Fall 2021 Welcome Back to School

Hello, Springfield District!

As this summer comes to a close, I’m hopeful that your family was able to make some lasting memories of your time together. In our house, we are eagerly (albeit nervously) awaiting next Monday morning and the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. Many of you have reached out to me with your concerns about the year ahead, especially around lunch. I have reached out to principals to ask how we can support them here and will continue to seek more guidance and support from Dr. Brabrand and the leadership team. I’m so grateful for the flexibility and creativity that our schools and teachers are showing as they work to make the best possible situation for our students. I will continue to advocate for an expansion of access to a virtual option for immunocompromised families.

As we navigate this year together, please know that I will continue to reach out to our schools to see how we can best support our students and staff. Please let me know how your first day goes!

Welcome back!

All my very best regards-

Laura Jane

Picture of Laura Jane Cohen during back to school year 2021-22 welcome message

View my welcome back to school year 2021-22 message.

This newsletter includes information on the following issues:

  • Upcoming School Board Meetings
  • School Board Work
  • Return to School
  • FCPS & Community News
  • Family Resources
  • Springfield District Happenings

Picture of School Board

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • August 24 at 11 am - Work Session: Opening of Schools Update, FY21 Year-End Review, and ESSER Spending Plan
  • August 26 at 7 pm - Regular Meeting: FY21 Year-End, ESSER Spending Plan, School Board Liaison and Committee Assignments, State Technology Grant Resolution, etc.
  • September 9 at 7 pm - Regular Meeting: ERFC Annual Report, Tennis Court Replacement at Holmes Middle School and Chantilly High School, etc.
  • September 21 at 11 am - Work Session: Special Education Audit and Return to School
  • September 23 at 7 pm - Regular Meeting: Opening of Schools Annual Report, Fairfax County Purchase Resolution, George Mason Elementary School (Professional Development School Network) PDS Contract, Challenged Materials Interdepartmental Review, etc.

The work sessions and regular meetings will be broadcast live on Channel 99 (Verizon channel 11) and the FCPS website. Both will be 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. Visit BoardDocs for more meeting logistics, agendas, and handouts.

School Board Updates graphic


Election of new School Board Chair and Vice-Chair

Picture of School Board Chair Stella Pekarsky and Vice-Chair Rachna Sizemore Heizer

School Board Chair Stella Pekarsky and Vice-Chair Rachna Sizemore Heizer

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.

“I am honored to serve as chair of the Fairfax County School Board for the coming school year,” said Pekarsky. “The Board is excited for the upcoming school year and looks forward to continuing our important work of supporting our students and teachers as we return for five days of in-person learning in the fall. I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Ricardy Anderson who served so admirably as chair during the challenges of the past year.” 


Adjustments to Allow for More Citizen Participation

In February of 2020, public input and discussion began around increasing opportunities for public comment at School Board meetings. Most recently, the School Board approved adjustments to public participation, which will increase accessibility to the speaker slots and topics. This:

  • Increases speaker slots to 16.
  • Ends requirement for speakers to only speak to items on the meeting agenda. 
  • Eliminates spots set aside for organizations, and everyone is subject to the same time limit. 
  • Reserves three spots for current students and three spots for video submissions.
  • Selects speakers at random from those who register, making it accessible to those who cannot be online at 6 a.m.
  • Retains ability for community members to testify virtually, allowing for greater access and ease of participation.
  • Adds two public hearings each year without a preset number of speakers.


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 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.

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.


Middle School and Secondary School Students Regular Instructional Breaks in 2021-22

This school year, to support student social and emotional wellbeing, all middle school students and secondary school students (in grades 7 and 8) will implement a regularly scheduled student break throughout the instructional week. Break time will occur a minimum of every other school day for at least 15 minutes and may be scheduled around lunch, during the Advisory block, or at another time supported by the school bell schedule. 

Access to outdoor activities will be included in all formats, weather-permitting, and breaks will not be withheld due to academic performance or behavior. Breaks will be tailored to individual school needs and will be responsive to student input.


ESSER Funds graphic

Superintendent Will Submit Plan for Relief Funding

At our Board's July 15 meeting, we authorized Superintendent Brabrand to develop and submit a formal plan to the state for accessing an allocation of $188.6 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funding. These funds will support the safe reopening and operation of schools and address the pandemic's impact on students by focusing on their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. Funds will be spent during fiscal years 2022-24. Additionally, our Board requested a briefing on the detailed plan before it is officially submitted to the Commonwealth. Read the details here.


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Sweeping Climate, Sustainability Goals

At our July 15th meeting, the School Board voted unanimously to adopt the recommendations of the Joint Environmental Task Force (JET) to achieve zero waste by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2040. Our Board's action followed the same action from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors just days earlier. I am committed to proactively and equitably addressing climate change and environmental sustainability and I strongly support these recommendations. Achieving these ambitious goals will not be easy and we will need creative solutions to reach them, particularly on electrification of our fleet of buses as soon as possible, student participation to achieve substantial reductions in waste, and possible private sector collaboration on workforce development strategies. Read all about it here.

2021 Return to School

#FCPSReturningStrong picture collage


As we prepare to begin the 2021-22 school year, we remain conscious about the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus. The health and safety of our students, staff, and community are the school system’s highest priority, and every day we are working closely with health officials to review our layered prevention strategies and ensure our schools and buildings are safe places to learn and work. Vaccination levels among 12-18-year-olds are high and we will continue to offer vaccination opportunities in our schools. We are also using universal masking as a key mitigation strategy as we gear up to start the school year five days in person. FCPS continues to review and update safety measures for fall to ensure our students and staff will learn and work in a healthy, safe environment. The latest on our Return to School safety measures is always available on our website.

We look forward to welcoming you back on August 23.



Masks are an essential tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting those unable to be vaccinated. FCPS is aligned with Governor Northam’s state mandate for universal masking indoors for all K-12 schools. To ensure a safe start to the school year, masks will be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, inside all FCPS buildings. As we bring large numbers of students and staff back to buildings, FCPS is committed to doing all we can to provide a safe environment for everyone to learn and work. Therefore, existing mask requirements have been extended to include everyone, regardless of vaccination status and location. We will all wear masks indoors unless we are alone in an office or room. Outdoor masking is still recommended for those who are unvaccinated.

There are some situations in school when students and staff are permitted to remove their masks, including:

  • When actively eating or drinking (if eating indoors, individuals are required to put their masks back on when not actually eating or drinking)
  • When outside (e.g. outdoor recess, outdoor physical education, outdoor instructional groups; anyone not fully vaccinated is recommended, but not required, to wear a mask in crowded settings)
    • Parents who have specific requests for their child can contact their school. Schools will make the best possible effort to ensure the parent’s request is followed when possible. Please understand schools cannot guarantee all requests will be able to be met.

Schools will use outdoor eating and instructional areas to increase opportunities for physical distancing as permitted by space, weather, and supervision. While FCPS is unable to implement full physical distancing in our schools with the return of 99.5% of our students, we will implement it to the best of our ability when space permits.

FCPS Mask Guidelines Table

Buses and Transportation

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


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School Meals

FCPS is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our staff and students even at lunchtime when students will not be able to wear masks while eating.

We know that the situation at lunchtime will look different at every school but we are committed to making sure the structure of lunchtime works at every school. 

  • Elementary Students Only  - Elementary schools are to provide seating charts to minimize the number of potential close contacts while masks are removed. This is a NEW prevention strategy given elementary students are generally not age-eligible for the vaccine.
  • Students will be required to wear masks in the cafeteria when not actively eating and drinking.
  • They will need to wear their masks while going through the serving line. 
  • Students will put their masks back on when they finish their meal. 
  • Cafeteria spaces will be regularly and thoroughly cleaned with a sanitizing solution. 
  • Students will be encouraged to wash hands or use hand sanitizer or wash hands before and after eating.
  • FCPS Food Nutrition Services works closely with the Fairfax County Health Department to ensure proper food safety and sanitation. 

All students will be offered no-cost breakfast and lunch for the entire school year. Menus will be available online beginning August 18. 


Why Will Lunch Look Different at Every School?

The size of every school cafeteria is different and the number of students at each school is different. Because most students (99.5%) will be back for in-person learning, social distancing will not be possible in most classrooms, hallways, or cafeterias. 

The physical layout of each cafeteria varies from school to school depending on size and student enrollment. 

Some schools (but not all) will have outdoor cafeteria spaces or options. These will be used on days when the weather is good.

Students will not be required to face the same direction when eating lunch, as was the requirement last year. This kind of layout will simply not allow most cafeterias to accommodate all students without disrupting normal operations.

Physical distancing will not be possible in all circumstances when we return 99.5% of all students to school buildings. This includes some cafeterias. Schools will do their best to physically distance where space allows and when it does not disrupt normal operations



The most important thing we can all do to keep our schools safe and open all year is to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as we are eligible. Vaccines are safe, effective, available, and free. Thank you to everyone who got vaccinated at one of our clinics last week!  Vaccination rates in Fairfax County are increasing—let’s keep that trend going. To help make that more convenient, we will be hosting up to 40 school-based COVID-19 vaccination clinics starting in September. We will share more details over the coming weeks. In the meantime schedule your child’s vaccination with the Fairfax County Health Department. 

As of August 10, 76.65% of Fairfax Health District residents ages 12-17 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 


Screen for Illness Every Day, Stay Home When Sick

One of the most important prevention strategies guidelines is screening students daily for any signs of illness before leaving home for school. Any student who is ill or has COVID-like symptoms should remain at home. The daily health screening questionnaire and all translated versions can be found on our Health and Safety Guidance webpage

This document provides the details of the policies and protocols related to COVID-19, and it is continually updated to align with public health guidance as it evolves during the school year. Daily completion of the health screening is done on an honor basis and does not need to be sent to the school.

Read more about checking for symptoms and how to prepare to return to school after illness.


Cleaning and Disinfecting

Measures will be implemented to ensure that common areas and equipment, and personal workspaces, are regularly cleaned and sanitized. The Office of Facilities Management has worked closely with FCPS custodians to adjust their cleaning processes to better address current considerations. 

FCPS custodians are using effective disinfectant and sanitizing products to clean our facilities every day. For more detail about cleaning and disinfecting in schools, see the Health and Safety Guidance Document.


Hand washing graphic

Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.



FCPS uses mechanical ventilation systems to provide classrooms with outside air. FCPS schools are designed to ventilate fresh outside air and mitigate the buildup of odors and pollutants. Fresh air is filtered and conditioned before it enters the space. This is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus that advises windows be opened in the absence of outside mechanical ventilation.


Screening Testing

The FCPS administration is in the process of partnering with a third-party provider to provide access to screening testing among other health service supports for FCPS students and staff. We recognize that screening testing of individuals who are not fully vaccinated is important given the recent surge of the Delta variant. We look forward to sharing details regarding this emerging partnership soon.

In addition to the emerging partnership for screening testing described above, we continue to partner with the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) to provide diagnostic testing for symptomatic, in-person students or staff who are unable to access testing independently. The partnership for diagnostic testing for in-person students and staff who need support was established during the 2020-21 school year and will continue as we start the 2021-22 school year. 


Contact Tracing and Quarantining 

In the event of a COVID-19 exposure, FCPS will work with the Fairfax County Health Department to conduct contact tracing and determine if quarantine is necessary. Further guidance is coming on this topic soon.


COVID safe graphic

Monitoring by Health & Safety Teams 

This year, FCPS will be using an independent third-party firm to perform safety team observations. Safety teams will observe and report on the health and safety mitigation measures in schools and make sure they are being implemented with fidelity.

In preparation for a strong return to 5 days of in-person instruction,  we will also continuously monitor our community health conditions as well as adhere to FHD, VHD, and CDC guidance.


Conditions for Potential Temporary COVID-19 Closure

Virginia public schools are required under SB 1303 to provide five days a week of in-person instruction, as directed by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. FCPS is committed to continuity of learning during the 2021-22 school year and the school division is using layered prevention strategies to do everything possible to ensure our schools remain safe, healthy, and open. 

For the 2021-22 school year FCPS will not be using county metrics or transmission rates to adjust operating status. All decisions regarding the closure of schools will be made at the direction of the county and state health officials and/or an Executive Order. 

FCPS has plans in place to ensure continuity of learning in the event health authorities require a temporary closure to protect the health of students, staff, and the community.


Concerned About In-Person Learning? Your School Can Help.

Earlier this year, the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics supported a return to in-person learning for Virginia’s students, saying, “Returning to in-person learning, with well thought out mitigation strategies, is the right prescription for our children.” Returning to in-person instruction this fall also aligns with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Fairfax County Health Department.

FCPS realizes that some of our families are not ready for their child to return to in-person learning and we want to be clear about your options:

The application window for FCPS’ limited Virtual Program has closed. At this time, only newly enrolled students with a documented health/medical need are eligible to apply. 

FCPS’ Return to School plan prioritizes the health and safety of our students and staff. By using layered prevention strategies, with an emphasis on universal masking in schools and widespread vaccination, we will be able to provide a safe and positive environment for student learning. We invite you to visit our Return to School-Safety page often for the latest updates.

If a student has a medical or documented health condition that prevents them from returning to school this fall, or you are still concerned about them returning in person, please contact your school to discuss the options and support available to you. 

As partners in your child’s education, our amazing teachers and staff are eager to work with you to support your child’s needs and ensure their success.


Academics and Social-Emotional Supports

Teachers and staff will be prepared to address and support students’ specific needs when the new school year begins on August 23. A full Academic Support Plan, tied to FCPS’ proposed ESSER III spending plan—which was based on community feedback—will be a significant investment of funding and resources that will ensure our students have the academic and social-emotional support they need to thrive this school year and beyond. 

Below is a brief snapshot of the key strategies FCPS will use to address student learning loss during the upcoming school year:

Reviewing and Reteaching: FCPS is updating its curriculum instruction guides to ensure that teachers are provided with effective information and strategies to review or reteach previous grade standards as they teach current year content. This approach is critical for helping students master essential knowledge and fill any skill gaps. This approach will also allow FCPS to accelerate learning, as opposed to starting a cycle of remediation. For students who have more significant learning needs, FCPS anticipates providing a variety of interventions.

Identifying Student Needs Students at all levels will participate in classroom assessments based on grade level units to identify specific learning gaps that need to be addressed during its regularly scheduled grade-level instruction. Elementary students will participate in a VDOE Fall "SOL-like" assessment, as well as the iReady screener. These will serve as "initial indicators" for each student's needs in literacy and mathematics. Middle school students will participate in the new VDOE assessments and mathematics/literacy inventories. High school students who have risk indicators will participate in mathematics and literacy inventories.

Preparing Teachers to Tackle Learning Loss: Upon return to school, teachers will engage in professional development, so they are prepared to implement updated curriculum guides and effectively use data and strategies to support social-emotional learning. Ongoing professional development will occur throughout the year with specific support for teacher leaders/coaches at each school site. In addition, our resource teachers from Central Office will be deployed in our schools to support professional development, planning, and instructional delivery.

The final ESSER III spending plan will be approved by the School Board at our Board meeting on August 26 and we will share the details with you once it has been approved.



The return to school brings a return to fall sports. As with our entire return to school plan, safety is our top priority as we plan for fall sports to resume. The health and safety protocols in place this fall include universal masking when indoors in locker rooms or taking part in indoor athletics.

  • Outdoor activities–Masks are not required, however, recommended for those not fully vaccinated.
  • Indoor activities–Masks are required for coaches and all players who are not participating in the activity; this includes practices, games, and outdoor sports moving indoors for practices.

All athletic safety protocols for the 2021-22 school year, including water, screening, equipment, and reporting are available on the FCPS website. I wish all our student-athletes, coaches, and supporters a great season!


Your Questions About the Opening of School Answered

Picture of Superintendent Brabrand during town hall


On Monday and Tuesday evenings this week, Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand; Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, director of Epidemiology and Population Health at the Fairfax County Health Department; Jeffrey Platenberg, assistant superintendent of the FCPS Department of Facilities and Transportation; and Michelle Boyd, assistant superintendent of the FCPS Department of Special Services answered your questions about the layered prevention strategies that FCPS will be using to keep our schools safe and healthy as we return to in-person learning five days a week on August 23. 

If you missed the live town halls, you can watch them online.

FCPS and Community News

2021-22 Back to School Night Schedule

The schedule for this year's Back to School Nights is available online. The schedules are posted by the region your child’s school is in.

Don’t know your school’s region? Search for your school in the Schools and Centers Directory, then click on the school name. You can also check your school’s website for more information on its back-to-school events.


Update Your Emergency Care Information Through weCare@school

Fairfax County Public Schools is committed to ensuring that the climate in all FCPS facilities is safe and secure. In support of this goal, FCPS provides weCare@school (weCare), an emergency care information system, available to FCPS parents and guardians who have registered for their own Parent account. 

weCare helps manage emergency medical information by enabling parents to enter and update their children’s medical data at their convenience online. Contact information provided automatically enrolls parents to receive eNotify communications from the district and their child’s school. eNotify is the communications tool for FCPS emergency, attendance, and essential outreach messages. Messages are sent via email, telephone, and text messages.

Get more information about updating your emergency care information.


Free school meals for all students graphic

Free Meals for Virtual Students and Community Members

FCPS will be offering no-cost bulk meal kits for students attending virtually and community members at the following locations:

Distribution will be every Wednesday starting on 8/25, and from 8:30 am-10 am.

All FCPS students (regardless of age) are eligible for free meals, as well as other county children that are eighteen (18) years and under. Parents/caregivers picking up meal kits for children should let staff know how many children's meals they need.  Adults may purchase meal kits at the central kitchen sites. 

Please contact the Office of Food and Nutrition Services at 703-813-4800 with any questions.

When we return strong this fall, FCPS' Food and Nutrition Services staff will be ready to serve healthy meals to students and staff.  This year, all students will receive free breakfast and lunch.  Find out more about school meals.



Fairfax County Public Schools’ contract with Blackboard ended on June 30. Our new learning management system, Schoology, is a learning space that enhances face-to-face and distance learning through communication, collaboration, and personalized learning.  

Teachers use Schoology to post their classroom materials online; to provide a safe forum for students to discuss their ideas and collaborate on projects; and to assign and collect homework electronically. It helps students stay organized and it keeps the class connected.

Parent Accounts

A Schoology Parent Account gives you access to:

  • Your child’s classes.

  • Your child’s upcoming assignments.

  • School, class, and group announcements.

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

More information on how to log in and use Schoology is available online.


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Secondary Grading Changes and Homework

FCPS is committed to consistent grading practices where grades are an accurate reflection of student learning. Last school year, temporary changes were made to secondary grading and homework expectations in response to pandemic learning. This past spring, a stakeholder group reviewed the grading changes from last year and recommended that two changes be made permanent. The following changes have been approved by FCPS leadership:  

  • 50 is the lowest grade on a 100-point scale. 
  • Allow late work on major assignments with a maximum penalty of 10 percent if submitted within two weeks after the due date.

Last school year, FCPS set temporary limits for homework to account for the conditions of virtual learning and student wellness during the pandemic. FCPS is resetting homework expectations to account for both student wellness and the existing FCPS regulation on homework.

To ensure that student homework falls within existing FCPS regulations:

  • Middle school teachers should plan for homework not to exceed 25 minutes per class block.
  • High school teachers should plan for homework not to exceed 30 minutes per class block.
  • When long-term projects require additional time, teachers should adjust daily homework assignments accordingly.
  • Reading assignments are considered part of the homework load.


2021-22 Basal Resources Adoptions: K-8 Science and Elementary School Language Arts

FCPS is engaging in the Request for Proposal and basal resource adoption processes for K-8 Science and Elementary School Language Arts. The process, governed by FCPS regulation 3004.5, will include both a community review period and a deep review by a committee made up of representatives from a variety of stakeholder groups—teachers, administrators, and community members. Each School Board member will have the opportunity to appoint a representative to the review committees for science and language arts.

The review and acquisition are constructed to ensure:

  • Resources align to newly adopted Virginia Standards of Learning and the FCPS Learning Model.
  • Resources meet the educational needs of a variety of learners.
  • Resources reflect culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy.
  • Students gain equitable access to high-quality, dynamic resources.
  • Input from multiple stakeholder groups is collected and valued. 

Once these processes are complete, the recommended resources will be brought to the Board for approval, tentatively scheduled for March 2022.  

To make certain we have diverse representation from stakeholders in the FCPS community, please send names for the Elementary Language Arts Committee to Donna McConnell and K-8 Science Committee to Brian Mandell by September 27.


Northern Virginia Community College logo

Early Online College

Get a jump start on your college education while you're still in high school!  For a limited time, NOVA is offering select college courses at no cost to Fairfax County high school juniors and seniors.  Courses are twelve weeks in length and will begin on September 20, 2021. View their flyer for more information..  Completed applications are due by September 1, 2021.


Lewis Lancers logo

Lewis Academy Planning Update

On July 29, 2021, a team of Lewis High School instructional leaders, students, a parent, and staff from Instructional Services met to initiate planning regarding the FCPS School Board’s request to explore the development of an Academy at John R. Lewis High School focused on public service and the principles of John R. Lewis’ leadership. The main outcomes of this planning day were as follows:

  • Develop understanding of the School Board and community aspirations for an academy at Lewis High School
  • Brainstorm and synthesize the high-level learning outcomes and key experiences that students might have through an academy at Lewis
  • Contribute preliminary thinking about a desired model for an academy at Lewis 

The next meeting of the school-based planning team will occur on August 25, 2021,million-dollar in person at Lewis High School. The focus of this meeting will be to develop a more detailed description of the academy experience. Additional next steps include connecting with Lewis Academy Now leaders, engaging Lewis High School students and staff in the visioning for the Academy, and developing a plan for family engagement. In addition, related career professionals have been invited to participate in an external working group by way of invitation from Bob Mitchell of the Bipartisan Leadership Academy. The purpose of the working group is to conduct research and provide recommendations on potential specialized courses, work-based learning opportunities, and other support for the academy proposal. 

Staff will present an overview of the vision for an academy at Lewis High School at a future Board scheduled work session.


Wi-Fi on School Buses

In preparation for the Return to 5 Days in the Fall, the Office of Transportation Services will pilot equipping the eight new electric school buses with wi-fi.  Wi-fi on these buses will allow students to conduct school assignments while in transit.  A full review of this pilot will be conducted over the school year to determine the feasibility of equipping the entire school bus fleet with this educational support.


Picture of person typing on keyboard

FCPS Launching eSports Program

Calling all eSports lovers!

FCPS is preparing to launch an eSports program, following the approval of the Virginia High School League, which governs sports, activities, and competitions in public schools throughout the Commonwealth.


FCPS Students Build $1 Million Home During the Pandemic and Learn Life Lessons Along The Way

Picture of house built by students

The exterior of 7425 Foundation Way, which is the tenth student-built home in Spring Village Estates.

A “for sale” sign is now up outside a brand new, million-dollar home in Springfield, Va.  Right away, prospective buyers will be drawn to the sparkling quartz countertops, designer bathrooms, and massive recreation room. But before it was a finished house, it served as an interactive classroom where Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) students learned to build a home from the ground up. 

Read more in the June 24 spotlight.

Foundation for FCPS logo

Foundation for FCPS mission: The Foundation for FCPS energizes the power of the community to invest in educational excellence and prepare students for the future. 

Foundation or FCPS vision: Every FCPS student has a path to success.  

Visit the Foundation website for more information.


“Collect for Kids" raises over $70,000!  

Thank you to all of the donors who helped the Foundation raise over $70,000 for school supply kits. We were able to purchase 7,000 kits for disadvantaged students in FCPS so they can start school with the tools they need to be successful. 

There is still time to donate! Your contribution of $50 will provide 5 FCPS students with a full school supply kit.  

Click Here to Donate!


FCPS Partnership Team

The Foundation works closely with several offices to support students in FCPS, including the Partnership Team. If your company or community group is looking to make a meaningful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contribution through volunteer time or donated items, the Partnership Team can structure the work so it is most impactful for a school or program. More information about Ignite Partnerships can be found on their website.

Fairfax County Public Schools remains hopeful that volunteers will be able to engage with students in person beginning in the fall of 2021 - with safety measures in place. If not in-person, business and community partners can continue to engage virtually to support student achievement.


Donate to the Foundation's Programs

The Foundation for FCPS works in partnership with the entire FCPS system and our community to create pathways to long-term success for students. Your monetary donation will help the Foundation fund these programs and more: 

  • Gap needs for disadvantaged students, e.g. backpacks, supplies, gift cards
  • Enhanced learning opportunities for students via teacher grants
  • Retention and recognition of stellar educators
  • Give in honor of your favorite teacher or school - funds go directly to the program of your choice. 

With your help, we can provide students with extraordinary experiences and create impact, one child at a time.

Donate Today!


FCPS Wins Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for FY 2020

Congratulations to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), which received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. The award was granted by the Government Finance Officers of the US and Canada (GFOA) for demonstrating transparency by clearly communicating the FCPS financial story.

Stringent requirements must be met to receive this honor. A governmental unit must publish a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report that exhibits creativity, presentation, understandability, and reader appeal. The award reflects the school district’s commitment to transparency and high-quality financial reporting and affirms that its comprehensive annual financial report serves as a communications tool that helps build trust and engagement with the school community.

Family Resources

Health fair graphic

Pediatric Health Fair on August 22nd

Inova Health System in partnership with United Healthcare Community Plan will be offering a Pediatric Health Fair on August 22nd from 10 am to 2 pm.

100+ WALK-IN and FREE:

  • Well-child checkups (age 5+),
  • School physicals (age 5+),
  • Vaccinations and COVID-19 vaccination clinic for the whole family (age 12+ years old)


  • Fun & activities
  • Back to school swag
  • Food trucks
  • Washington Football Player Meet & Greet

When: August 22nd, 10 am to 2 pm

Where: Inova Cares Clinic for Children - 6400 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church VA 22042

Who: Medicaid holders and uninsured children + COVID-19 vaccination for the whole family (12+ years old)


Fairfax County Early Childhood Programs and Resources

Learn about the Neighborhood School Readiness Project (NSRP), which works to establish, sustain, and increase collaborative

partnerships that support children so they enter

kindergarten ready to be successful in school and life.

Transition to K and Resources for Families has information for parents of 5-year-olds entering kindergarten in August and for parents of 4-year-olds who have another year before kindergarten. 

English version of Fairfax County Office for Children flyer
Spanish version of Fairfax County Office for Children flyer


SACC Program Open for 2021-22 School Year

The School-Age Child Care (SACC) program (run by the Fairfax County Government, not Fairfax County Public Schools) will provide before- and after-school care for children in grades K-6 beginning August 23.  

All SACC 2021-22 school year enrollments are pending the finalization of center capacity and enrollment protocols. Families will be contacted by SACC Registration staff to confirm services

To request services:

  • Families with existing SACC enrollments and waitlists: No need to re-enroll. Log in to the new online registration system to update information and request to add services. Log in by using the primary email address. To cancel services, families should call SACC Registration at 703-449-8989. 
  • New Families: Access the new online registration system to create an account and submit a request for SACC services for the 2021-22 school year. Families will receive an automated response and a SACC registrar will follow up within five business days regarding enrollments and/or waitlists.

More information about SACC is available online


Mental Health Resources for Students and Parents

Healthy Minds Podcast

Hear about how we are all handling uncertainty; get new ideas to help your child, friends, and families feel better; and learn to help yourself feel stronger and more energized

Student Wellness: Tips and Strategies

Feeling super stressed? Worried about a friend's mental health—or your own? Get tips to help manage your emotions and see what to do if you are in crisis. 

Mental Health and Resiliency

Helping students to manage stress, make better choices, and develop healthy habits.

FCPS Parent Resource Center

Staff is available by phone at 703-204-3941 or email prc@fcps.edu to help! Offers free workshops, consultations, a lending library, and more to help adults support the success of all students, including those with learning challenges, special needs, and disabilities.


From the Healthy Minds Blog: Easing the Back-to-School Transition

FCPS is Returning Strong to five days a week of in-person learning. The transition back to school can be difficult for both students and parents, but perhaps even more so this school year. It will be a change for all of us from what we experienced last school year. 

Spending some time now to prepare for the year ahead can help produce positive outcomes. Getting the school year off to a successful start can have a big impact on your child's attitude, confidence, and performance both socially and academically.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has some suggestions to help ease this upcoming transition back to school and promote a successful school experience.

FCPS Parent Resource Center logo


2021-2022 SY Hours at the FCPS Parent Resource Center

The Parent Resource Center is open  8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Families should enter the building at Door 4 and take the elevator or stairs to the first floor. All visitors whether vaccinated or not must wear a mask.


  • In-person consultations are by appointment only. Please call in advance to make an appointment.
  • Virtual Consultations are still available.  Please call 703-204-3941 or email prc@fcps.edu for an appointment.


Resources for Families and Staff


New at the Parent Resource Center (PRC)

PRC Packs

Our staff has curated top resources from our library, webinars, and digital resources on some of our most requested topics.  

What’s in a PRC Pack?

  • 2-3 books for a caregiver or educator
  • 1-2 books for a child (perfect for a read-aloud or independent reading for an older child)
  • 1 resource guide with a list of eBooks, free webinars on YouTube, and other resources 

Tote bag for easy return at any FCPS school


Register Now for New Webinars from the Parent Resource Center

Registration is now open for some new webinars in September presented by the FCPS Parent Resource Center. They include:

How to Improve Your Child’s Executive Functioning Skills Without All the Arguments This School Year

Do you have any homework?” “I’m not sure…” “What do you mean you’re not sure? Where’s your agenda?” “I think it’s in my room...somewhere.”

Sound familiar? If you’re having this conversation multiple times each week, you’re not alone. Whether your child is in elementary school or preparing to graduate from high school, you want them to be ready and on top of their priorities. 

So why do they keep missing deadlines, losing assignments, and starting things the night before they’re due? It’s because executive functioning skills, like time management or prioritization, take time to learn. 

Webinar Highlights:

  • Ensuring kids stay on top of their schoolwork without feeling like a nag
  • Using Site maps, Google calendars, and other tools for staying organized
  • Identifying smart strategies for tracking assignments 
  • When to leave things up to your child, step in to support, or recruit outside help
  • Keeping kids engaged 
  • Opening the lines of communication

Join Ann Dolin, M.Ed. educational consultant and award-winning author to learn how you can help your child develop critical executive functioning skills this school year. Ann is the President and Director of Educational Connections, Inc.

September 9, 2021 6:30-8 p.m.

September 10, 2021 10-11:30 a.m.

Register for How to Improve Your Child’s Executive Functioning Skills Without All the Arguments This School Year


Military-Connected Students and School Transition: A Family Webinar

Did you know military-connected students experience different “seasons” as they navigate their school years? 

Using tools from her book, “Seasons of My Military Student,” Stacy Allsbrook-Huisman will offer relevant support for the start of the school year.

Highlights include:

  • Season of Arriving and Season Growing - What parents need to know. 
  • Shared experiences of moving through a pandemic and housing shortage
  • Education Binder and how to build one
  • Parent-Teacher Conferences - what to ask
  • New to Fairfax County? Connecting with your school community, other families and finding student peer support? 

Join Stacy Allsbrook-Huisman for our first of a 4-part series supporting military-connected families. 

September 17, 2021 10-11:30 a.m.

Register for Military-Connected Students and School Transition: A Family Webinar


5 Ways to Stop Anxiety, Power Struggles, & Behavior Issues: A Webinar for Families

How can you help your kids transition back to school? 

Learn how to:

  • Stop battles over homework and screens.
  • Overcome anxiety over school, tests, and social skills
  • Stop meltdowns and power struggles.
  • Improve focus, impulse control, and executive function.

Celebrate Calm Founder, Kirk Martin will show you how to create stress-free mornings, school, dinner, and bedtime. We promise you will laugh and leave with a dozen practical strategies that really work. 

September 23, 2021 6:30-8 p.m.

September 24, 2021 10-11:30 a.m.

Register for 5 Ways to Stop Anxiety, Power Struggles, & Behavior Issues: A Webinar for Families


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Read the Latest Issues of Audit Buzz

FCPS’ Office of Auditor General (OAG) publishes Audit Buzz to provide a look into OAG’s work. In the July issue of Audit Buzz, OAG’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Audit Plan was approved at the School Board Meeting on July 15.  The issue includes more about the plan, which includes four new audits, as well as other engagements and duties.

Read the June issue of Audit Buzz for the status of current engagements, background information on what audits are in the Knowledge Hive, and recognition for the citizen members of the Audit Committee.

Do you want to celebrate a Fairfax employee who does ordinary things in an extraordinary way, or goes beyond what is expected? If so, then click here to share with everyone.

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GMSAC Backpack giveaway flyer
ICNA relief school supply flyer


2021 Congressional App Challenge

The 2021 Congressional App Challenge has begun!

This challenge runs from June 24 to November 1 and offers middle school and high school students interested in coding a chance to enhance their skills and interests in computer science and STEM.

Local judges will evaluate the student submissions and choose a winning individual or team. For additional details, you can visit www.CongressionalAppChallenge.us.

Congressional App Challenge picture

Springfield District Happenings

Picture of Linda Peace

Welcome Ms. Linda Peace, new Principal of Keene Mill Elementary School

Ms. Linda Peace, assistant principal at Clermont Elementary School, has been selected as the new principal of Keene Mill Elementary School effective August 2, 2021. 

Ms. Peace has been supporting students and staff at Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) for the past 30 years working in schools and FCPS departments. She started her educational career as a classroom teacher at Little Run Elementary School and Wakefield Forest Elementary School. She became an elementary school counselor at Canterbury Woods ES, Lane ES, Mount Vernon ES, and Willow Springs ES. Principal Peace worked as a high school specialist in the FCPS College Partnership Program, where she assisted traditionally underrepresented students in the college application process. She transitioned into the leadership path when she became assistant principal at Shrevewood Elementary School and then Fort Belvoir Elementary School. Most recently as the assistant principal at Clermont, Ms. Peace was instrumental in helping teachers successfully navigate through this year’s virtual learning by providing students with engaging instruction as well as academic and social-emotional support.

Principal Peace understands and values the importance of cultivating positive relationships with others to build a strong and welcoming school culture. She uses various tools to communicate and share information with all stakeholders. She believes collaboration is important to not only meet goals but also to build and maintain positive relationships. Ms. Peace encourages and enables teachers to share resources, learn from each other, and increase their individual and collective professional knowledge and efficacy so that they may best serve students. She welcomes and provides effective feedback to meet goals and address needs. She promotes and works for diversity, equity, and cultural responsiveness.

Principal Peace is honored to serve as principal of Keene Mill Elementary. She looks forward to meeting and working with the school faculty and staff this summer to prepare for the upcoming school year. She is excited to welcome Keene Mill Kangas into the school building this Fall. As a former school counselor, Ms. Peace is in a unique position to support the Keene Mill Community as we return to in-person instruction. She worked continuously during the school closure to visit students at their homes, provide mental health resources for families, and personally check in with staff members. Principal Peace enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and gardening. She also enjoys working as a ballroom and cotillion dance instructor.

Ms. Peace holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Hampton University, a Master of Arts in Counseling from Bowie State University, and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from George Mason University.


Picture of Dwayne Young

Welcome Interim Principal Mr. Dwayne Young to Bonnie Brae Elementary School

Mr. Dwayne Young is serving as interim principal effective July 16, 2021. Prior to his retirement, Mr. Young was the principal at Centreville Elementary School as well as the principal at Louise Archer Elementary School. Mr. Young received a B.S. in Education from Ohio State University and attained his Master's in Educational Administration from George Mason University. He also holds an endorsement in Gifted/Talented Education. He is a collaborative and innovative educator with over 30 years of experience teaching and administrative experience in Fairfax County Public Schools. Mr. Young is a highly respected leader in FCPS who has worked in a variety of leadership roles across schools in all regions.


Picture of Maureen Keck

Welcome Acting Principal Ms. Maureen Keck to Fairfax High School

Maureen Keck will serve as acting principal at Fairfax High School until a permanent principal can be announced.  Ms. Keck has served the Fairfax HS community as an assistant principal since July 2012, often serving as the principal’s designee.  She has lead collaborative team meetings with fellow assistant principals and increased the use of the Restorative Justice process as an alternative violation response at Fairfax High School.  She engaged stakeholders to develop and implement a new school-wide vision and a three-year strategic plan focused on student and staff wellness, community, and future-readiness. 

Ms. Keck received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and her Master of Education, Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.  She holds a Virginia Professional License with endorsements in Administration and Supervision PreK-12 and history and Social Science, 7-12.

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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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