February 2021 Newsletter: Upcoming Board Meetings, Return to School Information, Springfield District Student News, and More

Hello Springfield District!

I know that while this month brought us an actual Groundhog Day, many of us feel like Groundhog Day is every day. I know so many of us are beyond maximum capacity and ready for some “normal” in our lives. After months of work and preparation, the Board voted unanimously to approve Dr. Brabrand’s plan to return our students who selected the in-person option back to our school buildings. Please know that our principals and staff are working overtime to make this happen. As always, we ask for your patience and grace as we move into uncharted territory here in FCPS.

Next month, we will consider approving the calendar for the 2021-2022 school year and I’m looking for your input. Please find info below on how you can make your voice heard among the 3 different options. 

As always, I am beyond grateful to be a part of this community and am truly honored to be your representative.

My very best-

Laura Jane

 

This newsletter includes information on the following issues:

  • Upcoming School Board Meetings
  • Return to School
  • Monitoring Health Conditions
  • 2021-2022 School Calendar
  • TJHSST Admissions
  • Summer Learning
  • Plans for Fall 2021
  • Employment Opportunities for Adults and Students
  • Springfield District Student Successes
  • Black History Month
  • Family Supports
  • Anti-Racism and Anti-Bias Education Policy
  • Office of Auditor General
  • Capital Improvement Program
  • Budget

Picture of FCPS School Board

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • February 16 at 11 am - Virtual Work Session: Program Budget Review, Public Engagement Committee (PEC) recommendations re: Citizen Participation
  • February 18 at 7 pm -  *Hybrid Regular Meeting: FY 2022 Proposed Budget, Vote on new name for Mosby Woods, Strategic Plan Goal Reports, etc.
  • March 2 at 10 am - Virtual Forum: Staff Religious Accommodation Policy
  • March 2 at 11 am - Virtual Work Session: Program Budget Review – Department of Special Services (DSS).
  • March 4 at 7 pm - *Hybrid Regular Meeting: Third Quarter Budget Review, School Year 2021-2022 Calendar, etc.
  • March 16 at 11 am - Virtual Work Session: Third Quarter Budget Review and Return to School Update
  • March 18 at 7 pm - *Hybrid Regular Meeting: Third Quarter Budget Review and School Year 2021-2022 Calendar Vote

Visit the citizen participation webpage to sign up to speak at a regular meeting. Visit BoardDocs for more meeting logistics, agendas, and handouts.

*Effective November 5, 2020, the School Board returned to in-person Regular Meetings at Luther Jackson Middle School.

The meetings will be broadcast live on Channel 99 (Verizon channel 11) and on the FCPS website. The meeting will be recorded for future viewing and posted to the FCPS School Board YouTube Page.


Important Update on Return to School Plan

Return to School graphic

The School Board heard and discussed Dr. Brabrand’s Return to School Plan

  • The presentation shared a decision-making matrix that is guided by CDC and VDOE advice that focuses on a combination of community health metrics and mitigation strategies to make decisions about the status of in-person school.  
  • The presentation also shared information about staffing, including the status of ADA requests and the hiring of classroom monitors. 
  • Dr. Brabrand explained his process of working with teacher groups, principals, staff, and School Board members to inform and gain feedback on this plan.  

School Board members discussed a variety of issues relating to the plan including, among others, safety audits, vaccinations, availability of personal protective equipment, transportation, student reengagement, support for in-person and virtual learning, support for teachers and students new to the concurrent model, and how FCPS will react to any cases or outbreaks that may arise.

At the end of this Work Session, the School Board unanimously gave consensus support for this plan. 

The current timetable for return to in-person school for those students who choose it is:

January 26       Already back in school VHSL Activities & HS Co-Curriculars

February 16     Group 1-4 (8,000 students): Select CTE and Special Ed.

                         New bell schedule starts for all virtual and in-person students

February 23     Group 5 (7,000 students): PreK - K and Special Ed.

March 2            Group 8 (24,500 students): Grades 8, 9, 12 

                         Poe, Glasgow, Holmes - Grade 8 

March 9            Group 6 (13,500 students) -- Grades 1-2 

                         Group 8 (24,500 students): Grades 7, 10, 11

                         Poe, Glasgow, Holmes - Grade 6-7

March 16          Group 7 (27,500 students): Grades 3-6

Based on the latest guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Education, FCPS will begin bringing back the first groups of students (Groups 1-4) for in-person instruction on February 16.

In preparation for students’ return, schools have created staffing plans based on the number of students who selected in-person instruction earlier this school year. Students who have already selected to return to in-person instruction will be able to do so two days a week. Due to social distancing requirements, schools may not be able to accommodate additional students who wish to change their selection from virtual to in-person instruction.

For parents requesting changes from full-time virtual to in-person instruction, principals will do their best to accommodate the requests, however, it may not be possible to accommodate changes if classes are at capacity.

New Bell Schedule Starts February 16

FCPS will implement a new bell schedule on February 16 due to social distancing requirements which limit capacity on school buses. The bell schedule change will apply to both in-person instruction as well as students who are participating in full-time virtual instruction.


FCPS is Ready to Return video

Video: FCPS Is Ready to Return

The School Board has given its support, and FCPS' health and safety plans are tested and in place for students to return to the classroom. Watch the video on Return to School.


Health Screening Form graphic

Health Screening Commitment Form Required Prior to Student Return to School Buildings

As many students return to in-person instruction, parents and caregivers will be asked to acknowledge a Health Screening Commitment form before their student(s) re-enter school buildings. This document confirms that a parent, caregiver, or guardian will complete a daily health screening and will keep their students home when they are ill.

The Health Commitment form can be submitted electronically through ParentVUE (PVUE) or via hard copy. Please contact your child’s school to have a hard copy sent to you.

FCPS Stop the Spread graphic

Monitoring Health Conditions Going Forward

FCPS and the School Board will carefully continue to monitor COVID health conditions as it relates to in-person instruction and make any necessary adjustments. Decisions regarding in-person instruction will include data related to community transmission rates, site-specific outbreaks, and staff capacity. Follow the Fairfax County COVID-19 cases reported by the Virginia Department of Health and track the FCPS decision making data. These health indicators, along with the five safety mitigation strategies we have implemented, adhere to CDC recommendations.


Feedback About Calendar Options A, B and C for the 2021-2022 School Year. 

Please complete my Springfield District 2021-2022 FCPS School Calendar Survey, so that I may best represent you.  The School Board will vote on one of these calendar options at our regular business meeting on March 18.

Disclosure - I am sending this survey gathering constituent feedback on the Calendar Options for my own information, not on behalf of the Fairfax County School Board or on behalf of Fairfax County Public Schools.

 

2021-2022 School Calendar Update

The School Board heard a presentation about three calendar options for the 2021-2022 school year. All calendar options start school on August 23 and preserve two weeks off for winter break. Calendar A/B ends a week later in June than Calendar C. 

Options A/B: The first two calendar options (A & B) were the result of hard work and advocacy by community members and FCPS staff and included information from a family survey. All of this was done prior to the pandemic. 

  • A key priority in these versions was the introduction of four new holidays -- Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Diwali, and Eid al Fitr -- to better reflect our diverse community and allow for students and staff of these faiths to not have to choose between attending school and their religious observations. Many other school systems already have days off for some of these days.
  • Calendar Options A & B have no more than three full weeks of school in a row.
  • In Options A and B, approximately half of all the weeks in the school year (between August 23-June 17th) are full weeks, while the rest of the weeks have at least one day off for students. 

Option C: The third option (C) was created in response to the changed conditions after the pandemic. 

  • Option C does not include any of the above religious holidays and sets spring break during a set time in March rather having spring break in line with Easter. 
  • Calendar Option C has seven full weeks in a row in one stretch and four full weeks in a row in another.
  • In Option C, approximately two-thirds of all the weeks between August 23-June 10th are full weeks.  
  • Option C has a focus on consistency of education by limiting the number of partial weeks of instruction and having a longer summer break to allow for more robust remediation efforts that can target learning loss that might have resulted from the pandemic. FCPS can use federal funding for COVID relief and remediation through September 2023 to help pay for this extra remediation.
  • Option C also allows for more consistency of monthly pay for hourly workers such as bus drivers, food and nutrition staff, and others.

TJHSST Application Deadline Is February 26

The online application for students interested in applying for admission to TJHSST is now open. 

Applications must be submitted by Friday, February 26, at 4 p.m. Visit the TJHSST admissions website for more information.

TJHSST Information Session Picture


FCPS Summer Learning graphic

2021 FCPS Summer Learning Information

Many students participate in summer learning opportunities to advance academically, to sharpen their skills, or to learn something new. This summer, FCPS will offer a variety of opportunities including the Online Campus. Information regarding additional opportunities will be announced on the FCPS Summer Learning webpage as they become available.

Online Campus: Current grades 7-12

Dates: 

Honors Geometry: Monday, June 21-Thursday, July 29

Algebra 2 Head Start: Monday, July 19-Friday, July 23

CTE, EPF, English 10, English 12, and Spanish: Monday, June 21-Tuesday, July 20

All other courses: Monday, June 21-Wednesday, July 21

All midterm and final exams will be administered virtually. Other test information will be posted on the Summer Learning Online Campus page as soon as possible.

Time: Synchronous lessons determined by instructor

These courses provide opportunities for credit recovery and acceleration for eligible middle school and high school students. 

Registration: Monday, February 8-Friday, June 11


Fall 2021 Plans: 5 Days a Week In-Person Instruction

Many of you have asked about plans for five days a week of in-person instruction. Dr. Brabrand stated on Tuesday that this is FCPS’ goal for Fall 2021, and he will provide more information at our March Return to School Work Session. He also noted that FCPS staff are working on instructional/remediation programs, including summer school, to help our students close learning gaps caused by the pandemic.


For Hire sign

FCPS to Host Virtual Instructional Job Fair February 20

Fairfax County Public Schools, the largest school system in Virginia, is searching for educators with a strong academic background and a passion to make a difference in the lives of students. To open the 2021-22 school year hiring season, FCPS will host a virtual Instructional Job Fair on Saturday, February 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Participants can learn about FCPS benefits, professional development, special education, Title 1, and other important information. This event will also feature a teacher and administrator panel.

Get more information and register for the Instructional Job Fair

 

High School Students Invited to Fairfax County 2021 Virtual Teen Job Fairs

Fairfax County high school students looking for their first part-time job, summer and seasonal job opportunities, or who want more information about potential career pathways are invited to attend one of six upcoming teen job fairs and resume building workshops in Fairfax County. Local businesses and agencies will be on hand to offer a range of opportunities including part-time employment, internships, and volunteer work for prospective students.

Volunteer opportunities and resume building workshops will also be available for younger students. Free booth spaces are provided to local businesses. The first two job fairs will be held on Saturday, March 13, from 2 to 5 p.m., and Saturday, March 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Students can register for the March 13 Job Fair and the March 20 Job Fair.


Be the Light poem verse bulletin board

Springfield District Happenings 

The Future is Bright!

Stickers Speak graphic

Amazing students from Robinson Secondary School and Fairfax High School have started their own company called Stickers Speak whose mission is to raise awareness for mental health and promote help-seeking behavior among students and their loved ones.

They’ve designed 3 unique stickers in which they creatively incorporated a QR code. This QR code, when scanned, links to their website: stickersspeak.com, where people can find helpful, professionally-curated resources.  Follow Stickers Speak on Twitter at @StickersSpeakCo  and Instagram at @stickersspeakco.

 

Grassroots Law Project logo

Inspiring students from Chantilly High School are leading the FCPS chapter of the nationwide Grassroots Law Project (GLP) and are organizing efforts in the FCPS district for an anti-racist education system, starting with a campaign to increase teachers of color. Their Twitter username is @FcpsGrassroots and their Instagram username is  @fcpsgrassrootslaw.

 

Three Students Recognized by National Center for Women and Information Technology

Congratulations to Nardos Demilew of Lake Braddock Secondary School!  She was among three students selected from over 4,200 applicants as recipients of the 2021 National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) honorable mention for computing-related aspirations, demonstrated interest in technology, leadership ability, persistence in pursuing interests in computing, and plans for post-secondary education. The students are part of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Impressionists group, an afterschool mentoring program that works with middle and high school minority girls interested in participating in career-related STEM activities. Through that organization, they have had the opportunity to facilitate their own STEM seminars. HackSIP, a hackathon financed with an NCWIT grant, teaches girls from around the country how to code using a microbit. This summer, after securing a second NCWIT grant, the students will be hosting HackSIP2, a weeklong summer STEM camp for girls.

 

55 FCPS Students Named Candidates in U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Fifty-five seniors in Fairfax County Public Schools are among a group of more than 4,500 candidates in the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The candidates were selected from nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in 2021.

Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected based on superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character, and involvement in community and school activities. 

Congratulations to Springfield District’s Tyler Schroder of Centreville High School!

 

Student Creativity Recognized in 2021 Regional Scholastic Art Awards

The 2021 Regional Scholastic Art Awards program has awarded Fairfax County Public Schools students in grades 7-12 a total of 540 awards including Gold Key, Silver Key, Honorable Mention awards, and American Visions Nominations. Judges recognized FCPS students among 2,500 submissions in a variety of categories including drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, ceramics, sculpture, digital art, design, architecture, fashion, film and animation, mixed media, and art portfolios.

Five works by FCPS students were nominated for the best-in-show American Visions Award.

Congratulations to the following Springfield District students:

  • Centreville High School: Kaylie Bishop, Annie Cho, and Ruby Min
  • Chantilly High School: Aleena Alvi, Lijie Chen, Mya Ebert, Theresa Holmes, Sneha Nagarakanti, Taylor Norvell, Tahanni Robinson, Ein Sim, Katherine Smith, Jenifa Subedi, Vivian Tran, Madison Vuong, and Raegan Yount
  • Fairfax High School: Arian Asadzadeh, Kaia Collins, Anisa Cox, Austin Eilbert, Quinn Hassan, and Abirami Krishnan
  • Irving Middle School: Bhaavya Jilludumudi, Allie Kugler, and Alexandra MacDonald
  • Lake Braddock Secondary School: Olivia Baumgardner, Philip Brown, Sydney Cha, Haley Coggins, Ashley Groves, Alison Little, Emma Migues, Julian Moreira, Quinn Nguyen, Youngseung Park, Josh Reiff, Henry Ruano, Nicole Thomas, Ryan Yom, Madeleine Zatzkin, and Joy Zhang
  • Robinson Secondary School: Julia Byrne, Estella Chun, and Ethan Miller
  • Rocky Run Middle School: Saisree Nagarakanti
  • South County High School: Alexis Borbidge, Chloe Chang, Cooper Ludwig, and Hannah Tucker
  • West Springfield High School: Bill Chen, Divya Gupta, Dennis Ngo, and Tara Whipkey

 

Student Writers Receive 2021 Scholastic Regional Writing Awards

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) student writers won 30 Gold Key awards in the 2021 Regional Scholastic Writing Awards competition.  In all, 163 Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mentions were earned by FCPS students. Winners in the regional competition came from 20 Fairfax County middle and high schools.

Congratulations to the following Springfield District students:

  • Lake Braddock Secondary School: Bianaca Blancaflor and Stephanie Groves
  • Rocky Run Middle School: Gauri Manocha
  • TJHSST: Sara Elanchezhian, Jessica May, Nuha Mohammed, Prasidha Padmanabhan, and Chabeli Yumang
  • West Springfield High School: Grace Kang and Nour Mokbel

FCPS Celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month graphic

This week marked the beginning of Black History Month. In his message to staff, Superintendent Brabrand wrote, "During this month, and throughout the school year, we are dedicated to telling a more complex and inclusive story of our shared past by acknowledging and honoring Black lives." Read the full message.

 

Black History Month Events Planned by FABSE

The Fairfax Alliance of Black School Educators (FABSE) has announced a series of events in honor of Black History Month, including African American art, literature, and film. Due to the pandemic, the 2021 events are virtual. Events include:

  • Service, Health, and Wellness: FABSE is hosting a virtual Scholarship 5K or 1K run February 15-March 31. Sign up is open February 15 through March 31; donations will be accepted through April 30. All proceeds go to the FABSE Scholarship Fund for graduating seniors. Students can apply online through March 12; check the FABSE website for details. 
  • Read-in and Diversity in Literacy: FABSE is hosting a Diversity Book Drive via Amazon Wishlist. All books will be donated to FCPS elementary schools on behalf of FABSE members. 
  • Arts and Culture: “One Night in Miami” movie discussion. See the FABSE website for more information.
  • Food, Fellowship, and History: FABSE will host a virtual social event on Friday, February 26, at 6 p.m. 

Additional details about Black History Month events sponsored by FABSE are available on the organization’s website. FABSE, established in 2004, welcomes all FCPS employees to join. Online registration is available.  Contact Angelique Cooper at aacooper1@fcps.edu  or Shelli Farquharson at smfarquharo@fcps.edu.

At its February 4 business meeting, the Fairfax County School Board passed a resolution honoring Black History Month.


FCPS Healthy Minds Podcast logo

Healthy Minds Podcasts

Being apart from each other hasn’t been easy for anyone. Check out FCPS' Healthy Minds Podcast to hear how others are handling uncertainty; get new ideas to help you, your friends, and family feel better; and learn ways to feel more energized. Tune in to the Healthy Minds Podcast.

The FCPS Parent Resource Center (PRC) is offering four free parent webinars in February. They are:

  • From Chaos to Calm: Strategies for Families to Create Calm and Confidence in the Midst of Chaos and Uncertainty - A Webinar for Families, on Friday, February 12, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Strategies to Support Social-Emotional Learning at Home: A Webinar for Families, on Wednesday, February 17, 6:30 to 8 p.m., or Friday, February 19, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Is it Over Yet? How to Help your Child Cope with the Pandemic and the Eventual Return to Normalcy: A Webinar for Families, on Friday, February 26, 10 to 11:30 a.m. 

More information on each session and how to register is available online.

Note: Previous webinars have been recorded and can be viewed on the PRC YouTube channel.


Fairfax County Special Education PTA Receives Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award

The Fairfax County Special Education PTA has been named the recipient of the National PTA’s 2021 Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award.  This is one of five national advocacy awards given to PTAs around the country by National PTA.

The Fairfax County Special Education PTA was recognized for demonstrating “true dedication and leadership through their determined advocacy on the issue of restraint and seclusion in schools,” according to the National PTA. The group shared information on the negative effects of restraint and seclusion—including post-traumatic stress disorder, physical injury and even death—as part of its efforts to educate the public on this practice. It worked with partners to adopt a position statement based on the National PTA’s 2015 resolution on restraint and seclusion and the National PTA’s endorsement of the 2020 Keeping All Students Safe Act. 

The group will be recognized at the 2021 National PTA Virtual Legislative Conference on Wednesday, March 10. 

More information can be found online.


FCPS Anti-Racism and Anti-Bias logo

Anti-Racism and Anti-Bias Education Policy Development - Stakeholder & Community Engagement

In 2020, the School Board voted to pursue policy revision and development supporting anti-bias and anti-racism education. At the January 27 work session, the Board discussed the scope of stakeholder engagement that will inform the creation of a new policy for anti-bias and anti-racism education, and revision of the existing Controversial Issues Policy.


Office of Auditor General graphic

Office of the Auditor General Newsletter

The FCPS Office of Auditor General's (OAG) Audit Buzz newsletter provides an in-depth look into OAG’s work. In this month's issue, OAG summarizes the status of current engagements, highlights its FY 2020 Annual Report, and offers insight on what a risk assessment is and how it is used to identify and prioritize future audit engagements. Read Audit Buzz today


School construction photo

School Board Approves Fiscal Year 2022-26 Capital Improvement Program

The Fairfax County School Board has approved Fairfax County Public Schools Fiscal Year 2022-26 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The CIP focuses on capital projects, including new school construction, capacity enhancements, and renovations, reflecting schools for the current School Year 2020-21 and a five-year requirement of approximately $1.1 billion. 

More information on the CIP is available online.


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Budget Update

At our most recent Budget Work Session, the Board continued to discuss the FY22 proposed budget development. We were provided with preliminary information regarding FCPS’ potential usage of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding (ESSER II) that was announced two weeks ago. The ESSER II funding, which can be used for eligible expenses through September 2023, totals $84 million. While still in the planning stages, I am encouraged by this additional funding that can be used to address some of the profound impacts COVID-19 school closures and distance learning have had on our students. A proposed extended learning program for summer 2021 to address learning loss was presented to the Board. The preliminary estimate for the proposed programming is $32 million. Please view the presentation or watch the work session (part 1 and part 2) from January 27th for more information.

The next step in the FY22 budget process is for the Board to adopt the FY22 Advertised Budget at the February 18th School Board meeting.

The FY22 Proposed Budget documents and timeline can be found on the FCPS Budget website.



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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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