Summer Newsletter

Dear Mason District Community,

July is almost over and the start of a new school year is a mere three weeks away. FCPS is excited to return students to the school buildings for five days of instruction! Staff is working hard to meet this goal and will continue to develop Fall 2021 Health and Safety practices that follow the guidance put forth by clinical researchers and medical providers from the CDC, VDH, and the FCHD to ensure the safest classrooms possible. 

On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidelines to recommend universal indoor masking for everyone regardless of vaccination status. The CDC continues to support that students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall 2021 is a priority. More information about mitigation factors are included in this newsletter. 

I value input from the Mason Community and will address questions or concerns via email or phone. I can be reached by email at If you are interested in scheduling a phone call, please reach out to my assistant, Cristy Coffey, at to arrange a time.

Please follow my official School Board Twitter account at: @MasonDistrictSB.

I wish you all good health.


Justice Pyramid Boundary Adjustment

On June 17, 2021, the School Board voted to approve a boundary adjustment for the elementary schools in the Justice High School pyramid. The approved boundary adjustment is a modified version of the Superintendent’s recommendation and reassigns an estimated 497 students. The new boundaries are effective for the 2021-22 school year.

The boundary adjustment brings capacity relief to Glen Forest Elementary School, which is over capacity and projected to increase in enrollment in the next few years. As a result of the boundary adjustment, one modular set of classrooms will be removed from Glen Forest as the structure is nearing the end of its lifecycle. The boundary adjustment positively impacts traffic due to a reduction in busing needs, does not impact current walk zones, and removes one attendance island. 

If a student's home address is part of the new boundary, rising kindergarten and 1st grade students will need to enroll in the new school. If a student will be in grades 2-5 during the 2021-22 school year, that student may choose to remain at his/her current school until middle school or enroll at the new school as determined by the boundary adjustment. 

Bailey's, Bailey's Upper, Beech Tree, Belvedere, Parklawn, and Sleepy Hollow Elementary Schools are impacted by the boundary change as those schools have capacity to accommodate additional students. By changing the boundaries, the projected enrollment at all the elementary schools in the Justice pyramid will be brought below 1,000 students.

FCPS has a dedicated boundary adjustment webpage where you will find additional information and a list of street listings affected by the changes.

The boundary adjustment does not impact the middle school and high school boundaries. 

Justice HS Addition and Justice Park Proposal Update

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 linked to the meeting webpage.

FCPS staff will be scheduling a follow-up meeting in September to provide updates to the community about the Justice Park proposal and the Justice HS addition.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

The School Board unanimously voted to adopt Regulation 2601.35P, Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R). Improvements to the SR&R for the 2021-22 school year reflect FCPS’ commitment to ensuring students feel safe, supported, and respected in every one of our schools.  

Notable changes include:

  • Edited language throughout the document to reflect gender neutrality.
  • A new section entitled Notable Changes for Students and Parents that highlights changes in the SR&R from last school year.
  • Restructuring of the Rights and Responsibilities Chapter with student rights prominently featured.
  • Language that further defines interaction of law enforcement and students.
  • Additional terms in the glossary to increase understanding.

FCPS will be sharing a detailed summary of the updates made to this document prior to the return of our students in the fall. In our interest to serve all students, FCPS has also updated our LGBTQIA+ resources page on the FCPS website. 

Superintendent Search

Fairfax County Public Schools is beginning its search for a new superintendent to lead the school district when Superintendent Brabrand's contract expires at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. 

The Fairfax County School Board is charged with hiring the new superintendent. To assist with the search, the Board will engage a search firm with expertise in identifying and recruiting executive level school district leaders. 

There will be opportunities for parents, staff, students, and community members to participate. Your voice will be critical in helping define leadership characteristics, qualities, and qualifications of our next superintendent. 

Updates will be posted regularly regarding the hiring process, timeline, community engagement, and other important information.

Read Superintendent Brabrand's letter to the community.

Returning Strong - Mask Policy

Masks are an essential tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting those unable to be vaccinated. To ensure a safe start to the school year, masks will be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, inside FCPS buildings. 

Buses: The CDC federal order requiring masks be worn on public transportation remains in effect, and applies to buses and school transportation operated by Virginia public schools. 

Outdoors: Masks are not required when outside.

Mealtimes: Masks may be removed while eating, but should be reapplied as soon as the meal has been consumed.

Locker rooms: Masks are required at all times.

Band: Band members will use covers/special masks inside the school.

Students with Disabilities: A small group of students with disabilities and staff will have access to clear masks (e.g. center-based students with hearing impairments, teachers of deaf/hard-of-hearing, speech language pathologists, and some students receiving speech services as needed).

Student Exemptions: Students can request an exemption from this requirement through the process outlined in Regulation 2109.

Visitors: All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks in buildings.

FCPS will continue to monitor local health metrics and follow state and national guidance, and update health protocols accordingly.

FATE Programs for Students


FCPS students in the Residential Construction Program built this beautiful home! Their instructor, Ron Meinert, was on hand to provide information about the project during my tour last month.

This program is one of three Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs available to our students through the Foundation for Applied Technical Education, Inc. (FATE):

The Residential Construction Program allows students to work in many areas and stages of construction, through which they develop skills in framing, estimating, foundations, trim, masonry, plumbing, electrical work, drywalling, inspections, and finishing.

The Student Auto Sales Program provides a hands-on experience for students in both automotive technology and automotive collision service programs. Students refurbish used vehicles that have been donated by the community for resale to the general public.

The Entrepreneurship Program provides students opportunities for learning small business ownership skills. Students experience the process of developing, financing, and marketing a new product or service through an interactive curriculum.

Read more about the FATE programs available to our students.

ADC Graduation


I was honored to share a proud moment with FCPS graduates at the Adult Detention Center ceremony in early July. Their perseverance and resilience shone brightly. Congratulations!


TJHSST Offers Admission to 550 Students; Broadens Access to Students Who Have an Aptitude for STEM

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) has offered admission to 550 students for the Class of 2025. 

This is the first class to apply under the revised admissions process which eliminated the standardized admissions test for TJHSST, eliminated the $100 application fee, raised the minimum GPA, and expanded the freshman class from 480 to 550. Seats in the TJHSST freshman class were also allocated for the top 1.5% of applicants from every middle school.

For the first time in at least 10 years, every FCPS middle school has students who were offered admission to TJHSST. The students accepted for the Class of 2025 are high performers and are well prepared for the school’s academic rigor. At 3.9, the average GPA for applicants is higher this year than it has been in the past five years. The average GPA for students offered admission remains extremely high at more than 3.95.

Last fall’s changes to the TJHSST admissions process also resulted in a significant increase in access for groups who have faced barriers to entry, including special education students, students eligible for free and/or reduced-price meals, and English Learners.

The new admissions process continues to be merit based and is race blind. Students are allocated a number by which to be identified during the process. Admissions evaluators do not know the race, ethnicity, or gender of any applicant.

Read more about the admissions data for the Class of 2025.


Volunteer Opportunity - ACEAC 

Applicants are being sought who are interested in volunteering to serve on the Adult and Community Education Advisory Committee (ACEAC).

The Adult and Community Education Advisory Committee reviews programmatic issues and funding needs associated with adult education and English language services. This committee meets monthly and appointees serve a 1-year term.

Applicants must be residents of the Mason District to be considered for a position as my appointee. If you are interested in serving, please send your resume and a statement of interest to my assistant, Cristy Coffey, at no later than August 13, 2021 for consideration.

Health Department and FCPS COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

The Health Department is partnering with FCPS to host additional special COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the following schools for students ages 12 or older who have not received the two dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine series or for students ages 12 or older who have received one vaccine and are due to receive their second vaccine (at least 21 days after the first dose):

  • Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 2pm – 7pm, Herndon Elementary School, 630 Dranesville Rd., Herndon, VA  20170
  • Thursday, August 5, 2021, 2pm – 7 pm, Justice High School, 3301 Peace Valley ln., Falls Church, VA  22044
  • Friday, August 6, 2021, 2pm – 7 pm, Liberty Middle School, 6801 Union Mill Rd., Clifton, VA  20124

To make an appointment for children, parents should visit the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS).

Each school clinic site will also offer walk-in options from 2 to 7 pm.

Parental Consent for Vaccinating Adolescents Under 18:

Parents who are unable to bring their child to a COVID-19 vaccination clinic during the work day, may send their child with a responsible adult who is age of 18 or older and can give permission for the vaccination on behalf of the parent. Many locations also offer evening and weekend hours. Parents can find locations that suit their schedule at

Food for Students During the Summer Months (Updated)


Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Office of Food and Nutrition Services is offering healthy meals at locations throughout Fairfax County this summer under the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

All students have access to free weekly summer meal kits through August 5th. Seven days of breakfast and lunch items will be available in weekly kits distributed at 10 sites and on updated bus routes.


  • Bus routes will offer double meal kits the week of August 2-5 (last week of bus distribution for summer meals).
  • Meal kits will be available on August 9 and August 16 at Falls Church High School from 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. (until supplies last). Additional locations for meal kits on these dates: Hayfield SS, Marshall HS, South County HS, and Westfield HS.

Important Immunization Reminder for

7th and 12th Grade Students

While the COVID-19 vaccination is NOT required by schools for the 2021-2022 school year, many other vaccinations are mandatory.

Seventh-grade students need:

  • One dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) given at age 7 or older.
  • One dose of Meningococcal Vaccine (MenACWY, Menactra, or Menveo) given at age 10 or older.

Twelfth-grade students need:

  • One dose of Meningococcal Vaccine (MenACWY, Menactra, or Menveo) given at age 16 or older.

More information on new immunization requirements 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, or by calling 833-511-0311.

Chair and Vice Chair Elected for SY 2021-22

At the July 15 regular meeting, the School Board unanimously elected Stella Pekarsky (Sully District) as School Board chair and Rachna Sizemore Heizer (Member-at-Large), as vice chair for a one-year term.


FCPS Names New Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services

FCPS Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand has named Noel Klimenko, a proven FCPS leader for over three decades, as Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services.

Learn more about Ms. Klimenko's background and the critical functions of her new role.

Office of Auditor General Updates

The July 2021 issue of Audit Buzz is now available.  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.


Collect for Kids Campaign

FCPS students in need will "Return Strong" in the fall with fresh school supplies, thanks to the Collect for Kids campaign. Donated funds will purchase pre-made, grade-level appropriate school supply kits for students. A contribution of $50 will provide 5 FCPS students with supplies to help them succeed in school.

** Working with a group to raise funds to support a school with supplies? We can help with that too - just call the office at 571-423-1031 to set up your special on-line donation link. 

Click here to make your contribution!

Calendar Reminder

Classes Start on August 23rd

FCPS returns for 5 days of in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year on Monday, August 23rd. View the standard school year calendar.

Mason District Spotlight

Congratulations, Justice High School Crew!


The Justice Men’s Varsity Quad team took Silver in the State Rowing Championship in June.

Four additional Justice teams qualified and competed in the finals:

The Women’s Varsity Quad took 3rd place.

The Men’s Junior Quad, Men’s Double, and Women’s Double teams each came in 5th.

Congratulations, Wolves!

George Mason University Scholarship

Eight students from Fairfax County Public Schools who were enrolled in the district’s College Success Programs, Early Identification Program have been named winners of scholarships totaling $277K to George Mason University. They have earned full tuition scholarships, the University’s Scholar scholarship, and several partial tuition scholarships.

Congratulations to Mason District student Derek Castillo from Falls Church High School!

Edison Academy HVAC-R Program

The Heating, Ventilation, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) Program at Edison Academy prepares students for successful employment in the workforce. The program prepares students for the EPA Certified Technician exam, an important credential for these future technicians to be able to offer potential employers.

This year, six FCPS students successfully passed the rigorous EPA exam. Congratulations to the four students from the Mason District:

  • Jorge Argueta Orellana - Justice HS
  • Nixon Garcia Orozco - Falls Church HS
  • Samuel Rosales Juarez - Falls Church HS
  • Ronny Marquez Hernandez - Falls Church HS

AHA Telemundo

AHS Students Build Computers

Annandale High School students built their families' very first computers -- by hand -- through a workshop led by other FCPS kids and teachers. Read about the Eagle Scout project or  watch the Telemundo story (in Spanish).

Safe Routes to School Grant

For the 8th year in a row, FCPS will receive Safe Routes to School funding.  The 2021-22 grant will continue to work with all elementary and middle schools to promote walking and biking safely to school as well as target five elementary schools and two middle schools. Target schools were chosen based on the high percentage of students that are designated as walkers and the willingness of the administration to promote active transportation. Efforts will be made to reduce the number of students relying on Kiss and Ride and increase the number of students walking or biking to school regularly. 

Two Mason District Schools were selected as target schools:

Annandale Terrace Elementary and Braddock Elementary  


New Principal at

Columbia Elementary School

Mr. Michael Astudillo has been named the new principal of Columbia Elementary School, effective July 1, 2021. Mr. Astudillo is an experienced administrator and an alumnus of Columbia and the Annandale pyramid. Welcome, Mr. Astudillo!


New Principal at

Justice High School

Ms. Tiffany Narcisse has been named the new principal of Justice High School, effective July 1, 2021. She is an experienced administrator with a proven record of improving student attendance, parent participation, and student achievement. Ms. Narcisse understands the importance of building and cultivating a caring and inclusive culture. Welcome to JHS, Ms. Narcisse!


Follow @MasonDistrictSB on Twitter!

The official Mason District School Board Twitter account was just launched. Be sure to follow to receive timely updates on information for the Mason District.

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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