December Community Update

Dear Community Members,

Board Matters Thoughts

I spent time at the most recent public Regular Meeting of the School Board sharing my thoughts about the need to focus the School Board's work during COVID, and reflect on the competing priorities in the community. Please watch this video to hear what I said. 

Vienna Town Hall December 9, 6-7pm

On Wednesday, December 9, I will be participating in Vienna's Town Hall meeting to discuss issues related to reopening FCPS schools. In-person attendance will be limited to about 20; register to attend via Zoom at

Upcoming Meetings and Topics to be Covered

  • Tuesday, December 8 at 4pm: public Work Session. Program Budget Review. I’ll be facilitating this meeting where information is shared about the staffing formulas that drive a large part of our public school funding. No action planned – this is for the Board’s informational purposes.
  • Thursday, December 10 at 6pm: public Work Session. Return to School Update from the Superintendent. No action planned – this is for the Board’s informational purposes.
  • Friday, December 11 at 6pm: Public Hearing on the forthcoming Restraint and Seclusion Policy. No action by Board will be taken – this is an opportunity for the Board to hear from the community on this topic, only. The draft policy can be viewed here. The School Board will vote to approve a policy at its Thursday, December 17 public Regular Meeting. Following are details about participating in or viewing this Public Hearing, which is limited to 75 speakers:
    • Individuals are encouraged to sign up in advance to speak at public hearings. To reserve a speaking slot, sign up online or call the School Board Office at 571-423-1075 during business hours (8am - 4:30pm).
    • Each speaker is allowed three (3) minutes.
  • Tuesday, December 15 at 11am: public Work Session. Mid-Year Budget Review for approval on December 17; and preparing the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for on-going work until approval February 4. The CIP is the playbook for all things related to facilities. It’s written with a 5-year span, but again, updated annually. Note that there will be a Public Hearing for the CIP on January 7 – signs up will be accepted in the new year.
  • Thursday, December 17 at 7pm: public Regular Meeting. To date, here are the items that the School Board will act on – additional changes may occur:
    • Policy for Restraint and Seclusion
    • Superintendent’s contract
    • Mid-Year Budget
    • TJHSST admissions
    • The Board will also hear a presentation about the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) development.

Accessing Board Meetings

View this link for a comprehensive list of upcoming meetings and associated information.

Click here for meeting logistics, agendas and handouts (to view the slides and materials, scroll down to the bottom of the page). Meetings are live-streamed on the FCPS website and televised on FCPS Cable Channel 99. For more information about signing up to speak at a regular meeting, click here.

Other updates about recent and upcoming work:

Advanced Academic Programs Screening (AAP) 

On December 3, the Board approved FCPS piloting the use of local norms at schools that currently have either a Center or Local Level IV program to identify second grade students for eligibility screening. Local norms are an emerging practice to increase equity in advanced academic programs, comparing peers using a local, relevant data sample rather than from national data that may or may not be relative to the local setting. This practice is supported by the researchers who completed the external review in Spring 2020, recognizing the use of local norms would increase equity while not denying a pathway for any family who wanted to have their child screened via the referral process.

State Policy Work 

On November 23 the School Board met with elected officials representing Fairfax County in the Virginia General Assembly and the U.S. Congress. This annual convening is timed particularly to inform state policymakers before their session in Richmond begins in January (this year, a combination of virtual and in-person meetings are planned during the state’s session).

Review the FCPS legislative advocacy information, which the School Board approved on November 16.

Fairfax County Budget Information

The School Board and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors met for its annual joint budget planning meeting on Tuesday, Nov 24 from 1:30-3:00pm. Collaborative planning is crucial in the budgeting process, because the Board of Supervisors sets the real estate tax rate, from which amount the bulk of FCPS funding comes – the County “transfers” these funds to FCPS for each approved annual budget. At this time the County is not proposing a change in the real estate tax rate. View the presentation slides with info about both the County and FCPS fiscal context and forecast. 

Providing Learning Devices for Our Youngest Students 

Plans are underway to determine providing the youngest students in FCPS - those in PreK through 2nd grade - with age appropriate electronic learning devices. Determining the age appropriate devices needed is part of a cohesive roadmap for the FCPSOn program that has already provided laptops to all FCPS students. 

School-based staff, central office teams, and families would help shape any program expansion to obtain devices that can more easily allow our youngest learners to have high levels of content engagement. 

This effort will bring 49,000 new devices into the hands of these young students. As part of the increased technology support that will be needed for instruction, schools with student enrollment above 600 would require an additional tech support staff position.

The School Board will consider budget implications for this investment in the months ahead. If funded, FCPS projects to have devices for Fall 2021 learning.


Hunter Mill Happenings 

Hunter Mill District Winter Coat Closet 

Coat Drive

Cornerstones and Supervisor Walter Alcorn's office are hosting the annual Hunter Mill District Winter Coat Closet to provide free winter coats, hats, gloves, mittens and scarves to all who need them.

Drop off and pick up of needed items is this Saturday, December 12, between 10am-1pm at the North County Government Build in Reston.

New or gently used, clean coats, and *new* hats, gloves, mittens and scarves may be donated - children's sizes needed!

More info:…/…/winter-coat-closet/

Connecting Pyramid PTAs

I am hosting discussions among Madison and South Lakes Pyramid PTA/PTO/PTSA executive board members and booster club representatives to share challenges, successes, and helpful resources. This month, I have held/scheduled the following meetings:

  • South Lakes Pyramid Elementary School PTAs/PTOs
  • Madison Pyramid Elementary School PTAs/PTOs
  • Madison & South Lakes High School PTAs/PTOs/PTSAs/Boosters 

I will be scheduling similar first meetings for the middle schools in those pyramids in the coming new year.

If you fit into these categories and want to participate please email my assistant, Emma Heisey, at! 

Lake Anne ES Awarded Grant Money!

Lake Anne ES

Lake Anne Elementary School has been awarded grant money for school security upgrades! The Virginia Department of Education is providing $12 million in School Security Equipment Grants to 489 schools across the Commonwealth, which is double the $6 million provided in 2019.

The grant will go towards video monitoring systems, voice and audio internal communications systems, school bus interior cameras, mass notification systems, visitor-identification systems, two-way radios, and other equipment. These are critically needed upgrades to ensure everyone’s safety as we continue preparations for in-person learning to resume!

Updates on Teen Vaping 

This Madison HS student shares information about the impact of vaping during COVID. I appreciate his work. Please check it out.

Information on Numerous Topics

Free meals for ALL Fairfax children!

Free Meals

Did you know that any child in Fairfax up to age 18 can receive free meals, every day? FCPS receives Federal funding for school nutrition programs and the more children who pick up these free meals, the more funding FCPS actually retains!

Click here to watch my video update!

Pick-up locations are listed here.

National Inclusive Schools Week

(December 7th - December 11th)

Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event which is held each year during the first full week in December. Since its inception in 2001, Inclusive Schools Week has celebrated the progress that schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population.

I spoke about my support and endorsement of Inclusive Schools Week during the Regular Meeting of the School Board on December 3.

Learn more here!

FCPS Names Chief Academic Officer and Chief Equity Officer

Fantastic news! FCPS has filled two essential positions on the school division’s Leadership Team!

The new Chief Academic Officer will be Dr. Sloan Presidio (left), who currently is the FCPS Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services. His hard work, humility, and clarity have been essential to FCPS during his tenure and especially during COVID when every day brings his office new challenges and needs. I’m so pleased to continue working with him! Read the news release.

The new Chief Equity Officer will be Dr. Lisa Williams, who is currently the Executive Director of Equity and Cultural Proficiency at Baltimore County Schools. I’ve yet to meet Dr. Williams, but am blown away at her credentials, experience, and drive to elevate and expand equity work in FCPS! Read the news release.  

These two positions became vacant this summer when Dr. Francisco Duran, who held both positions simultaneously, became Superintendent of Arlington (VA) Public Schools. The FCPS position was then split into two so that both bodies of work could be appropriately managed and developed to best serve Fairfax County students.


Third Annual Back2Fairfax Teacher Seminar

Do you know an FCPS graduate or student who is interested in being a teacher in FCPS? FCPS graduates and current FCPS juniors or seniors are invited to join us for a virtual event on Tuesday, December 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. for the third annual Back2Fairfax Teacher Seminar. Learn more about how to navigate the hiring process, employee resources, and tips to being a successful educator.

Join us for an evening filled with networking opportunities, breakout sessions, and FCPS employment information. We invite current students and FCPS graduates to Say Yes to FCPS!

Registration for the event is available online.

Contacting Me

At this time, with an overflowing inbox, I am prioritizing responses to Hunter Mill constituents. If you are unsure of your county magisterial district, you can look that information up here.

To contact me, it is most helpful if you can please use the official School Board contact form. This form prioritizes emails to me from constituents, and helps me track communication so I can be sure you receive a response.

Happy Hanukkah

Sending Happy Hanukkah wishes from my family to those who celebrate this holiday, too, that focuses on finding the light and hope when times seem terribly dark.


Please take good care, 



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