Employee News - 4/26/22

Kaitlin Wilson-Vogel

Kaitlin Wilson-Vogel, a learning disabilities teacher at Fairfax Villa Elementary School, celebrates with her students during a small group language arts lesson.

Save The Date: Meet the Incoming Superintendent

Dr. Michelle Reid

Dr. Reid, our incoming superintendent, is visiting FCPS next week to learn more about our schools and community. During her visit, there will be a special, in-person event for staff, families, and students on Tuesday, May 3, starting at 7 p.m. More details, including how to register and submit questions, will be shared with you directly via email in the coming days. 

On Tuesday, May 17, Dr. Reid will join staff, families, and students for a multilingual virtual town hall, starting at 7 p.m. We will share details about this event in next week’s Employee News and directly via email.

Learn more about Dr. Reid.

Draft 2022-23 Employee Calendar Now Available


The 2022-23 draft employee calendar is now available on the FCPS website.  

This calendar reflects the same work schedule lengths included in prior year employee calendars. The FY 2023 Advertised Budget includes work schedule adjustments for additional workdays of professional development for less-than-12-month employees. 

The final FY 2023 Approved Budget will be adopted by the School Board on May 26, 2022. Details of the final adjustments included in the Approved Budget may result in changes to this draft calendar. 

Changes could include earlier start dates and/or different scheduled workdays for less-than-12-month personnel work schedules and may also affect the dates of the Great Beginnings Summer Institute.

2023 Eid al Fitr Date Determination

When religious observances, such as Eid, begin at sunset, FCPS designates that evening and the following day as religious and cultural observance time. 

When the school year calendar for 2022-23 was developed, Eid was projected to begin on the evening of Friday, April 21, 2023, alleviating the need for a student holiday (the first full day would be on a Saturday). After the calendar was approved by the School Board, the Adams Center adjusted Eid to begin at sunset on Thursday, April 20, 2023. This requires Friday, April 21, 2023, to be a student holiday under our new calendar structure

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and the start of each month coincides with the birth of a new moon. These dates are regionally decided, which can lead to unexpected date changes.  

2022-23 School Calendar

In an effort to avoid drastically changing student and employee calendars, Friday, April 21, 2023, will be designated a student holiday. This will reduce the student calendar from 180 days to 179 days. April 21, 2023, will be a professional work day for all less than 12-month employees (including bus drivers, food service workers, school-based office support staff, and instructional assistants) and a regular work day for 12-month employees. Regulation 2234 will be in effect for professional development guidelines; Regulation 4817 will be in effect for employees requesting religious leave. 

The School Board has already committed to recognizing Eid as a student holiday so this administerial calendar change will not require a vote. 

A 179-day student calendar with five scheduled early release days, 15-minute required recess at the middle school, and no changes to the elementary bell schedule provides up to 12 built-in snow days for the year; therefore, this change will still meet VDOE requirements based on instructional hours instead of days. 

Future Eid Observances

If the date of Eid changes before the school year begins, the school year calendar will be revised as follows:

  • A student holiday will be observed
  • Less-than-12-month employees will report for a professional work day
  • 12-month employees will report for a regular work day

If the day for Eid changes after the school year begins, Eid will be designed as a Religious and Cultural Observance Day (“O” day) for students and all staff.

What’s on the Employee News Blog?

Employee News blog graphic

Catch up on employee news anytime, anywhere on the Employee News Blog. The Employee News weekly email newsletter will include a recap of what's on the blog so you won’t miss anything you need to know.

In case you missed it, the Employee News Blog for the week of April 18 included:

  • Check out the April Issue of the Audit Buzz
  • Updates to FCPS Health Plan ID Cards.
  • FCPS Online Classifieds Free for Employees.

Lead by Example—Be a Champion of Recognition! 

Three women talking.

Throughout the division, teams and individuals are achieving outstanding results that impact others through innovative and collaborative initiatives that support FCPS’ values and goals. Chances are you know a team or colleague that deserves to be recognized and rewarded this year. We encourage you to visit the Excellence Awards webpage and submit a nomination by Monday, May 16.

Participating in the nomination process is a great way to support FCPS’ caring culture and celebrate our premier workforce.

Celebrating FCPS’ Commitment to Environmental Stewardship

Photo collage with electric buses, Kamala Harris, Dr. Brabrand, and Michael Regan.

Fairfax County Public Schools commitment to environmental stewardship has earned praise from national leaders. Superintendent Scott Brabrand was invited to attend a special event with Vice President Kamala Harris on April 4 to highlight investments in clean and efficient school infrastructure and transportation. In addition to Dr. Brabrand attending Vice President Harris’ event, EPA Administrator Michael Regan visited Flint Hill Elementary to discuss the investment in clean school buses nationwide. 

Both events are a reflection of FCPS’ commitment to providing carbon-neutral student transportation by 2035. FCPS officially launched its first fleet of electric school buses in October 2021. The fleet is one of the largest in the U.S., transporting more than 141,000 students on more than 1,600 buses each day. 

Learn more about FCPS’ commitment to environmental stewardship.

Message of Hope: Freedom Hill Elementary School Principal Travels to Europe with Students’ Handwritten Cards for Refugees

Freedom Hill Elementary student holding up a drawing of the Ukrainian flag.

Freedom Hill Elementary School Principal Nicholas Zapdka traveled to Germany for spring break to volunteer with the Red Cross assisting Ukrainian refugees. His school community was eager to help as well with students making cards written in Ukrainian, staff members making contributions, and one teacher’s mother knitting hats.

Beyond Books: South County High Library Serves as Hub for Community Outreach

South County librarian talking with a student.

Students at South County High School use the library as more than a place to check out books. They also use it as a meeting spot to knit winter hats for the homeless, make pet blankets for animal shelters, and turn to librarians as sponsors of the Elder Outreach Club, a group formed during the pandemic to send letters to senior citizens to combat loneliness.

Celebrating the Month of the Military Child

Longfellow Middle School student Elvis and his family talk on Zoom with their father.

Elvis, a seventh-grader at Longfellow Middle School, shares his family’s story and perspective about being a military-connected student. His father serves in the U.S. Navy and is currently deployed.

During Month of the Military Child, we are celebrating our more than 14,000 military-connected students and honoring the important role they play in our school community. All month, we’ve shared the stories of some of our military-connected students and their families. Watch the full series on our website.

Congratulations to the March FCPS CARES of the Month Winners

FCPS Cares

The following employees were recognized as March FCPS CARES of the Month winners. Read about why these employees are being honored and recognize a colleague who goes above and beyond.

  • Central Office: Carrie Sarsour, Department of Human Resources. “It is difficult to pinpoint one specific experience that stands out with Carrie because every time we have asked for help from her, we have received excellent customer service and above/beyond attention to detail. Carrie has placed temporary subs to help us out when our regular shift was depleted.”
  • Region 1: Elizabeth Schires, Carson Middle School. “The formation of the Helping Minds Club, which has become a very popular after-school program, would not have been possible without the incredible support and assistance of Ms. Schires. When I first discussed the idea, Ms. Schires was very open to my idea and suggestions, and she has been amazingly hands-on in helping me contact feeder elementary schools as well as helping me set up a strong foundation so that we can expand our club.” 
  • Region 2: Courtney Wolfson, McLean High School. “Courtney Wolfson is an unquestionable asset to the McLean Category B Special Education program. She is always responsive to requests for assistance in creating positive behavior programs for the students. She always bases intervention strategies on the strengths of the students and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience of applied behavior analysis. She doesn't just give suggestions to staff, she rolls up her sleeves and demonstrates how the interactions/interventions should be implemented.” 
  • Region 3: Peter Beczkiewicz, Hayfield Secondary School. “During a busy middle school tech ed. class, Mr. B. was walking around assisting students when he noticed one student get weak in the legs and start slumping over. The student lost consciousness while he was standing up at a machine. Mr. B. quickly sprang into action, caught the student, carefully brought him to the floor, all at the same time keeping his 29 other students calm. He was able to direct a student to get help.”
  • Region 4: Amy Heiman, Nia Manoleras, Elizabeth Smith and Jaclyn Otchy, Centreville Elementary School. “It has only been 7 months since we immigrated to America and my child didn't know anything about school. He lost confidence in adapting to the United States, but he is growing and learning so fast because (these teachers) helped him in so many ways. My child has gained enough confidence to even raise his hand in class now and he has many close friends he can have fun with.”  
  • Region 5: Young Sun Huh, Woodson High School. “The Woodson Library would like to recognize the outstanding effort and support our custodian Young Sun Huh has brought to our Library service learning, HATS FOR SOME.org. Though teachers and staff will knit or crochet a hat from time to time, Ms. Young Sun Huh has crochet a hat and donated it to our program on a daily basis. To put it in numbers Ms. Young Sun Hu has made around 80 hats.”

Reminder: School Board Meeting on April 28 at 7 p.m.

School Board seal and gavel.

The School Board will hold a regular business meeting on Thursday, April 28, at 7 p.m. See the complete regular meeting agenda. The meeting can be viewed on FCPS Cable TV Channel 99 (Verizon Channel 11), the FCPS YouTube Channel, and on the FCPS website. Agenda highlights include:

  • Introduction of Dr. Sherry Wilson, assistant superintendent of Human Resources.
  • Approval of the Trust Policy.
  • Approval of 2022-23 Local Special Education Annual Plan and Report.
  • Approval of Elementary School Language Arts Basal Instructional Materials. 

If you need language interpretation or American Sign Language support for any School Board meeting, please contact the board clerk.

Interested in School Board action items? Sign up to get an update on any School Board votes the morning after the School Board meeting.

Find your School Board member and how to contact them on the School Board Members webpage.

Staff Staples

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Please email EmployeeNews@fcps.edu with potential submissions or questions. Submissions are due by 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Thank you!