPS YouTube page here.

Below you will see information on our upcoming meetings and how to participate.

The audit of the rollout of our entire Distance Learning Plan began. This includes a full examination of how we got here and will help guide the Board on any decisions that need to be made. This review is important for accountability and also ensuring lessons learned moving forward. More details below.


We are entering into our final budget season. These rapidly changing economic times means we had to take a second look at our advertised budget. The School Board had a work session on this last week and Dr. Brabrand will be formally presenting the budget this Thursday at our virtual board meeting. More details are below.

FCPS has had a workgroup working on “Return to Learn” plan for when students can return safely to school, the possibility of more distance learning and more. This group will be presenting to the school board their initial thoughts at our May 11th work session. More information is below.

Office Hours:

I am now scheduling regular virtual office hours with constituents for May and June. I will hold on two different days 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. And you are always welcome to send me an email.

Click on this link to sign up

School Board Meetings Upcoming

  • Thursday May 7th - Regular Meeting (Virtual) – Main Topic – FY 21 Adopted Budget
  • Monday May 11th - Work Session (Virtual) – Main Topic – Return to Learn Plan and AAP Report
  • For agenda, handouts and more click here
  • For information on how to submit testimony at a public meeting, click here
  • Members of the public are welcome to attend virtually via at https://www.fcps.edu/tv/ch99.
  • Meetings will be recorded and available to view on the FCPS YouTube page here
  • To sign up to speak (virtually) at the FCPS Budget Hearing on May 12th, click here

FCPS FY21 Budget News and Timeline

  • The new FCPS budget mirrors the county strategy of focusing on keeping existing staff, eliminating compensation increases, and preserving our classroom and student focused supports.
  • We are still focused on funding school needs for anticipated increased enrollment and increased needs for special education and English language learners.
  • School Board members all expressed the need for continued and enhanced social/emotional supports for our students, staff, and families as we deal with distance learning and the stresses COVID-19 has put upon our families.
  • Supporting everyone as we return to our school buildings will be imperative
  • We are looking at a Technology fund to ensure that we are prepared for future distance

FCPS Budget Timeline

5 May

Board of Supervisors mark-up FY21 Budget

7 May

School Board FY21 Approved Budget presented for new business

12 May

County BOS approves FY21 County Budget, tax rate, and transfer to schools

12 May

School Board holds public hearing on the budget (13 May, if needed)

14 May

School Board conducts final budget work session

21 May

School Board adopts FCPS FY21 Approved Budget


FCPS – Where to go to resolve issues

People often ask me who they should turn to for help with school related issues.

  1. Teacher or Counselor - The first place to go is to your child’s teacher or counselor (or case manager for special education).
  2. School Principal - Next, turn to your school’s principal. If you need further help.
  3. Regional Superintendent - If you are still having issues, reach out to your Regional Assistant Superintendent. Fairfax County is divided into Five Regions, each with a Regional Assistant Superintendent. They can provide support to resolve issues.
  • Other sources for help
  • FCPS Ombudsman (General Ed and Special Ed) – available to help guide parents and answer questions ombudsman@fcps.edu
  • FCPS Parent Resource Center: available virtually to help! Call 703-204-3941 or prc@fcps.edu

(More special education resources are listed below)

Useful FCPS and Fairfax County Links for Info or Help

  • FCPS FAQs: Here is a link to FCPS FAQs that may have the answers to many of your questions.

Employment, Insurance, and Financial Support:

Safe at Home Supports

  • Domestic Violence: The Fairfax County 24-Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Hotline is here to help: 703-360-7273.
    • Not safe to talk? Chat online with the National Domestic Violence Hotline at: thehotline.org
  • Concerned about a child’s safety? Call the Fairfax County Child Protective Services Hotline for advice or to make a report: 703-324-7400, available 24/7
  • Concerned about mental health or substance use for you or a loved one? Call the Fairfax–Falls Church Community Services Board: Emergency Services: 703-573-5679, 24/7

Food Services

  • Fairfax County Public Schools continues to help distribute meals throughout the county. As of April 16, 2020, over 403,000 meals have been served.
  • Visit: https://www.fcps.edu/news/coronavirus-update-food-resources for more information. Or, you can use the Fairfax County interactive map to find community meal distribution sites, food pantries, and other related services.

Internet Assistance Programs

  • Several companies are helping families in need during this COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Some of the companies offering assistance programs are Comcast, Cox, and Verizon. Here you will find a Complete List.

Language Supports - FCPS

  • Parent Information Phone Lines - Parent Information Phone Lines are available in eight languages to support families with information whose first language is not English. 
  • Translation Information - Information posted on the FCPS public website allows the user to select their preferred language, which then generates translated text on the web page. In the top left-hand corner, you will see an icon allowing the user to indicate their preferred language. On some webpages, users may also see an area allowing them to select their preferred language.

Frequently Asked Questions: Part 2

Each week I have tried to provide information to frequently asked questions. Here are some more to supplement what I sent out the last two weeks. If these don’t address your concerns, please join me during one of my townhalls or send me an email. I am happy to try to address your specific concerns

Attendance During Distance Learning

Participation in asynchronous and synchronous learning is encouraged at all levels during the school closure. Teachers will note student non-participation in synchronous sessions in SIS, which will be visible to parents.

The data will not be included in student attendance history and will not be reported to the VDOE.

Students who are not engaging in any form of synchronous or asynchronous work will be contacted by the teacher and/or other staff members, such as the school counselor, to encourage participation, provide additional supports, and remove barriers if possible. For students who do not have access to technology or connectivity, teachers and school counselors will work together to determine appropriate opportunities and resources. 

The last day of school for all students (except seniors) is Friday, June 12. Seniors’ last day of school is based on their original graduation date with the last day of school on or before Friday, May 29 for all seniors.

Third Quarter Grading Update

Due to last week’s pause in teacher-led “live” instruction, the third quarter has been extended until Friday, May 1, 2020. Students will work with their teachers to make up third quarter missing/incomplete assignments and complete reassessments by May 1, 2020. 

ParentVUE/StudentVUE access will be turned off to allow for teachers to enter grades from Thursday, April 23 through Friday, May 8. Grades will be available in ParentVUE/StudentVUE on Saturday, May 9.

Report card mailings to all parents/guardians who have not opted into electronic delivery will begin on May 12, 2020. 

Go Paperless for Report Cards

Report Cards/Progress Reports will be mailed centrally for both third and fourth quarters to all parents/guardians, except those secondary families who have opted to “Go Paperless”. Middle and high school parents/guardians may opt into “Go Paperless” for report cards by following the below instructions:

Parents/Guardians can take advantage of the paperless option, by logging into ParentVUE, then going to “My Account” and selecting "Go Paperless!". This is the only way to keep a paper report card from being generated for students at the secondary level. All parents who share the same address as the student must have a SIS ParentVUE account and must select the paperless option. This option must be selected prior to May 12th to prevent the 3rd quarter report card from being mailed.

More Information regarding the Distance Learning Audit:

Here is more information on the Distance Learning Audit. We are launching a comprehensive internal investigation into the failure of our virtual learning platform.

  • We have retained experienced and longstanding outside counsel Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP to conduct the investigation.  They will report directly to the School Board. Hunton will follow the facts wherever they lead.  It will leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of this failure.
  • Hunton has extensive experience investigating IT-related problems in a wide range of sectors, including investigating more than 1,700 cybersecurity incidents.  The firm is ranked as one of the top law firms in the United States and worldwide for its cybersecurity work. 
  • Stuart Raphael  and Paul Tiao will lead the effort.  Stuart is the former Solicitor General of Virginia and has represented and advised the School Board in a wide range of matters for more than 20 years. Paul co-chairs Hunton’s cyber-security task force and regularly advises both public and private-sector clients on cyber incident response. He previously served as special senior counselor for cyber security and technology to the Director of the FBI.
  • Hunton will retain forensics experts with deep experience in education IT systems and cybersecurity to provide technical assistance with the investigation. 
  • Hunton is aiming to have a preliminary set of findings to share with the School Board by mid-May.

Special Education Update

    • How to Resolve Issues: Many have asked me what to do if they are having issues regarding their special education children. First, please talk to your teacher, then your school principal. If you still need help, please reach out to your procedural support liaison. In addition, we have a special education ombudsman available to help resolve issues. Further contact information is below.
    • Contact Information - If parent(s) or guardian(s) need further assistance, please reach out to the: 
    • What are the next steps being offered if I do not wish to sign the TLP? The Virginia Department of Education advised school divisions to develop a plan that meets its own individual needs during the time of the emergency school closure. Like other large school divisions in Virginia, FCPS developed the temporary learning plan model to identify what goals, accommodations and services could be provided to students during this time of closure. The TLP is not an IEP and it is not a waiver of rights under IDEA.  Your child’s IEP will be implemented when we resume school. A parent may elect to not provide a signature on the TLP. If you do not sign the TLP, school staff will collaborate with you to resolve your concern. This may include having an administrator, department chair/ lead teacher, and or procedural support liaison (PSL) participate in the conversation.  If necessary, an IEP meeting with relevant members of the team can be scheduled. If you choose not to sign the TLP, the outlined service(s) will still be offered and will be delivered, unless you choose to opt out of instruction.  
  • An update on special education services is here.

These links include information about

    • Temporary Learning Plans,
    • IEP Meetings and Eligibility Meetings,
    • Instructional packets,
    • who to contact, roles and responsibilities of staff during distance learning,
    • Link to the complete FCPS distance learning plan to include special education resources.
    • Related services providers

A regular communication with Special Services tips, news, and information will be sent to families of students with disabilities from our Department of Special Services.

Fee Refund Update

Many have asked me about fee refunds for senior fees, field trips, and more. Here is the status. Our schools and central offices are working diligently with travel brokers and other vendors to recover funds paid for fields trips and activities that were canceled due to COVID-19 and the Governor’s stay at home order. A refund workgroup consisting of central staff and school administration was established to look at the refund process.  The workgroup has shared a refund policy and guidance for FCPS schools. The guidance allows for refunds of most student fees including student parking fees for the 4th quarter. The Department of Financial services is developing processes for schools to issue refunds through our online payment systems and checks to be mailed to parents.

Not all field trips and activity fees can be refunded in their entirety due to non-refundable costs. We will take appropriate steps to refund recovered amounts to parents proportionally for trips and fees paid once each FCPS sponsored field trip and activity is settled.

Resources for the Class of 2020

Many of you have expressed concern about the Class of 2020 and I understand and share your concerns and sadness over our graduating seniors. This truly is a terrible time in their lives for something like this to happen and it breaks my heart to know of all they’ve lost.

To help seniors transition from high school graduates, FCPS has created a website to help them solidify their post-secondary plans (including the Senior Survey) document their plans, and Celebrate! To access this site, seniors will need to log into their fcpsschools.net Gmail account and click on this link to access a three-step campaign: FCPS Class of 2020 Website

Graduation Update:

It is vital to me to ensure our seniors feel celebrated and appreciated for all of their efforts. Some is still unknown as we wait to find out when it will be safe to gather in person.

  • Dr. Frances Ivey has been working on a Graduation Workgroup.
  • This Workgroup is composed of several high school principals, Executive Principals, the FCPS Director of Activities and Athletics, the FCPS Director of Counseling, College, and Career Readiness, the Coordinator for the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council, and Region Assistant Superintendents.
  • This Workgroup has been discussing and strategizing weekly on developing plans for a meaningful ceremony to commemorate and celebrate the achievements of our seniors in each of our high schools.
  • Just recently, the Workgroup convened a group of over 70 senior student leaders, including the student representative to the School Board, from each of our high schools. These senior leaders were representatives of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. The student voice, as well, continues to be paramount. The students had an opportunity to conference together on their thoughts and desires for a graduation ceremony this year.
  • Afterwards, the students had an open forum with Dr. Ivey to convey the results of their collaboration.
  • The principals' voice in these deliberations has been and continues to be paramount. The principals have consistently indicated a desire to have some form of an in-person commencement ceremony if we can do so safely. They have also been reaching out to their school communities for input.

McLean High School Overcrowding Update – from Elaine Tholen, Dranesville School Board member

Several people have asked about for an update to our plans to address the overcrowding at McLean High School. As a response to the comments made at the December public meetings on a potential boundary change between McLean and Langley High Schools, the school board approved adding Cooper and Longfellow Middle Schools to the boundary study at its March 9 meeting. There will not be a boundary change for the Fall of 2020. As soon as we can figure out the best way to have public meetings to move forward on the boundary scoping process, those meetings will continue.

In an effort to alleviate some of the overcrowding issues at McLean HS for current students by adding bathrooms outside of the building and a more collaborative learning space and environment for teachers, staff and students, the school district is looking into putting a modular unit at the high school. This 12 classroom unit will replace 14 of the trailers on the site. The modular will be on the consent agenda for the May 7 school board meeting.

After the May 7 meeting, a summary note will be sent to all families in the McLean and Langley pyramids.

We will continue to analyze development numbers and enrollment figures for McLean High School to monitor the need for an addition to the school.  


“FCPS By The Numbers”

Here are some stats on learning, laptops, meals and more

Face to Face Learning Data


Google Meet Sessions

Google Meet Attendees

Blackboard Collaborate Sessions

Blackboard Collaborate Attendees














































**Attendee data reflect the number of attendees per session.  The numbers are greater than our student population because individual users have the ability to attend more than one session.

On-Demand Learning Update - Our On-Demand learning continued this week to go well. Here are the updates.

Distance Learning Packets - Distance learning packets continue to be sent on a weekly basis to all PreK-8 students and select high school students. The distribution schedule is developed to ensure that the packets arrive beginning on Friday before the learning week begins on Monday. The division mailed 160,000 learning packets for week 3 (4/17) and 153,087 in week 4 (4/24).  As the distance learning continues, additional packets have been added and mailed at various intervals to reach specific populations to include ESOL and Special Ed students.

The option for families to opt out of printed packets began in early April. To date, 8,941 families have opted out. Families can request to be opted back in to printed packets and 138 have opted back in as of 4/28/2020.

Packets are also available in FCPS 24/7 Learning as fillable pdfs. and Braille and Large Print packets are also available electronically.

On-line Campus Update

Economics and Personal Finance (EPF) Update

As of the morning of April 28, 2020 there are 5758 students registered for summer EPF self-directed course.  Registration is open until Friday, June 12, 2020.  There are between 20 and 30 students registering each day.  Students have until July 31 to complete the course.

Laptop Distribution: As of 4/28/20, FCPS has distributed 16,838 laptops and 1,076 MiFi devices which provide internet access. (If your family’s need for a laptop has changed, please let your Principal know and you will be added to a list and scheduled for distribution, which also requires completion of a health questionnaire)

Meals: FCPS has served 643,021 meals since March 14 (through April 30)                 

A Couple of Cool Opportunities

Finally – I am ending with some cool programs for our middle schoolers and our juniors and seniors:

FCPS Middle School After-School @ Home

FCPS Middle School After-School has put together a number of virtual after-school activities to engage middle school students in the arts, music, STEM, physical fitness, cooking, games, puzzles, literature, and more – things students can do at home. 

FCPS students can access these virtual after-school activities by joining the "FCPS MS After-School @ Home" Google Classroom. 

The classroom code is: t673w7v.

Once your student has joined the classroom, there are a variety of topics they can choose from in the "Classwork" tab. We hope your students enjoy this site, and that it helps them actively pursue their interests during this time of social distancing.

If you or your student have ideas for other activities, please email your After-School Program Specialist or use the "FCPS MS @ Home Interest Form" located on the classroom home page. 

Opportunity for Free College Classes

NOVA Jump Start - New Opportunity for Current and Rising Seniors to take college classes for free

NOVA announced the launch of JumpStart , a new opportunity for current and rising seniors to NOVA to take up to two, tuition-free online college courses this summer.

NOVA has identified a specific set of courses available through this initiative, including courses for NOVA degree requirements that are also highly transferable credits to four-year institutions as well as coursework in cloud computing through a collaboration with Amazon Web Services.


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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