Melanie Meren's Newsletter of May 8, 2020

Hello Community Members,

Meren students at computer

I hope distance learning has continued to go more smoothly for students, families, and educators. It has in my home, where I'm getting more familiar with the platforms, resources, and links my kids need for their 1st and 4th grade instruction.

Listening to friends, constituents, and staff, I’m hearing that experiences can vary greatly among schools, grades, and households. It’s tough when something works well for someone, and that same approach isn’t a success for another. Please know that I’m gathering this feedback and sharing it with my colleagues and FCPS Leadership so we can keep improving the experience for everyone.

Upcoming School Board Work

Return to School

At the May 11 work session, beginning at 1:00pm, the School Board will hear a presentation from FCPS staff on “Return to School” – that is, what the next steps in our learning will look like in this era of COVID. You can view the meeting live or recorded – information is found here: Relatedly, I have heard from students and families asking for a meaningful graduation experience for our seniors, and I am sharing these requests and ideas with FCPS Leadership.

Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Development – Update, and Participate!

This month the School Board will determine the budget for the upcoming school year (2020-2021), beginning the fiscal year on July 1, 2020. The School Board has been working to meet the new challenges presented by decreases in funding for the FCPS budget. Because of COVID-19, we will receive less money from the county and state; however, the federal government is expected to provide FCPS with new funding via a one-time stimulus support of $20.8 million.

Your voice is welcome to inform our work! The public may submit virtual comments during the budget hearing happening on Tuesday, May 12 at 5pm. Register here to speak or provide comments. Registration closes on May 11 at 4:30 pm. The Board votes to adopt the budget at our May 21 public meeting.

For a five-minute budget update, see this clip from my recent budget Town Hall with Hunter Mill Board of Supervisor Walter Alcorn:

Appreciating Our Educators and Staff

Our community has shown so much appreciation to our educators and staff during this Teacher Appreciation Week. Even in a time of being apart from FCPS employees, our students and families held car parades, created videos, donned spirit wear, and more to show that they care.

Here are highlights of two FCPS staff members who display their commitment to our students - reflecting why we appreciate them so:

Principal Kate Le of Cunningham Park Elementary School

Ms. Le was featured on Fox 5 local news for her mindful and healthy approach to helping her community manage the stress of living during school closure and health risks. Watch here:

Assistant Principal Kate Beckner of Clearview Elementary

Ms. Beckner wrote and illustrated (with the help of her daughter) a beautiful children’s book about school being closed and how to adapt to our new normal. Ms. Beckner reads the book aloud on this link:

Don’t Delay – Fall 2020 School Registration is Now Open!

Meren Student Registration Art

If you have a rising kindergartener or a student who will be new to FCPS this fall, please begin the school registration process now! The sooner that principals know how many students will attend each school year, the sooner they can appropriately staff classes and obtain resources. Otherwise, class sizes can be bigger and teachers may be unavailable in the fall. Information is here:

New Research Report about FCPS AAP

In March 2019, the School Board requested an external review of identification practices for FCPS’ Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) in order to create a set of recommendations for improving equity across all four levels of FCPS’ AAP continuum of services. Researchers Dr. Jonathan Plucker (Johns Hopkins), Dr. Carolyn Callahan (UVA), Dr. Dante Dixson (Michigan State), and Dr. Scott Peters (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) have now provided their review and recommendations in a report shared publicly, here. The report will be presented to the School Board at the Monday, May 11 work session for discussion.

Virginia’s General Assembly and Fairfax County

View this April presentation to the Board about the effects on our schools and county of the General Assembly’s just-closed legislative session:$file/2020%20GA%20Post%20Session%20Report%20SB%2004.27.pdf

Communicating with my Office

*New* - please Like and Follow my new FCPS Hunter Mill Facebook page:

Also, the best way for me to receive input is via the official public constituent contact form located on my webpage, here:

Please note that due to the volume of submitted contact forms and emails I receive, and that I do not have any full-time staff, it is difficult to respond as quickly as I’d like. I do read all of these communications and aim to respond as quickly as possible. Thank you!

Wishing you health and wellness,



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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