June Community Update

Dear Community,

One year ago it was surreal that we’d trudged through the beginning of a global pandemic that began at the end of the school year. As Fall 2020 began with students at home, we once again felt overwhelmed about the oncoming school year, with so much uncertainty and fear.

As I attended six FCPS high school graduations these past weeks, I heard themes from graduation speakers who were staff and students: don’t let the pandemic define you and your time in FCPS; you choose your confidence; don’t let others define what success is for you; each of us is a universe of potential and you can lift others up with you as you proceed on your life’s path. 

While this school year had it’s disappointments, it’s also had its achievements both large and small. I remember first watching my second grader – just seven – facilitate screen sharing for his two classmates, talking them through how to do it. What collaborative and problem-solving skills to have at such a young age! My fifth grader’s teacher and I cracked the mystery of how my daughter could better perform on exams – through paper and pencil, not by taking tests on a screen! Everyday wins and growth – that could easily get lost in a sea of despair and thoughts of what could-have-been stick out in my mind still. What accomplishment will remain in your mind as this epic school year closes?

Recently I’ve been able to turn my attention to priorities that existed prior to the pandemic and have taken on new urgency and even have new opportunities to leverage. This includes reviewing the homework and course load our students bear; expanding outdoor learning spaces and educating teachers how to maximize these areas; budgeting to ensure every students achieves the promise of FCPS – from literacy to special education, advanced academics to STEM; removing bias in curriculum so students can understand the rich history of the U.S. and world and grapple with its meaning to them today. As this school year ends, I’m so hopeful about this next school year, and how I can participate and support our students and staff, out from behind the screen.

FCPS is preparing for a full return to 5-days-a-week in the Fall. Details about this continued planning will be the topic of the June 15 School Board work session (more info here). The School Board will begin meeting in person regularly, with some flexibility provided for individual virtual attendance per new law effective July 1.

Collage of graduation pictures

2021 Graduation ceremonies attended:

Kilmer Center, Cedar Lane School, Madison High School, South Lakes High School, Oakton High School, Westfield High School.

Upcoming Meetings and Topics to be Covered

  • June 15 at 10 am - Forum: Reading Instruction and Elimination of Opportunity Gaps in ReadingSchool Board Office Student Interns.
  • June 15 at 11 amVirtual Work Session: PreK-Early HeadStart Policy and Return to School Update.
  • June 17 at 7 pm - Hybrid Regular Meeting: Pride Month Recognition, Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) Regulation updates*, Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC) Annual Report, etc. 
  • June 22 at 4 pm - Virtual Work Session and Committee Reports Work Session: Joint Environmental Task Force (JET), Title 1 Advisory Committee (TPAC), Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee (CTEAC), and Adult and Community Education Advisory Committee (ACE).
  • June 24 at 7 pm - Hybrid Regular Meeting: Citizen Advisory Committee Appointments, Enter Retirement Feeling Confident (ERFC) Housekeeping items, Policy 4430 Employee Conflict of Interest, etc.

*SR&R updates to address a number of issues including nondiscrimination / equal opportunity for FCPS' diverse student body (e.g. addressing hate speech / slurs, rights of LGBTQ+ students), parameters regarding SRO notification and involvement, fidelity of implementation of the written SR&R, and access and comprehension of SR&R content for all stakeholders (e.g. students, linguistically diverse families).

Return to School Update

Tune in to the June 15 Work Session for updates on testing and vaccination efforts, summer school programs, and planning for five days of in-person learning in the fall including family outreach, data, policies supporting student mental health and wellness, and the professional development calendar.

Come back to school in the fall graphic

Kilmer MS to Receive 10 New Classroom Spaces

Kilmer Middle School

The Kilmer Middle School Modular project will include the construction of 10 new classroom spaces.  The final product will be a new facility with classrooms, a staff workroom, and restrooms.  The bids for construction were opened on May 26, 2021, with the School Board scheduled to vote to proceed with this project, as part of the consent agenda on June 17, 2021.  The lowest responsive and responsible bidder will be on-site in July 2021 to start the work which is expected to be complete by the end of this calendar year.  The total project estimate is currently programmed for approximately $2,000,000 including all design, permitting, utility relocations, and construction costs. Thank you to Fairfax County voters for approving the 2019 bond to provide new classroom space to replace temporary classroom trailers!

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.

FCPS School Board Members

Recent Work

Free Menstrual Supplies in FCPS School Bathrooms!

Menstrual supplies dispenser

Virginia House Bill 405 and Senate Bill 232, which address the provision of menstrual supplies to public elementary, middle, and high school students, became effective July 1, 2020. These bills require each local School Board to make tampons or pads available, always, and at no cost to students.

FCPS has completed the installation of dispensers in all school bathrooms and other locations, as determined by the principal or designee, to provide access to pads at no cost to students. For schools that may have older dispensers that require payment, they will be identified and removed by Facilities. Grades 4-8 Family Life Education (FLE) lessons will address this change to inform students of the availability of free menstrual supplies.

Many thanks to constituent Holly Seibold and BRAWS: Bringing Resources to Aid Women's Shelters, for advocacy in the General Assembly that was a key factor in passing this legislation!

School Trust Policy to be Developed

On May 4, 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.

FCPS Hires 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. 

ESSER Funds Public Hearing

The School Board hosted a public hearing on June 7, to gather feedback about how to spend $188.7 Million in federal funding for COVID recovery, via the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III). Dozens of residents shared ideas, with the most frequent being about: mindfulness and social-emotional learning; academic recovery, especially in literacy; hiring more teachers and instructional assistants, and paying them more; and indoor air quality. The Board is considering this input and providing its own to the Superintendent. ESSER III funds are available through September 30, 2024; therefore, all funding appropriations will not be decided prior to the Fall 2021 school year, and so continued community input is welcome.

SHAC Annual Report Presented to the Board 

As part of the annual season of Advisory Committee reports, on May 25, the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) presented to the Board. This Committee, to which I am the Board liaison, focused its work this year on promoting healthy sleep, "brain breaks" for middle school students, and appropriate screen time use.

View SHAC's report and presentation. 

Some Board Members, myself included, also repeated advocacy that SHAC raised, about student assignments having due times of “11:59pm” when being submitted online. In contrast, having an earlier time could promote healthy sleep, rather than encouraging students to stay up later to submit work. The Superintendent committed to looking into such a change.

Thank you to all of SHAC's leadership and members for such a fruitful year of work. 

SHAC Annual Report Presentation Slide

Hunter Mill Happenings

South Lakes Student Named Finalist in National Cyber Scholarship Competition

Cyber Scholarship graphic

Congratulations to Gideon Morrow of South Lakes High School for being named a finalist in this year's National Cyber Scholarship Competition!

The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation is a charitable foundation created to help the United States close its critical cybersecurity skills gap. The only known defense against sophisticated cyber attacks is cybersecurity professionals with extraordinary talent and advanced training that enables them to defend systems in real time against determined adversaries.

Five other FCPS students earned the title of “National Cyber Scholar” after winning this rigorous 48-hour competition designed to evaluate aptitude in combating cyber threats and showcase the best of what Commonwealth of Virginia schools offers. 

FCPS Honors 2021 Outstanding Employees

FCPS Honors

Over 740 employees, including 74 finalists and 13 winners in 12 different award categories were recognized at FCPS Honors, which was held on June 9, 2021, at Jiffy Lube Live!

Special congratulations to:

  • Lindsay Trout of Terraset Elementary, winner, Outstanding Principal
  • Laura King of Hunters Woods Elementary, finalist for Outstanding School-Based Professional Employee 
  • Celia Gomez Osegueda of Dogwood Elementary, finalist for Outstanding School-Based Operational Employee
  • Amber P. O’Donnell of South Lakes High School, finalist for Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher

View all winners, finalists, and school recipients.

Floris ES Teachers Featured in Fairfax Times

Floris ES teachers

Hear from Kat Clifford and Ken Larson of Floris ES about what this past year has been like for them, and their amazing persistence and resiliency through it all.

Read the Fairfax Times article here.

Reston Pride Festival - June 19th 

The fourth annual Reston Pride festival at Lake Anne Plaza will feature local musicians and artists supporting and celebrating the LGBTQ community in the greater Reston Area. I’m eager to share thoughts as an invited speaker, at the kick off beginning at 10am. 

Reston Pride is organized by members and friends of the Reston LGBTQ community with support from Reston Community Center, nonprofits and other local organizations. 

View the schedule of events and more details.

Reston Pride graphic

Vienna Liberty Amendments Month Celebration

What is Liberty Amendments Month? It is a month-long celebration of the 13th, 14th, 15h, and 19th Constitutional Amendments. The celebration kicks off on June 19 (Juneteenth). To find out what events are happening and see the month-long schedule visit viennava.gov/libertyamendments.

I hope you can participate in at least one of the many opportunities provided by the Town of Vienna and its partners

Vienna Liberty Amendments Month graphic

Reston Comprehensive Plan Study Task Force Meetings

Reston Comprehensive Plan Study Task Force meetings will now be held weekly through July. To learn more about the Reston Comprehensive Plan Study and the task force, visit the Reston Comprehensive Plan Study webpage. You can watch a live stream of the meetings on YouTube Live. Upcoming June meeting dates: 

  • Monday, June 14 at 7pm: Details and the agenda will be found here. Use this link to attend and participate in the meeting. 
  • Monday, June 28 at 7pm: Details and the agenda will be found here. Use this link to attend and participate in the meeting.

Other Information of Interest

Calendar Reminders

calendar reminder graphic
  • The last day of the 2020-21 school year is Friday, June 11, and students will be dismissed early. Check with your child's school for its individual dismissal time.
  • Friday, June 18 (Juneteenth), is a holiday for FCPS. All schools and offices will be closed. Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 that word of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War finally reached enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, effectively marking the end of slavery in the United States.
  • With the school year winding down and many families making plans for summer camps, vacations, and other activities, be sure to note that the first day of school for the 2021-22 school year will be Monday, August 23.

See the complete 2020-21 FCPS School Year Calendar.

See the complete 2021-22 FCPS School Year Calendar.

COVID-19 Vaccine Available to Children 12-15

Teen vaccination graphic

Last month, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice accepted the FDA’s recommendation to expand the Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 to 15 years of age.

Fairfax County Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu and FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand sent a joint letter to parents stressing the important role that vaccinating young people plays in keeping our schools a healthy place to learn.

  • 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, go to the Fairfax County COVID-19 Vaccine webpage or call the Fairfax County Health Department vaccine call center at 703-324-7404. 
  • Walk-in appointments are also being offered at the Tysons Community Vaccination Center Monday-Saturday from 9am - 4pm. This center is in the former Lord & Taylor site at Tysons Center at 7950 Tysons Corner Center in McLean.

2021 FCPS Summer Learning Information

Students working together on assignment

This summer, FCPS will offer a variety of school-based opportunities. These include:

  • 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.

School staff have been directly contacting families of identified students. The total number of students that can attend school-based programs is based on the number of teachers at the school available to work this summer.

There are also a variety of summer enrichment programs open to all students. Information on how to register for these programs is available on the FCPS Summer Learning webpage.

Special Education COVID Recovery Services

Special education COVID recovery services may be considered for any student with a disability whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team or Section 504 Committee determines a significant educational impact due to the COVID-19 school closure and the virtual learning this school year. Recovery services are designed to address learning gaps and are determined by IEP Teams or 504 Committees.

Case managers are responsible for reaching out to parents about their recommendations for Recovery Services. Additionally, parents have been advised to contact their child’s IEP/504 case manager to further discuss and schedule a meeting if they think their child may require COVID recovery services. View additional information regarding FCPS’ Summer Recovery Academy

FCPS Kindergarten Registration and Early Childhood Programs 

Listen to the latest Spanish, Arabic, and Korean podcasts on FCPS Kindergarten Registration and Early Childhood Programs. FCPS Family Services staff share information on Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) and Early Head Start (EHS) Programs. The FCPS Pre-K and EHS Programs provide an early education program for families who meet income requirements and live in Fairfax County. For information on how to apply, visit Pre-K and EHS Programs' website and/or call 703-208-7901.  It's time for FCPS Kindergarten registration for children who will be 5 years old on or by September 30. The goal of every podcast is to help families access key resources and understand how to best support their children’s education.

Listen and Subscribe:

FCPS multilingual podcast graphic

Registration Open for Camp Fairfax 2021

This full-day program (located in 5 community centers as well as 21 FCPS sites) for rising 1st through 7th graders features exciting opportunities in outdoor adventures, performing arts, sports and recreation, visual arts, science, technology, engineering and math exploration, and much more! Current health and safety guidelines will be implemented. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack are provided.

Additional information can be found on the Camp Fairfax webpage.

¿Necesita información en español? Haga clic aquí y elija Spanish para traducir las paginas web. 
Need another language? Click here and choose your desired language to translate the web pages. 

Camp Fairfax 2021 Flyer

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

Contacting Me

I prioritize responses to Hunter Mill constituents, so please be sure to identify yourself as such if you contact me. If you are unsure of your county magisterial district, you can look that information up here.

To contact me, it is most helpful to 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. Thank you for your cooperation.


Please take good care,

Melanie Meren


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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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