CORRECTED Upcoming Town Halls and School Board Meetings

Hello Fairfax County students, families, and staff,

I hope you are well! I am sending this as a brief reminder of some upcoming town halls and school board meetings. 

In particular, I wanted to highlight this week’s mental health town hall I am hosting with our Student Representative, Nathan Onibudo and representatives from FCPS psychology, social work, and counseling staff. I hope you and your student can join us Thursday evening for an open and honest conversation where we listen to our students' thoughts and concerns and how to build communities and stay mentally strong. COVID is a global crisis that has impacted all of us in different ways. For some, it has been a positive time for everyone to slow down and be with family. For others they may feel isolated, nervous, or a variety of other feelings. For some, not all, it may be traumatic. Thursday’s town hall is focused on tips and supports for us all to be resilient and get help when we need it. More information is below.

COVID is a community problem that needs community solutions. I hope we can become that community that works together to support each other while we try to solve the global problem that is COVID.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Please stay at home as much as you can. 

And please wear your mask.

Warm Regards,


August 13th 6-7 p.m. - Reviewing the Range of Mental Health - From Mentally Healthy to Mental Health Crisis

This town hall will be focused on student voice and family outreach, with tips from FCPS experts. This is held via Zoom and Facebook Live. If you can’t get into the Zoom meeting, you can follow along on Facebook Live. We will answer questions posed on the chat/comments on both platforms. With 

  • School Board Student Representative Nathan Onibudo 
  • Bethany Koszelak, FCPS Mental Wellness Specialist
  • Mike Axler, FCPS Coordinator of Psychology Services
  • Casey Cain, FCPS Resource Counselor

Mental Health Town Hall links

Zoom Meeting (Limit 100) - Link for Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 896 6010 1344

Passcode: 179374

+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)

Link to Facebook Live Session here - Link for Facebook Live

Additional Town Halls

August 12th, 6-7 p.m. - held by FCPS and Dr. Brabrand

Dr. Brabrand and FCPS staff will be holding weekly town halls starting this Wednesday, August 12th through Wednesday, September 2nd.  More information here.  The events will be livestreamed on the FCPS website and available on FCPS Cable TV Channel 99. Please email questions to before the Town Halls, or call 1-800-231-6359 during the events to ask questions “on the air.” Recordings will be posted on the FCPS website.

August 19th 8-9 p.m. - Return to School Town Hall with Elaine Tholen, School Board Member for the Dranesville District - Link will be emailed later

September 1st 7:30-8:30 p.m. - Return to School Town Hall - Link will be emailed later


Upcoming School Board Meetings

Tuesday, August 18th Electronic Work Session 1-7 p.m.

Return to School

Thursday, August 27th Special Electronic Meeting 3-5 p.m.

FY21 Budget Update

Regular Meeting - September 3rd, 7:30 p.m. (Location TBD)

All Day Work Session  - September 14th, 11 a.m. (Location TBD)

Regular Meeting - September 17th, 7 p.m. (Location TBD)

The School Board welcomes comments from Fairfax County residents and believes that strong community engagement and outreach are important components of a successful school system.

An individual may register to speak at a meeting beginning at 6 a.m. three business days prior to the meeting. A maximum of 10 speaker slots are available, first come, first served. The speakers list closes at 4:30 p.m. on the last business day prior to the meeting date.  Sign up to speak here.

How to Watch Meetings/Find Meeting Handouts

  • Livestream: Meetings are livestreamed here -
  • Recordings of Meetings: Meetings will be recorded and available to view on the FCPS YouTube page here
  • Agenda/Handouts: For school board meeting agenda, handouts and more click here
    • To find handouts for the meetings:
    • Click on the meeting date.
    • Scroll down until you see the phrase “View the Agenda”
    • Click on “View the Agenda”
    • One the left-hand side, you will see the agenda details
    • Any agenda items with accompanying documents have a “paper” icon next to the item name
    • Click on any topic you find interesting (i.e. AAP report).
    • Scroll down to see all attachments – these are usually presentations and accompanying reports or other data.
    • You can also search by topic documents
  • Public Testimony: For information on how to submit testimony at a public meeting, click here

In the meantime, here are links you may find useful:

Return to School Plan

Sample Schedules

FAQs for Families

Parent Information Lines (support for families in 8 languages)

In this email you will find:

  • Information on the VA Department of Health app
  • Information about the fall:
    • Superintendent Brabrand’s August 4th Update
    • FCPS Student Health and Safety Guidance Document
  • New FCPS School Board Student Representative
  • Renaming Robert E. Lee High School
  • Renaming Columbus Day
  • Changes to SR&R
  • Internet Assistance Programs
  • Food Resources for Families
  • School Supply Drive
  • Growth Mindset Strategies
  • New Assistant Superintendent for Special Services
  • VA Autism Council Webinar
  • Parent Resource Center Webinar
  • Office of Auditor General
  • Accreditation



The Virginia Department of Health has released COVIDWISE, an iPhone and Android App to help protect our community while protecting your privacy. The app uses Bluetooth technology to notify you if you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Click here to learn more and download the app on your mobile device or search “COVIDWISE” on the App Store or Google Play. The more widespread the use of the app, the more effective it will be.  

Information about the Fall

Please be sure to read in full here the update sent by Superintendent Brabrand on Tuesday, August 4. This is the most fulsome information available at this time.

Also, the Reopening Schools Plan was revised on July 31. You can view that here.

Finally, here is the new FCPS Student Health and Safety Guidance document  required by the governor and published August 5.

Please know that staff at the division and school levels are focused on finalizing master schedules and classes. Once this work is completed, then the focus will shift more towards instructional delivery – coinciding with teachers returning to work on August 14. As teachers prepare for the year, more will be known about items like assessments and testing, for example. Please be patient as these plans are prepared and implemented. Information will be shared with you as soon as possible.

PSAT-SAT-ACT Test Update

FCPS will cover the cost of the SAT School Day for any twelfth grade student who wishes to test on Wednesday, September 23. In this unprecedented time, FCPS is making access to this test a priority, and encourages all seniors to take advantage of this opportunity as part of their college and career preparation. Schools will share registration information for the September 23 test date in the coming weeks once details are finalized.

Additionally, FCPS is moving forward with plans to host the PSAT/NMSQT test for all juniors in October. FCPS will cover the cost for the PSAT/NMSQT for any interested eleventh grade student, and additional details about the specific test date and registration process will be shared by schools in September. FCPS will also look ahead to the spring to offer our tenth grade students the opportunity to take the PSAT and will share additional information closer to that time.

FCPS is continuing to prepare for hosting the August 29 SAT testing at several FCPS high schools as well as additional weekend testing options for SAT and ACT throughout the 2020-21 school year. Registration for these weekend tests is available directly through ACT and College Board. Any additional changes for weekend testing sites for the ACT or SAT in FCPS throughout the 2020-21 school year will depend on health conditions along with health and safety guidelines. Changes will be communicated directly to registered students by ACT or by the College Board for the SAT.

Meet Nathan Onibudo - Student Representative to the Fairfax County School Board

Nathan Onibudo is a rising senior and has been elected by the countywide Student Advisory Council (SAC) to serve a one-year term as student representative to the Fairfax County School Board.  He is the 50th student representative to the School Board and his term started July 1st.  Nathan will participate in School Board meetings as a nonvoting member.


John R. Lewis HS

The Fairfax County School Board voted to rename Robert E. Lee High School after the late U.S. Congressman John R. Lewis at our regular business meeting on July 23. The new name will be effective for the 2020-21 school year.

The Board heard from students, teachers and staff members, families, and the community about the old name. It was important for us to be mindful of these comments and to select a name that reflected the diversity and multiculturalism that currently exists at the school and in our community. Rep. Lewis was a champion of the Civil Rights movement, and our Board strongly believes this is an appropriate tribute to an individual who is a true American hero. We will also honor his life’s work by continuing to promote equity, justice, tolerance and service in the work that we do.

Learn more about Congressman Lewis and the name change process in this News Release.

Indigenous Peoples' Day

The Fairfax County School Board voted to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the previously approved 2020-21 Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) school year calendar as well as the yet-to-be approved 2021-22 school year calendar. The 2021-22 calendar is scheduled to be adopted in September.

This shift aligns with the work in progress by Instructional Services to revise the curriculum and provide professional development to teachers in an effort to address the overrepresentation of white and Eurocentric history and the lack of diverse perspectives in social studies courses.

Fairfax County School Board Approves Changes to SR&R

The School Board approved a number of amendments to the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) regulation, effective with the 2020-21 school year, including language pertaining digital citizenship, increased transparency in discipline reporting and supports for students with 504 plans that parallel those of students with IEPs.  Additional amendments were made to the student dress code provisions as well.

The Board approved my amendment to replace the “Social Media” section with a new “Digital Citizenship” section that includes the following language: Students have the right to safe, trusting, and positive physical and virtual learning environments. In accordance with Appendix A of the SR&R, these rights include: 

  • The right to be treated with respect in online learning environments. 
  • The right to express beliefs and opinions respectfully in online environments without being interrupted or punished. 
  • The right to access, support, and opportunities to use the provided technology tools and resources that support learning. 
  • The right to use technology to interact with other students, teachers, and class content to support their learning in both the physical and virtual environments. 

Students may exercise these rights and privileges as long as they do so in a manner that does not interfere with the rights of others or the schools’ ability to provide a safe learning environment.

FCPS expects students to be responsible members of society and to display good digital citizenship at all times. Students are to respect the rights of others and to refrain from the use of profanity hurtful or hateful messaging and cyber bullying in accordance with FCPS non-discrimination policy and the code of Virginia 18.2=152.7:1. Students may not post information if it violates the privacy of others, jeopardizes the health or safety of students, is obscene or libelous, causes disruption of school activities, plagiarizes the work of others, is a commercial advertisement, or is not approved by the principal.

The new behavioral codes and leveled responses to student behavior provide an opportunity to reflect and provide intervention based upon the impact of student behavior on the school environment and student learning. The categories and definitions are more school based and provide a common language for school staff, and more understanding of concerns for parents and students. This also aligns with language and practices within the framework of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), another goal noted through our discipline studies.

The MTSS language states: Fairfax County Public Schools uses a multi-tiered system of support to support the individual needs of each student using a whole-child approach. MTSS is a framework through which teams make decisions based on data to provide differentiated classroom instruction and the necessary academic, behavior, and social- emotional wellness supports for all students across all schools.

The Board clarified language in the Dress Code about prohibited clothing to include head coverings (i.e., hats) unless worn for a bona fide purpose (religious, cultural, medical), and added prohibited clothing that is racist or culturally divisive. The Board also added the following language: School staff will resolve dress code infractions in a discreet and respectful manner and without any of the following: using any direct physical contact with the student or the student’s attire or requiring any student to undress in front of another person. Dress code standards apply to all students. Students who are not compliant with the foregoing may be subject to counseling, loss of privileges, removal from class or activities, or disciplinary action.


Internet Assistance Programs

Cox Communications has announced new customers that qualify will receive Connect2Compete, the company's low-cost internet, for two months at no cost. The cost will be $9.95/month thereafter. New customers must sign up between July 21 and September 30 for free service, which also includes free technical support.

The Cox Connect2Compete program is available to families who:

  • Have at least one child that is a K-12 student at home
  • Participate in one of these government subsidies programs: The National School Lunch Program, SNAP, TANF, Head Start, WIC, LIHEAP, or Public Housing

Families can qualify for Connect2Compete easily from anywhere whether on their mobile device or desktop by visiting

Several other companies, including Comcast and Verizon, are helping families in need during this COVID-19 pandemic. Here you will find a Complete List.

Food Resources for Families

Fairfax County Public Schools will continue to provide “Grab-and-Go” meals during the upcoming school year. Our goal is to provide every student in FCPS daily access to a healthy breakfast and lunch during this pandemic.    

Breakfasts and lunches are prepared fresh daily with high quality ingredients by a dedicated team of trained food service professionals. Our grab and go meals are tasty, well-balanced, and contain protein, whole grains, fruits and/or vegetables, and low-fat or fat-free milk. The meals are planned by registered dietitian nutritionists.            

Now we need your help. Please answer four simple questions to help us plan food distribution so that we can provide breakfast and lunch meals to as many students and families as possible. Please click on this link to the form to submit your answers by August 17.  

Use your student’s ID number and the enrolling parent’s email address or phone number to access the form. You can click the Google Translate button in the upper right corner to change the language on the form. Thank you for your assistance as we make plans for the school year.

School Supplies

School Supply Drive: Collect for Kids Online for 2020

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and the Foundation for FCPS are leading the Collect for Kids effort, a consortium of not-for-profit, for-profit, and government entities promoting, coordinating, and providing school supply drives to benefit FCPS students that otherwise might go without them. 

This year, to help keep staff, students, and volunteers safe, the Collect for Kids effort is moving exclusively to a virtual, online-only campaign. All donated funds will be used to purchase assembled grade-level appropriate kits for students in need.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, nearly 60,000—or a full one-third—of FCPS students lived at or below the poverty level and struggled to afford basic necessities.   

Contributions can be made online through the Foundation for FCPS. Donations will be used to purchase bulk school supply kits at discounted pricing.

Growth Mindset Strategies to Help Children Thrive

Mindsets are groups of beliefs that guide how we interpret the world around us. They shape our behaviors and decisions, and they play a major role in how we set and obtain goals. Research pioneered by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck suggests that people function on a continuum between having a “growth” mindset and a “fixed” mindset. While all of us have bits of both, finding ways to incorporate more of a growth mindset into our lives can help us to thrive and achieve our goals.

Developing a growth mindset is a process that involves three main components: increasing effort, showing a willingness to try new strategies, and asking for help when needed. All three of these factors are important, and it is necessary for each to be taught, emphasized, and practiced. The following strategies can help teach these principles.

Special Services

FCPS Names New Assistant Superintendent for Special Services

Welcome to our new Assistant Superintendent for Special Services, Dr. Michelle Boyd.  She currently serves as the executive director of the Piedmont Regional Education Program (PREP) in Charlottesville and will replace Teresa Johnson, who is retiring.

At PREP, Dr. Boyd is responsible for all aspects of the regional special education program, which provides support services to students with disabilities in nine public school divisions in western Virginia and a school for K-12 students with emotional disabilities. Among her accomplishments are expanding virtual learning opportunities for high school students and enhancing human resource practices to ensure equity in employee acquisition and retention. Previously, Dr. Boyd was the assistant superintendent for Richmond City Schools, responsible for supervising alternative education, exceptional education, Section 504, health services, social work services, psychological services, homebased and homebound instruction, student discipline, multi-tiered systems of support, homeless education, family and community engagement, and alternative education.

Dr. Boyd earned a bachelor’s degree in special education and elementary education at Clarion University (Penn.); a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy at the University of Maryland; and a doctor of education degree in educational policy, planning, and leadership from the College of William and Mary.

Virginia Autism Council Offers Free Lunch Webinar Series

The Virginia Autism Council (VAC) is offering a free webinar series on supports and services, transportation, trauma and resilience oriented care, communication with first responders, and a review of the 2021 VAC skills competencies. These free seminars are held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.  The next seminar is scheduled for Wednesday, August 19, and will focus on navigating supports and services. 

Parent Resource Center

Encouraging Positive Behaviors at Home Series 

Setting the Stage for Good Behavior: Routines, Procedures & Expectations                        

  • Overview on establishing and maintaining routines, procedures, and expectations. 
  • Strategies to teach and reinforce routines, procedures, & expectations   

Thursday September 24, 2020, 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Register for Setting the Stage for Good Behavior: Routines, Procedures, & Expectations

What is the Office of Auditor General?

  • About OAG: Did you know the School Board Office of Auditor General (OAG) is an independent FCPS office which reports to the School Board Audit Committee? OAG promotes accountability and transparency through independent audits and reviews and also conducts outreach to FCPS employees. Learn more on the Office of Auditor General webpage.
  • Audit Plan: Did you know that each year FCPS Office of Auditor General independently develops an audit plan? Learn more about what OAG expects to accomplish over the next year by viewing the approved FY21 Audit Plan.
  • Latest Audit Buzz: Office of Auditor General just issued the July 2020 audit buzz. Click here to check out the latest issue.
  • Audit Buzz (Subscription): Stay up-to-date with Office of Auditor General (OAG) updates by subscribing to Audit Buzz via News You Choose.
  • Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline: Did you know that FCPS has a Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Hotline managed by the independent Office of Auditor General (OAG)? Learn more here.

State Superintendent Waives Accreditation for the 2021-22 School Year

Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane exercised emergency authority granted to him by the 2020 General Assembly to waive annual school accreditation for the 2021-22 academic year. Schools will be assigned a rating of “Accreditation Waived,” the same rating assigned schools for 2020-21 under a waiver issued in April.

Accreditation ratings are based on performance during the previous school year. The statewide closure of schools in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the cancellation of spring Standards of Learning testing. Student performance on SOL tests in English, mathematics and science are key metrics under the state Board of Education’s school accreditation standards.

Without spring 2020 SOL results, there is insufficient data for the Virginia Department of Education to calculate accreditation ratings for the 2020-21 school year. And because year-to-year growth in English and growth in mathematics are also accreditation metrics, VDOE won’t have sufficient data to calculate ratings for 2021-22 either, because even if students are able to take tests next spring, the department won’t have baseline data from 2019-20 for measuring growth. 

In April, Lane appointed a task force to study the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown on the commonwealth’s school accountability system and make recommendations on accreditation determinations for 2021-22. Waiving accreditation until there is sufficient baseline data to measure student growth was one of two options recommended by the task force which included FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand.

“Waiving annual accreditation for a second year will allow our schools to focus on assessing the impact of the shut down on students, academically and on their social and emotional well-being,” Lane said. “It will also allow school divisions to make decisions about resuming in-person instruction or reverting to virtual learning that prioritizes the health of students and staff, without the added pressure of the possible impact on accreditation. If tests are administered during the upcoming school year, the focus should be on evaluating the impact of the pandemic on student learning and establishing a new baseline for measuring student growth.”

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