FCPS This Week e-newsletter - May 4, 2022

Teacher Appreciation Week - student notes on a colorful plastic flower.

May 2-6 is Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week. We are so thankful for all the hard work our teachers and staff members do every day to make our schools a great place to learn and work!  

Some of our students took the time to share video messages of appreciation to teachers. Join us in celebrating FCPS' amazing, creative, and caring educators who inspire our students each day. 

Damien Ettere, Armstrong Elementary School Math Teacher: “Math Is All Around Us”

Damien Ettere, Armstrong Elementary School math teacher.

As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, we could share countless stories of FCPS teachers who are dedicated to student success. This week, we’re excited to tell you about Damien Ettere, a math teacher at Armstrong Elementary School, who is one of three finalists from Virginia for the Presidential Math and Science Teaching Awards.

The award, regarded as the nation's top honor for math and science teachers, recognizes educators who develop and implement high-quality instructional programs that improve student learning in mathematics and science. Watch this video to see how Ettere builds community and context in his classroom

Cox Education Heroes

In recognition of Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week, Cox will be honoring 10 local Cox Education Heroes with $1,000 for a classroom makeover. The nomination form will be open until May 8.

Meet the Incoming Superintendent: Dr. Reid Answers Community Questions at Live Event

Michelle Reid speaking on stage in front of a crowd.

Students, families, and staff gathered for an opportunity to get to know Dr. Michelle Reid, incoming superintendent, on Tuesday, May, 4 at Annandale High School. Dr. Reid answered audience questions on a variety of topics including equity, technology, learning loss, social/emotional health, and students with disabilities. Earlier that day, Dr. Reid met with roughly 200 FCPS students earlier in the day, during a forum held at Thoreau Middle School.

These were the first of many opportunities for the FCPS community and Dr. Reid to engage with each other over the coming weeks. Watch a recording of Tuesday’s community event to hear what Dr. Reid had to say.

Student Perspective on Dr. Reid

Michelle Reid with a group of student journalists.

Student journalists from Jackson Middle School participated in a group interview with Dr. Reid the day after she had been named the next superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools.

See what they learned about her background, qualifications, and what she hopes to accomplish as superintendent.

Save The Date: Meet the Incoming Superintendent at a Virtual Town Hall on May 17

MIchelle Reid speaking in front of a group of students.

On Tuesday, May 17, incoming superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid will join staff, families, and students for a multilingual virtual town hall, starting at 7 p.m. Dr. Reid will be hosting additional engagement sessions throughout the county after her official start date on July 1.

Monitor COVID-19 Symptoms and Stay Home When Sick

Young child in bed with a hand checking his forehead for a fever.

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) continues to monitor cases and report COVID-19 outbreaks, as outlined by the Virginia Department of Health. Currently, Fairfax County's Community Level remains low as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our layered prevention strategies are being implemented based on our COVID-19 Community Level, as recommended by the CDC.

However, FCPS has seen a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and outbreaks and parents/legal guardians are reminded of the daily health screening requirement to check their students for mild, cold-like symptoms each day, such as fever, runny nose, cough, or shortness of breath. Parents and guardians are advised to keep their students home if sick and get them tested to stop further spread from occurring. 


We continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated or boosted as soon as they are eligible. COVID-19 vaccination keeps children safely in school and childcare settings, and also while participating in sports, playdates, extracurricular activities, and other group activities. Strong community vaccination rates help keep our schools safe for in-person learning. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine or find a vaccine provider, visit the Fairfax County Health Department website.


As a reminder, students may return to school after five days of isolation if they are fever free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and symptoms are improving. As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) individuals should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of the 5-day isolation period. If individuals are unable to wear a mask when around others, they should continue to isolate for a full 10 days at home. While not required, wearing a mask while indoors is still considered an important way to protect yourself and others. Families are encouraged to discuss mask wearing as an additional layered prevention strategy.

Additional recommendations to prevent COVID-19 are available online.

Virtual Community Forum on Proposed Updates to SR&R Regulation

The Department of Special Services will be hosting a virtual meeting for FCPS families, employees, and community members regarding proposed updates to the Student Rights and Responsibilities Regulation (SR&R, R2601). Please join us via the Zoom platform virtually on Thursday, May 5, from noon-1:30 p.m. Register now.

Language interpretation will be available in Spanish. American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreting will be available by an ASL/Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) Team. Participants will have an opportunity to learn about suggested updates to the SR&R and ask questions via Zoom Chat. An online feedback form will be posted to the FCPS website later this week. We look forward to your participation—your voice matters!

More information on the virtual forum is available online.

School Board Approves FCPS Trust Policy

On Thursday, April 28, the Fairfax County School Board approved the Trust Policy, which confirms the School Board’s commitment to providing a safe and welcoming space for all students and their families by aligning Fairfax County Public Schools with Fairfax County’s Public Trust and Confidentiality Policy. This will ensure that FCPS students and families can access FCPS benefits and services without fear that information will be disclosed, directly or indirectly, to federal immigration officials.

The Trust Policy directs the superintendent to conduct all necessary preparations so that it is fully in effect for the start of the 2022-23 school year, and as much as possible for the 2022 summer school session. See the complete policy.

Nine FCPS High Schools Make Jay Mathews 2022 List of Most Challenging High Schools in the U.S.

Teacher talking to a group of students in a library.

Nine Fairfax County Public Schools high schools are listed on the Jay Mathews Challenge Index of the most demanding public schools in the country and are featured in the 2022 list of the top 300 U.S. high schools

McLean High School had the highest ranking of FCPS high schools on the list, which is based on a formula devised by Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews. The Challenge Index measures public and private high schools’ ability to challenge their students.

Seventy-Four Students Named to 2022 All-Virginia Middle School Honor Choir

Seventy-four students from Fairfax County Public Schools middle schools have been named to the 2022 All-Virginia Middle School Honor Choir. The students performed with other outstanding young vocalists from across the commonwealth on April 23. 

Students from throughout Virginia went through a rigorous audition process to compete for spots in this honor choir. Students selected for the ensemble rehearsed with nationally recognized conductors to prepare for their performance.

See who was named to the 2022 All-Virginia Middle School Honor Choir.

You’ve Got Mail: How One FCPS Elementary School is Reviving Letter Writing to Help Improve Literacy Rates

Stratford Landing reading specialist Jill Norris.

When reading specialist Jill Norris joined the staff of Stratford Landing Elementary School last August, she brought with her a love of letter writing developed from her childhood days exchanging mail with her grandmother. So when she sat down to consider ways to engage students in reading and writing, she drew inspiration from those memories.

She now has a mailbox outside her office for children to drop off hand-written letters each day, sharing everything from what they did over the weekend to their struggles with school. Learn how the letter writing activity has increased literacy rates at Stratford Landing

Cappies Review of Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical at Mount Vernon High School

Mount Vernon High School students performing Matilda the Musical.

Many FCPS high schools participate in the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Critics and Awards Program for High School Theater, otherwise known as the Cappies. The Cappies is a program through which high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. 

Check out this review of Mount Vernon High School's production of Matilda the Musical, written by Elliot Baird of Lake Braddock Secondary School.

Subscribe to the 2021-22 Fine and Performing Arts Calendar

If you enjoy high school theater, take a look at the Fine and Performing Arts calendar on our website. Individual listings for many middle and high school theater events are featured. Users can subscribe to the calendar to be notified of upcoming performances, and each event can be added to a calendar or shared on social media. See the Fine and Performing Arts calendar.

School Board Student Awards Night Scheduled for June 16

School Board logo with gavel.

As you are thinking about your summer plans, please be aware that the School Board will be holding a student awards night on Thursday, June 16. The School Board will hold the event on this date because it is after student activities and athletics conclude for the school year and the board wants to honor as many students in person as possible.

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