October's News: Upcoming Board Meetings, School Board Updates, Health and Safety News, Springfield Scene, and More

Hello, Springfield District! 

This month has seemed to fly by as we have all fallen back into familiar routines. Our family is looking forward to the long weekend and are all excited to work at the polls on Election Day. No matter who you are voting for, I hope you will go make your voice heard with your vote. In addition to Governor, Lt. Gov., Attorney General, and your Delegate being on the ballot, we do have our school bond referendum to approve construction and renovation projects throughout the county.

The Board has had several meetings and work sessions this month that included updates on our school operations, including increasing bus driver and substitute teacher pay, revising our literacy program, updating our legislative and budget priorities, our division-wide Comprehensive plan, adding a position in the Department of Special Services to increase support for our work with the county on COVID protocols and procedures, a review of our special programming opportunities, and had several recognitions and resolutions I was pleased to support, including LGBTQIA+ History Month and Augmentative and Alternative Communication Awareness Month. While I didn’t get the opportunity to formally recognize it from the Dias, October is also Blind Equality Achievement month (please learn more about it below). 

As we begin to tackle the work on the 2022-2023 school year calendar and the search for our new Superintendent, I will need your feedback more than ever. A survey about calendar preferences will go out shortly, and I strongly encourage everyone to participate. We have selected a search firm to help us with the Superintendent search, and I will be hosting community meetings to gather your input as soon as we learn more about the process, so please keep an eye out for those opportunities!

I hope you and your family are able to get out and enjoy the lovely weather and the changing leaves this weekend!

As always, I am grateful to represent the amazing families of the Springfield District.

All my very best-

Laura Jane


This newsletter includes information on the following issues:

  • Upcoming School Board Meetings
  • School Board Work
  • Health and Safety Guidance & Protocols
  • FCPS & Community News
  • Springfield District Scene
  • Family Resources
  • What’s in a Name?

Picture of School Board

Community Participation at School Board Meetings

Participants at Fairfax County School Board meetings are asked to model appropriate behavior by observing proper decorum in their statements, avoiding profanity, inappropriate gestures, and shouting. School Board meetings are working meetings, and those who come only to disrupt their proceedings are asked not to attend. More information is available in the FCPS Strategic Governance manual.  

In addition, our School Board meetings take place in an FCPS building where mask requirements apply. Please remember that, per the Governor’s order, masks are required to be worn properly, covering the nose and mouth, and be worn inside all school buildings, including during this public meeting. Often, we invite young children to attend the meeting to perform, receive recognition, or participate and many are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. Wearing a mask helps protect them, and other members of the audience who are not protected by vaccination. 

Fairfax County and city residents, FCPS staff, FCPS students, FCPS guardians who are non-Fairfax County residents, and FCPS business partners who want to address the Board may register to speak by submitting a request online at 6 a.m. starting on the fourth business day before the next regular business meeting.


Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • November 9 at 10 am - Forum: Gun Violence and School Resource Officers
  • November 9 at 11 am - Work Session: FY23 Fiscal Forecast and Membership Trends
  • November 11 at 7 pm - Regular Meeting: Legislative Program, Newington Forest ES Lighting, Annandale HS Roof Replacement, McLean HS Roof Replacement, Secondary Course Offerings, FY22 Bond Sales, Justice HS Chiller, Weyanoke ES Chiller, etc.
  • November 22 at 7 pm - Regular Meeting: To be Determined

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 community participation webpage to sign up to speak at a regular meeting. Visit BoardDocs for more meeting logistics, agendas, and handouts.


School Board Updates graphic


Honoring International Augmentative and Alternative Communication Awareness Month

October is AAC Awareness Month graphic

At the October 21 School Board meeting I was pleased to raise the motion for the School Board to designate October 2021 as International Augmentative and Alternative Communication Awareness Month

The resolution encourages all residents and FCPS staff to learn more about Augmentative & Alternative Communication, including identifying students that can benefit from AAC; understanding the core of “presuming competence,” knowing and making available supports for use by educators and families; and highlighting the success that AAC users can have in their careers and life.


Award of Contract - Division Superintendent Search Firm

Search will Include Robust Parent, Student, Staff, and Community Engagement

The Fairfax County School Board has contracted human resources recruitment firm GR Recruiting to conduct a nationwide search for the next Superintendent of Schools.

GR Recruiting has a proven record of hiring top-quality education candidates across the United States. The company was selected based on its depth of superintendent search experience with large K-12 school districts, its understanding of the community engagement process, and its focus on future transition support for the School Board and new superintendent. GR Recruiting will begin working with the Board immediately to ensure the best candidate is selected and in place by July 1, 2022.


The community’s voice will be critical in helping define the leadership characteristics, qualities, and qualifications of the next superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools. Parents, staff, students, and community members will be deeply involved in the process. Community engagement will be conducted in multiple languages.

Read more on the FCPS website.


Division-wide Comprehensive Plan

The School Board voted to adopt the Division-wide Comprehensive Plan. The Division-wide Comprehensive Plan consists of School Board strategic plan goals, aligned with the operational plans of the system. Every two years, an updated division-wide comprehensive plan builds on the previous plan and outlines the work that is necessary to accomplish long-term priorities. Read the plan.


Increased Substitute Pay

Many school divisions across the country, including Fairfax County Public Schools, are experiencing a shortage of substitute teachers. This shortage is not new, but the pandemic has exacerbated the need. Since the beginning of this school year, sub-fill rates have dropped from an average of 90% pre-pandemic to a low of 61.7% on September 17. The average teacher sub-fill rate for a day is 73%. An inadequate number of substitutes puts a strain on school resources. Principals must resort to pulling teachers and/or staff from their duties to provide classroom coverage, which ultimately disrupts student learning. FCPS has made some changes to the substitute pay scale as a show of appreciation to current substitutes and to help us recruit more caring and responsible individuals to provide classroom coverage while teachers are away.

At the October 21 School Board meeting, the Board unanimously approved the superintendent’s recommendation to increase the pay of substitutes according to the scale shown below:

  Short-Term (non-retiree) Short-Term (retiree) Long-Term (non-retiree) Long-Term (retiree) Classroom Instructional Support (IA/PHTA) Classroom Instructional Support (PHA)
Current Rate $14.79 $20.91 $20.91 $26.52 $13.95 $12.89
Proposed Rate $17.79 $21.91 $23.91 $27.52 $15.95 $14.89
Change +$3.00 +$1.00 +$3.00 +$1.00 +$2.00 +$2.00

This increase will be effective November 6 through the remainder of the 2021-22 school year.

Notice that the hourly rate increase ranges from $1.00 to $3.00. The rate increases were determined based on current market conditions and are competitive when compared with surrounding school districts.

At last night’s School Board meeting, the Board directed the superintendent to review the pay for other groups of substitutes including instructional assistants (IA), public health training assistants (PHTA), and public health assistants (PHA). The average sub-fill rate for this group is 58% and is currently not competitive with other Washington Area Boards of Education. 

Read the full details of the vote.


Operating Update

The School Board heard the latest update about the 2021-2022 school year at its October 19th Work Session from Dr. Brabrand and several community health partners.  Among the information presented was the number of COVID-positive cases from the last month -- 717 cases or .35% of the FCPS student and staff population.  Dr. Brabrand also shared information about the number of students and staff who were paused from in-person instruction as potential close contacts in the past month -- both were about 1% of the total numbers.  Dr. Brabrand also shared plans regarding future vaccination efforts for our students aged 5-11 as well as details regarding new surveillance and diagnostic testing.  You can view the presentation and the meeting recording.


Strategic Program Review

The School Board held a Work Session on the Strategic Program Review of non-core program offerings that were approved by the School Board earlier this year.  The Strategic Program Review is divided into three phases and this Work Session was the second phase in which the Board could review and discuss the information provided by staff in Phase 1 and determine which programs would be subject to additional analysis and review in Phase 3.  The Board heard the staff presentation and began a discussion of this material.  You can view all of the materials and the meeting recording.


Department of Special Services Position to Support Public Health

On October 7 the Fairfax County School Board voted to direct the Superintendent to establish a staff position in the Department of Special Services to support the Assistant Superintendent in managing public health-related work in the school division utilizing ESSER III funds.


October is Dyslexia Awareness Month graphic

Recognizing National Dyslexia Awareness Month

The School Board designated  October 2021 as Dyslexia Awareness Month.

The resolution encourages all residents and FCPS staff to learn more about dyslexia, including identifying dyslexia; knowing supports available for use by educators and families; and highlighting the success that individuals with dyslexia can have in their careers and life.


October is LGBTQIA+ History Month graphic

Honoring LGBTQIA+ History Month

October is a time to celebrate the achievements of LGBTQ+ people from our community and around the world. I was proud to second School Board Member Karl Frisch’s motion at our Regular Meeting on October 7 to designate October 2021 as LGBTQ+ History Month in Fairfax County Public Schools. In the spirit of One Fairfax, this resolution urges all to learn more about the many historical and contemporary contributions and experiences of this diverse community, and to build a culture of inclusivity and equity, not only during LGBTQIA+ History Month but throughout the entire year. For more on how FCPS provides a safe and respectful environment for all, visit our website.


Equitable Access to Literacy Plan

At the October 5 Work Session, the School Board heard from a literacy expert and the FCPS Instructional Services Department regarding the creation of an Equitable Access to Literacy Plan aimed at providing every student with the education and support they need to develop the reading and writing skills necessary for school and life. 

The Equitable Access to Literacy Plan is designed to close the opportunity gap in literacy for students with disabilities, English Learners, economically disadvantaged students, Black, and Hispanic students. 

Data presented by FCPS and literacy experts show the urgent need for a new approach to literacy education. Literacy has a strong impact on overall academic success, economic well-being, health outcomes, social participation, and civic engagement. 

Read more or watch the School Board work session presentation to find out why literacy education is so important, what FCPS is doing now, and what’s to come.


Special Education Comprehensive Review -- First Year Report

The School Board focused a portion of the September 21 Work Session on the First Year Report of the Special Education Comprehensive Review. The researchers presented their summary of emerging strengths and areas of focus, as well as plans for the second year of the study. The School Board had several areas of questions and follow-up that the researchers will work to incorporate into the next year’s plan. View the presentation and report. Watch a recording of the meeting

Health and Safety News

Superintendent and FCPS’ Health Partners Share Plans for Testing & Vaccination Rollout  

Last week, Superintendent Brabrand presented the School Board with FCPS’ plans for the rollout of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations for our students aged 5-11. The combination of screening testing and the expansion of vaccination to elementary school students are both aimed at keeping schools and offices safe places to learn and work this year.

  • Staff screening testing will start on November 1.
  • Screening testing for student-athletes starts on November 15.
  • Screening testing for all other students starts on November 15.
  • Vaccination for elementary school students starts as soon as the FDA approves the vaccination for this age group and the vaccine becomes available in clinics in this area.

On September 26, community transmission of COVID-19 declined to substantial transmission in Fairfax County. This is welcome news, but FCPS remains vigilant in continuing to make use of layered prevention strategies and encouraging vaccination to keep students learning in person.

For all of the details shared by Dr. Brabrand, watch a recording of the meeting on the FCPS YouTube page or view the PowerPoint.


COVID-19 Screening Testing for Students

In support of our commitment to safety, FCPS will begin optional COVID-19 screening testing in schools. FCPS will test at least 10% of students who are not fully vaccinated and have parent/guardian consent, which follows the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Screening testing for students will begin:

  • The week of November 15 for student-athletes (required for participation in VHSL).
  • The week of November 15 in all schools (optional and with parent/guardian consent). 

Parent/guardian consent is required for students to be part of the testing pool. Parents may provide their child(ren)’s vaccination status and indicate consent via a secure online portal. More information, including links to the online portal, will be available soon.

Test results are kept confidential, like all medical records. Parents/guardians will receive their child’s test results through the vendor’s online portal. There is no cost to families for testing.

Get all the details about COVID-19 testing on our website.


Supporting Vaccinations for Children Ages 5-11

Fairfax community vaccination rates are some of the highest in the country and a coalition of organizations are preparing for the next watershed moment of the pandemic - the availability of vaccination for children ages 5-11. 

FCPS is collaborating with the Fairfax County Health Department, Inova, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Inova Health System in its coordination of the anticipated vaccine rollout for ages 5-11.

Superintendent Brabrand was joined by Colin Brody, assistant public health emergency management coordinator and COVID-19 response director, Fairfax County Health Department; Dominic Bonaituo, director of the central region, Government and Community Affairs, Inova Health System; Joanna Fazio, vice president at Inova Children's Hospital; and Dr. Michael Martin, president, Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to share the collaborative effort to support COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The plan includes multiple opportunities to support different needs, ranging from community vaccination sites to targeted vaccination clinics in evenings and on weekends, and targeted vaccination clinics during the school day. 

For all of the details shared by Dr. Brabrand, watch a recording of the meeting on the FCPS YouTube page or view the PowerPoint.


Vaccine graphic

Community Vaccination Clinic Now Open

Vaccination is our best strategy for keeping schools safe and ending the pandemic. Are you not yet vaccinated? Are you eligible for a booster shot? If so, a new, convenient opportunity is now open.  The Fairfax Community Vaccination Center (Fairfax CVC) is located at the former Lord & Taylor store at Tysons Corner Center and is open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The center offers:

  • First and second doses of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
  • Booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine to individuals eligible for the vaccine booster.
  • An additional dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for individuals who are immunocompromised.

Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. Individuals seeking a booster of the Pfizer vaccine or an additional dose of either vaccine are asked to bring their vaccination card showing the dates of previous doses. 

Read more about the Fairfax CVC online. To find an appointment visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA.


Health Department Mobile COVID-19 Testing Sites

The Health Department’s mobile laboratory provides testing in locations throughout the county for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Visit fairfaxcounty.gov for an up-to-date schedule of mobile testing sites and schedules.


Picture of elementary student wearing mask with thumbs up

New Process for Returning to the Classroom After Illness

With the cold and flu season upon us, your child may be sent home if they have COVID-like symptoms. We want them back in the classroom as soon as they are well, so we’ve created new options to help families complete the return to school process. Learn more online.


Quarantine Data Added to COVID-19 Metrics

To provide additional transparency about the impact of COVID-19 on students and staff, quarantine data has been added to the division’s COVID-19 Health Metrics Dashboard. Daily quarantined cases are reported for students and staff for the entire division and by each school or building site.

FCPS and Community News

AAP Screening Update SY21-22

Readiness for AAP screening is underway, including parent information meetings at local schools about the continuum of advanced academic services and screening and identification processes for Levels II-IV.  During the months of October and November, both the Cognitive Abilities Test and Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test will be administered.  Scores from these assessments are used to create the second-grade screening pool, which is one of two pathways for students to be considered for AAP Level IV services.  Last year, FCPS piloted the use of local building norms to create the second-grade screening pool in schools that already had level IV services available (105 schools).  The pilot found that this methodology positively impacted the number of Black & Hispanic students and the number of students in Title 1 schools who were included in the screening process, while not disadvantaging other students.  Therefore, in SY 2021-22, the use of local building norms to create the 2nd-grade screening pool will be expanded to all FCPS elementary schools. This attachment, AAP Screening Update SY21-22, provides greater detail and data to support the expanded implementation. The full timeline for the AAP Screening has been published in Notice 2401.


Applications for TJHSST Opened October 25

Middle school students who have an aptitude and passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are encouraged to apply for admission to the Class of 2026 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) beginning Monday, October 25

The application will be available on the TJHSST Admissions Office webpage starting October 25, at 4 p.m. Applications must be started by 4 p.m. Wednesday, November 17, with a deadline to apply by Friday, November 19, at 4 p.m.


FCPS Solicits Public Comment

K - 8 Science and K-6 Language Arts Basal Instructional Resources Under Consideration for Adoption       

FCPS is soliciting public review and comment on basal instructional resources under consideration for K - 8 Science and K-6 Language Arts.  A basal resource review committee composed of community members, administrators, and teachers will meet in November and December of 2021 to review and recommend new instructional resources to the School Board.  Citizens are encouraged to review materials under consideration and complete the online public comment. These instructional materials may be accessed online. Digital materials for public review and comment will be available for science and for language arts.


2022-2023 Calendar Development

FCPS is in the process of developing the 2022-2023 School Year Calendar and is committed to maintaining a transparent process, while working to build a calendar that is inclusive and equitable.

The development of the 2022-2023 School Year Calendar will be guided by:

  • The legal framework that FCPS is required to consider when creating the school year calendar 
  • The requirement under state and federal law to provide 180 days or 990 hours of instruction and to have a secular reason when considering holidays or days off
  • The need to prioritize the delivery of high-quality instruction necessary for students to be successful
  • Operational considerations, including minimizing student and staff absenteeism
  • Community feedback through a Calendar Feedback Committee: a staff, student, and family survey; and a Calendar Development Webinar. 

Next Steps:

  • FCPS employees, parents, families, and students in grades 7-12 will be invited to participate in a calendar survey to share their opinions. Participation in this survey is a critical component in building a calendar that reflects the values of our community. Families and staff received an email yesterday from fcpssurvey@fcps.edu with a link to the FCPS Calendar Survey. The survey will also be available in other languages. If you did not see the survey in your in-box, check your spam or junk folders. Be sure to complete the survey before November 10, 2021.
  • There will be a virtual Calendar Development Community Webinar on Monday, November 8, at 7 pm. More details are coming soon.


Inclement Weather Approach for 2021-22

FCPS snow day graphic

FCPS has announced updates to its inclement weather policy for the 2021-22 school year.

  • The first five inclement weather days will be traditional inclement weather days. These five days may occur consecutively due to a single weather event or may take place as several individual events. 

  • Once these five days have been taken, FCPS will use the flexibility provided by the General Assembly to have unscheduled virtual learning days, wherever possible, to maintain continuity of learning. 

Find out more about 2021-22 inclement weather days.


Picture of substitute teacher wearing superhero cape.

FCPS is Hiring Substitute Teachers

Want to make a difference in the life of a child? Fairfax County Public Schools is looking for enthusiastic, engaged, and dedicated substitute teachers

Substitute teaching is a great opportunity for stay-at-home parents, retirees, college students, and anyone who wants a flexible work schedule. Substitutes help our students thrive when their teachers must be out of the classroom and are essential members of every school’s team. More information about the application process and requirements is available online


School Public Health/COVID Managers & Student Monitors Needed

FCPS is currently hiring for additional school staff to support the management of COVID cases as well as lunch monitors, so we can expand the ability of students to eat lunch outdoors. 

I encourage you to apply for these positions:

School Public Health/COVID Manager

Read more about the position.

Student Monitor

Read more about the position.


FCPS Receives $18M Funding Commitment From FCC

FCPS submitted a proposal during the first round of the Federal Communications Commission's Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) grant program demonstrating the need for sufficient and age-appropriate devices to support PreK-2 student learning in school and/or at home during the COVID pandemic.

FCPS' application was approved recently for $18M towards reimbursement of any PK2 devices purchased and received by FCPS by June 30, 2022! The reimbursement program is limited to $400/device and no other program implementation costs are provided.

The IT project team is finalizing the project timelines and logistics for the acquisition, support, and implementation of these devices in the coming months.

Read more on the FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund webpage.


graduation cap and diploma graphic

2022 Graduation Dates Announced

School Date/Time Location
West Springfield HS May 31, 2022 at 9:30 am Eagle Bank Arena
Fairfax HS

May 31, 2022 at 10 am (rain date: June 1 at 10 am)

Fairfax High School
Woodson HS May 31, 2022 at 2 pm Eagle Bank Arena
Chantilly HS June 1, 2022 at 2 pm Eagle Bank Arena
Robinson SS June 2, 2022 at 9:30 am Eagle Bank Arena
Lewis HS June 2, 2022 at 9:30 am (rain date: June 3 at 6:30 pm) Lewis High School
TJHSST June 3, 2022 at 7:30 pm Eagle Bank Arena
Lake Braddock SS June 6, 2022 at 9:30 am Eagle Bank Arena
South County HS June 6, 2022 at 2 pm Eagle Bank Arena
Centreville HS June 7, 2022 at 9:30 am Eagle Bank Arena
Mount Vernon HS June 7, 2022 at 9:30 am (rain date: June 8 at 9:30 am) Mount Vernon High School


Class of 2021 On-Time Graduation Outcomes

As celebrated in the October 1 press release, the class of 2021 had the highest graduation rates in Fairfax County Public Schools history. A new Class of 2021 Graduation Detailed Outcomes by School report provides division and school aggregates by student group for on-time graduation, dropout rate, and diploma type distribution. This report offers data tables and graphs to begin exploring class of 2021 outcomes in greater depth. Student achievement and Goal 1 reporting over the coming months will offer opportunities for further analysis and dialogue about the division’s successes and ongoing work to close achievement gaps.

Despite pandemic challenges, the Class of 2021 showed substantial on-time graduation gains and reductions in the dropout rate for the Black, Hispanic, Economically Disadvantaged, English Learner, and Students with Disabilities reporting groups. The Class of 2021 also showed a continuation of a downward trend of Applied Studies diplomas awarded relative to other diploma types.

Additional school-level visualizations and outcome details, including state and division comparisons, may be found by selecting the school name in the Virginia School Quality Profiles and choosing the College & Career Readiness tab. 


Updates Regarding the Service Learning Cord for Class of 2022 Seniors and End-of-Year X2VOL Deadlines

Due to the recent challenges of the pandemic, the service hour criteria for the service-learning cord have been modified for the Class of 2022 cohort. Class of 2022 seniors who accumulate 20 hours or more of service learning are qualified to receive an FCPS service learning cord as special recognition at graduation. It is important to note that this 50% reduction in service hour criteria for the service-learning cord is for high school seniors graduating in 2022. The service-learning cord criteria remain unchanged for future graduating cohorts. The service-learning cord is also a separate recognition opportunity from the diploma seals (i.e. Civics Seal, Science, and the Environment Seal) which the Virginia Department of Education issues guidance on.

In addition, the x2VOL End-of-Year (EOY) deadlines have been recently announced. The deadline when all service hours must be approved in x2VOL for 12th-grade students is May 2, 2022.


Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Update for the 2021-22 School Year

The Virginia Department of Education has announced that the federal Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program will operate under new eligibility guidelines for the current school year and benefits will only be issued on a case-by-case basis to students who meet specific criteria, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The P-EBT program is a federal program created in the spring of 2020 to supplement school meals that students missed while schools were closed or placed on part-time attendance schedules due to COVID-19.


Educate Fairfax logo

The Foundation for FCPS is now Educate Fairfax

The Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools has changed its name to Educate Fairfax. This new name better expresses its purpose and goals to FCPS employees, students, donors, and the community and reflects the organization’s mission to by providing enhanced resources to teachers and students across Fairfax County. It also reinforces its identity as a stand-alone nonprofit that supports, but is separate from, FCPS.

Educate Fairfax remains dedicated to supporting FCPS by engaging the community to invest in educational and supplemental programs for all students. With a continued emphasis on three focus areas – teacher grants, employee recognition programs, and Kids in Need – Educate Fairfax believes that strong schools are the bedrock of a vibrant community and that every FCPS student has a path to success.

With the return to in-person learning, Educate Fairfax recently provided $96,000 in grant funding to 73 teachers to start the 2021-2022 school year with enhanced classroom libraries, social/emotional supports, and skill recovery. Len Forkas, Founder of Milestone Towers and current Chairman of Educate Fairfax, is particularly proud of this initiative, “Providing teachers with the resources they need to bring innovative learning to our students in this challenging environment is of utmost importance.”

Visit Educate Fairfax to find out how to donate.


Urgent Need for Blood Donations

Northern Virginia has an urgent need for blood donation. Giving blood takes less than an hour, saving three lives. Please consider giving blood at an upcoming Inova blood drive – when you donate blood, you save lives. Visit www.inovablood.org or call 1-866-BLOODSAVES to schedule an appointment today. 


Blind equality graphic

October is Blind Equality Achievement Month

The National Federation of the Blind recognizes the organized blind movement during October. Members perform community outreach activities many of which are centered around White Cane Awareness Day on October 15. The white cane is a necessary tool for a full and independent life for the blind allowing for safe and free movement in all areas of life.

Wondering how you may support the blind community? Read the Courtesy Rules of Blindness on the National Federation of the Blind website.


Disability Employment Awareness Month is October

"Americans with disabilities — particularly women and people of color — have faced long-standing gaps in employment, advancement, and income.  The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these inequities, as people with disabilities have faced heightened risks — particularly the disproportionate share of people with disabilities employed in the hardest-hit industries.  Our Nation will never fully recover and rebuild unless every single community — including disabled Americans — is fully included." Read  President Biden's Proclamation and learn more on the  Office of Disability Employment Policy webpage.

Disability Employment Awareness Month graphic


Share the Joy of Thanksgiving with a Neighbor!

What does Thanksgiving look like for you? Visiting with loved ones? Watching parades and football? Enjoying the sights, smells, and flavors of some favorite foods? Help create these memories for one or more school families who struggle with food security. Our school is partnering with Food For Neighbors to provide some of our students and families with a $50 gift card to a local grocery store. Your gift will help your neighbors to put food on their tables this Thanksgiving. The goal is to raise enough money for Food For Neighbors to provide a total of nearly 700 of the $50 grocery store gift cards to 24 participating schools, which includes ours!

Donate: https://www.foodforneighbors.org/home/holiday-meals/

Thank you for anything you can do. Every donation counts. Together, we can make a big difference!


Shark Tank Technology Challenge Open to All High School Students

Calling all high school students! The Fairfax Area 50+ Technology Committee has announced this year’s Shark Tank Technology Challenge with a focus on new or improved existing technology that will have a positive impact in the lives of older adults, adults with disabilities, wounded warriors, or caregivers. Students are encouraged to consider projects that offer assistance in the following areas:

  • Active free time activities.
  • Participation in the arts.
  • Caregiving.

Students can submit an innovative or creative project as an individual or a team. The deadline to submit the initial proposal is December 6, 2021. Final proposals are due February 22, 2022. The Shark Tank event will be held in April 2022. The winning projects will receive a cash prize. More details are available by visiting Fairfax Area Student “Shark Tank” Technology Challenge.


Free Fairfax Connector Student Bus Pass Program

Students can now sign up for the Free Student Bus Pass Program at all FCPS high schools and middle schools. Visit the Fairfax Connector website for more info and to download the application.

Springfield District Scene

Chantilly High School logo

Chantilly High School media programs, Andromeda literary magazine, The Purple Tide online news site, and the Odyssey yearbook, all received Trophy Class ratings at the VHSL Multi-Media Championships. Congratulations on receiving the highest award in your divisions!  


Lake Braddock Secondary School logo

Way to go Lake Braddock Golf Team for earning the title of State Runner Up!

Lake Braddock’s yearbook, Lair, earned a Superior rating and was awarded the highest division rating, Trophy Class, at the VHSL Multi-Media Championships. Well done!


FCPS Teacher Named 2022 Virginia Region 4 Teacher of the Year

Picture of Howard Brewer with students, holding the 2022 Virginia Region 4 Teacher of the Year award.

Howard Brewer, Alternative Schools Teacher for Interagency Alternative Schools located at Bryant High School, has been selected as the 2022 Virginia Region 4 Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Brabrand presented the award at a surprise ceremony in the Bryant High School library today. Brewer is also now a finalist for the 2022 Mary J. Bicouvaris Virginia Teacher of the Year award from Superintendent Scott Brabrand. 

Brewer, a U.S. Navy Veteran, is a career-switcher. After leaving the Navy, Howard attended college and credits his mentor, Dr. Rita Giles, for recruiting him into education upon his graduation. Howard says, “She showed me how I could give back to my community and make a lasting impact on young people. The first time a student told me ‘you saved my life’, I knew I couldn’t be anywhere else. I believe God puts people in your life for a reason and puts you in the right place for your season.”

He also credits his mother, a college professor, as well as his wife, Sylvia, an educator for District of Columbia Public Schools. He says, “These three strong women held me up and helped me get on the right path and this is the fruits of that labor.”

Brewer claims one of the reasons he got into education after the military is to affect young people and to be acknowledged for doing that is “the greatest feeling in the world.”

Read more in the October 4 News Release.


FCPS Excellence Awards

Collage of pictures from FCPS Excellence Awards Ceremony


FCPS’ Excellence Awards, held Wednesday, October 13, at Fairfax High School, honored staff who had an impact on student achievement, innovation, growth, and others. Over 200 FCPS employees’ individual achievements and collaborative team efforts were celebrated. Congratulations to the following employees:

Growth Category

Individual Winners:

  • Rachel Bowerman, Reading Teacher, Fairview Elementary School
  • Jacqueline Shuhler, History & Social Studies Teacher, Irving Middle School

Team Winners:

    • Rocky Run Middle School Equity Leadership Team: Aminda Davis, Pamela Galietta, Rachel Grover, Kenneth Harman, Ariana Larson, Carlydale Murphy, Sandra Rozo Meador, Rachel Sweeney, Julianna M. Tiss, and Mohammad Zishhan
  • School Counseling and College Success Team: Kasey Cain, Lauren Crispino, and Karen Huffman 

Impact on Others Category

Individual Winners:

  • Paul Downey, Coordinator III, Information Technology/FASTeam Information Technology
  • Morgan Miciak, English Teacher, Irving Middle School
  • Rachel Sweeney, English Teacher, Rocky Run Middle School

Team Winners:

  • FCPS COVID-19 Communications Team: Tracy Barry
  • Interagency Alternative Schools Team: Kelly Morgan
  • Lake Braddock Secondary School Grade 8 Bruins in Action Capstone Teachers: Daniel Callahan, Randy Cayea, Jennifer Cortesi, Michael Edwards, J. Carin Frank, Lorie Goode Ward, Katherin Denisse Gordon, Dana Groman, Niki L. Holmes, Carolyn Jeryl Hilyard, Courtney Klein, James Mroz, Kasey Reagan, Diane Rogers, and Justin Toney
  • Region Education Specialist Team, Office of School Support: Cynthia Foglio and Kristin Jones Wiley
  • Remote Tech Support Transition Team: Paul Downey and Mehdi Harandi
  • SIS Scheduling and Return to School Support Team: Riffat T. Ahmad and Megan Elizabeth Spain

Student Achievement

Team Winners:

  • Virtual Learning Resources Support Team: Sarah Maria Young

Find out more about this year’s recipients and the celebration online.


Schools Receive GreatSchools College Success Award

The GreatSchools College Success Award is granted to public high schools across the country that demonstrate excellence in helping students enroll and succeed in college. In 2021, 1,838 schools from 25 states won the annual College Success Award. In addition, GreatSchools added an extra level of distinction, the Gold Award, to schools that have received their College Success Award for multiple years. I am proud to celebrate the following schools that have all received the College Success Award - Gold: Centreville High School, Chantilly High School, Fairfax High School, Lake Braddock Secondary School, Robinson Secondary School, South County High School, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, West Springfield High School, and Woodson High School.

Read the full list of Virginia winners

Family Resources

FCPS Medical Care Resources for Families

Whether your family needs medical care for a COVID-related issue, seasonal cold or allergies, injuries, routine exams, or mental health and wellness, our community has many resources for you. Visit the Mental and Physical Health and Community Resources webpage for a full list of organizations that can provide support and care. 


Healthy Minds Fairfax logo

Counseling Services for Children, Youth, and Families

Healthy Minds Fairfax coordinates a full range of mental health and substance abuse services for children and youth across multiple county agencies, the school system, and private treatment providers. The goal is to help you and families in the Fairfax-Falls Church community access mental health and substance abuse services.  

Healthy Minds Fairfax offers Short Term Behavioral Health Services (SBTH). This service provides timely counseling services to your child and assists you in securing more long-term counseling services through your insurance or another community resource if needed. The Short-Term Behavioral Health Services for Youth is funded through Health Minds Fairfax. Services are provided to you at no cost. An SBTH provider will work with your child to clarify presenting concerns, help identify choices and develop a counseling plan. Your child can receive a total of 8 – sessions to include an assessment, counseling sessions, and a wrap-up closing session. If you would like to have your child considered for Short Term Behavioral Health Services please contact your school social worker, school psychologist, or counselor and they can provide you with more information or you can call Healthy Minds Fairfax at (703) 324-8111 for more information about the program.


Suicide Prevention

NoVa District PTA presents Emotionally Naked Truth About Suicide Monday, November 15, at 7 pm

Online & Free

Pre-register here

Based on the book, Emotionally Naked: A Teacher’s Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk, this presentation will empower parents and educators to reduce this threat to life. Attendees will learn the cryptic and often veiled ways youth cry for help, how to respond and what to do.

Speaker and Advocate Anne Moss Rogers will offer suggestions and resources to help people recognize what's normal teen angst versus what might be a warning sign as well as tips to help teens develop coping skills during and after the pandemic.

The conversation will include topics on substance misuse, mental health, suicide prevention in teens/young adults including insight into those times when young people are more vulnerable.

Questions? Contact vp.communications@fccpta.org


2021 Virtual Conference on ADHD

Are you looking to connect with and share information with other parents of children with ADHD? This year’s International Conference on ADHD will include presentations from keynote speakers, the ADHD Professional Institute, cutting-edge research, workshops, networking opportunities, peer-to-peer meetings, and a virtual exhibit hall. Find more information and register for the 2021 Virtual International Conference on ADHD November 4-6, 2021.


From the Healthy Minds Blog

Test Anxiety

We have all been in situations where we were under evaluation. In these situations, a moderate amount of stress is quite normal. A little nervousness or "butterflies" can be good. It may spring us into action and motivate us to reach higher levels of success. However, for some individuals, this normal anxiety is much more intense and can be so strong as to greatly affect concentration and performance.

Test anxiety is a type of performance anxiety. This is a feeling that one may have when in a situation where performance really counts or the pressure is on to do well. More directly, test anxiety involves severe distress before, during, and/or after the exam which limits the ability to do your best work. Individuals may "blank" or "freeze" during tests. The anxiety can be so severe that individuals feel as though they may pass out or throw up. Test anxiety is often caused by a fear of failure, poor test history, or lack of test preparation.

Fortunately, test anxiety can be managed. Students who have test anxiety are eager to perform well but need a little assistance. Parents and educators working together with youth when they sense a problem with test anxiety can ease the strain and help them cope with test time to reach success. Here are some strategies to relieve stress.


Talk to Your Kids About Drugs and Alcohol—They Hear You

Is your child going on a first sleepover? Heading out to hang out with friends? Feeling stressed with school or a peer group? Perhaps your family is going through a transition, and everyone may cope differently? There are many reasons why some children may experiment or be exposed to alcohol and other substances.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) "Talk. They Hear You." (TTHY) Campaign is an initiative to equip parents and caregivers with conversation tools to begin talking early with youth about alcohol and other drug use. The main goals are to help parents get informed, be prepared, and take action to help prevent underage alcohol and substance use. It is never too early to start talking with your child about alcohol and other drugs. It is important to start these talks before a child is exposed to alcohol and other drugs.

High rates of youth alcohol use, shifting state laws regarding marijuana, and the nation’s opioid crisis are health concerns that affect America’s parents and caregivers. It’s important to start talking to your children early about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs.


FCPS Parent Resource logo

Register for Free Webinars from the Parent Resource Center

The FCPS Parent Resource Center (PRC) is offering free parent webinars. They are:


Parenting Through Difficult Times: A Webinar for Families (*Presented in Arabic)

الصحة النفسية والموارد المدرسية للعائلات ( تربيه الاطفال في الأوقات الصعبة: ندوة عبر الإنترنت للعائلات مقدمة باللغة العربية)

ابرز مواضيع النقاش في الندوه:

  •  الآثار النفسية التي قد تحدثها الجائحة على الأطفال.
  •  عوامل الخطر المسببه للامراض النفسيه.
  •  استراتيجيات للآباء لتعزيز سلوك طلب المساعدة والصحه النفسيه لأنفسهم ولأطفالهم.

الجمعة 29 أكتوبر 2021 10-11: 30 صباحًا

التسجيل على الإنترنت لتربية الأطفال في الأوقات الصعبة: ندوة عبر الإنترنت للعائلات مقدمة باللغة العربية برجاء استخدام الرابط للتسجيل.

سجل ل الصحة النفسية والموارد المدرسية للعائلات ( تربيه الاطفال في الأوقات الصعبة: ندوة عبر الإنترنت للعائلات مقدمة باللغة العربية)

Webinar Highlights:

  • Psychological effects a pandemic may have on children
  • Risk factors for psychological distress
  • Strategies for parents to promote help-seeking behavior and emotional well-being for themselves and their children
  • Mental health and school resources for families

Friday, October 29, 2021 10-11:30 a.m.

Register Online for Parenting Through Difficult Times: A Webinar for Families *Presented in Arabic


SIBSHOPS: An Exciting, Virtual Workshop for Brothers and Sisters of Children with Special Needs!

The Sibshop workshops are for children in grades 2-6 enrolled in Fairfax County Public Schools who have siblings with special needs.

Monday, November 1, 2021, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. *School Planning Day – students are not attending school 

Register for SIBSHOPS: An Exciting, Virtual Workshop for Brothers and Sisters of Children with Special Needs!

Note: Previous webinars have been recorded and can be viewed on the PRC YouTube channel


FCPS Multilingual Podcasts logo

Listen and subscribe to an FCPS multilingual family podcast to hear timely, important information related to school news. The podcasts are produced in conjunction with the Office for English as a Second Language (ESOL) Services and the Office of Professional Learning and Family Engagement.


Establishing Routines Help with Time Management

In the latest podcast, hear suggestions for daily school routines to promote time management. Routines can offer parents peace of mind and ease the stress of hectic days.

Listen and subscribe:  


Scholarship Guidance logo

Below you will find a list of 15 Scholarship Programs that will give out more than 558 Individual Scholarship Awards during the 2021-2022 school year. Students from your school district are eligible for all awards below.

*Weekly Scholarship Newsletter available here: https://scholarshipguidance.com/newsletter 


OCTOBER 31st to DECEMBER 30th, 2021

1) Scaredy-Cat Scholarship - $2,000 - 1 Award (Deadline: October 31, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be 13 years of age or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C.
  • Be currently attending high school, college, vocational, or any other accredited post-secondary institution.

Applications can be found by going to:


2) Discover Prudential Emerging Visionaries Scholarship - $15,000 - 25 Awards (Deadline: Nov. 4, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be between the ages of 14-18.
  • Bring a powerful vision and real change to their communities that focuses on solutions to financial barriers and solutions to social issues.

Applications can be found by going to:


3) NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing - $500 – 391 Awards (Deadline: November 5, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a women, genderqueer, or non-binary student in grades 9 through 12.
  • Be a US citizen, permanent resident, or individual who can pass the substantial presence test.

Applications can be found by going to:


4) Elks Most Valuable Student Competition - $50,000 - 500 Awards (Deadline: November 15, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be any high school senior who is a citizen of the United States.
  • Applicants need not be related to a member of the Elks.

Applications can be found by going to:


5) Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship - $160,000 - 40 Awards (Deadline: Nov. 18, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a high-achieving high school senior with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • Have a financial need and plan to attend a four-year college.

Applications can be found by going to:


6) Dr. Juan Andrade Jr. Scholarship - $1,000 – 20 Awards (Deadline: November 30, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Have at least one parent of Hispanic ancestry
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a full-time undergraduate student in an accredited institution in the U.S. or U.S. territories and demonstrate a verifiable need for financial support.

Applications can be found by going to:


7) Safe Cycling Scholarship - $1,000 - 1 Award (Deadline: November 30, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a current high school senior, college student, or graduate student residing in one of the 50 states.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Applications can be found by going to:


8) Generous Heart Scholarship - $1,000 - 1 Award (Deadline: November 30, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a current high school senior, college student, or graduate student who is a legal resident of the US.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher and be in good overall academic standing.

Applications can be found by going to:


9) Allen Tittle's Medical Malpractice Scholarship - $1,000 – 1 Award (Deadline: November 30, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a current high school senior who is a legal resident of the United States residing in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.
  • Be enrolled in a two to five-year post-secondary institution for the Spring 2022 semester.

Applications can be found by going to:


10) AED Superstore College Scholarship - $1,000 – 2 Awards (Deadline: November 30, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a legal resident of the U.S.
  • Be either a college-bound high school senior or a student currently enrolled in an accredited university.

Applications can be found by going to:


11) Bachus and Schanker, LLC Scholarship - $2,000 - 2 Awards (Deadline: November 30, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a high school senior accepted to attend a four-year university by the time of the award.
  • Have a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher.

Applications can be found by going to:


12) Value of Mentorship Scholarship - $1,000 – 1 Award (Deadline: November 30, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a current high school senior who is a legal resident of the United States.
  • Be enrolled in a two to five-year post-secondary institution for the Spring 2022 semester.

Applications can be found by going to:


13) Barbara Lotze Scholarships for Future Teachers - $2,000 – 6 Awards (Deadline: December 1, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a high school senior accepted for enrollment in 2022 who plans to pursue a course of study leading toward a career in teaching physics in high school.

Applications can be found by going to:


14) Ted Rollins Eco Scholarship - $1,000 – 1 Award (Deadline: December 1, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a high school senior or college undergraduate student.
  • Major (or plan to major) in a field related to business, sustainability, or marketing.

Applications can be found by going to:


15) Odenza Marketing Group Volunteer Award - $1,000 – 1 Award (Deadline: December 30, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Possess a GPA of 2.5 or higher in his/her last academic year.
  • Have contributed at least 50 hours of volunteer service within his/her community over the last 12 months.

Applications can be found by going to:



More Scholarship Information

Sallie Mae Fall 2021 Webinar

In celebration of National Scholarship Month, Sallie Mae is offering a free webinar: Finding Free Money for College on November 17, 2021, at 2:00 pm.


CollegeBoard Opportunity Scholarships

The College Board Opportunity Scholarships program is currently open to class of 2022 students in the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories, regardless of citizenship status. This scholarship program is open to all students and it doesn't require an essay, application, or minimum GPA. Instead, it rewards your effort and initiative. Complete key steps along your path to college for chances to earn scholarships.  For more information visit: https://opportunity.collegeboard.org/home or watch this promotional video.


Career and Technical Education Virtual Workshops

Northern Virginia Community College’s STEM Outreach Program, NOVA SySTEMic, is offering three virtual Career & Technical Education Career Workshops next month. The sessions will utilize the Zoom platform and are open to high school students, NOVA students, and the community.  In these sessions, NOVA faculty/staff will share information about educational programs and industry representatives will share information about careers and current issues in their field. 

  • November 3, 3-4 pm - Heating, AC, and Refrigeration
  • November 8, 3-4 pm - Nursing
  • November 9, 3-4 pm - Automotive Technologies

Some sessions will be recorded and uploaded to the NOVA SySTEMic YouTube Channel. Please register if you would like to receive this information, even if you are unable to attend the session in real-time.

What’s in a Name?

In 2009, the Department of Communications and Community Outreach (DCCO) rebooted a video series called What’s in a Name, which explores the origins of the names of Fairfax County public school buildings. From 2009 to 2016, staff in the office of Digital Media Productions, working in partnership with DCCO, created What’s in a Name videos for approximately 85 schools and centers. Official production of the series ceased in 2016, but an FCPS staff member, Jeff Clark, outside of work hours, kept the series going with new episodes.

In 2017, on the night J.E.B. Stuart High School was renamed, the Fairfax County School Board passed a follow-on motion directing that students learn about the history of their school and the origin of its name. The Office of Communications and Community Relations was directed to resume production of the What’s in a Name video series and to complete videos for the remaining 100+ school facilities as soon as possible. That work is now complete! The videos can be seen on each school website’s “School History” page, a master list of which is available on the FCPS website.

The completion of the What’s in a Name series involved approximately 14,000 hours of staff time (research, writing, videography, editing) over 12 years. A total of 9 hours and 45 minutes of video content was produced.

Each month I will feature a different Springfield District school from the What’s in a Name video series. This month let’s learn about the history behind Lake Braddock Secondary School’s name.

Picture and video of Edward Braddock

Click above to learn more about the history of Lake Braddock Secondary School’s name.

The views contained within this newsletter reflect the views of the individual school board member who is the publisher of this newsletter and may not reflect the views of the Fairfax County School Board.

© 2020 Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, Virginia