March 2022 Newsletter

Dear Mason District Community,

It’s the end of March and as always, time seems to be moving at warp speed. As we continue to race toward the end of the school year as evidenced by the approaching end of the 3rd quarter, there is much to report to the Mason community.  

Enrollment in Fairfax County continues to grow and as of February, FCPS experienced an increase of over 2,000 students to bring enrollment numbers to 180,615 students, as compared to 178,595 in September of 2021. 

This month, parents and caregivers are asked to provide their feedback on a number of issues through various surveys. In this edition, three surveys are highlighted. First, the Mason District Middle School Survey which opens on March 25 and closes on April 15. The Family Engagement Survey opened on March 13 and will be closing on April 3. Third, an INOVA health survey which closes March 31.

As a reminder, students will be dismissed two hours early on Thursday, March 31, the last day of the third quarter. Friday, April 1, is a teacher workday and a holiday for students. April 4-8 is Spring Break. Schools and school offices will be closed. See the complete 2021-2022 school year calendar.

As you will see also in this newsletter, Mason District students continue to demonstrate their excellence in the areas of academics, music, theater, innovation and community service. Productions at Falls Church High of Mamma Mia, and of Annie Jr. at Glasgow Middle School, National Honor Ensemble recognitions, Best of Web design accolades and community service recognitions illustrate the wonderful achievements of Mason District schools and students!!!!

Please know that your voice matters!! The relentless voice of parent advocacy resulted in changes to the FCHS renovation and the engagement of Mason parents regarding sixth grade students in our middle schools.

I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me by email at If you are interested in scheduling a phone call, please reach out to my assistant, Cristy Coffey, at to arrange a time.


Middle School Grade Level Configuration - Surveys March 25th

Five information sessions were held over the past two weeks to engage the Mason District community and provide answers to questions as part of a larger effort to obtain parental perspective on the placement of grade six students in middle school. 

The videos from these meetings, as well as the Q&A posted by staff are available on the Middle School Grade Level Configuration webpage.

Surveys will be emailed in eight languages on Friday, March 25th to parents and caregivers of middle school students and elementary students who would attend, Poe, Holmes, and Glasgow Middle Schools. Parents are urged to participate in order to contribute to a true and full picture of the Mason District community’s perspective on the current middle school grade level configuration.


Falls Church HS Renovation Update 

On February 3, 2022, an update on the Falls Church High School Renovation and Additions was provided to the community. 

Following this presentation, several members of the FCHS community contacted me with concerns about the newest design and its impact on parking. I am pleased that School Board Member Karl Frisch (Providence District), who also represents FCHS, and I were able to work with staff to address the community’s parking concerns.

Additional parking will be made available as part of the FCHS renovation using the original design presented in late 2021, utilizing the space currently occupied by the practice field. FCHS will maintain three fields for school and community activities.  

The Falls Church Renovation Project will be on the agenda for action by the School Board at the April 14th regular meeting.

Online Tutoring Coming Soon!

All FCPS students will soon have unlimited access to online tutoring support services through at no cost. ESSER III Unfinished Learning Grant funds will be used to support for the school years 2022-2023 and 2023-2024.

Students can connect online any time, and in most subjects for as long as needed. Tutoring is focused instruction provided to students in a one-on-one format through voice or text chat. Tutors will focus on developing student’s strengths and capabilities in reading, mathematics, or other specified subjects. Tutoring services may be accessed before, during, or after school hours and/or on weekends through a link in Schoology. 

All tutors must pass a rigorous application process including an extensive background check. No personal information is shared between a student and tutor. All sessions are recorded and transcripts are available for review by teachers and parents/guardians. 

Students will automatically have access to the tutoring service unless a parent/guardian submits an opt-out request. All FCPS families received an email including an online tutoring services notice and opt-out information. A hard copy form will also be sent home with every student. 

For additional information, visit our online tutoring services website.

Meal Kit Distribution Change for Spring Break

meal kit

In preparation for Spring Break (April 4-8), the following plan is in place for meal kit distribution:

  • March 30: Additional meals (four days of breakfast and lunch, along with 14 days of afternoon snack and supper meals) will be served in one meal kit.
  • April 6: Meal kit distribution is canceled.
  • April 13: Regular meal kit distribution resumes.

More information and locations of the meal kit sites are available online.

Laptop Activity Reports & Technology Support

Parents and caregivers can request information about their child's activity on their FCPS laptop. Sign up to receive a weekly Parent Report from Lightspeed, FCPS’s internet content filtering service, which will provide a list of the top sites the child visited that week. For more information or a link to sign up, visit the Lightspeed Parent Report information page

Additional technology support and resources for parents, caregivers and students can be found on the Technology Support for Families website.

Amicus Brief Filed by FCPS

FCPS legal counsel recently filed an amicus brief in Christopher Seaman, ET AL. V. COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, ET AL, a case that supports keeping medically fragile students and staff  safe during the COVID pandemic and challenges the legality of SB739.

The FCPS Amicus Brief raised the constitutional concerns of the Fairfax County School Board with SB739. The brief specifically challenges the bill’s interference with the authority of local school boards to operate their school systems and challenges the imposition of an immediate effective date without the required 4/5 majority vote of the General Assembly.

Community Health Care Survey


Inova Health System is conducting an important survey to help identify our most pressing health care needs and priorities, particularly in under-resourced communities. The survey deadline is Thursday, March 31. Your input will inform ongoing efforts to deliver accessible, quality care throughout the region. Please consider taking this 4-minute, anonymous survey.

The Northern Virginia Community Health Assessment is available in nine languages.

Learn more about this initiative and successful steps taken since 2013.


Facilities Update - Mason District

The following item was approved by the Board at the March 10, 2022 School Board meeting:

Award of Contract - Chiller Replacements at Justice High School

The following items were listed as new business at the March 10, 2022 School Board meeting and are slated for Board action at the April 14, 2022 School Board meeting:

Award of Contract - Asphalt Milling and Paving at Glasgow Middle School

Award of Contract - Rooftop Unite Replacements at Weyanoke Elementary School

Award of Contract - Rooftop Unit Replacements at Columbia Elementary School

Award of Contract - Falls Church High School Renovation Project

Student Artwork Wanted for Schoology Design Challenge


Help FCPS fill in the big blue space that students, staff, and families see when they log into Schoology. FCPS is seeking talented students in any grade to participate and have their artwork considered for display.

Students can work individually or as a group designing any form of artwork that represents “How Schoology helps me learn.” Submissions are due on May 20. 

Details for this challenge and information on how students can submit their work (parent permission required) are available online.

College Success Programs

The College Success Program (CSP) is comprised of three individual programs that provide college access, readiness, and success services to students who are traditionally underrepresented on college campuses. Many, but not all, College Success Program students are the first in their family to attend college and/or do not have the financial means to attend without significant support.

The three programs that comprise the College Success Program are:

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)

The College Partnership Program (CPP)

The Early Identification Program (EIP)

These programs prepare students for the academic rigor of college course work, help students with the college application process, and provide enrichment experiences to build the resilience that is so often needed to successfully graduate.

Together, the programs offer a variety of services that include:

  • Assistance with the college application process
  • Field trips to college campuses
  • Goal setting and career exploration
  • Monitoring of academic performance
  • Tutoring

NOVA Information Sessions

High school seniors and their families are invited to learn about the opportunities and numerous services and resources designed to get connected to the NOVA Nighthawk Community. Click on a date below to register for that session. For questions, please contact 

Register for April 20, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.


Updates from the Office of Auditor General

In this issue of Audit Buzz, OAG summarizes the status of current engagements and highlights both ethical intelligence and The Green Book, also known as Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, in the Knowledge Hive.

Family Engagement Survey Closes April 3


The Family Engagement Survey will be open through April 3. Your feedback is critical in helping inform and improve FCPS’ practices to best support our students.

Participation in this survey helps 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!

School and Caregiver Engagement 

In order to increase the efficacy of school/home communication, a member of the Title I Parent Advisory Committee shared the following ideas for schools and family/caregiver engagement. Please share these ideas with your school communities, principals, parents, PTOs, and PTAs in an effort to support parent/caregiver engagement in Mason.

  • Coffee with parents - Host these events in English and Spanish and invite parents to share -- in their own language -- using post-it notes -- the ways they best want to be contacted about school activities. This feedback was then taken by school staff, discussed and digested, then put into action. 
  • Parent Engagement Survey - Using information from the parent engagement survey, creating a parent-engagement compact and writing those goals in the school's improvement plan.  
  • Going off-site - Take school leaders/teachers AND events to locations where families gather, such as parks, playgrounds, community centers or sporting events, vs inviting everyone to come to school for feedback/events.  
  • Schedule Options - Making sure there is a variety of Back to School time/date opportunities for caregivers who have different working schedules.  
  • Reminders - During the year, offer reminders to the community that Talking Points can be 1) set to whatever language the family speaks at home AND 2) used to ask questions/engage with teachers. Encouraging staff to use Talking Points to share things from school other than deadlines, lessons, fun updates, etc. 
  • One-pagers - Encourage teachers to share one-pagers on how to engage with students on topics they are learning in class, new unit overviews, how to help with homework, tips on understanding topics like  "The New Math"  
  • Translation - Ensuring that all events have translation available and that is not seen as an inconvenience or an afterthought.  
  • Home Visits - Before school starts in August, have teachers -- including special instructors, aides, etc. -- go to students' homes to introduce themselves, share forms/info on the year or materials. Quick connection, safety distanced.   Time would be shared in advance. 
  • Facilitate Transportation - Making sure if there are events at school that school/PTA can help with transit at no cost; offer ways to sign up for ride sharing 

2022 Student Peace Awards

Students from 23 Fairfax County public schools have been named recipients of the 2022 Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County, designed to recognize young people who work as peacemakers. Recipients were recognized at a reception on March 13.

The Student Peace Awards began in 2006 to encourage people to think more about peace as both a means and an end, and to recognize young people who work as peacemakers. Every year, the high schools in Fairfax County are asked to select one junior or senior, or a group of students, whose work has promoted peace. 

Congratulations to the two award recipients from the Mason District:

Jewel Coulter, Annandale High School

Justin Tetelman, Justice High School

Read about their impressive work and view the complete list of 2022 recipients.

All-National Honor Ensembles

Annually, the National Association for Music Education selects talented high school musicians from across the country for All-National Honor Ensembles.

Congratulations to Falls Church High School junior, Mariela Palencia. Mariela is one of four FCPS students selected for the 2021 All-National Honor Ensembles Mixed Choir. 

She earned her spot as a talented Soprano in this national collection of 240 vocalists. The choir engaged in virtual sessions to create a recorded performance that will premiere online this month.

Eagle Scouts

Congratulations to two Mason District residents from Troop 150 who recently achieved the rank of  Eagle Scout: 

Andrew Bryceland, 2021 graduate of Falls Church High School who is currently a student at the University of Delaware

Derek Smits, a current sophomore at Justice High School

Best of the Web Awards

Two Mason District schools were awarded the 2021 Best of the Web Awards for excellence in website content and use of web-based tools. 

Columbia Elementary School and Falls Church High School were recognized for their intentional, innovative, informative and engaging website content.


Congratulations to Columbia ES, Principal Astudillo, and Ms. Hoff! Read about the award and their recognition.


Congratulations to Falls Church HS, Principal Nowak, and Ms. Mason! Read about the award and their recognition.

Annie Jr.


Glasgow Middle School Theater Group presents Annie Jr.

April 29 - 30, 2022

Tickets on sale soon.

Mamma Mia!

mamma mia

Tickets are on sale now for the new dates for Falls Church High School Theatre’s Mamma Mia!

The new dates are April, 28 & 30 and May 1. All previously purchased tickets are transferable to the new dates.

Calendar Reminder

Calendar Reminder

As a reminder, students will be dismissed two hours early on Thursday, March 31, the last day of the third quarter. Friday, April 1, is a teacher workday and a holiday for students. April 4-8 is spring break. Schools and school offices will be closed. See the complete 2021-22 school year calendar.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

Regular School Board Meetings (Luther Jackson Middle School)

  • April 14, 2022 at 7 p.m.
  • April 28, 2022 at 7 p.m.

Work Sessions (Gatehouse Administration Center)

  • April 12, 2022 at 11 a.m.
  • April 26, 2022 at 11 a.m.

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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@MasonDistrictSB on Twitter!

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.

© Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, Virginia