June 2021 Newsletter

Dear Mason District Community,

As a former teacher and principal, the end of the school year has always been a bittersweet time -- while we enjoy the graduations and year-end celebrations, it weighs heavy on our hearts to say goodbye to students and teachers as they move into the next part of their journey. Even though this year has been challenging in numerous ways, it has been no different in this regard. I have had the pleasure of celebrating the high school graduations at Kilmer Center School, Annandale High School and Falls Church High School. I have been honored to hear about our students who will be heading to the military, entering the workforce, and traveling to all parts of the country to further their education in various colleges and universities, and I could not be more proud of their accomplishments - particularly during this very difficult year. To all the seniors, I wish you the best and much success as you enter this new phase of your lives.  

This has been a busy time in Mason District. During the May 20 Regular School Board meeting, the School Board unanimously approved a $3.4 billion FY22 budget that provides the resources we need to help our students begin the long recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to prepare for a return to five days of in-person instruction this fall. This past year has been arduous for our community and we hope this budget will serve to acknowledge the extraordinary contributions of our staff and provide much needed support to our students.

In this newsletter, you will find updated information about a number of issues, including the Justice Pyramid Boundary Adjustment updates and Justice High School addition/Justice Park. 

I value the input I receive from the Mason Community and am happy to address questions or concerns via email or phone. You can reach me by email at rjanderson@fcps.edu. If you are interested in scheduling a phone call, please reach out to my assistant, Cristy Coffey, at cmcoffey@fcps.edu to arrange a time.

I wish you all good health.


Trust Policy

On May 4, Karl Frisch and I submitted a Forum topic to the Board. The Board unanimously approved the proposal to develop a School Trust Policy, aligning the school division with Fairfax County’s Trust Policy.

The County policy prohibits voluntary cooperation by all Fairfax County agencies with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The policies are designed to help build trust and confidence with immigrant families.

The Board’s Governance Committee will now work with staff to develop the policy to bring to the Board for adoption in the near future.

Approved Budget 

The FY22 Approved Budget prioritizes and funds resources that support our students’ academic and social-emotional needs including increasing technology support for students and their families. A total of 86% of the $3.4 billion budget will go directly to instruction and instructional support with 50 new positions for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students, funding for school-based technology specialists, and 18 new social workers and psychologist positions to keep pace with state requirements and better support students as they transition back to five days of in-person learning.

The approved budget also absorbs technology support fees, which were formerly charged to families in recognition that technology is now an integral part of the instructional program and recognizes the sacrifices and commitment of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) teachers and staff during the pandemic with a 2% Market Scale Adjustment (MSA) for all employees.

I was pleased to receive the support of my colleagues on two amendments I proposed to the approved budget. The first revision was to provide instructional coaches for 6 elementary schools (Lorton Station, Mason Crest, Rose Hill, Lake Anne, Springfield Estates, and Daniels Run) that are no longer eligible for Title I funding during SY20-21. The second revision was to increase all elementary school principal/AP pay to middle school principal/AP pay. This will restore the parity that existed 15 years ago between elementary and middle school principals.  

As we all know, our school parent liaisons have been incredibly burdened this year in providing critical support to our students and their families. The pandemic has not only underscored the value of those positions in our community, but also expanded their role in very significant ways. To that end, I presented a motion to procure a comparative analysis of Parent Liaison salaries and benefits among Northern Virginia School Districts and for the superintendent to provide the analysis and any possible recommendations for any possible compensation adjustments.

Justice Pyramid Proposed Boundary Adjustment

FCPS has a the dedicated proposed boundary adjustment webpage where you will find information about the proposed changes, including links to the presentations that have been made to the community and the resulting community feedback that was gathered.

Your feedback is important and welcomed. You can sign up to speak at the public hearing on Tuesday, June 8 at 6 p.m.

Justice HS Addition and Justice Park Update

Justice High School is currently at 116% capacity and is expected to reach 121% and 126% in the next two years. Justice currently has 175 classroom teachers and only 126 classrooms which create significant operational challenges for the staff.  In order to relieve overcrowding, the Division planned an expansion of the school which as per county regulations, requires additional parking. As on site and street parking is limited, FCPS staff is working with the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) to procure space to meet the requirements. According to county regulations, if the additional parking is not allocated, the addition cannot be built. 

Justice Park is almost 18 acres in size. Approximately 7 acres are currently in use (baseball diamond, basketball court, tennis court, playground, green space). Over half of the park has been rendered unusable due to the lack of management of invasive species. FCPS has requested 1.1 acres to increase parking to allow for the Justice addition as per County regulations. FCPS proposes clearing over 8 acres of invasive species to increase green space for community use. 

If the proposed improvements move forward, a total of 14.7 acres of usable green space will be available to the community along with a walking trail, an outdoor classroom and other improvements.

Proposed Improvements

  • Walking Trail: Trail connections provide safe route to school and park
  • Outdoor classroom: Outdoor Classroom/Shelter: provides opportunity for school, improvement for park and community
  • Invasive Management: removal of invasive species to create more open play areas and improve woodland forest
  • Walkway along Peace Valley
  • Basketball Court replacement provides improvement in advance of FCPA funding for improvement
  • Replacement Trees will be planted
  • Parking provides access for park visitors and community members who cannot walk to the park
  • Improvements to stormwater management

No Impact

  • Baseball Diamond
  • Playground
  • Tennis Court


  • Basketball Court – will be relocated

The latest plans for the Justice HS addition, including site and parking improvements, were discussed during the May 6 community meeting with FCPS Facilities and the Fairfax County Park Authority. Questions and answers from that meeting are expected to be posted to the meeting webpage by Monday, June 7th.

Justice Park Proposed

Justice Park Proposed Plan

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund III

The purpose of the ESSER III Fund is to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impacts of COVID-19 on the nation’s students by addressing students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs.

Feedback is being solicited from the community to guide the school division as it plans for the use of the ESSER III funds to plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services. 

FCPS is offering the following opportunities for the community to provide feedback:

Middle School Breaks

In April, the Board approved a Forum topic that I presented which aimed to develop a draft policy to provide middle school students across FCPS with a minimum of fifteen (15) minutes of unstructured break time daily, with students being provided the option to be outdoors, weather permitting. 

While the Board’s Governance Committee is working on this policy, Mason District middle school principals have begun plans to incorporate this opportunity in their master schedules for the upcoming year.

Teen Vaccinations

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for people ages 12 and up. This means just about every middle and high school student in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) may now be vaccinated.

FCPS is encouraging student vaccinations because this is one more way to ensure the safest school environment for everyone and for students to avoid quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19.


Justice High School students were featured in photos and videos, sharing why they got vaccinated or wanted to be vaccinated.

Scheduling an appointment

There are many opportunities to get COVID-19 vaccine in Fairfax, including private health care providers, Urgent Care facilities, pharmacies, Inova, and FCHD. Many locations offer same-day appointments, and some even have walk in availability. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or another adult at all community vaccination sites.

  • Go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/vaccine or call the Fairfax County Health Department vaccine call center at 703-324-7404 to learn how to get a vaccine at a Health Department clinic site, including the Fairfax County Government Center, George Mason University, and the Tysons Community Vaccination Center,
  • Walk-in appointments are being offered at the Tysons Community Vaccination Center Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. This center is in the former Lord & Taylor site at Tysons Center at 7950 Tysons Corner Center in McLean. Note: This center is scheduled to close on June 10, 2021.
  • Visit www.vaccines.gov to find other vaccine providers in the community, including local pharmacies. Be sure to search for Pfizer vaccine which is the only vaccine currently for use on children 12 – 17 years.  
  • Text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) for information in English or VACUNA (822862) for information in Spanish.

Virtual Learning for All Students on June 8

Tuesday, June 8, is the Democratic Primary Election. Because the Fairfax County Electoral Board and City of Fairfax Electoral Board will be using 165 school facilities as polling locations, June 8 will be a virtual synchronous  learning day (no in-person classes) for students.

Get more information about the primary elections.

Congratulations, Class of 2021 Graduates!

I wish you safe passage to the next phase of your journey. May this be the beginning of only great things for each and every one of you. Congratulations and best wishes for continued success and health, Class of 2021!


Congratulations, Annandale Atoms!

June 1 at 9 a.m.

Annandale HS


Congratulations, Edison Eagles!

June 1 at 10 a.m.

Edison HS


Congratulations, Woodson Cavaliers!

June 2 at 9 a.m.

Woodson HS


Congratulations, Falls Church Jaguars!

June 3 at 9 a.m.

Fairfax HS


Congratulations, TJHSST Colonials

June 5 at 9 a.m.

Woodson HS


Congratulations, Justice Wolves!

June 7 at 9 a.m.

Fairfax HS


Annandale High School Graduation Speaker in the News 

As students wrap up an unprecedented school year, Annandale High School had a commencement speaker unlike any other, a man whose inspirational journey resonates with students—especially those who don’t speak English. Mario Villanueva Ramos is a 2007 Annandale graduate who decided to come back to the school this year as a classroom monitor

Feminine Hygiene Products Now Available in All School Bathrooms

Virginia House Bill 405 and Senate Bill 232 addressing the provision of feminine hygiene products to public elementary, middle, and high schools students became effective on July 1, 2020. These bills require each local school board to make tampons or pads available, always, and at no cost to students. Appropriate, accessible locations in each elementary school and in the bathrooms of each middle and high school were identified at the school level.

This provision is a small step forward in the growing movement to achieve menstrual equity and end “period poverty.” According to a report from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, one in five girls miss school due to lack of menstrual products. Period poverty identifies females who are unable to afford products such as pads and tampons, which are still subject to luxury tax in many states across our nation. It is also important to note that feminine products do not qualify for coverage under food stamps and S.N.A.P. (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.

Grades 4-8 Family Life Education (FLE) lessons will address this change to inform students of feminine hygiene napkins availability.

June is Pride Month


Application Window Opens June 7 for RAD-PBV Housing Voucher Registration

Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) owns 1,060 units of housing made available through the Rental Assistance Demonstration-Project Based Voucher (RAD-PBV) program.

Units include one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom townhouses, garden apartments, and condominiums located in communities across Fairfax County. The application window for this popular program opens June 7; more information is available online in multiple languages.

Office of Auditor General Updates

The May 2021 issue of Audit Buzz is now out.  Stay up to date with OAG’s work by subscribing to Audit Buzz (through News You Choose). 

The Office of Auditor General manages an anonymous fraud, waste and abuse hotline @ 571-423-1333.  Examples of matters to report: (1) Theft or misuse of school funds or property, (2) Records falsification, (3) Abuse of authority or using position for personal gains, (4) Receiving kickbacks, (5) Corruption and bribery.  Click here to see OAG’s fraud reporting page.


Volunteers Wanted to Join the Citizen’s Committee Supporting Passage of the 2021 School Bond Referendum

A citizen’s committee supporting the 2021 School Bond Referendum is forming and seeking volunteers. The committee’s general duties will be sharing information that supports passage of the bond to HOA boards, chambers of commerce, and other organizations; and distributing information electronically and in print. 

This is an organized, positive, and short-term way to support Fairfax County Public Schools. Along with the distribution of information, volunteers are invited to strategize on approaches and execution at 6 to 9 meetings between July and Election Day, November 2 in the Tyson’s Corner Area.

To be considered, please send a brief statement of interest to my assistant, Ms.Coffey, at cmcoffey@fcps.edu before June 21.


Summer Learning and Enrichment

FCPS will provide multiple in-person opportunities for students at all levels this summer. FCPS is planning for 10 times the normal summer program capacity to address increased student learning needs.

Credit Recovery: Each high and secondary school will host credit recovery opportunities for its students during two sessions.

School-Based Opportunities for Select Elementary School Students: Each elementary school has summer learning opportunities designed to support students as they develop executive functioning skills, mathematics skills, and language arts skills.

School-Based Opportunities for Select Middle School Students: Each middle school has summer learning opportunities designed to support students as they develop: mathematics, language arts, and problem-solving skills.

Summer Practice Books will be mailed home in early June to FCPS students in grades PreK-8, Special Education, and English Learners to provide suggested activities for students to support continued learning. Please see the Summer Practice Books public webpage for more information and details about customized books for English learners and Special Education students. 

There are also a variety of summer enrichment programs open to all students, including Elementary Institute for the Arts (E-IFTA), Institute for the Arts (IFTA), Tech Adventure Camp, and CTE Summer Academy. Information on how to register for these programs is available on the FCPS Summer Learning webpage.

Register Now for 2021 NCS Summer Camps

Fairfax County’s Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) offers several summer camp programs for students ranging from rising 1st graders to teens. Registration is now open for NCS camps, which run from June through August. Summer camp programs include:

  • Camp Fairfax, for grades 1-6 (rising).
  • Culmore Soccer Camp, for ages 6-16.
  • Teens in Action, for ages 12-18.
  • Therapeutic Recreation Camp, for participants ages 5-22 with disabilities.
  • Value in Prevention (V.I.P.) Camp, for grades 7-9 (rising).
  • NCS Connects: Summer Adventures, virtual camp for youth and teens.

For more information on camps and to register, visit the NCS Summer Camps webpage.

Summer Reading Adventure Begins June 11

The Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) summer reading program starts on June 11 and runs through August 13. Students are welcome to sign up now on Beanstack and can track their summer reading online.

Opportunities to read and earn prizes include: 

  • Just for signing up, participants will be eligible to win a $25 e-gift card to Scrawl Books.
  • By reading 500 minutes, students will be eligible to win a $50 Chipotle gift card.
  • Completing the program by reading 1,000 minutes OR reading 500 minutes and completing 5 activity badges, will offer participants a chance to win a $150 Amazon e-gift card.

Prizes will be awarded after the completion of Summer Reading Adventure and winners will be notified by August 31.

More information about the FCPL summer reading program is available online

Emergency Broadband Benefit Available for Families

The Federal Communications Commission has launched a temporary program to help families and households struggling to afford Internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households. Eligible families can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. This is not an FCPS-funded program. It is a way for families to potentially access a more reliable hard-wired internet connection at a higher bandwidth than the “basic” packages provide.

Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail in application.

Learn about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311.

Updates to Family Life Education Instructional Content Now Available for Public Review

Recommended Family Life Education (FLE) materials (media and lesson objectives) to support instruction are available for community review until Monday, June 7, at 4:30 p.m. Recommendations affect grades K, 1, 7, 8, 10, modified 1-6, and modified 7-12.

Details of the recommended materials are available online.

New Director of Cybersecurity

Vijai (VJ) Rao joined FCPS on June 1st as the first Director of Cybersecurity. VJ is a widely respected cyber-security leader who joins FCPS with over 20 years of experience in the industry. VJ recently served at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Before WMATA, VJ served as the Deputy Chief Technology Officer at the National Democratic Institute. As an industry expert on cyber-risk, VJ has conducted several security audits and risk assessments for organizations ranging from large banks to federal, local, and state governments. VJ regularly speaks on security matters, and his efforts have been profiled in several technology articles. One of VJ’s most notable accomplishments has been working closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and prestigious universities in running technology and security for the 2016 and 2020 Presidential and VP debates - overseeing a sophisticated operation that came through unscathed twice amidst large-scale cyber-attacks.   

Video: Meet Pranav Choudhary, 2021-22 Student Representative to the School Board


Pranav Choudhary, a rising senior at Langley High School, 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, beginning July 1, 2021. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Pranav and am excited by his energy and look forward to working with him in the coming year. Read more about Pranav and hear about his goals for his new role.

Northern Virginia Remembers Those Lost to COVID-19 with June 9 Ceremony 

Fairfax County Government will host the Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s (NVRC) COVID-19 Remembrance Ceremony on Wednesday, June 9, at 6 p.m. on the Fairfax County Government Center ellipse. The ceremony will honor and remember all of the lives lost in the 13 jurisdictions that make up the regional commission. The event will be broadcast live on Fairfax County Government Channel 16 as well as on the Facebook pages of both NVRC and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay.

More information: Northern Virginia Remembers Those Lost to COVID-19 with Virtual Ceremony on June 9 | News Center (fairfaxcounty.gov)

FCPS Student Competes on American Ninja Warrior

McLean High School student Max Feinberg will be appearing in Season 13 of American Ninja Warrior. Tune in to NBC on June 23rd  to cheer him on! For a sneak preview, check out Max’s YouTube video.

Mason District Spotlight

Mason Crest ES


Mason Crest kindergarten teacher Jessica Moon helps students reconnect through weekly dance parties!


Annandale HS student awarded Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship

Abia Zahir, a senior at Annandale High School, has been named one of 100 Amazon Future Engineer scholarship recipients. Recipients of the award receive $40,000 at an accredited four-year college or university as well as a paid summer internship at Amazon after their freshman year of college. Recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, including their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, work experience, future goals, and financial need. 

Abia has a strong passion for STEM and is an advocate for women and underrepresented populations. She has been recognized for her leadership, mentoring, and achievements in STEM on a state and national level.

Abia has decided to continue her exploration of computer science at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. She also intends to participate in Virginia Tech’s accelerated computer science master’s program.

Congratulations and best of luck, Abia!

Twenty-One Students Receive Scholarships from FCPS Hispanic Leadership Alliance

The Hispanic Leadership Alliance—a certified employee group of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) employees—presented scholarships to 21 students on Monday, May 10.

Scholarship recipients were recognized for leadership and mentoring skills in their educational and social activities. Candidates are committed to furthering their education while improving their communities. Each of the applicants will be the first in their families to attend a postsecondary institution.

Congratulations to the scholarship recipients from the Mason District:

Justice High School

Stefany Argueta-DeLeon, STEAM Scholarship
Giselle Díaz-García, Leadership Scholarship
Yamil Fernando Díaz-Peña, Engineering Scholarship
Vianca Escobar, Jean Bender Memorial Scholarship
Karina García-Rivera, Sonia Rosa Velez Memorial Scholarship
Ana Jurado-Majano, Advocacy Scholarship
Nathalie Lozano, Perseverance Scholarship
Katherine Milena Ramirez Castro, Keith Buchanan Memorial Scholarship
Marvin Rodríguez, Marshall and Carmen St. John Family Legacy Scholarship
Sebastian Sabrera Quispe, Kakaes Family Scholarship

Learn more about the awards and recipients and watch the scholarship ceremony.


Cicadas Bring Learning Opportunities to Belvedere ES Students

The long-awaited Brood X cicadas have been emerging all over Fairfax County Public Schools’ grounds in the last few days, as they wake from their 17-year slumber. At Belvedere Elementary School in Falls Church, this has meant students are coming face-to-face with the insects they have been studying in class this past month.

Thanks to the work of environmental educators Andrea Auerbach and Stacey Evers, librarian Marcie Atkins and resource teacher Ellen Rogers, children across all grades have grown fascinated with all things cicada.

Westlawn ES


Assistant principal Anaya Bryson creates chalk drawings with students during recess at Westlawn ES.

Upcoming Board Meetings

Regular School Board Meetings (Luther Jackson Middle School)

  •  June 17 at 7 p.m.
  • June 24 at 7 p.m.

Work Sessions (virtual)

  •  June 15 at 11 a.m.
  • June 22 at 4 p.m.
  • June 29 at 6 p.m.

Public Hearings (virtual)

  • June 7 at 6 p.m. (ESSER Funds)
  • June 8 at 6 p.m. (Justice Pyramid Proposed Boundary Adjustment)

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

Visit the citizen participation webpage to sign up to speak at a regular meeting or public hearing.

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