June Update

Dear Fairfax County Students, Families and Staff,

This very challenging school year has come to an end on what feels like a positive note. Case numbers are going down, vaccinations are more widely available, and it feels like hope and joy (along with cicadas) are in the air for the first time in a long time.  

I have been thrilled to be able to attend many of our in-person graduations to celebrate the Class of 2021 and see their joy in their achievement, in particular in light of these last difficult 15 months. FCPS parents, students, and staff members are invited to share their favorite pictures from this year's graduation or promotion ceremonies on Twitter and Facebook or Instagram by using the hashtag #fcpsgrad21.  This amazing class has had a senior year like no other and navigated all of that with so much grace and resilience. I have no doubt that this next greatest generation will take the world by storm and I look forward to watching them as they move through young adulthood. Below I have written a short note to the Class of 2021 as they move to the next phase of their life.

Fairfax County’s vaccination numbers have been increasing and COVID numbers have been declining.  FCPS has been supporting these vaccination efforts through partnerships with the Fairfax Health Department at some of our schools.  Here is a story about the clinic at Langley High School https://wjla.com/news/local/a-big-undertaking-in-school-covid-vaccine-clinics-begin-for-kids-12-in-fairfax-county.  These developments bring us the opportunity to move about more freely and reconnect with our friends, family and cherished activities. 

I know it has been a long year of isolation and rapid change, all while we have lived under global traumas. While we all will emerge from this year changed in seminal ways, I know this year will disproportionately impact some more than others. I’ve long said that while we’ve all been in the same rough seas these last 15 months, the quality of our boats are not the same. This will lead to different needs as we all learn to emerge from COVID. In particular, I recognize those who are at these key transition points in their lives - our 5th/6th graders about to enter middle school, our middle and high school students navigating those years where we learn to become adults, our younger students entering school, even college students building towards careers and their post education life, and many others. The loss of seminal moments and unique growth opportunities that come from where they are in life will disproportionately impact students as they transition into the next stage of their lives. I hope what they have learned in adapting to this “new normal” will help them overcome the lack of those “traditional” opportunities and give them a unique set of skills and strengths to tackle whatever challenges and roadblocks they may face throughout their life, knowing they have already overcome so much at a young age. Regardless, I know the impacts of COVID will be felt for a long time and we must continue to work together to support all our students, teachers, school communities, and families. 

Congratulations also to all those 5th/6th graders and 8th graders as they are promoted from elementary school and middle school and go into the next exciting phase of their education in FCPS or beyond. So proud of you all!

To all our students - our society owes you a great deal of gratitude. You have sacrificed for the greater good of our society and done so without complaint, with positive attitudes, with grit and resilience, and all the while supporting each other through it. I am truly in awe of our students and know that our future is in very good hands. 

I will be holding office hours on June 23rd between 5pm and 7pm.  If you would like to schedule a 15 minute phone call with me, please sign up here

I wish you all a healthy, fun, and restorative summer! 


graduation montage


To the Class of 2021:

You all have survived this most unusual junior and senior year and I won’t minimize the losses big and small, the fear, the trauma of these last 15 months, and extra stress of navigating how to create your path forward in leaving the world you have lived for 13 years -  school and, for many, living at home -  while isolated and in virtual learning. I won’t pretend this won’t have a lasting impact on you and that impact won’t all be positive. Nothing we can do can give you back the experiences, the connections, the friendships, the support, and the moments you should have gotten. The one thing I’ve learned and I hope you have too is to never take the mundane everyday events for granted - the practices with your friends, the times hanging out casually in the halls, random conversations before class starts, and even carefree late night trips to IHOP. I hope the gift you take from this last year and a half is to always appreciate the good, the everyday, and the things we used to take for granted. It took me many years into adulthood before I understood this but you will start your adulthood with a profound appreciation of the ordinary. That in itself makes you ahead of so many classes before you. I hope that you have at least been able to connect with your friends and school community through the senior events and end of year celebrations. From the beginning, I was determined to ensure you all would not have a “blank yearbook” at the end of the year, and have advocated fiercely all year for you to have as many safe in person activities as possible, and, at minimum, allow you to come together at the end to celebrate at prom, gain closure at your graduation, and embrace your future as one united class.

Here is what I fervently believe. I believe the Class of 2021 will leave school as one of the most resilient, empathetic, and strongest classes in a century! In working with student leaders this year, I have been awed. Never have I heard you complain. I have watched you watch out for each other, find ways to give to those in need by making masks, writing letters, planning virtual concerts for those isolating from COVID, raising funds for charities supporting those most impacted, marching and using your voice in support of marginalized communities, and so much more. 

Witnessing your determination, unfettered acceptance, willingness to listen to each other, ability to adapt, desire to give back, enthusiasm, and support for one another has been awe inspiring.  You are models for the adults around you. I have learned a lot from you this year. Thank you for the gift of your wisdom and the honor of watching you navigate with grace the once in a lifetime challenges you have faced.

 And for those of you, like my own senior, whose expected path may have changed due to the challenges of this year, it will be okay. I’ve often found that the greatest unexpected joys of my life have come right after my greatest challenges. As Amanda Gorman said, 

“For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude,

Shows us how to find hope, if we ever lose it.”

I leave you with the one thought by which I live my life: 

“You can’t control what happens to you or what others do. You can only control how you respond.”

Based on my experience with you this year, I believe you will respond well to anything life throws at you. I can’t wait to see the fantastic things you will do in your future.

And I have no doubt that Gen Z will be the next greatest generation. 

Here is beautiful video montage of our graduations so far:

graduation video


Below you will find information on:

  • Addressing Frequently Asked Questions
  • School Board News - Budget, Upcoming Meetings
  • Summer Opportunities for Students
  • Other FCPS News
  • COVID-19 vaccination information - now available for ages 12 and up!
  • Quick Links

Addressing Frequently Asked Questions

Why does FCPS still require masks on the playground yet we don’t see many people wearing masks in graduation pictures?

masks on playground

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still advises schools to continue requiring masks for the remainder of this school year.

The CDC recently released guidance on the ability of fully vaccinated people to resume pre-pandemic activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. This guidance has raised questions for schools about how to proceed in the current school year.  

CDC recommends schools continue to use the COVID-19 prevention strategies outlined in the current version of CDC’s Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools for at least the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic school year.

Recommendation for continuation with these prevention strategies is based on:

  • Students will not be fully vaccinated by the end of the 2020-21 school year. Youth under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination. Youth between the ages of 12 and 15 became eligible for vaccination on May 12. Because people are not fully vaccinated until two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, students in this age group will not be fully vaccinated before the end of the current school year.
  • The time needed for schools to make systems and policy adjustments. Systems and policy adjustments may be required for schools to change mask requirements for students and staff while continuing to ensure the safety of unvaccinated populations.

For graduation ceremonies (all outdoors), neither masks nor distancing were required as FCPS graduations follow mandates as outlined by the Governor’s office. As of May 28, restrictions were eased and capacity for outdoor events was increased. More information is posted here.

What Will School in the Fall be Like?

I’ve been asked whether school will indeed start on August 23rd and whether it will indeed be 5 days a week. The short answer is yes to both. We will still be following the CDC guidance and working closely with the health department around health and safety protocols. There will be a limited virtual option.  I look forward to our students returning in-person, five days a week beginning with the first day of school, August 23.  I also look forward to supporting efforts to bring our school communities together as one again -- students, staff and parents. Read more about FCPS Fall Planning here.

Addressing Incidents of Hate

It has been a very painful time in an exceedingly traumatic year. I know many in our community are hurting and strife is high. The recent rise in antisemitic hate crimes have caused many of our Jewish families to feel afraid and helpless. I see you, hear you, I stand with you, and I am committed to ensuring our schools are welcoming of our Jewish students and all our students. I reject all antisemitism, xenophobia, Islamaphobia and hate in all forms - none of this has any place in our schools or in our world. I am committed to providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive school environment and community for all students, families and staff. 

I also know there were many who were deeply hurt by the personal social media postings of my colleague and the subsequent responses. There are also many who have felt their voices have not been heard in our community. And many who feel unsafe. For all of that, I am sorry. Our community needs to be one, to stand united, to heal, so we can discuss complicated and difficult issues with an understanding of our shared humanity and in a way that fosters respectful dialogue. As we come out of this pandemic and continue the hard work of educating our students in the best way possible, I hope we can emulate what I see in our students each and every day - civility in discussion, empathetic listening, and an incredible ability to unite around creative solutions. 

We can only succeed if we unite, not divide.

I am committed to working to further that healing and unity.

Please see this joint statement from our School Board.

What is this Anti Bias and Anti Racism Survey?

I recognize that many of you had questions and concerns about this survey, as did I when I received it as a parent. Thank you for taking the time to express your concern about the survey. I’ve spent much time over the last few weeks talking with our leadership team about these concerns and hope to have better explanation and communication around FCPS’ equity work as we move forward. To me, equity means ensuring each student has the tools they need to succeed and thrive in a respectful and inclusive environment, where each student is seen first for what they can do, for all their strengths, as a valued part of the community. It is important that our culture, environment, and curriculum are inclusive of all students and accurately reflect our diverse history and culture. 

This is not short term work. As we continue this work over the next few years, Board and community input will be gathered and analyzed. FCPS will solicit community input in a variety of ways in the coming weeks and months. 

School Board News

school board


The School Board unanimously passed the FY22 budget which has a surprising amount of good news in it despite the pandemic circumstances.  Thanks to great cooperation with the Board of Supervisors, the budget is fiscally-responsible and focused on our students and staff. Thank you to the county, our families and community for helping provide our schools with the supports they need next school year. View our thank you message.  The budget includes a 2% salary boost for FCPS employees funded in part with dollars from the Commonwealth of Virginia. I am thrilled that the budget allows for a neurodiversity specialist and a trauma-informed specialist that I believe will directly impact the experiences of our FCPS students.  Learn more.

FCPS Receives ESSER III Funding; Community Feedback Wanted

Fairfax County Public Schools has received American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools. The funds also address the impact of COVID-19 on students by supporting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs, among others.

FCPS is seeking stakeholder input on how our community would like the grant to be used in support of students, staff, and school operations. The community was invited to speak at a Fairfax County School Board Public Hearing about the ESSER III grant on June 7 at 6 p.m.  Members of the FCPS community can also submit their input using the FCPS Online Feedback Form.  The form will remain open until June 11th.

Get more information on the ESSER III grant.


Volunteers Needed 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. 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.

School Board members are accepting names of interest Fairfax County residents. To be considered by me, please contact Prabha Rollins at prrollins@fcps.edu before June 21, 2021.  For more information about the position, contact Jay Garant at jpgarant@fcps.edu.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • June 15th at 10 am- Forum:  Reading Instruction and Elimination of Opportunity Gaps in Reading
  • June 15th at 11am- Work Session: Pre-K/Early Head Start Policy Review and Return to School Update 
  • June 17th at 7 pm- Hybrid Regular School Board Meeting
  • June 22 at 4pm- Work Session:  JET recommendations and Committee Reports 
  • June 24 at 7pm- Hybrid Regular School Board Meeting
  • June 29 at 6pm- Work Session:  Committee Reports


Accessing Board Meetings and Materials

Summer Opportunities for Students

summer opportunities

Summer Arts Opportunities for Rising 3-12 Graders

Does your child love the arts? Are you looking for a wonderful summer enrichment opportunity for them? Institute for the Arts (grades 6-11) and Elementary Institute for the Arts (grades 2-5) registration is open now for students currently in grades 2 through 11. Don't delay, seats are first-come first-serve and registration closes June 25

Tuition waivers are available for students who qualify. Questions? Email: ifta@fcps.edu or efita@fcps.edu. 

Registration is available online.

Rec-PAC Summer Camps (Grade 1-6)


After COVID-19 prevented in-person programs last summer, the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Rec-PAC (Pretty Awesome Children) returns this summer at 30 elementary school locations across Fairfax County.

Rec-PAC is an affordable, structured six-week summer program for children in grades 1-6 featuring a different theme each week. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays from June 28 through Aug. 5, 2021. Parents can sign up for one week at a time or all six weeks.

 Visit this site for more information and to register.

Looking for Some Summertime Fun? Register Now for Camp Fairfax

camp fairfax

Camp Fairfax (formerly summer SACC) is a full-day program for rising 1st through 7th graders that 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 snacks are provided. More information is available online.

summer camp

2021 Summer Camps for Students with Special Needs

The FCPS Parent Resource Center has a helpful resource for finding summer activities for students with special needs. The list does not indicate recommendations or endorsements by Fairfax County Public Schools or the Parent Resource Center. Please contact the camps directly for fees and availability.

Summer Camp Programs

Fairfax County’s Neighborhood and Community Services offers several summer camp programs from June through August for students ranging from rising 1st graders to teens. Share the link below for registration and more information.

Registration Opens for 2021 NCS Summer Camps | Neighborhood and Community Services (fairfaxcounty.gov)

FCPS Provides Summer Practice Books  

Summer Practice Books (General Education PreK-Grade 8, K-12 ESOL, and PreK-12 Special Education) will be mailed home to FCPS students and should arrive mid-to-late June.  Digital links to books and answer guides will be provided.  More information about specific books can be accessed on the Summer Practice Books webpage.


Win Prizes With the Public Library Summer Reading Adventure; Starts June 11

The Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) summer reading program will start on June 11 and end on August 13. Students can start signing up now on Beanstack where they can track their summer reading online.

Students will have the chance to earn prizes when they read and complete activities. Here are the prize milestones for Youth Summer Reading Adventure 2021:

  • Sign up for the program to unlock a chance to win a $25 e-gift card to Scrawl Books.
  • Read 500 minutes to unlock a chance to win a $50 Chipotle gift card.
  • Complete the program by reading 1,000 minutes OR reading 500 minutes and completing 5 activity badges to unlock a chance to win a $150 Amazon e-gift card.

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

If you don't want to use Beanstack to log your reading, paper reading logs will be available beginning June 11 online and at your local library branch.

Fill out your reading log and return it to your local library by August 13 to be entered into the grand prize drawing. Good luck—winning would be a happy ending to your summer story!

More information about the FCPL summer reading program is available online.


From the Healthy Minds Blog: Prioritize Mental Health to Build Resilience in Families

This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. During this global pandemic, the major changes to the ways we live our lives have impacted our children and their relationships. Many families have experienced higher levels of stress and anxiety than ever before.

The good news is that there are tools and resources available that can help parents support the well-being of themselves and their children.

collect for kids


Collect for Kids Campaign Kicks Off

Summer is officially here, and we're already thinking about how FCPS will "Return Strong" in the fall. With nearly 60,000 students qualifying for free and reduced meals, we already know that many of our students will not have the school supplies they need to succeed.

Your contribution to the Collect for Kids campaign helps to provide these students with supply kits that will be delivered to them in August before the start of school. Please help us ensure that all students have the tools they need to be creative, productive, and successful in school.

June Is Pride Month


June is Pride Month in the United States, a time to remember history, celebrate how far we’ve come in advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ people, but also to reinvigorate our efforts to continue the fight for equality and against discrimination and hatred.

Ways to Support LGBTQ+ Youth:

  • Educate Yourself (& Your Family). Showing the LGBTQ+ people in your life that you understand and respect their identities is a great first step. 
  • Encourage Kids to Find Community Online. Staying connected to the LGBTQ+ community can help youth combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. A number national organizations offer free support groups and social events online. 
  • Recommend LGBTQ+ Books and Media. Representation is powerful. Seeing movies, television shows and books with LGBTQ+ characters help kids feel less alone. 

kings glen

Kings Glen History Students Making Headlines

Led by technology specialist Maura Keaney, students researched and wrote submissions for Governor Ralph Northam’s Black History Month Historical Marker Contest. The students' submissions were chosen for three new roadside markers which will be erected next year.  Read the story in the Washington Post KidsPost here.

This comes as a roadside marker for Ona Judge, nominated last year by a Laurel Ridge Elementary School student, was recently erected in Mount Vernon. Read more here.

Katherine Johnson Middle School Renaming Ceremony

On Friday, June 4, City of Fairfax Schools led a celebration of the renaming of Katherine Johnson Middle School to honor the NASA mathematician. The City of Fairfax School Board voted unanimously to remove the former name in November 2020.  Read more -- Once named after Confederate soldier, Virginia middle school renamed after NASA's Katherine Johnson.


2021 6th Grade Choral Festival

The 2021 6th-Grade Choral Festival, featuring 172 sixth graders from 72 elementary schools across FCPS, was held virtually this year. Students practiced before and after school for eight weeks to prepare for this annual event. Music truly connects us all, this year and every year.


Students Use School Grounds to Farm for Fairfax Families in Need

Students at many FCPS schools have grown produce on school grounds to benefit local food pantries that saw an uptick in need during the pandemic.  The students were able to serve the community while learning about gardening and spending time outdoors.  Read more.



Fairfax County Public Schools Is Moving to Zoom on July 1

Effective July 1, FCPS will be transitioning from Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (BBCU) to the Zoom video conferencing platform, which will allow staff, students, and the community the opportunity to participate virtually in meetings and events. Zoom will provide users the ability to:  

  • View an entire classroom of students on one screen.
  • Integrate with other learning platforms (Schoology, MyPDE) and live streaming platforms for large broadcasts.
  • Modify and blur backgrounds for added privacy while participating in virtual events.
  • Overlay multi-language live interpretation for virtual town halls and display captioning options.

FCPS Transitions to Schoology Learning Management System on July 1

Fairfax County Public Schools’ contract with Blackboard ends on June 30. The new learning management system is Schoology (pronounced /SKOO-luh-jee/). Schoology is a learning space that enhances communication, collaboration, and personalized learning for students, teachers, and families. Schoology will be used division-wide starting in July.

Schoology was chosen to: 

  • Support and implement instructional practices aligned to our learning model.  
  • Help students reach the Portrait of a Graduate goals.
  • Provide all students with equitable access to meaningful learning experiences.
  • Offer anytime access to their virtual learning space.

Students will have a Schoology account by June 18.

  • Students use their FCPS student ID and password to login to Schoology.
  • Students will not see any classes until the grading period starts.

As a parent or guardian, you will be able to use Schoology to view:

  • Your child’s class. 
  • Your child’s assignments and participation.
  • Your child’s calendar.
  • Teacher comments, scores, and feedback.

Parent accounts will be available in mid-August. To access Schoology, parents will need to have an active SIS/ParentVUE account. 

More information about Schoology is available online.

Free Meals Available Throughout the Summer, June 28-August 5

FCPS is committed to providing all students access to no-cost meals over the summer months at meal kit sites and on bus routes. Each site and bus route will offer meal kits containing seven days of breakfast and lunch. Please note that locations of the meal distribution sites and all bus routes have changed from the school year plan. 

Summer Meal Kits will be offered on Mondays at 10 sites throughout the county beginning June 28 and ending August 2. Please note that meal kits will be distributed on Tuesday, July 6, due to the Monday, July 5 holiday. Meal kits contain 7 days of breakfast and lunch items packed in bulk. The meal kits will be available for pick up from 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. or until supplies are exhausted. All meals are available at no-cost to FCPS students and children eighteen (18) years of age and under. Parents and caregivers may pick up food for children and adults may purchase kits for $28. 

Meal Kit bus routes will run June 28 through August 5. Buses will run weekly routes throughout the community distributing meal kits, containing seven days of breakfast and lunch items packed in bulk. The buses will not distribute meals on a daily basis. The bus stops are weekly and run Monday-Thursday only. Please note that on Friday, July 2, Monday bus routes will operate to cover the Monday, July 5, holiday. Meal kits are available at no-cost to FCPS students and children eighteen (18) years of age and under. Parents and caregivers may pick up food for children. Adult meals will not be available for purchase on the bus routes. 

End-of-Year Assessment Reports for Families

Students participate in a number of assessments at the end of the school year, and results are shared with families in different ways. 

This year, parents will be able to access Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores directly in SIS ParentVUE. Individual test scores will be visible in the student test history by the end of June, and a formal SOL report letter will be posted in ParentVUE by August. 

Some test results will be mailed to the parent’s home by the start of next school year. These include report letters for families of:

Other scores are shared by the school or testing organization, such as Advanced Placement (AP) scores from the College Board. 

For questions about assessment score reports, contact your student’s school.

Audit News

The Office of Auditor General manages an anonymous fraud, waste and abuse hotline at 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. 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). 

Have Other Concerns?

The Office of the Ombudsman provides an independent, confidential resource for students, families, employees, and community members, offering informal help to resolve concerns, problems, complaints, and other student-related issues.

The staff of Office of the Ombudsman will listen, review, and provide resources for information and referral; serve as a neutral advocate for fairness, equity, inclusion, and consistency; and foster positive working relationships.  Learn more.

COVID-19 Vaccine Available to Children 12-15

covid vaccine


Good news! Vaccine providers in Virginia began vaccinating teens between 12-15 years old, following federal approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week. 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. 

Vaccines are widely available now:

  • 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. You can schedule directly, and you don’t need to pre-register.
  • Walk-in appointments are also being offered at the Tysons Community Vaccination Center Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8:30 am - 5:30 pm; and Tuesday and Thursday from 11 am - 8 pm. This center is in the former Lord & Taylor site at Tysons Center at 7950 Tysons Corner Center in McLean.  It is scheduled to close on June 26th.
  • To schedule an appointment at Inova’s Stonebridge site at 5001 Eisenhower Avenue in Alexandria, go to the Inova COVID-19 scheduling webpage.

Quick Links

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.

© 2021 Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, Virginia