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

Hello, Springfield District! 

Each November I try to adopt an attitude of gratitude. Some years it’s harder than others, but with the beautiful leaves and amazing weather this month, I haven’t had to look too hard for inspiration. Lately, my gratitude is tinged with a profound sense that, just like the leaves, our family life is changing. My oldest is now a driver (look out fellow Springfield drivers!), and we have begun college visits. My heart is so happy to see the world opening up for my child, but my mama heart knows that things will be different from now on. This time is passing so quickly and I find myself holding on for dear life to every precious moment that the 4 of us have together. I hope that you and your family can be together for Thanksgiving (even if it’s over Zoom), and find moments that will stay with you long after everyone has left.

This has certainly been a busy month for the School Board and FCPS. November is “Take Your Legislator to School Month,” and I was so excited to be able to show off our amazing schools to our awesome legislators. Delegate Dan Helmer and I visited Centreville HS, Delegate Karrie Delaney, Chair Stella Pekarsky, and I visited Chantilly HS, and Delegate Kathy Tran and I visited South County MS and Keene Mill ES. Every school welcomed us with open arms and the students really kept us on our toes!  They asked great questions about policy and leadership and just truly showed off the incredible human beings they are. Thank you to principals, Chad Lehman, Scott Poole, Peter Kownacki, and Linda Peace for sharing your schools with our legislators.

As many of you know, Sangster ES has been named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School, one of only 7 in the Commonwealth! Last week, I had the opportunity to join my colleagues in celebrating this incredible achievement! We had a dance party at dismissal, where I got to dust off my macarena skills, and got to celebrate with the staff. Congratulations to Principal Jankovich and the entire Sangster team who make their school such an awesome place for our students to learn and thrive.

About a month ago, I got two very persuasive letters from 2nd-grade friends at Hunt Valley ES. They talked about the importance of monarchs and milkweed in our world and asked me to help them in their quest for a butterfly garden at their school. This month, I got to go visit not only those two students but also their entire class! Ms. Rafle’s 2nd class had put together a great presentation with beautiful posters that did an amazing job of expressing just how vital these beautiful butterflies are to our world. I was beyond convinced and cannot wait to help them start their garden this spring!

Speaking of kids in class, I am so grateful that our Board worked together with Dr. Brabrand to reduce the amount of time our students need to stay home when they have been paused or quarantined. Because we have now moved to a “moderate” level of COVID transmission in Fairfax County, starting this week, students will only need to stay home for 10 days instead of 14 (as long as they have no symptoms) and, beginning on December 1st, students will be able to reduce the number of days home to 7 if they have a negative test result. If families still feel more comfortable with the 14 day quarantine period, the absence will still be excused, and teachers will still check-in and stream-in/recorded lesson opportunities.

Lastly, I want to take the opportunity to thank all our veterans. I’m so fortunate to have had family members who served in the Merchant Marines, the Army, and the Marines. I am beyond grateful for their service, but also for their families who make their service possible. Spouses are left behind to make everything at home “work”, even when that “home” changes every 18 months and the kids have to become chameleons at every new assignment. All of the families who have to Skype holidays or birthdays, who have parents that miss first steps, first words, first dates. We are forever indebted to the 1% who protect the 99%. Your sacrifices are beyond measure.

As always, I am beyond grateful to represent the incredible folks of the Springfield District. 

Happy Thanksgiving,

Laura Jane


This newsletter includes information on the following issues:

  • Upcoming School Board Meetings
  • Virtual Town Hall with Braddock District Representative, Megan McLaughlin
  • 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


Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • November 22 at 7 pm - Regular Meeting: Legislative Program, Public Engagement Committee (PEC) Recommended Changes to Community Participation, No-Change Memo, Modification to Special Ed. Audit Comprehensive Review Contract, etc.
  • December 2 at 7 pm - Regular Meeting: FY22 Midyear Budget Review Presentation, Playground Equipment Installation at Fairfax Villa ES, Rooftop Unit Replacements at Forte Support Center, Kahua Software, Fairfax Villa ES Roof Replacement, Oak View ES Playground, etc.
  • December 14 at 11 am - Work Session: John R. Lewis HS and Boundary Consultant Report
  • December 16 at 7 pm - Regular Meeting: Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Presentation, FY22 Midyear Budget Review, Trust Policy, Firearms Possession Policy, etc.

Please note, times and topics are subject to change.

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.

Graphic November 11 town hall for Laura Jane Cohen and Megan McLaughlin

Please join Braddock District Representative, Megan McLaughlin, and me for a virtual town hall to address any questions you may have. So that we can best respond to as many questions as possible, we will only address questions that we receive through this form. You may submit questions through the form in advance as well as during the town hall. I hope you can attend!

When: Tuesday, November 30, 2021, 7-8 pm

Where: ZOOM  - See information below

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School Board Updates graphic


Budget Resolution

On November 11 the Board approved a budget resolution detailing priorities and directed the Superintendent to develop a budget in recognition of that directive. View the Budget Resolution online. Highlights include:

  • Investments to mitigate and remediate the impact of COVID 19 on academic achievement, learning loss, and achievement gaps;
  • Investments in Literacy and the science of reading;
  • Access to advanced math and STEM opportunities in all elementary schools;
  • Prioritizes the upkeep and development of outside learning spaces;
  • Teachers and administrators are provided the time to participate in professional development and planning to meet student needs;
  • Provides needs-based staffing to include teachers, instructional assistants, administrators, school counselors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, behavioral interventionists specialists, parent liaisons, translators, and supports for afterschool, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities;
  • Implements recommendations of the Advanced Academics and Career and Technical Education studies and the Special Education Audit;
  • Ensure that our education, building, and transportation staff receive competitive compensation to include a step increase; and
  • Focuses on the need for a healthy learning environment to include proper facility maintenance; and
  • Provide the Board recommendations for savings and reallocations of funds based on staff evaluation of programs and expenditures.


Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Main Gym Renamed in Honor of Former School Board Member Ilryong Moon

The contributions of a former Fairfax County School Board member were recognized at the School Board meeting on November 11 when a school facility was renamed in his honor. Ilryong Moon, the first Asian-American to be elected to a public office in Virginia, was honored with a resolution dedicating the TJHSST main gym in his name, “Ilryong Moon Gymnasium.” Read the full story and learn about his connection to athletics.  Read the resolution.


Recognizing our School Psychologists

I was pleased to join my colleagues in supporting a resolution to recognize the tremendous contributions of our school psychologists at our meeting on November 11. All children and youth can face problems from time to time-related to learning, social relationships, making difficult decisions, or managing emotions such as feeling depressed, anxious, worried, or isolated. School psychologists help students, families, educators, and members of the community understand and resolve both long-term, chronic problems and short-term issues that students may face. They are a highly skilled and ready resource in the effort to ensure that all FCPS children and youth thrive in school, at home, and in life. The role school psychologists play in the lives of our students and school community is important now more than ever as children continue to recover and rebound from the academic, social, and emotional impacts of a global pandemic. I am grateful for the work of these educators and celebrate and thank them for their service. We thank our school psychologists for all they do! Read the resolution.

Read more about School Psychology services available to support the academic, social-emotional, and mental wellness of FCPS students

Health and Safety News

Children Ages 5-11 now Eligible to be Vaccinated

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. Watch the below video for tips from local pediatricians.

Picture collage of children having been vaccinated against COVID-19


Pop-up Pediatric School-located Vaccine Clinics

On Tuesday, November 16, the Fairfax Health District and FCPS began offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, at ten clinics located at schools across Fairfax County. All children are welcome, and a parent or responsible adult must accompany them. We are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated as a way to keep our schools open and safe as we come out of the pandemic. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and free.

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


Additional Vaccine Availability

In addition to the school-based popup clinics mentioned above, parents may also register their child for a COVID-19 vaccine at the following locations:

Most sites will be providing vaccines by appointment only at this time. 

  • Pediatric and Family Medicine Providers: call your child’s doctor to make an appointment.
  • Pharmacies, grocery stores, and urgent care facilities: visit ( to search for a vaccine appointment.
  • Health Department Vaccination Centers: visit the website to make an appointment, or call 703-324-7404 if you need assistance.
    • Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, 22035
    • Mount Vernon District Office (Gerry Hyland Government Center), 8350 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, 22309
  • Tysons Community Vaccination Center, 7950 Tysons Corner Center, Tysons: Visit here or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 711). Appointment assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages.
  • Inova Children Vaccination Clinic: visit here to make an appointment for their weekend clinics at the Inova Center for Personalized Health, 8100 Innovation Park Drive, Fairfax.

When looking for an appointment, be sure to search for Pfizer pediatric vaccine since it is the only vaccine currently available for use in children 5-11 years old.

Find out if you can schedule your child’s COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time.

Picture of boy holding chalkboard asking, "Can I get the flu shot at the same time?"

Local pediatricians share their advice for children with underlying health concerns, and if your child can get the flu shot at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine in this short video.


Reduction in the Quarantine Period 

With the start of the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5-11 and a drop in the Fairfax County transmission rate from “substantial” to “moderate,” we are adjusting some of the layered prevention strategies that have helped keep the rate of in-school transmission of COVID-19 at just 0.02%.

  • Unvaccinated students who are exposed to COVID-19 in a school setting may quarantine for 10 days, instead of 14 days
  • Students will be notified of the day they may return to the classroom via the pause letter.
  • If you do not have a pause letter from your school, you will need to quarantine for 14 days, per the requirement of the Fairfax County Health Department.   

More information is available online.


Optional COVID-19 Screening Testing

Registration for optional COVID-19 screening testing begins this week. Parents and guardians may pre-register their child(ren) and provide consent using the LTS secure online portal. If you do not want your child to participate in COVID-19 screening testing, no action is required. You will have the option each week to update your child’s vaccination status and consent for testing.

Student-athletes do not need to pre-register with the LTS online portal for screening testing, they will use a separate portal provided by their school’s student activities director.

There will be no student COVID-19 screening testing the week of November 22 due to the Thanksgiving break.

For more information on student COVID-19 testing, visit the FCPS website.


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

FCPS and Community News

Fairfax County Public Schools Welcomes First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, to Kick off National 5-11 Vaccination Rollout

Picture of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden With Students National 5-11 COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout

Fairfax County Public Schools kicked off the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5-11 on Monday. The school division welcomed First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, to a clinic at the school where the first polio vaccine was administered in 1954 (see story below).

Surrounded by a group of children who had just received their first dose, she urged all parents to follow in the footsteps of the Polio Pioneers and have their children vaccinated as soon as possible. 

Watch this video to see the sights and sounds of the day’s events

Photo Gallery: Photos from the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination for children.

Read the full story and see more pictures on our website.


The Reasons for Recent Menu Changes

You may have noticed more frequent school meal menu changes and fewer options lately. An increase in students participating in school meals, 110,000 pre-Covid to nearly 150,000 now, happening at the same time as a global supply chain issue is affecting school meals. Our focus is ensuring all students have access to a nutritious breakfast and lunch each day. 

As the school year progresses and industries stabilize, additional menu options will be added. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through these challenging times. 

Read more about how these issues are impacting school meals.


Picture of food services employee holding meal kits

Meal Kit Distribution Change for Thanksgiving Break

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 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.


FCPS Cares logo

FCPS Cares

Our teachers have been carrying a huge load this year. During this month of Thanksgiving, consider submitting an FCPS Cares on behalf of a staff member who has impacted your child or family. It is a quick form that only takes a couple of minutes to complete.


Striving for an Inclusive and Compassionate Community 

In the past few weeks, FCPS has experienced several incidents of racial and anti-Semitic graffiti at some of our schools. These acts are not only unkind, but they are completely unacceptable. 

Please know that acts of racism, anti-Semitism and hate will not be tolerated in our FCPS community. Our division is a place where we strive for inclusiveness and compassion. It is our responsibility to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and humanity. Our schools must be a safe space for every child and adult in the building.

As a school division, our success and well-being depend upon all of us standing united against actions that seek to dehumanize or violate any person or group within our community. If you witness behavior that does not align with our values, please speak up. FCPS also has an anonymous tip line that can be used for this purpose.


Bonnie Brae Elementary School logo

Bonnie Brae Elementary Renovation Update Tonight

Join the Bonnie Brae Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization for a renovation update during their virtual meeting tonight at 6 pm.


Results from ORSI’s Final Report on the Study of Teaching and Learning During the Covid Pandemic (Report 3)

The Office of Research and Strategic Improvement (ORSI) completed the final study report in September 2021. It is the last in a series of three comprehensive reports that focused on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on teaching and learning in the school Division. This report focuses on students’ academic, wellbeing, and behavioral outcomes at the end of the 2020-21 school year and used the available data evidence to determine what students and teachers would need when almost all students returned to in-person learning five days per week in Fall 2021. The primary findings, conclusions, and recommendations in this report were shared during Summer 2021 to inform decisions regarding the use of ESSER III funds and planning for SY 2021-22. Staff actions taken in response to this report are reflected in return to school and ESSER funding presentations to the School Board from July 2021 onward. View the final report in the November 12 Brabrand Briefing


Career and Technical Education Launches New Pathway Study

FCPS has partnered with consulting firm FourPoint Education. They will assess current elective classes and career pathways programs. The review is expected to be finalized by Spring 2022. The study will explore enrollment numbers, subgroups, course offerings, and feedback from school personnel. The study will also examine how we can improve equity and access. The data analysis will also report on how Career and Technical Education programs impact groups used in our strategic plan, such as ethnicity, gender, students with disabilities, English Learners, and free and reduced-price meals. Representatives from FCPS’s Career and Technical Education staff are working with the vendor to finalize the timeline for engagement, as well as plans to conduct any focus group, small group, or individual stakeholder interviews.

Additionally, at the October 21 meeting, the School Board recognized November as National Career Development Month.


Picture of John R. Lewis High School mural


Exploration for New Leadership Academy at John R. Lewis High School Continues

This summer and fall, FCPS staff began to explore possibilities for providing special programming at John R. Lewis High School. Under School Board direction, a small team of school-based and central office staff began to vision student experiences that reflect the values and legacy of John R. Lewis. In the weeks ahead, staff will engage a broad segment of students, families, and staff to gain a better understanding of the interests, needs, and hopes of those who would benefit from an Academy. Staff intends to share broad ideas developed by this exploratory team with the School Board during its work session on December 14. Key features of the presentation will include an emphasis on programming that is open, available, and accessible for all students, particularly those at Lewis High School. The goal is to ensure that programming does not compete but complements existing programs. The presentation will overview an Academy that is designed to provide relevant, rigorous, and engaging learning experiences that foster academic, civic, college, and career readiness.


4th Annual Instructional Back2Fairfax Seminar (Hybrid Event)

Attendees will have an opportunity to network with current employees in various instructional and administrative positions. Attendees can visit exhibitor booths and attend breakout sessions on various topics including developing a resume, preparing for an interview, applying for a license, teacher, and administrator panels, and more!

Current FCPS juniors, seniors, and recent FCPS graduates considering a career in education are welcome to join this event.

Virtual and in-person attendance options are available.

Date: Tuesday, December 14, 2021, from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Registration for the event is available online by December 13, 2021.

For questions, contact Ashley Johnson at


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!


Educate Fairfax logo

Educate Fairfax Grants are Helping Students Thrive

For the 2021-2022 school year, Educate Fairfax granted nearly $100,000 to 73 teachers around the county, to be used for projects that support FCPS Returning Strong. Check out a few of the ways these funds are impacting Springfield District students!


Picture of South County Middle School Students Using STEAM Maker Space

South County Middle School

In the library at South County, grant funds have created a STEAM maker space, with a magnet wall, a Lego set, and other supplies. The maker space is not attached to any particular classroom, so students are free to stop by and collaborate with their peers to create and build together.


Picture of West Springfield High School student delivering coffee to teacher

West Springfield High School

Students in the low-incidence classroom used funds to start their own small business - a coffee cart that delivers orders to teachers around the building! Students are learning customer service skills, how to process orders and payments, and how to make and deliver coffee with a smile!



Your Donation to Educate Fairfax Makes a Difference

Educate Fairfax works in partnership with FCPS and our community to create pathways to long-term success for students. Your monetary donation will help Educate Fairfax fund teacher grants and more: 

  • Gap needs for disadvantaged students (e.g. backpacks, supplies, basic needs)
  • Retention and recognition of stellar educators
  • or give in honor of your favorite teacher or school - funds go directly to the program of your choice. 

With your help, students can achieve their maximum potential and we can create a lasting impact, one child at a time. 

Donate Now!


Office of the Auditor General (OAG) News

New Issue of Audit Buzz.  The October 2021 issue of Audit Buzz is now out. Stay up to date with OAG’s work by subscribing to Audit Buzz (through News You Choose). 

October Audit Committee. The Audit Committee held a meeting on October 27. The next meeting will be on December 9 at 4 pm.

  • During the October Audit Committee meeting, American Institute for Research (AIR) and OAG presented and discussed a technical and cost proposal for Year 2 scope of work extension, based upon the feedback from the School Board Work Session on September 21. Based on the Audit Committee feedback, AIR is making some changes to the proposal. More information will be shared shortly.
  • OAG presented on the FY 2021 Local School Activity Funds audit report, and the report of observations noted. Links to these two reports are included in the Audit Buzz link above.


American Education Week graphic

November 15-19 is American Education Week

I celebrate ALL who work in our FCPS community: our bus drivers, cafeteria workers, counselors, support staff, teachers, substitutes, leadership, and more! Thank you for all you do!


Native American Heritage Month graphic

November is Native American Heritage Month

November is the month that we “celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges” (National Congress of American Indians).

Here are some resources from the FCPS Office of Equity and Cultural Responsiveness:

Here are some links and resources to explore: 


Community Medi-Corps Program 

The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) has received a $700,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia to implement an innovative educational project in the life sciences and biomedical informatics and expand regional job opportunities for students attending three career academies in FCPS!

A team from GW SMHS, supported by grant funding from the Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) program, are establishing a Community Medi-Corps Program (Medi-Corps) to benefit high school students studying life and health/medical sciences in Northern Virginia. The centerpiece of the project will be a mobile Immersive Learning Center-- a 45-foot long lab that will provide students with state-of-the-art technology, simulation, and immersive virtual reality and augmented learning experiences.

Read more details in the October 29 Brabrand Briefing.


CS in Your Neighborhood Competition graphic

CS in your Neighborhood Competition

CodeVA’s state-wide CS In Your Neighborhood competition invites students from Kindergarten through 12th grade to submit creative “Data Selfies” representing their data footprint including any form of shareable media including visual art, music, video, or code/web content. Learn more and submit selfies here:


Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Invitational Science Fair

The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is holding an Invitation Science Fair for students in grades 5-8. Participants will complete a research project of their choice and present it at the fair in person on March 19, 2022.

Information sessions will be held throughout the year to provide students with guidance on how to create a research project, so we encourage all students to participate regardless of their experience.

All interested students should sign up using this form by noon on December 16

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Feel free to also check out their website at email their sponsor at


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.


Envirothon Training

Help your 9th-12th grade students develop Portrait of a Graduate skills and provide an opportunity for them to earn their Science and Environment diploma seal! Envirothon is a great opportunity for students to immerse themselves in meaningful learning, all while working collaboratively to solve real-world environmental problems. Learn more about Envirothon.

Mark your calendars for the Fall Envirothon training in-person at Graves Mountain Lodge on Saturday, November 20, 2021.

  • Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) will pay for student and teacher registration and lunch is provided. NVSWCD may also be able to assist with obtaining and funding group transportation.
  • Training includes hands-on sessions with topic experts in soils, wildlife, aquatics, and forestry, plus an awesome special topic panel from industry leaders talking about Waste to Resources.

Contact Ashley Palmer, Conservation Education Specialist with NVSWCD for more information. Register by November 15 via email to Stephanie DiNicola and cc


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 13 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.


NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest graphic

NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is accepting entries for its Annual Marine Debris Program Art Contest! 

Students in grades K-8 are invited to submit their artwork depicting how marine debris impacts the ocean and the Great Lakes environments. Entries are due December 10, 2021.

Learn more about the Marine Debris Art Contest and how to apply.

Springfield District Scene

Chantilly High School logo

Chantilly High School cheerleading competed in the State meet and finished in 3rd place. Congratulations to the team on a tremendous season including winning the District and Region and to Taylor Pham and Gia Arias who were named All-Region!

Congratulations to Chantilly High School football players Aiden Gobaira (named District Defensive Play of the Year) and Noah Kinerney for being named All-District!

In addition, defensive lineman Gobaira, the University of Notre Dame commit, was officially honored as a 2022 All-American during a virtual jersey presentation as part of the ninth episode of the Road to the Dome digital series, released on the NBC Sports YouTube channel.  Having been selected to play in the twenty-second edition of the All-American Bowl, Gobaira will play in the annual East vs. West matchup inside the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The Bowl will be nationally televised, live on NBC, and will feature the nation’s top 100 high school football players.


Lake Braddock Secondary School logo

Congratulations to the Lake Braddock Secondary School cheerleading team for earning 7th place at the State competition!

Kudos to Lake Braddock’s Photojournalism classes for earning the VHSL Col. Charles E. Savage Award for Sustained Excellence in Scholastic Journalism! This award recognizes programs that earn at least five Trophy Class awards within seven years (equivalent to State Championships). The current award honors the yearbooks between the years 2013-2019 and is the first time a LBSS journalism program has earned this honor.


South County High School logo

Claire Choe of South County High School earned the title of Champion of the USA Taekwondo Grand Slam Tournament in the minus 47-kilogram division in Colorado Springs, CO!  Watch her interview. Amazing job, Claire!


Union Mill Elementary School logo

Sixth graders at Union Mill Elementary School 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. 


2021 Northern Virginia Senior Regional Orchestra

One-hundred-three students representing eighteen Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) high schools have been named to the 2021 Northern Virginia Senior Regional Orchestra. Twenty-eight FCPS students were selected as alternates. Congratulations to the following Springfield District students:

  • Chantilly High School: Adwait Harkare, David Kang, and Sky Lan
  • Fairfax High School: Elizabeth Choi and Ian Lee
  • Lake Braddock Secondary School: Jonah Ascoli and Abrielle Robare
  • South County High School: Christine Hwang and Tessa Shields
  • TJHSST: Gabriel Ascoli and Benjamin Chang
  • West Springfield High School: Tyler Anderson, Jaelyn Do, Andrew Egerstrom, Isaac Ermarth, Angelee Kang, Margaret McDowell, and Charlotte Witzel
  • Woodson High School: Nathaniel Kurland

Read the full news release.

Family Resources

From the Healthy Minds Blog

Rams Minds Matter Creates Calm Cafe

School can be stressful...and sometimes, we all need a place to decompress. The students and staff at Robinson Secondary School definitely understand this, so their Rams Minds Matter club created the Calm Cafe! Rams Minds Matter is a part of the national organization of Our Minds Matter (OMM). This is a student-led club model in which teens are empowered to promote school-wide social connectedness, to encourage help-seeking behavior, and to develop coping skills via youth-led activities.

The Calm Cafe is a place for students to go when they need a safe, calming space. It is located in the cafeteria, which is great for students who have free time at lunch and want to relax, as well as those students who find the cafeteria environment stressful. It is currently open three days a week during all five lunches and staffed by school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers so students have someone to talk to if desired. If students would rather just hang out, the Calm Cafe has comfy chairs, calming lights, fidget toys, coloring books, motivational materials, and even OMM Self-Care Cards!

The Rams Minds Matter students worked hard to get this room up and running. They came in over the summer to paint and put up decorations. Their hard work certainly paid off as now every student at Robinson has the opportunity to take a break from the hustle and bustle of a big school and feel safe, calm, and supported.

Thank you to the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and various other donors who made this space possible. 


Let’s Get in Gear

The theme of this year's National School Psychology Week from November 8-12, 2021 is “Let’s Get in GEAR.” We grow together, we engage critical systems, and we advocate and rise together. We hope to highlight how getting in GEAR can help lead us to positive growth. Just as we continue to grow and develop as people and with our skills, sometimes with support from others, we can develop resilience beyond stressful circumstances.

Getting in GEAR together can help us set goals for growth, engage in action steps, advocate for needs, and raise our voices in discussions to create the connections necessary for students to develop critical academic and social-emotional skills. School psychologists are particularly skilled at assisting students and staff in seeing possibilities and developing positive change to thrive in school and life. 

Let’s Get in Gear at Home

There are many ways families can get in gear together. As parents and caregivers, you can: 

  • Help your children develop positive relationships with peers and adults, and model respectful, caring behaviors with others.
  • Talk to your children about their strengths and interests. What do they think they are good at? What activities are they interested in? What career path do they want to follow? 
  • Encourage goal setting and mapping out a plan for achieving the goals. Talk with your children about steps they have taken, what worked and what didn’t, and what they might do next. Explain that learning and growing require trying new things and that success comes from small steps to a long-term goal.
  • Praise attempts, as well as success, and make sure that you focus on the effort or hard work put into the success. Emphasize the importance of deliberate practice and how talent grows over time through skillful practice.
  • Help your children work through setbacks, or lack of self-confidence, by helping to identify how they can overcome a setback. As a parent, you can help children see what the small steps are and how rising above obstacles is a part of succeeding. Help your child realize that setbacks are not permanent or all-encompassing. 
  • Seek out support systems available in the community to help your children learn new skills and thrive, such as tutoring or mentoring programs.
  • Encourage your children to participate in community activities that may help them to develop positive behaviors. In particular, volunteer activities may encourage the development of positive behaviors. Consider participating in community events yourself as a role model.


About School Psychologists

School psychologists are members of school staff who support students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. School psychologists apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. This is achieved by providing direct support to students, such as individualized learning and behavioral assessments to identify students’ strengths and needs, academic and behavioral interventions, counseling, and social skills training. School psychologists also consult with teachers, families, and other educators to improve support strategies and school-wide practices and policies and are in a unique position to ensure students’ success every day, including both small and big accomplishments.

School psychologists are in every educational setting in Fairfax County Public Schools. The school psychologist in your school looks forward to working with you and other families in our community to encourage all of our children, whether at home or school, to take positive action to make our community a better place.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis, text HOME to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor, call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 911.

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:


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 - 11:30 a.m.

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


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-Tear and Four-Year
  • Career and Technical Education/Trade School
  • Gap Year
  • Military
  • Apprenticeship
  • Employment

December 9, 2021 10 a.m. - noon

Register for Postsecondary Education Considerations for Students with Disabilities


Buying A New Electronic Device for your Child? What Every Parent Needs to Know

Have you been thinking about a new phone, laptop, or gaming system purchase for your child?

This session will help parents:

  • Understand developmental factors to consider
  • How to proactively prepare and establish boundaries with your child
  • How to respond to challenges when they arise

Presented by Tammi Sisk, FCPS Instructional Technology Specialist, and Bethany Deemers, FCPS Mental Health Specialist.

Friday December 10, 2021 10 - 11:30 a.m.

Register for Buying A New Electronic Device for your Child? What Every Parent Needs to Know


Tip Sheet for Parents: Encourage Your Child to Make Responsible Choices

You want your child to learn to make responsible choices at home and at school. But constant orders and criticism can wear him or her down. Instead of commanding, encourage your child to make better choices and improvements.

Here’s how:

  • Thank him or her when they remember to do something on their own.
  • Praise him or her for effort more than outcome.
  • Recognize the hard work he or she puts into schoolwork.
  • Encourage his or her involvement in music, sports, or other activities that keep them busy. Busy, involved children need less external control than those with too much time on their hands.

Copyright 2021, the Parent Institute, a Division of PaperClip Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Get more tips for parents and other family engagement resources.


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.

In the latest episode, hear about important FCPS resources listed below. Click the hyperlinked text to go to the FCPS designated webpage. Use the resources to help you navigate the FCPS systems.

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: 


1) Search Is On Scholarship - $2,000 - 1 Award (Deadline: November 30, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

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

Applications can be found by going to: 


2) Dell Scholars Program - $20,000 - 300 Awards (Deadline: December 1, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be on track to graduate from an accredited high school in the current academic year.
  • Demonstrate a need for financial assistance.

Applications can be found by going to: 


3) Jameela Jamil x I Weigh Scholarship - $5,000 – 3 Awards (Deadline: December 2, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be 16 years of age or older and in good academic standing.
  • Be enrolled in a public, private, or parochial high school or home study program in the United States.

Applications can be found by going to: 


4) Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarships - $5,000 - 5 Awards (Deadline: December 5, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be enrolled in an accredited educational institution (kindergarten through graduate school) in the US.
  • Have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to their community by performing unpaid volunteer services.

Applications can be found by going to: 


5) Science Ambassador Scholarship - $40,000 - 1 Award (Deadline: December 13, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a high school senior or an undergraduate student.
  • Attend a school in the United States in the Fall of 2022.

Applications can be found by going to: 


6) Burger King Scholars Program - $50,000 – 10 Awards (Deadline: December 15, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Have a cumulative high school grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale, or the equivalent.
  • Plan to enroll full-time, without interruption, for the entire 2022-23 academic year at an accredited two- or four-year college, university, or vocational-technical school.

Applications can be found by going to: 


7) Senior Planning Social Work and Eldercare Scholarship - $900 – 5 Awards (Deadline: Dec. 15, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Be a High School Senior or Undergraduate with less than 90 credit hours.

Applications can be found by going to: 


8) Path to Pro Scholarship Program - $2,000 – 125 Awards (Deadline: December 31, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a high school senior, high school graduate, or have a GED equivalent.
  • Plan to enroll, or be enrolled, in an approved trade-related program at an accredited two-year school (technical/vocational school or college) in the United States.

Applications can be found by going to: 


9) CX Scholarship - $10,000 - 1 Award (Deadline: December 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 U.S. or D.C.
  • Be currently attending high school, college, vocational, or any other accredited post-secondary institution.

Applications can be found by going to: 


10) Design Thinking Scholarship - $500 - 2 Awards (Deadline: December 31, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be enrolled in a degree-granting program at an accredited two or four-year college or university located in the United States.

Applications can be found by going to: 


11) Certified Nursing Assistant Scholarship - $1,000 – 1 Award (Deadline: December 31, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be currently enrolled, accepted, or applying to be in an accredited CNA program in the United States.
  • Write an essay explaining why you have decided to become a certified nursing assistant.

Applications can be found by going to: 


12) Thiel High School Fellowship - $100,000 - 30 Awards (Deadline: December 31, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be under the age of 22.
  • Be interested in designing and building things.

Applications can be found by going to: 


13) Power of Resilience Scholarship - $1,000 – 1 Award (Deadline: December 31, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be in either high school or college (undergraduate or graduate program) and must show good academic standing with a GPA of at least 3.0.

Applications can be found by going to: 


14) CC Bank’s Young Scholars Scholarship - $2,000 – 5 Awards (Deadline: December 31, 2021)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a US resident under the age of 30.
  • Be in good academic standing and carry a minimum of a 3.0 GPA.

Applications can be found by going to: 


15) Honor a Hero Scholarship - $1,000 – 1 Award (Deadline: December 31, 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 United States residing in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia for the 2022 semester.

Applications can be found by going to: 


More Scholarship Information

College Access Fairfax (CAF) is a local non-profit committed to helping Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) students with the daunting and complex task of acquiring financial aid for post-secondary education. They help students realize their dreams for higher education through workshops, scholarships, and providing financial aid champions.  CAF offers several scholarships to Fairfax County Public School Students.  Applications are due February 15, 2022.  Click here for more information: CAF Scholarships.

What’s in a Name?

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 Cherry Run Elementary School’s name.

Picture of Cherry Run Elementary

Click above to learn more about the history of Cherry Run Elementary 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