November Update

Dear Fairfax County Students, Families and Staff,

Happy November!  With the early sunsets and the end of the first quarter, it is really feeling like a different season and I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. As I reflect on our second Thanksgiving during COVID, I wanted to share that I am grateful for all of you: our FCPS community and your support for our public school system.  

I am grateful to our teachers who are going above and beyond to serve your students. I know many of you are feeling overburdened and overstressed.  I hope that the increase in sub pay will help you when you need coverage and I will continue to advocate to remove things from your plate and to focus on compensation as we move into budget season.  I know that words do not make everything better but you are appreciated and valued. I am also grateful for our administrators who continue to work hard to adapt to changing conditions and tirelessly support teachers and students. 

I am grateful to our students who are adjusting to being back to in-person school.  I have visited many schools in the past month, I am so happy to see engaged students and lively discussions. Students keep sharing with me how happy they are to see each other and their teachers and learn together. I am happy to see most of you being willing to do what it takes to keep our school communities safe. I know that some are having a hard time adjusting to expectations in the classroom again after such a long disruption and that is a challenge that our staff are working to address with positive modeling and support. Most of all, I am grateful for the energy students bring to our buildings and our lives.

school visit 1school visit 2

I am grateful to the community for showing its strong support for our school bond measure.  As we enter the process for our CIP, we are thankful for the investments in our facilities. Thank you also to our families who continue to work to support schools through the many hours of supporting their students, volunteering, and advocating to improve education for all. I appreciate the many community members who take the time to reach out and share their thoughts and opinions in a respectful and calm manner.  And, I hope that those in the community with some flexibility in their schedule and a desire to serve will consider applying to work with FCPS (see details below).

I am also grateful to have been part of the national vaccine rollout at Franklin Sherman Elementary School with Dr. Jill Biden.  I am hopeful that this new round of vaccines can make a real difference in the experience of our students, especially our elementary school students.

franklin sherman

I am so happy that the change to moderate community transmission in Northern Virginia, the availability of vaccines for our younger students, and the continuing low rate of transmission within our schools have allowed the Superintendent to change the quarantine policies.  You can read more details below. I am hopeful that this change will reduce the educational disruptions some of our children have experienced while maintaining reasonable safety measures.  I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Brabrand, my colleagues and the Fairfax County Health department as we monitor health metrics and figure out the next steps in prevention and finding “normal.” 

Sully District Member and Chair, Stella Pekarsky, and I will be holding a virtual town hall on Tuesday, November 30 from 7pm - 8pm.  You will be able to access the town hall through this link.  Please submit your questions in advance here.  I hope you can attend!

Have a peaceful and fulfilling Thanksgiving! I am grateful for the chance to serve you all.

My warmest regards,


Below you will find information on:

  • FCPS News
  • School Board News
  • Community News and Resources
  • Good News!
  • Upcoming FCPS Performances
  • Quick Links


Change to Quarantine Policy

FCPS has changed the duration of quarantine for students who are exposed to COVID-19 in a school setting, effective November 15.  Symptom-free children who provide a copy of the FCPS pause letter indicating the return to school date, can return to school after 10 days of quarantine.  Further reduction in the quarantine period to seven days is planned in early December.

COVID vaccine

  Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination

Where to get a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine

FCPS is encouraging all parents whose children are eligible to get vaccinated. We know that vaccination is the way out of this pandemic and we are asking you to help us continue to make our schools as safe as they possibly can be.

Starting Tuesday, November 16, pop-up pediatric COVD-19 vaccine clinics will begin in schools in our highest-impacted communities.  More information can be found here.

The Fairfax County Health Department’s webpage has resources for finding and scheduling a vaccine appointment. Up-to-date information about vaccination opportunities is available on our website

How to prepare your child for their COVID-19 vaccination

prepare vaccine


We know you may have questions about the vaccine. We talked with local pediatricians to answer some of the most common questions. Find out how to prepare your child for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and how you can make them more comfortable if they experience side effects in this short video

COVID-19 Screening

Voluntary Screening

Beginning Monday, November 15, FCPS opened its voluntary screening testing program for unvaccinated students.  You can register on the portal.

Student-Athlete Screening

Student-athlete screening began on November 15th and details of the process were sent to families of unvaccinated student athletes.

Meal Kit Distribution Change for Thanksgiving Break

thanksgiving meal kit


In preparation for the Thanksgiving break when schools are closed (November 24-26), the following plan is in place to distribute meal kits:

  • Wednesday, November 17: Additional meals (7 days of breakfast and lunch, along with 14 days of afternoon snack and supper meals) will be served in one meal kit.
  • Wednesday, November 24: Meal kit distribution is canceled.
  • Wednesday, December 1: Regular meal kit distribution resumes.

More information and the location of the meal kit sites is available online.

Job Openings in FCPS

Make a difference in a child’s life—find your next job with FCPS! We have openings for bus drivers, substitute teachers, COVID case managers, and school health aides (employed by Fairfax County Government but work in schools). 

More information and applications are available online:

If you want to earn money while making a difference in your community, say yes to FCPS!


TJHSST Application Process Open for Class of 2026


The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) application process for eligible 8th grade students opened on October 25th. Applications must be started by 4 p.m. Wednesday, November 17, with a deadline to submit the application by Friday, November 19, at 4 p.m. Detailed information is posted on the TJ Admissions Office website.

TJHSST’s admissions process continues to be merit based and race neutral, and includes a holistic review. Students will be evaluated on the following:

  • Grade point average. 
  • A portrait sheet asking students to demonstrate Portrait of a Graduate attributes and 21st century skills. 
  • A STEM problem-solving essay. 
  • Experience factors, including being economically disadvantaged, an English learner, a special education student, or a student who is currently attending an underrepresented middle school. 

Prospective students must be currently enrolled in Honors Algebra, a science honors class, and a third honors class (English or social studies), or they must be identified as a Young Scholar. Students must also have acquired a minimum GPA of 3.5 as of the end of the first quarter, Friday, October 29.   

For more information, please visit the TJHSST Admissions webpage

2022-2023 Calendar Development


FCPS is in the process of developing the 2022-2023 School Year Calendar. FCPS is committed to maintaining a transparent process, 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; and
  • Community feedback through a Calendar Feedback Committee: a staff, student, and family survey; and a Calendar Development Webinar. 

Learn more about the calendar development process.


November’s Walking Wednesday Dedicated to Ruby Bridges

Students and families are being encouraged to take part in monthly Walking Wednesdays during the 2021-22 school year to help promote mental and physical health. The Safe Routes to School office will be promoting Walking Wednesdays throughout the year, with a different theme each month.

November’s event is dedicated to Ruby Bridges, the elementary student who, as the first African American student to integrate William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, was escorted to school by federal marshals in 1960. Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day is November 17.

School Board News

school board


Award of Contract - Division Superintendent Search Firm

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.

Increase of Substitute Hourly Rate

The Board unanimously approved the Superintendent’s recommendation to increase the pay of substitute teachers to help attract and retain employees. The pay was adjusted according to the scale shown below:

sub raise


The Board also passed a follow-on motion: to direct the Superintendent to provide an analysis of the Instructional Assistant (IA), Public Health Training Assistant (PHTA), and Public Health Attendant (PHA) substitute pay scales to determine potential enhancements to the adopted scale to ensure FCPS is competitive with WABE districts and increase fill rates.

Upcoming Board Work

In addition to the important responsibility of continuing to provide oversight to FCPS’s five days a week instruction during these times of COVID disruption, the School Board has other upcoming work, including the following:

  • Legislative Program
  • Review of Boundary Consultant Report
  • SY 22-23 Calendar
  • Ongoing oversight of ESSER plan implementation
  • Superintendent Search
  • Capital Improvement Program
  • FY 22-23 Budget -- see the School Board priorities
  • Collective Bargaining

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • November 22, 2021 - Regular Meeting - 7pm:  Legislative Program
  • December 2, 2021 - Regular Meeting - 7pm:  FY22 Midyear Budget Review
  • December 14, 2021 - Work Session - 11am -5pm:  John Lewis HS; Boundary Consultant Report

Accessing Board Meetings and Materials 

Community News and Resources

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 Dec. 6. 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

Interested in Finding STEAM Opportunities for Youth?



Find fun STEAM activities, information and career ideas for students and their families who have an interest in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as students who want to learn more about STEAM career options. The goal is to engage families and community partners to help inspire and prepare all Fairfax County youth to succeed and lead in STEAM fields and beyond.

Justice Art Contest

The Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney for Fairfax County is holding its 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.” The winner's artwork will be displayed in the reception area of the Commonwealth Attorney's office.  All other submissions will be placed around the office to inspire attorneys and staff. Please contact Pia Miller,, to receive a submission form that must be included with the artwork. Submissions are due December 13th and can be sent to Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Pia J. Miller, 4110 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 114, Fairfax, Virginia 22030,  Winners will be announced on December 17, 2021.

parent resource center

Upcoming Parent Resource Center Webinars


December webinars include:  Preparing for the Unexpected: Challenges of the Military Family on December 3 and Postsecondary Education Considerations for Students with Disabilities on December 9.  Find more details and register.  

Good News!

I’m bringing back my Good News section - each newsletter I will try to highlight at least one good thing happening in each FCPS Region. 

Region 1 -- Madison HS Marching Band wins State Championship

Congratulations to the JMHS Band for winning the 2021 State Marching Band Championship!  JMHS won the Group 5 state championship in the Preliminary competition and then won the over-all state championship -The Commonwealth Cup - in the finals. 



Region 2 -- Marshall HS students plant 400 flags in honor of Veterans Day

Students, staff, and parent volunteers at Marshall High School set up close to 400 American flags outside the school. The display is a tradition at Marshall, installed twice a year ahead of both Veterans Day and Memorial Day.  Read the full article.

marshall flags


Region 3 -- West Potomac HS JROTC in New York City’s Veterans Day Parade

Congratulations to the West Potomac JROTC who took part in the New York Veterans Day Parade!



Region 4 -- Union Mill ES letter writing campaign featured on CBS Morning Show

Sixth graders at Union Mill ES wrote letters to veterans of World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War to thank them for their service in honor of Veterans Day. Their campaign was featured on the national CBS morning show, CBS Mornings.   

Region 5 -- London Towne ES Upgrades Morning Show technology

London Towne ES students are using a brand new system that allows them to use Zoom to stream the newscast into classrooms. The upgraded software eliminates physical cables and also allows the student production team to get more creative and find new ways to showcase the daily news. The London Towne staff sponsors have held virtual meetings with other school news sponsors and they have also hosted a few visitors to observe the show in action. 



Upcoming Theater Performances


We have amazing arts programs across the county that I would love to highlight! I know how impressed I am every time I see a performance.  I am happy share some of the many upcoming theater performances happening in FCPS. See below for shows, dates and links to buy tickets.  Hope you get a chance to check some out - come support local arts and have a great evening out.

Quick Links

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

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