March Newsletter

Dear Fairfax County Students, Families and Staff,

Happy March!  I hope you are all doing well, enjoying school and finding ways to connect with your school communities through arts, sports, service and more.  I have so enjoyed the FCPS plays and performances that I have recently attended.  Our students are amazing!  There are many more productions scheduled in April and I encourage you to attend one of the ones listed below or at a different FCPS school. And congratulations to our Madison High School’s girls basketball team and the Hayfield Secondary School’s boys basketball team for winning the state championships! What an incredible accomplishment for both teams!

I was happy to see more of our amazing students when I attended the Student Peace Awards Ceremony.  These awards honor peace and those students who actively work towards peace.  With all of the conflict in our world, seeing the horrors in Ukraine, and often still hearing so much anger in our community, it was a real pleasure to focus on peace and hear about the efforts of these students.  I always find time spent with our students to be an antidote when the division, negativity and conflict threaten to overwhelm.  The common thread in their work is bringing people together to better our world, bringing light and knowledge to those around them, and providing love and support to those in need. Knowledge, support, light, and love - that is how we build a world of peace, not division. If you are looking for a little light in your day, please read about this year’s winners.

Speaking of positivity, on February 24, I was honored to bring a School Board resolution with my colleague, Laura Jane Cohen, to honor the Spread the Word:  Inclusion Campaign focusing on the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.  This campaign was founded by two youth leaders in 2009 as Spread the Word to End the Word.  The campaign focused its first 10 years on addressing a particularly powerful form of exclusion: a slur based on the former medical term “mental retardation.”  In 2019, Spread the Word to End the Word became Spread the Word:  Inclusion, with a focus not just on the elimination of a hateful slur but on the creation of a new reality through grassroots action: inclusion for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I was so touched by the large turnout from our students, staff and partner organizations such as Special Olympics and Best Buddies.  You can view my full remarks and the resolution.


Resolution 2


I hope you stay healthy and are finding some joy in your everyday!

Warmest regards,


Below you will find:

  • School Board Updates
  • FCPS News
  • Summer Learning Opportunities
  • Community Resources
  • Performances 
  • Good News!

School Board News 

school board

Strategic Goal Reports:  Student Success and Caring Culture

The School Board held a Work Session on March 8 to review and discuss the strategic goal reports for the 2021–2022 school year focusing on Student Success and Caring Culture.  These reports contain a wealth of data about how our students are doing and many details about the district’s initiatives to support these goals.  Much of the data was affected by the unique conditions of the pandemic but it is always helpful to take a big picture look at our system.  I know that the more efforts we take to support a caring culture where all of our students feel welcomed and respected, the greater academic success they will have.  You can view all of the materials as well as recordings of the Goal 1 and Goal 2 discussions. 

Fiscal Year 2023 Advertised Budget

School Board logo with gavel.


The School Board has adopted the FY2023 Advertised Budget focused on student achievement and recognition of world-class educators and operational staff. 

This budget prioritizes investments that ensure all students receive the rigorous instruction and comprehensive support they need to thrive. 86% of the $3.3 billion budget goes directly to instruction. The budget includes three main areas of focus - Compensation, Opportunity and Access, and Critical Operational Needs.  Attracting and retaining the best instructional and support staff is critical to student success. The  budget includes a 4% Market Scale Adjustment (MSA) for all employees, along with a step increase for eligible employees.

The Fairfax County Executive recommended fully funding the school operating request included in the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for the 2022-23 school year (Fiscal Year 2023). 

For more information on the specifics on what this advertised budget includes and to review related work sessions, documents and other resources, click here

Community Schools

At the February 22 Work Session, the Board was provided with an overview and information on the Fairfax County Successful Children and Youth Policy Team (SCYPT) partnership between the Fairfax County government and Fairfax County Public Schools. The presentation provides an in-depth review of the Community Schools Framework, highlights existing Community Schools in FCPS, and obtains School Board input on the Community Schools site selection process.  While there is no immediate action on this framework, it is an important one for us to consider and that I will be following as we move forward.  View the presentation and read more about current FCPS Community Schools.


Staff presented an ESSER III update to the Board at the February 22 Work Session and the School Board held a Public Hearing about ESSER III at the February 24 Regular Meeting. In the fall of 2021, FCPS received Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funding to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impacts of COVID-19 on students by addressing their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. Funds are allocated for FY22, FY23, and FY24. View the updates and plan.  Each school has also submitted a plan, which has been reviewed and approved by the region and ESSER leadership teams. View the approved Fall 2021 school plans on FCPS’ website.

Apply to be Student Representative to the School Board

Each year, per FCPS Policy 1802, FCPS students have the opportunity to apply for the position of student representative to the School Board. The student representative is not a member of the School Board but serves in a nonvoting, advisory capacity, representing the interests of the students of Fairfax County Public Schools. 

Students who are currently in grades 9, 10, and 11 are eligible to apply, and they do not need to be current members of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SAC). Applications are due March 23, 2022. The application and related details can be found on the Student Representative to the School Board webpage.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • Thursday, March 24 - 7pm – Regular Meeting: FY22 Third Quarter Budget Review Vote
  • Tuesday, April 12 - 10am - Forum:  Trauma-informed School Practices
  • Tuesday, April 12 - 11am - Work Session:  FY23 Budget; Trust Policy
  • Thursday, April 14 - 6pm -  Spring Public Hearing
  • Thursday, April 14 - 7pm - Regular Meeting:  SR&R; Special Education Annual Plan
  • Tuesday, May 10 - 11am - Work Session:  FY23 Approved Budget; CTE Study Recommendations

Please note, times and topics are subject to change.

Accessing Board Meetings and Materials 


Family Engagement Survey

You recently received the FCPS Family Engagement Survey. Please participate—your feedback is critical in helping to inform and improve FCPS’ practices to best support our students.

Taking this survey will also help strengthen the partnership between your family and your school. When that partnership is strong, students can experience a range of benefits including improved school readiness, higher student achievement, and better social skills and behavior.

FCPS is partnering with independent firm K12 Insight to administer the survey, and it will be available in eight languages. For more information, please watch this short video from Superintendent Brabrand and visit the Family Engagement Survey webpage. Your voice matters!

FCPS Special Education Conference

2022 Special Education Conference graphic


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 supporting the conference's theme: Bringing our Inclusive Community Together: Affirming, Assessing, Advancing. Welcoming ceremonies, guest speakers, FCPS presentations, and an exhibit hall are included. Registration for this free conference is now open online.

Visit the Special Education Conference webpage for more information and to register

Kindergarten Registration for School Year 2022-23

Will your child turn five years old by September 30? If so, contact your child’s school to make arrangements for kindergarten enrollment. Most schools begin getting information together now for parents of incoming kindergartners, and many host an orientation or open house. All kindergarten programs are full-day and located in FCPS elementary schools. 

Check your school’s web page or contact the school directly for specific enrollment information and dates of orientation that typically occur between mid-March and the end of June. 

Get more information about kindergarten registration.

Elementary Magnet Schools Applications Accepted March 1 - April 12

Elementary magnet school program applications will be accepted beginning Tuesday, March 1. Selection for available magnet school spaces is based on a lottery. Registration for the elementary magnet school lottery closes on Tuesday, April 12, at 4 p.m.  

  • Bailey’s Primary School for the Arts and Sciences will accept lottery applications for students who will be in grades K-2 during the 2022-23 school year; 
  • Bailey’s Upper School for the Arts and Sciences will accept applications for students in grades 3 and 4.
  • Hunters Woods Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences will accept lottery applications for students who will enter grades K-5 during the 2022-23 school year.

Get more information about parent information on the magnet school lottery.

Virtual Program Ends this Year

FCPS believes that our schools are safe for all students and our students are more successful learning in person. Community health experts advise that exemptions to in-person instruction should return to pre-pandemic criteria now that school-age children are eligible for vaccination. Therefore, we will discontinue the Virtual Program after this school year. 

Homebound instruction will continue to be available for students with significant health risks that prevent them from attending school in-person as outlined in FCPS Regulation 2140. Families with concerns about returning to in-person instruction this fall should contact the Virtual Program administrators or your base school to discuss potential accommodations for your student.

Update on Substitute Recruitment and Hiring

FCPS’s goal is to continue to improve the hiring and onboarding experience for our substitute applicants, which includes reducing the overall timeline. Several updates implemented thus far include:

  • Increased the frequency of substitute orientation sessions to twice weekly
  • Redesigned the substitute orientation content to better prepare substitute candidates for assignments  
  • Redesigned the optional information session available for prospective candidates (offered once a week) placing greater emphasis on navigating the application and hiring process 
  • Created and implemented an electronic reference form to eliminate the need for letters of references (improved processing time)
  • Created an expedited hiring process for instances where schools identify a specific substitute candidate to fill an immediate need
  • Updated our Substitute webpage to highlight information related to substitute applicant requirements (changing from 60 credit hours to 30 credit hours).
  • Close monitoring of applicant hiring timelines with our online application system  

Free Fairfax County Teen Job Fairs

Fairfax County high school students looking for full-time, part-time, or seasonal job opportunities, as well as information on internships and volunteering, are invited to attend an upcoming teen job fair and resume building workshop in Fairfax County. Local businesses and agencies will be on hand to offer a range of opportunities including part-time employment, internships, and volunteer work for prospective students.

Volunteer opportunities and resume-building workshops will also be available for younger students. The next job fair will be held on Saturday, March 19, from 11 am - 1 pm at Chantilly High School. 

Student registration is free!

Three FCPS Schools Selected for 2022 First Amendment Press Freedom Award

Three Fairfax County public schools—Chantilly High School, Marshall High School, and McLean High School—are among 18 schools nationwide selected as recipients of the 2022 First Amendment Press Freedom Award. This is the eighth consecutive award for Chantilly High, the fifth consecutive award for McLean High, and the first award for Marshall High.

The award recognizes private and public high schools that actively support, teach, and protect First Amendment rights and responsibilities of students and teachers, with an emphasis on student-run media where students make all final decisions of content.

2022 Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair Is March 9-20

special education


The 2022 Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair will be held in a hybrid format and will feature winning science and engineering projects from high school students representing private and public schools in Fairfax County. 

This Science Fair will feature a combination of virtual and in-person events. This year’s schedule includes:

  • March 9-15: Virtual Category judging using zFairs.

  • March 9-17: Virtual Special Awards judging using zFairs.

  • March 19: Grand Prize nominees invited for in-person judging. Student nominees will be notified by March 17 (registered Grand Prize judges, Grand Prize nominee students, and volunteers only).

  • March 20: Hybrid Awards Ceremony (invited students and parents, and invited dignitaries. Members of the public will be able to watch via FCPS Channel 99 and by livestream.).

Get more information on the Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Schoology Contest



All FCPS students in grades PreK-12 are eligible to participate. Students may submit more than one design. Artists may work collaboratively and submit their collective work as a group or they may choose to work and submit individually. Any medium is acceptable for the original artwork. Submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. on May 20, 2022 Learn more.

Fight Hunger in Our Neighborhoods by Helping Stuff the Bus on March 19

stuff the bus

On Saturday, March 19, Stuff the Bus will be collecting non-perishable food donations at 18 locations throughout Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax. Help fight hunger and feed hope in our community by donating. For updates, including donation locations, most requested food items and more, visit the Stuff the Bus website

Summer Learning Opportunities


Summer 2022 FCPS Learning Opportunities  

FCPS offers many summer learning opportunities for students to advance academically, to sharpen their skills, to learn something new, or to participate in fun Fine Arts and Career and Technical Education camps, institutes, and academies. 

FCPS summer programs include: a Credit Recovery Academy that offers credit recovery courses; Online Campus courses; Institute for the Arts; Tech Adventure Camp and CTE Summer Academy; and Summer Learning Opportunities at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

For more information and registration details for Summer Learning Opportunities, click here.

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 waitlists. 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.

Girls Who Code Summer Program

Coding, Sisterhood, Bravery. Girls Who Code (GWC) Summer Immersion Program (SIP) is a free, live, virtual, 2-week introductory computer science course for current 9th - 11th-grade students. Learn web development with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript while getting an inside look into the tech industry through incredible company partners like EA, Pfizer, and ViacomCBS. They also have a Self Paced Program, which is a flexible computer science course for current 9th-12th grade students who prefer not to adhere to a set schedule. Learn more about both programs and apply via the GWC website.

Community Resources

Women’s Futures Month

Go visit the Smithsonian’s take on Women’s History Month – from March 5 to 27, the Arts + Industries Building’s FUTURES exhibition, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum, and Smithsonian Gardens are partnering to host the Smithsonian debut of #IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit, the largest collection of statues of women ever assembled together, to be installed on and around the National Mall. The 120 life-size 3D-printed statues are of a diverse coalition of contemporary women STEM innovators and role models leading a variety of fields, from protecting wildlife, discovering galaxies, building YouTube’s platform, to trying to cure cancer.  Read more about the exhibit and these women in STEM.


Safe Community Coalition Book Talk

Stanford dean and New York Times best-selling author, Julie Lythcott-Haims, shares her insights on parenting from 7:00-9:00 pm on Tuesday, April 26 at Temple Rodef Shalom (2100 Westmoreland St., Falls Church). The focus of Julie’s talk “Throw Out the Checklisted Childhood: Tips and Strategies for Raising Successful Kids” combines the insight from her first book How to Raise an Adult and her findings from her latest book Your Turn: How to be an Adult.  Drawing on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean, Julie highlights the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large.

This event is free to the public and is recommended for parents and young adults. Space is limited and registration is required. To register and for more information, visit their website. This program will also be livestreamed for anyone unable to attend in person. Julie’s talk will be followed by a Q&A session and a book signing afterward. 

State of the Kids:  Uniting for Youth Mental Health



As the Surgeon General has declared a mental health emergency among youth, so many of us feel powerless to help. In this age of increased depression and anxiety, how can we collectively support our younger generation in the present moment so they can grow into thriving adults?

The National PTA invites parents, students, educators, health care professionals, community leaders, and concerned citizens to take part in a national virtual conversation to chart a healthier way forward.  Following the event, you will receive a free toolkit for youth mental health support as well as a complimentary viewing of one of our films, including: Race to Nowhere, Beyond Measure, or Chasing Childhood.

Register Today!

Free Prom Dresses

Women Giving Back is a non-profit that helps women and children in crisis by distributing clothing at no cost. 

They also annually feature a Free Prom Boutique which began on February 21st. If you or anyone you know is in need of a prom dress, their doors are open! Free of charge, confidential, and open to any high school student looking for that perfect dress. No appointment is needed, MUST bring a high school ID! 

Women Giving Back accepts donations of prom dresses, shoes, NEW makeup, and jewelry! You may drop donated items off anytime in their blue donation bins OR in-person on Tuesdays 10 am - 12 pm or Thursdays 4 - 6 pm.

Good News!


Region 1: Two of our amazing teachers – David Kuhn of Langley HS and Eliot Waxman of Oakton HS – were showcased for their thoughtful instruction on the Russia/Ukraine conflict.  Thank you to both and all of our other teachers who are helping our students meet the Portrait of Graduate skill of becoming global and ethical citizens.  Read about Mr. Kuhn’s instruction and Mr. Waxman's instruction.  




Region 2:  Congratulations to TJHSST’s Sauman Das, Sameer Gabbita, Arnav Jain, and Vishal Kotha for winning the Congressional App Challenge in Virginia's 10th District! Inspired by the access to affordable healthcare in low-income and underdeveloped communities such as in India, their Ichos app offers early healthcare screening without the need for medical professionals and equipment. Read more in this article and learn more about the Icho app.

Region 3:  Congratulations to Claudia McDowell, school social worker at Lynbrook ES who has won the School Social Worker Association of America’s “America’s School Social Worker of the Year Award.”  Ms. McDowell has gone above and beyond to support the students at her school – read more about her extraordinary efforts.  Ms. McDowell will be honored at a ceremony in Chicago in April.



Region 4:  South County High School’s Elder Outreach Club was featured on Fox5 as part of the channel’s Pay it Forward coverage.  Great job reaching out to and connecting with the elders in your community!  

Region 5:  Congratulations to Willow Springs ES students Ani Nishanian and Namira Meghla for being selected as this year’s video winners of the ISRI (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries)/JASON Learning Video and Poster contest.  Their winning video was designed to inform young people about the growing problem of climate change, the importance of recycling, and actions citizens can take in their own communities.  The work of these students was selected out of over 100 submissions from across the United States and Canada. 


Mark your calendars for some of the wonderful FCPS productions that are coming up!


Region 1 – Madison HS:  The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, April 28-30.


Region 2 – Marshall HS:  A Year with Frog and Toad, April 27 - May 7.

Region 3:  West Potomac HS:  Be More Chill, April 20-April 29,


Region 4:  West Springfield HS, The Sound of Music, April 28-30; May 7-9,

Region 5 – Fairfax High School, Into the Woods, April 28-30, 


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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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