December 2021 Newsletter

Dear Mason District Community,

We are approaching the end of 2021 and it has been a tumultuous year to say the least. While we continue to deal with the impact of the pandemic, the wide availability of vaccinations for children ages 5 and up and adults has significantly changed the way our community lives with COVID-19. As a speaker shared during the final Board meeting of the calendar year last Thursday, Fairfax survives! 

In regards to our schools, a silver lining to this year is that while students and staff continue to implement and adhere to mitigation protocols and acclimate to changes in procedures, pauses and quarantines, Fairfax County Public Schools have remained open. Our students are progressing academically, showing tremendous prowess on our stages, fields, gymnasiums and demonstrating resilience in the face of this on-going pandemic.  

In the weeks leading up to Winter Break, Mason District schools came together to show their school spirit, appreciation, and commitment to the community. The schools were filled with music, contests, and good cheer. Student leaders and PT(S)A/O groups held staff appreciation events, organized spirit week activities, and decorated their schools. Students tapped into their artistic side with door decorating and treat making. The events that create fellowship in our schools are returning and although some are a little different than before, our school communities came together to accomplish wonderful feats including food and gift donations to those in need. Thank you Mason District students, parents, families and staff for your efforts!!!

I wish you all an enjoyable, healthy, and restful holiday season and a Happy New Year!!


Virtual Office Hours in January

This time is reserved for Mason District residents, teachers and staff to share their ideas, questions or concerns. In January, I will be offering virtual office hours (Zoom). 15-minute blocks will be reserved by appointment.

Wednesday, January 5th

6:30 - 8:00 pm

For a reservation and link, please contact my assistant, Ms. Coffey, at

Membership Trends Clarification

The membership trends chart below was included in last month's newsletter. As some noted, there was a dramatic change in enrollment in both the Annandale and Falls Church pyramids coming into this school year. The change in membership is due to the fact that Mason Crest ES had been moved from the Annandale pyramid to the Falls Church pyramid. This update is fairly administrative in nature as Mason Crest students have not matriculated to Annandale High School, but generally attended Falls Church High School. 


Superintendent Search Update

On December 13, the School Board held a work session to discuss the Superintendent search process, timeline, and engagement opportunities. Watch the work session on the FCPS YouTube Channel.

There are many ways you can share your voice during this process. Below is a snapshot of upcoming activities:

  • Survey: GR Recruiting, the search firm handling the superintendent search, will be administering a survey. The survey will be available in multiple languages and will be a great opportunity for the FCPS community to weigh in on the most important qualities our next superintendent should possess. Look for the survey in your email inbox in the coming weeks.
  • Parent, Student, Community Focus Groups: The search firm will hold in-person focus groups with previously identified parents, students, and community members. These focus groups are tentatively scheduled for January 13, 14, and 18.


FCPS Reaffirms Commitment to Diversity in Our Libraries

Two books that were subject to a formal challenge have been deemed appropriate for high school readers following a two-month review process and will be reinstated to FCPS libraries.

The decision reaffirms FCPS’s ongoing commitment to provide diverse reading materials that reflect our student population, allowing every child an opportunity to see themselves reflected in literary characters. Both reviews concluded that the books were valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters that reflect their personal journeys.

Read more about the decision.

Winter Break Homework Expectations

I believe we are all looking forward to time to relax and enjoy being with family and friends. To ensure students take a well-deserved break, no homework will be assigned over winter break. Teachers may assign long-range assignments in the weeks ahead of the break, allowing students to practice time management skills, but no assignments should be due immediately following the break. 

Boundary Study Report

In February 2020, FCPS engaged with MGT Consulting Group to conduct an analysis of school boundary policies and additional best practices, educational research, and factors that could be considered for school boundary practices in order to refine FCPS Policy 8130: Facilities Planning, Local School Boundaries, Program Assignments, and School Closings

MGT presented their final report to the School Board at the December 14th work session. Their report includes your feedback from September’s boundary survey. Thanks to everyone in the FCPS community who participated. 

If you missed the work session, please watch the presentation for a summary of community input and results of the boundary policy study. Visit FCPS’ Boundary Policy webpage for more information.


Redistricting Information

Redistricting is a legally required process to ensure proportional representation as populations grow and shift over time. This process takes place every 10 years as a result of Census numbers.

On Dec. 7, 2021, the Board of Supervisors adopted a redistricting plan that maintains nine election districts, but shifts seven precincts to new districts, in whole or in part, including two changes involving the Mason District. The affected precincts are listed below.


While the new districts take effect immediately, they must be certified by the Virginia Attorney General. It is important to note that redistricting does not change school boundaries.

The Board of Supervisors also extended the charter of the Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC) with the mission of considering magisterial district names. This committee will report back to the Board of Supervisors by March 2022 with its recommendations.


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

FCPS Announces Proposed FY 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Program

Fairfax County Public Schools has released its proposed fiscal year (FY) 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The CIP includes an annual review of the current student membership and facilities data to determine future capital requirements for new construction, capacity enhancements, and facility renovations. 

The proposed FY 2023-2027 CIP includes a five-year membership projection set, program capacity utilization, and potential solutions to consider for schools with a capacity deficit. Future trends will depend on many factors, including the future course of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic conditions. Pandemic impacts include a decline in membership in SY 2020-2021 and SY 2021-2022. 

The School Board will hold a public hearing on the FY 2023-2027 CIP on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. at Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church. The Board has scheduled a work session on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, and will vote on the CIP at its business meeting on Thursday, February 10, 2022.

Learn more about the 2023-2027 CIP.

Recent School Board Action

Family Engagement Policy

The Board unanimously approved the Family Engagement Policy. The purpose is to establish policy that is inclusive of all families to promote effective and meaningful family-school partnerships as an essential component in supporting student success. The policy can be viewed on Board Docs.

Governance Committee Recommended Changes to the Governance Manual Regarding Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee

The Board approved the Governance Committee recommended changes to the Governance Manual regarding Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee with an amendment that added the following language to the members section A(8):

One representative residing in the City of Fairfax nominated by a majority vote of the City of Fairfax School Board, and to make all technical and conforming changes necessary for the amendment. 

FY 2022 Midyear Budget Review

The Board approved revenue and expenditure changes reflected in the FY 2022 Midyear Budget Review agenda item.

View the video of the December 16, 2021 Fairfax County School Board meeting. 

Changes to Community Participation at School Board Meetings

The School Board welcomes community members to provide comments at its regular business meetings and public hearings on school board deliberations, school-related issues or particular topics. The School Board voted unanimously to approve the recommended changes from the Public Engagement Committee, including adjustments to the submission of video content.

Expansion of Special Education Review

The Audit Committee recently recommended additional funding for the Year 2 Special Education Comprehensive Review over: (a) Stakeholder focus groups, (b) Classroom observations, (c) Extant data analysis, totaling $87,443. The School Board voted unanimously to approve the recommended modification of the Special Education Comprehensive Review Contract between Fairfax County Public Schools and American Institutes for Research (AIR).

View the video of the November 22, 2021, Fairfax County School Board meeting.

The Importance of Submitting Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications

School meals provide nourishment that allows students to excel in the classroom and to grow and thrive. This year, FCPS continues to offer no-cost meals to all students, thanks to a waiver granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

While the meals are no cost for all, it is still important for families to submit the Free and Reduced-Price Meals (FRM) application because it impacts much more than meals.

FRM applications help link families to other benefits, such as waiving fees for SAT, ACT, and AP exams as well as other school fee-based programs. Qualifying students may also have access to scholarships, classes, or services provided by agencies and organizations outside FCPS. FRM applications also help determine additional education funding for your child’s school.

Winter break is a great time to complete the FRM application. Find out more on our website.

snow day

Snow Days Will Stay in 2021-2022

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. 

We know that unanticipated weather events, or even anticipated weather events, cause operational issues. We also know that this year we are currently dealing with strained operations including significant challenges with substitute teacher shortages.

During weather events, FCPS must consider power outages, technical connection issues, and whether students even have access to devices that they may not have taken home the night before. 

Allowing five days for inclement weather events—and this may be one event, or several individual events—allows time to operationalize everything needed to continue to serve our students and families. This includes allowing for pick-up times for devices, clearing parking lots so those devices can be collected, and providing food, as well as allowing teachers time to reformat their classes for a virtual format. Please be aware that the goal is to provide food to students wherever possible during inclement weather days. 

Information on how FCPS makes weather cancellation decisions is available online

Students Can Start Their College Courses Early at NOVA

The Early Online College program at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) allows FCPS juniors or seniors the opportunity to take up to two tuition-free college courses this spring. Textbook and other course material purchases may be required. Early Online College courses begin on February 1, 2022, and end on April 25, 2022.

Minimum qualifications apply. The deadline to submit a completed application is January 14, 2022. More information is available online.


Vaccination Clinics at School Sites

More than 39% of children ages 5-11 in Fairfax County have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. There are many opportunities for children to VaxUP, including pop-up clinics just for children. Find out where the next pop-up clinic will be or look for other local vaccination opportunities on the health department’s website.

Children do not need to be an FCPS student to attend the school-located clinics. Vaccines will not be available for those 12 years and older. Children must be accompanied by a parent or another responsible adult at all community vaccination sites.

Next opportunities in Mason District schools (although you can visit any location):

Bren Mar Park ES

January 7, 2022 from 4:30 to 7:00 pm

Quarantine Update

CDC guidance allows for a reduction of the student quarantine period to seven days “when diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available.” With FCPS now offering drive-through diagnostic testing at six sites across the county, in addition to the many alternative ways to access COVID-19 testing, FCPS is now providing the option for students who have been exposed to COVID-19 to return to school and in-person activities after seven days.  

If your child is quarantined due to exposure at school, please keep them at home until one of the following quarantine periods is met:

  • Seven days of quarantine, your child remains symptom-free AND you provide both: a negative COVID-19 test (Rapid Antigen or PCR) taken on day five of quarantine or later, as well as a copy of the FCPS pause letter indicating the return to school dates; or
  • 10 days of quarantine, your child remains symptom-free AND you provide a copy of the FCPS pause letter indicating the return to school dates; or
  • 14 days of quarantine and you provide a copy of the clearance letter (SARA-Alert) from the health department. 

If your child is quarantined due to exposure outside of the school, please contact the school as soon as possible and you will receive a Return Letter for Exposures Outside of FCPS. The timeline for quarantine return begins when you alert the school. Keep your child at home until one of the following quarantine periods is met

  • Seven days of quarantine, your child remains symptom-free AND you provide both: a negative COVID-19 test (Rapid Antigen or PCR) taken on day five of quarantine or later, as well as a copy of the Return Letter for Exposures Outside of FCPS indicating the return to school dates; or
  • 10 days of quarantine, your child remains symptom-free AND you provide a copy of the Return Letter for Exposures Outside of FCPS indicating the return to school dates (you must contact your school to request the letter at the beginning of the quarantine period); or
  • 14 days of quarantine and you provide a copy of the clearance letter (SARA-Alert) from the health department. 

The above options only apply to a student returning to in-person learning and school-sponsored activities. Other organizations, such as SACC, may have different requirements for return.


FCPS’ COVID-19 Testing Program

Diagnostic Testing

All students now have access to COVID-19 drive-through diagnostic testing at locations across the county, including one in each of the FCPS school regions. Students who have COVID-19 symptoms or have been identified as a close contact to someone with COVID-19 are encouraged to test quickly to help reduce the spread of the virus. Appointments are not needed for diagnostic testing, but families do need to register in the secure online portal. A full list of locations and schedules is available on the FCPS Testing website.

Optional Screening Testing

Parents and guardians can use the secure online portal to register their unvaccinated child(ren) for optional COVID-19 screening. If you do not want your child to participate, no action is required. You will have the option to update your child’s vaccination status and/or withdraw consent for testing anytime. Student-athletes do not need to pre-register with the online portal for screening testing, they will use a separate portal provided by their school’s student activities director.

FCPS COVID-19 Testing Sites During Winter Break

FCPS COVID-19 testing sites will not be available from December 18-January 1. Testing will resume on January 3, 2022.  If needed, other local providers are available for testing and vaccinations during that time. 

Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement weather, COVID-19 testing sites will follow school schedules. If schools are closed, testing sites are closed. If schools are delayed, all testing sites will open at 10:00 a.m. 


Free COVID-19 Testing Kits Available at Fairfax County Libraries 

Fairfax County Public Library branches are distribution sites for free COVID-19 rapid antigen at-home test kits as part of a pilot program that began December 3. BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Card Home Test kits are available at each of Fairfax County Public Library’s 13 open community branches and 8 regional branches, including three in the Mason District:

Woodrow Wilson Library in Falls Church

Thomas Jefferson Library in Falls Church

George Mason Regional Library in Annandale

Quantities are limited. Neither proof of residency nor a library card is required, and the kits are free of charge.

More information on the free COVID-19 testing kits is available online.

FCCPTA Reflections Awards 2021-2022

The FCCPTA Reflections program awarded the top entries among Fairfax County schools. This year’s theme was, “I Will Change the World By…” Congratulations to the following awardees from the Mason District:

Film Production Merit Award: Adam Allache, Bailey’s ES

Music Composition Outstanding Interpretation: Ezra Mack, Bailey’s ES

Photography Award of Excellence: Kyan Keizo, Bailey’s ES

Visual Arts Outstanding Interpretation: Isabella Ellner, Weyanoke ES

All FCCPTA awardees will have their entries submitted to the NoVa District PTA Reflections program. 


Outstanding Crossing Guard Nominations are Open

Nominations are now open for Virginia's Most Outstanding Crossing Guard of 2021! Use this link to nominate your community's crossing guard. Be prepared with a photo and a short story to show why your crossing guard is the best in the business. Nominations will close on January 21, 2022

Crossing Guard Appreciation Day is celebrated on February 9, 2022.

Coaching Position Opportunities at JHS

Justice High School is in search of the below coaching positions. Please email Brian Garvey for more information. Please share this information with anyone you think may be interested. 

Assistant Boys Lacrosse

JV Head Baseball Coach

Assistant Boys Soccer

Assistant Girls Soccer

Assistant Football Coaches

Job Openings in FCPS

Make a difference in a child’s life—find your next job with FCPS! There are openings for bus drivers and substitute teachers.

More information and applications are available online:

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


Interim Chief Equity Officer 

Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand has announced that Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) continued commitment to equity will be led by Dr. Nardos King as interim chief equity officer. Dr. King, who is currently the assistant superintendent for Region 3, will take over the role from Dr. Lisa Williams, effective December 6. 

The appointment reasserts FCPS’ commitment to ensuring the work of centering equity remains at the forefront of all decisions the school division makes. 

Dr. King will serve in the interim role while the School Board conducts a search for the next superintendent. The timing will allow the next superintendent the opportunity to hire someone who meets their vision into this key leadership position.

Grace Taylor, currently the executive principal for Region 3, will serve as the interim regional assistant superintendent for Region 3 in Dr. King’s absence. Veteran principal Dale Rumberger will serve as interim executive principal for Region 3.


Facilities Update

The following items were listed as new business at the December 16th School Board meeting. Both items are slated for Board action at the January 13, 2022 School Board meeting.

  • Contract Award for the Rooftop Unit Replacements at Annandale HS
  • Contract Award for the Rooftop Unit Replacements at Poe MS

Calendar Reminder

Calendar Reminder: Winter Break

As a reminder, winter break will be held December 20-31. To help make sure you and your children have a restful break, leadership staff have asked that no homework be assigned during this time. Teachers may assign long-range assignments in the weeks ahead of the break, allowing students to practice time management skills, but no assignments will be due immediately following the break.

Classes resume on Monday, January 3, 2022. See the complete 2021-22 school year calendar

Upcoming School Board Meetings

Regular School Board Meetings (Luther Jackson Middle School)

  • January 13, 2022 at 7 p.m.
  • January 27, 2022 at 7 p.m.

Work Sessions (Gatehouse Administration Center)

  • January 11, 2022 at 11 a.m.
  • January 18, 2022 at 6 p.m.
  • January 25, 2022 at 4 p.m.

Public Hearings (Luther Jackson Middle School)

  • January 4, 2022 at 6 p.m. (CIP)
  • January 24, 2022 at 6 p.m. (Budget)

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.

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

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