February Newsletter

Dear Fairfax County Students, Families and Staff,

I hope you are all doing well and having a good beginning of the second semester.  While the weather has still been cold, the days are getting longer and I am looking forward to spring. The School Board has been busy working on important issues such as the superintendent search, finalizing the calendar for the next school year, considering the budget, and voting on the Capital Improvement Program. I’ve also enjoyed attending some of the concerts and shows in schools around the county. The talent of FCPS students is enormous. Who needs Broadway when we have amazing performances in our backyard?!? I’ve also appreciated the emails I’ve received from our many community members on varied topics such as the calendar, COVID protocols, winter guard, special education concerns, and many other issues. Your outreach helps me to represent you. 

I know the topic that is top of mind for many people is the continuing impact of COVID on schools, in particular our COVID safety protocols. I, like most of you, am tired of COVID, its ups and downs, wearing masks, and other restrictions. I miss the carefree nature of Pre-COVID life and even that brief moment in June of 2021 when low case numbers allowed for a taste of “normal.” And then Delta hit, and then Omicron. Fairfax County’s COVID-19 case numbers have been rapidly declining and I am so happy that we appear to be at the end of this Omicron surge but I am mindful that this virus has a way of exhausting hope, time and time again. We don’t know what the future holds and we need to be able to follow public health guidelines to protect in-person education for the twists and turns of the path ahead. 

In December, our School Board Chair sent a letter to the Governor asking for off ramps for COVID safety protocols that allow us to maintain the health and safety of all our students and staff, including our most vulnerable. We did not get a response, so FCPS leadership team worked alongside our local health officials to determine CDC-aligned off ramps. As a result, FCPS has put forward a plan to roll back some of the layered prevention strategies, including universal masking, based on community transmission data and the guidance of health experts. Read more here.  This plan is consistent with the layered prevention strategies that have helped FCPS maintain low in-person transmission rates, even through Delta and Omicron, and kept all of our schools open for in-person learning. 

I know people have different opinions. I continue to hope that people will remember that we are all one community interested in the education and well-being of our students and staff and that we can have respectful discourse, even if we have different opinions. My goal has always been to center the needs of our students and support our staff in educating our students. 

On an unrelated note, I am excited to share that a pilot project I worked on for persons with disabilities to practice police traffic stops, a program that expanded to multiple locations across the county, has now been piloted in an FCPS high school’s driver’s education course! Learning how to interact during a traffic stop is a skill that all of our young drivers could benefit from and beneficial for our officers also. Thank you to the Fairfax County Police Department, FCPS staff and students for a successful simulation. Student and staff comments to me that day were universally positive. The teacher and students will provide additional feedback to see if the simulation should be expanded to other FCPS driver education classes.

driver's ed

I hope you stay happy and healthy!

Warmest regards,


Below you will find:

  • School Board Updates
  • FCPS News, including summer CTE camps, special ed conference, and Ombudsman news
  • Community Resources, including summer programs
  • Performances 
  • Good News!

School Board News

school board


School Year 2022-2023 Calendar

22-23 calendar

The Fairfax County School Board voted to adopt a calendar for the 2022-23 school year. The first day of school will be Monday, August 22. Read a news release on the new calendar.

Important Dates:

  • Monday, August 22, 2022: First day of school.
  • November 23-25, 2022: Thanksgiving break.
  • December 19, 2022 - January 2, 2023: Winter break (remains two weeks long)
  • April 3-7, 2023: Spring break (remains one week long)


  • Veteran’s Day will be a professional work day.
  • Spring break is aligned with surrounding districts.
  • New instruction will be allowed to take place on days denoted as religious and cultural observances, or “O” days. 
  • Four observances will be student holidays:
    • Rosh Hashanah. 
    • Yom Kippur.
    • Orthodox Good Friday.
    • Diwali.

See other highlights of the 2022-23 school year calendar. Stay tuned for more information on the 2022-23 Employee Calendar. We will be sharing more on the updated use of O Days later in the spring.

Superintendent Search Update

superintendent search


As part of the development of the profile for the next superintendent, community members were asked to share thoughts in town halls, stakeholder meetings and a survey. On Monday, January 31, the School Board heard the feedback from these sessions at the Work Session. To learn more about what our community and employees shared, watch the meeting. You can also watch the Superintendent Search Town Hall meetings held for the community online. 

FCPS is conducting a nationwide search for a new superintendent to lead the school district when Superintendent Brabrand's contract expires at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

Learn more about the superintendent search on our website.

2023-27 Capital Improvement Plan Approved

During the February 10, 2022 School Board Meeting, the Board unanimously approved the FY 2023-2027 CIP, a planning and fiscal management tool used to coordinate the location, timing, and funding of capital projects over five years. 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.  

I was proud to support follow-on motions from my colleagues to direct staff to find a location for a new Western High school to alleviate overcrowding in schools in the western part of the county, as well as to improve the quality of school meals, and use additional state funds to address safety concerns in older facilities, outdoor class spaces, and provide for spaces for student wellness.  Learn more.

FCPS Staffing Levels



The School Board requested a staffing review to be completed in the fall prior to the preparation for the FY23 Proposed Budget. The review examined staffing standards for counselors, psychologists, social workers, nurses, ESOL teachers, reading/math specialists, and classroom teacher positions. It also included a multi-year plan to achieve the best practices ratios, prioritized with an equity focus. Education Resource Strategies (ERS) completed this work and shared results at a Work Session. The review showed key areas in which FCPS excels, including;

  • School-based instructional support is unique to FCPS, especially in elementary schools, where staff work directly with teachers to strengthen instruction. 
  • The Director of Student Services (DSS) role is an asset in FCPS that does not exist in peer divisions. 
  • FCPS has more counselors in secondary schools than peer divisions.
  • FCPS staffing rates are higher for psychologists and in social work than other divisions. 

Review the complete presentation or watch the meeting.

PreK-2 Devices

The School Board voted to approve the purchase of up to 43,000 devices at the total cost of $18.4 million with the local share of $2.1 million to be funded from School Board Flexibility Reserve and upon delivery file for reimbursement with the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) grant fund for $16.3M. 

The proposal includes purchasing more age-appropriate iPad devices with keyboard case for students in grades PreK and K, and standard Windows laptop devices for students in grades 1 and 2. More information can be found on Board Docs.

When staff first raised this proposal to the School Board at the November 9 Work Session, many members had concerns about how these devices would be used with our youngest learners.  We asked for more information about the instructional plans and the guardrails that would be used to make sure that these devices would be used in a way that supported instructional purposes set by the teacher.  You can see the materials that were presented to the School Board.

View the video of the January 27, 2022 Fairfax County School Board meeting. 

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • February 22 at 11am - Work Session:  ESSER Update, Community School
  • February 24 at 7pm -  Regular Meeting:  FY23 Advertised Budget
  • March 8 at 11am - Work Session:  Goal 1 and 2 Reports
  • March 10 at 7pm - Regular Meeting:  FY22 Third Quarter Budget Review

Please note, times and topics are subject to change.

Accessing Board Meetings and Materials 


Health and Safety Updates

FCPS continues to adjust health and safety measures in response to current health conditions and updated guidance from health officials. Here are the latest updates.

Roll Back Plan

While we continue to see declines in COVID cases across our community, we remain in high transmission and all current layered prevention strategies, including masking, remain in place. FCPS will implement our roll back strategy when the Fairfax County community reaches moderate transmission and remains there for 7 consecutive days.

When that happens, the following changes will go into effect:

Masking will be optional. Universal masking will only be required during high or substantial community transmission rates. There may also be times such as an outbreak, when some students and staff will be asked to wear masks during mask-optional community transmission levels to protect the public health.

FCPS employees who are not fully vaccinated or are unvaccinated will still be required to wear a mask indoors, regardless of transmission level, as outlined by the Department of Labor and Industry.

Student Screening Testing will move to a dynamic testing plan. Screening testing will be available during moderate, substantial, and high community transmission to the greatest extent practicable, in alignment with CDC guidance. Screening testing for students will not be offered during low transmission.

Contact Tracing, Isolation and Quarantine will continue. We will provide updates should the guidance change.

We may need to adjust our layered prevention strategies should the region experience a surge or widespread illness that could impact our ability to safely provide in-person instruction to our students.

Contact Tracing

The Virginia Department of Health recently announced that contract tracing in schools may be limited only to outbreaks. However, the CDC continues to recommend contact tracing, in combination with testing, wearing a well-fitting mask, and quarantine and isolation, as effective strategies to identify people with COVID-19 (cases) and to reduce transmission.

FCPS has and continues to implement CDC recommendations, to the greatest extent practicable, to prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools and to foster the continuation of in-person learning for students and staff. As a result, FCPS will continue contact tracing until further notice.

  • The FCPS Pause (Close Contact) Letter includes quarantine guidance and replaces the Fairfax County Health Department quarantine email to families.
  • The FCPS Student Quarantine Exemption and Attestation Form replaces the Fairfax County Health Department Vaccine Verification Survey.

Vaccinated, asymptomatic students may be exempt from quarantine following exposure by completing the FCPS Student Quarantine Exemption and Attestation Form. An automated email will be sent to the parent/guardian after completing the form which will serve as the student’s documentation of clearance to return to school. Hard copies of this form will be available at your school if needed.

Test-to-stay is recommended by CDC to reduce the impact of quarantine and limit school absences. FCPS is piloting test-to-stay in seven schools for students ages 5-17 who have not completed their primary vaccination series, and students 18+ who have not completed their primary vaccination series and their booster dose. These schools are:

  • South Lakes High School
  • Robinson Secondary School
  • Katherine Johnson Middle School
  • Glasgow Middle School
  • Bush Hill Elementary School
  • Bailey’s Elementary School
  • Hybla Valley Elementary School.


FCPS highly encourages all student-athletes to be vaccinated for the spring athletic season.  During the spring athletic season, student-athletes that are unvaccinated will not be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing but will be required to follow all CDC protocols pertaining to isolation and quarantine for COVID-positive persons and close contacts.

The original vaccine requirement for FCPS athletics was for winter sports due to the close proximity of certain sports and being indoors. As we transition to spring sports, our athletic activities are primarily outdoors. In addition, we are starting to see declining rates of community transmission of the virus alongside high vaccination rates among our high school students and athletes.  

Students who are unvaccinated and exposed to the virus as close contacts or become positive will miss both their sporting activities and valuable learning time in the classroom as they will need to follow the protocols for quarantine and isolation as outlined by the CDC.

Participate in Review of Elementary Language Arts Resources

language arts review


You have a unique opportunity to participate in the selection of resources for our elementary classrooms. These reviews do not happen frequently, so selected resources will be in classrooms for years and are a significant financial investment. 

Resources for elementary language arts are being reviewed through February 28. Interested individuals can review and provide feedback on digital resources online. Physical texts can be reviewed at the Willow Oaks Administrative Center in the lobby. Please ask about the books at the reception desk from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m., Monday-Friday. In-person review hours will be extended to 7 p.m. on February 3, 10, 17, and 24.  You are encouraged to review both sets of resources for the full catalog of resources under review. Learn more about the elementary language arts resource review here.


There has been plenty of conversation around the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funding during the past year and a half. If you are not familiar with ESSER III, here are a few things you should know about how it impacts student success. 

Last fall, FCPS received $188.6 million in ESSER III funding to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impacts of COVID-19 on students. ESSER III focus areas include:

  • Prevention and mitigation strategies to help keep schools open and safe for students and staff.
  • Academic intervention services, such as tutoring, after-school programs, and summer learning programs. 
  • Equity professional development to ensure our schools are welcoming and culturally responsive to all students and families.
  • Multilingual engagement to ensure information is accessible to all families.
  • Additional support for students’ social emotional needs, such as counselors, psychologists, social workers, and family liaisons.

Please provide feedback via our Online Feedback Form.   

For more information on the ESSER III grant, please watch this video and visit our website

Kindergarten Registration for 2022-23 School Year

Do you have a child at home who will be five by September 30th? Please start your registration now. If you have any neighbors with little ones, please send this information to them as well. Visit your local school website to learn how to arrange a registration appointment and learn when their Kindergarten Orientation is scheduled. Please go to our website to learn how to register your rising Kindergartener.

Mental Wellness Screener Reports

In partnership with our families, FCPS supports mental wellness (social and emotional learning and skill development) for our students. These factors are critical to students as they become successful and reflect our Portrait of a Graduate. Students have the opportunity to participate in the social emotional screener, providing valuable information about their social and emotional skills, relationships, school environment, and mood. School teams and families use this information as they work together to develop supportive school cultures. 

In the coming weeks, parents and guardians of students in grades 3-12 who participated in the fall 2021 screener will be mailed a letter with their student’s self-reported ratings. The report includes tips for understanding the ratings and discussing them with your child. We encourage you to use these screener results alongside your own current knowledge of your child and other sources of information as you develop a more complete picture of your child’s current strengths and needs. You may be in touch with your child’s school to partner on next steps as needed, as well as to learn more about the many supportive practices schools are using to support mental wellness and social emotional skill development for all students this school year.

In response to current needs, slight changes have been made to upcoming screener windows. Grades 3-12 students will be screened once more in the spring. Grades K-2 students will be screened in the winter and spring. More information about the SEL Screener is available online.

historical marker

Historical Marker Project

FCPS and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors announced the launch of their joint Historical Marker Project. The purpose of the project is to bring attention to untold or lesser known histories from Fairfax County communities. The rich history, culture, and accomplishments of these communities is often underrepresented in history books and school curriculum. The first focus of the project is Fairfax County’s Black and African American communities.

As part of the Historical Marker Project, students in grades 4-12 will focus on Portrait of a Graduate skills, such as communication and collaboration, by engaging in inquiry to recognize the voices, experiences, and achievements of Black/African Americans from Fairfax County. Students can submit suggested topics featuring a person, place, or event until March 31

More information on the Historical Marker Project is available online

Future IT and Trades Workers: Join us for Back2Fairfax 2022



Current FCPS juniors, seniors, and recent FCPS graduates considering an operational career with Fairfax County Public Schools are encouraged to join the Back2Fairfax Operational Seminar on Tuesday, February 22, from 5-8 p.m. The event will be held virtually this year.

The event is a great opportunity to network with current employees in various operational and administrative positions. Learn more about your future career during a live operational employee panel and breakout sessions on various topics including Apprenticeship 101, Computer Hardware Repair, Network Engineering, Technology Support, Trade Careers, and more.

For more information, please email Back2Fairfax@fcps.edu. 

Registration is available online.

Making Summer Plans for Students? Sign up for CTE Summer Academy or Tech Adventure Camp



Two great opportunities for students to explore their interests this summer are open for registration.

Students in grades 7-11 can dive deeper into CTE program areas, develop new skills, and explore future careers in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Summer Academy.

Students currently in grades 2-6 may participate in Tech Adventure Camp, where they will explore STEAM, culinary, health, trades, business, and marketing areas.

Space is limited, and registration is on a first-come basis until seats are filled. 

Registration and more information about the CTE Summer Academy and the Tech Adventure Camp is available online.

Office of the Ombudsman:  SY2021-2022 Q1 and Q2 Reports

The Office of the Ombudsman SY 2021-2022 Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 Reports are now available in the January 28, 2022 Brabrand Briefing. The reports include data on contacts to the Office of the Ombudsman from July 1, 2021-September 30, 2021, and from October 1, 2021-December 31, 2021, respectively. 

Questions regarding the reports can be directed to Armando Peri, Ombudsman, at ombudsman@fcps.edu or 571-423-4014.

Save the Date

FCPS Special Education Conference on March 26

FCPS’s 17th Annual Special Education Conference will be held virtually on Saturday, March 26, with a combination of synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) sessions. Registration for this free conference will begin in March. 

More information on the Special Education Conference is available online

Congratulations to the Region Outstanding Principal Winners



Each FCPS Region recently announced its Outstanding Principal and Outstanding New Principal for the year.  Congratulations and thank you to all of these amazing principals who go above and beyond to serve our students.  

Outstanding Principal

Region 1:  Kim Retzer, South Lakes HS

Region 2:  Amy Miller, Kilmer MS

Region 3:  Ann Smith, Key Center School

Region 4:  Kelly Sheers, West Springfield ES

Region 5:  Carlyn Floyd, Woodson HS

Outstanding New Principal

Region 1:  Jamie Gadley, Dranesville ES

Region 2:  Joshua DeSmyter, Shrevewood ES

Region 3:  Erica Loesch, Saratoga ES

Region 4:  Linda Peace, Keene Mill ES

Region 5:   Ellen Mukai, Brookfield ES

FCPS Cares



The FCPS CARES Program is an opportunity for parents, staff, and community members to recognize FCPS employees for going above and beyond to help others and show they care.  See the February submissions.  And submit your own story acknowledging the good work of an FCPS employee.

Community Resources

February is Black History Month

black history month


February is a time to especially focus on the history and contributions of African Americans.  One wonderful resource specific to Fairfax county is the Fairfax County Black / African American Experience project webpage. It is a joint project among Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors, Public Schools, History Commission, and Neighborhood and Community Services. The goal of the project is to capture, communicate, and preserve the Black/African American experience throughout Fairfax County’s history. I encourage you to visit and explore this site. We are fortunate to live in a wonderfully diverse community and it is especially important to understand the full history of our communities and of our country. I am glad we have a plethora of resources to draw from to study and learn. 

Fairfax County Parks 2022 Summer Registration Open

Last year more than 95% of Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) in-person camps filled up and had wait lists. With lower camp sizes still in place, plan now to guarantee a spot in your child’s favorite spring break or summer camp. Find camps for all your children in one place this summer! Please visit the FCPA Camps website to register or find a camp job.

safe community coalition

Safe Community Coalition Event”  Tips for Talking to Your Kids: Getting Past the Silent Treatment

We all want to keep current with our kids' lives, and it can be challenging to get kids to open up.  Whether it's little things like knowing how their day was or big things like raising concerns for their wellbeing, it can be hard to get the conversation flowing. 

Join local mental health professionals Mimi Weisberg and Heather Tedesco for a one-hour virtual program dedicated to family communication.  

The FREE program is open to all and the link can be found on http://mcleanscc.org/ .


Here are a few upcoming performances at FCPS schools – hope you attend one of these or another FCPS performance soon!

alice in wonderland

Robinson SS:  Alice in Wonderland #quarantine edition, February 18-20, https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15626/robinson-secondary-school-theatre

Lake Braddock SS:  The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, February 17-19, https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15623/lake-braddock-secondary-school-theatre 

LBSS play

Thomas Jefferson HSST:  The One-Act Play That Goes Wrong, February 17-19, https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15598/thomas-jefferson-high-school-theatre

Edison HS:  Disney High School Musical:  One Act Edition, March 3-5, https://www.edisontheatrecompany.org/ 

High School Musical
charlie brown

Justice HS:  You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, March 10-12, https://wolfpacktheatre.org/2021/12/16/youre-a-good-man-charlie-brown/

Good News! 


Region 1:  Congratulations to the South Lakes HS CyberPatriot team for their first place finish in the state!  https://twitter.com/southlakeshs/status/1483972251917635589 

Region 2:  Congratulations to Marshall student, Ilia Malinin, on his second place finish at the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships! I watched his performance on TV and it was AMAZING! He was also an alternate for the Beijing Olympics.  https://www.fcps.edu/blog/south-lakes-grad-makes-second-winter-olympics-appearance-marshall-junior-waits-wings#.YflaeaXv4oc.link 



Region 3:  Congratulations to the winter graduates of Bryant HS who have shown such determination and dedication!  Best wishes for a happy future!  https://twitter.com/erlomonaco/status/1491769328609345539 

Bryant graduation

Region 4:  Congratulations to the Mountain View HS Winter graduates! Read more about the stories of these hard working and resilient students:  http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2022/feb/09/your-extraordinary-efforts-helped-you-reach-day-ce/ 

Mountain View

Region 5:  Providence ES has collected 183 pounds of plastic to recycle this year!  Keep up the great work to get that plastic out of our landfills!   https://twitter.com/ProvidenceES/status/1489291249366577160 


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.

© 2022 Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, Virginia