November 2021 Newsletter

Dear Mason District Community,

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I wish you all safe travels as you gather with family and friends – especially since many of us were unable to do so in 2020.  

This past month, the Board has focused on reviewing membership trends in FCPS. In the past three years, FCPS has experienced a decline in student enrollment. In the 2019-2020 school year, FCPS reported an enrollment of 189,010, in the 2020-2021 school year, the total student enrollment was reported at 180,151. In the current 2021-22 school year, as of September 30th, student enrollment was reported at 178,595.

In the Mason District, please see below the trend in our three high school pyramids for the same time period.



As made public during the last school year, Dr. Brabrand will be retiring from FCPS effective June 30, 2021 and thus the Board has been engaged in establishing the important processes which will guide the search for a new superintendent to lead Fairfax County Public Schools. The Board has secured a search firm whose primary duties are to assist the Board in developing a timeline for the entire process including the building of the position’s profile, recruitment of candidates and organization of the interview process. The search firm will also facilitate numerous opportunities for community engagement. The Board’s goal is to secure a new superintendent to be in place by July 1, however, an official timeline will be published in the coming weeks. 

Voluntary screening testing, which has been recommended by the Health Department, began this week. The program is designed for students who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. The goal of screening testing is to keep students in the classroom by quickly detecting, tracing, and isolating COVID-19 positive individuals - whether or not they become symptomatic. Parent/guardian permission is required for student participation. More information can be found on the COVID-19 Screening Testing webpage.

Many parents and community members have raised questions to me regarding the division’s progress about two texts which were pulled from FCPS high school libraries for review due to concerns about their content. These two texts, Lawn Boy and Gender Queer are currently under review and staff is expected to make a decision regarding their return to the high school libraries in the coming weeks.    

The input I receive from the Mason Community informs my work on the Board. I will be resuming in-person office hours in December. This time is reserved for Mason District residents, teachers and staff to share their ideas, questions or concerns. For those preferring a virtual platform, I have also scheduled a block of time for virtual office hours. Please find details below.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Mason District School Board - FCPS on Facebook!

Be sure to like the newly established Mason District School Board Facebook page to receive timely updates on information for the Mason District. 


@MasonDistrictSB on Twitter!

Follow @MasonDistrictSB to receive timely updates on information for the Mason District.

December Office Hours

This time is reserved for Mason District residents, teachers and staff to share their ideas, questions or concerns.


Mason District Governmental Center, Main Community Room
6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale 22003

Daytime option Evening option
Tuesday, December 7th Monday, December 13th
10:00 am - 12:00 pm 6:30 - 8:00 pm


Virtual (Zoom):

15-minute blocks will be allocated for virtual office hours. For a reservation and link, please contact my assistant, Ms. Coffey, at

Wednesday, December 8th
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Vaccination Clinics at School Sites

Fairfax Health District and Fairfax County Public Schools are hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics for students ages 5-11 years. Clinics will be held after school hours, evenings and weekends at nine school sites, initially. Locations include Annandale Terrace ES in the Mason District. Attendees are not required to be a student at that school; all children (including those who attend private schools or are home-schooled) are welcome. No appointment is necessary at these school-located clinics, and all vaccinations are free. A parent or other responsible adult is required to attend with their child.

Annandale Terrace Elementary School

Thursday, December 9, 4:00 - 7:00 pm

For a complete list of schools and dates, visit the County webpage.

Vaccination Clinic TOMORROW at Bailey's Community Center!

Vaccination clinic for children ages 5-11 at Bailey's Community Center this Saturday. Reservations required. Make an appointment online or call (703) 931-7027.


Quarantine Update

The transmission rate in Fairfax County recently decreased from “substantial” to “moderate.”

As of November 17, the number of people in Fairfax County having received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine are as follows:

19.6% ages 5-11

85.7% ages 12-15

91.7% ages 16-17

84.4% above 18

Since schools opened in August, FCPS has seen a very low rate of in-school transmission of COVID-19 at just 0.02%. FCPS must balance the need to keep students in the classroom while also ensuring adherence to layered prevention strategies that are appropriate for current community transmission rates.

Effective November 15, the duration of quarantine for students who are exposed to COVID-19 in a school setting was reduced. Exposed students must remain at home until one of the following quarantine periods is met:

  • 10 days of quarantine, your child remains symptom free AND you provide a copy of the FCPS pause letter indicating the return to school date; or
  • 14 days of quarantine and you provide a copy of the clearance email from the health department. 

As more students ages 5-11 are vaccinated, FCPS plans to move to a 7-day quarantine period in early December, and dial back other layered prevention strategies, while still keeping CDC guidance at the forefront of every decision.

Screening Testing Update

This week marks the start of voluntary screening testing for unvaccinated students. The portal to register is now open. 

Student-athlete screening testing also began this week. Details were sent directly to families of unvaccinated athletes. Screening testing is a highly recommended strategy to reduce COVID-19 transmission and keep FCPS schools and workplaces safe. 

Read more about the screening testing program.


Calendar Development Update

The 2022-2023 calendar development is well underway. FCPS is working to build a calendar that is inclusive and equitable. The framework for creating the calendar can be found on the  calendar webpage

Upcoming School Board action on the 2022-2023 calendar:

January 11 - Discussion at Work Session

January 13 - Presented as new business with opportunity for public comment

January 27 - Vote on final calendar with opportunity for public comment

Justice HS Addition Update

In last month’s newsletter, I shared my intention to engage the community for feedback on FCPS’ two proposals for the Justice High School addition project as this had been a major concern expressed during the October 12 community meeting. 

I have been working with FCPS staff to finalize the survey which is now scheduled to be disseminated via email to Justice Pyramid parents/guardians and Justice staff and students on Monday, November 22. It will also be available in Arabic, Spanish, and Vietnamese as soon as possible thereafter. If you are not included in one of the groups above and would like to receive a survey, please make your request here. I am looking forward to your participation!

Please visit the dedicated page for the Justice High School Addition.

Resource Review for K-6 Language Arts and K-8 Science

Basal resources are the textbooks and supplemental materials the division purchases to create a common foundation for instruction across all schools. The basal resource review process is an opportunity for the community to provide input in the selection of books and materials used by teachers across the division.

Through November 26, there will be an opportunity to provide feedback and advocate for resources for all students

Find out more about basal resource reviews and how to share feedback.

Fairfax County Voters Support the 2021 School Bond Referendum!


Thank you to the voters of Fairfax County who approved the 2021 Bond Referendum for school renovations and improvements. More than 69.6% of those voting in the election on November 2 supported the $360 million bond referendum. We are grateful for the support shown for Fairfax County Public Schools and the 179,000 students who grow and thrive in our schools. 

These funds will enable FCPS to proceed with construction, renovations, enhancements, and planning for improvements to 14 schools, plus land acquisition for a future western county high school. Projects funded by the 2021 bond referendum will provide upgraded, current facilities for our students, staff members, and the tens of thousands of Fairfax County residents who use the schools for recreation, meetings, and community events.

FCPS plans to fund several school projects with bond proceeds, including $130M for the Falls Church HS renovation construction and $4M for the planning/design of the Bren Mar Park ES renovation.

Upcoming Webinars

Postsecondary Education Considerations for

Students with Disabilities

Join FCPS Career and Transition Services to learn about postsecondary education options available for students with disabilities.

  • College: Two-Year and Four-Year
  • Career and Technical Education/Trade School
  • Gap Year
  • Military
  • Apprenticeship
  • Employment

December 9, 2021 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Register for Postsecondary Education Considerations for Students with Disabilities

Preparing for the Unexpected:

Challenges of the Military Family

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:

  • Mental Health of Military-Connected Kids and Teens
  • Storms in Any Season- What parents need to know about
  • Deployments, Injuries, Separations, and Loss
  • Known and little known resources for military families to get you through storms and everyday life
  • How to Prepare for an Off-Cycle Move

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

December 3, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Register for Preparing for the Unexpected: Challenges of the Military Family

moon and strauss

Former School Board Members Honored

The contributions of two former Fairfax County School Board members were recognized at the School Board meeting on November 11 when two school facilities were renamed in their honor.

The theater dressing rooms at McLean High School were renamed after Janie Strauss, a School Board member for the Dranesville District from 1993 to 2019.

Ilryong Moon, an At-Large School Board member from 1995 to 2019, was honored with a resolution dedicating the main gym at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) in his name.

Read more about the honorees and the recognitions.


Facilities Updates 

At the School Board meeting on October 7, 2021, the School Board approved the contract for the roof replacement at Glen Forest Elementary School.

At the School Board meeting on November 11, 2021, the School Board approved contracts for the following in the Mason District: 

Roof replacement at Annandale High School

Chiller replacements (2) at Justice High School

Chiller replacement at Weyanoke Elementary School  

Escape Room at Jackson Middle School


A unique escape room at Jackson Middle School teaches teamwork and critical thinking. Read more about the mission of Luther Jackson’s mightiest heroes and how they must come together and learn to work as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Evil Twin from capturing Jackson the Tiger.

Justice HS Wind Ensemble


Justice High School Wind Ensemble, Photo credit: Andrea Fus

The Justice High School Wind Ensemble has been invited to play for the annual Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) conference in Norfolk this weekend. They are one of just two high school concert bands in the Commonwealth who will perform at the event. 

Congratulations to these talented students!

Enjoy a preview concert on the JHS  Band Boosters YouTube page.

Holmes Middle School Theatre

Far From Together is a devised play written by the Advanced Theatre Arts students from the 2019-2020 school year. It explores what it was like for these students to have their school year and their middle school experience interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This performance is appropriate for audience members of all ages.

Evening Performances on December 2nd & 3rd at 7:00 pm

Matinee Performance December 3rd at 2:00 pm

Purchase tickets


High School Art Contest

The Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County just announced their inaugural Justice Art Contest.

High School students are invited to submit their visual artwork on the theme:

“What Does a Truly Just Fairfax Look Like”

Submissions are due by December 13, 2021.

Artwork should be submitted to:
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Pia J. Miller
4110 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 114
Fairfax, VA 22030

Winning artwork will be displayed in the front office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney. Please note that a submission form needs to accompany the artwork. Forms may be requested using the email address above.


Have a Bike to Donate?

Falls Church High School is collecting used and under-appreciated bikes for students in the FCHS Bike Club. The school will accept bikes in any condition, but appreciates those in better condition. Arrangements can be made to have your bike picked up or for a school drop-off. All donations to the school and Phoenix Bikes are tax deductible and a receipt will be provided. To donate a bike, please contact Andrew Zlatnik, FCHS teacher and volunteer at Phoenix Bikes. Email or call (703) 951-7907.

Scholarship Opportunity

High school and middle school students interested in culinary, visual, literary, or performing arts are invited to apply.

Artiemergent awards scholarships to individuals for higher education or extra skill training with preference being given to underprivileged middle school or high school students who are currently going to school living in the Northern Virginia Area preferably in Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William Counties.

Deadline for submission is December 3rd.

More information and applications:


Books - Handpicked for You!

Fairfax County Libraries (FCPL) have many ways to access their materials, in-person and digitally. The libraries also offer Library TO GO, a book selection service. In three simple steps, the concierge book selection service makes it easy to get your next great book.

The steps for Library TO GO…Handpicked for Pickup are:

  1. Use the FCPL form to tell them your reading preferences,
  2. FCPL staff will hand-select materials and let you know when the materials are ready,
  3. Go to the public library branch and pick up the books.

Fairfax County Libraries feature many services including homework help online and in-branch, author events, and early literacy programs.

Also, families can browse Fairfax County Public Schools’ Parent Resource Center Library for popular book titles in multilingual texts.  The titles include recreational reading as well as relating to parenting and educating all children including children with learning challenges, mental health concerns, special needs, and disabilities.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

Regular School Board Meetings (Luther Jackson Middle School)

  • November 22, 2021 at 7:00 pm
  • December 2, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Work Session (Gatehouse Administration Center)

  • December 14, 2021 at 11:00 am

All meetings will be broadcast live on Channel 99 (Verizon channel 11) and on the FCPS website. The meetings are 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 or public hearing.

Vax Up FCPS graphic

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