Employee News - 5/18/22

2022 Retirement Ceremony participants.

Silverbrook Elementary School Principal Pamela Simpkins honors some of her favorite retirees at the FCPS retirement ceremony. From left to right, Alice Adalian (administrative assistant), Jeanne Taylor (reading specialist), Pamela Simpkins, and Kristi Wilkerson (second grade general education teacher). 

Thank you Retirees!

More than 150 FCPS retirees with more than 3,500 years of service celebrated with family, colleagues, and friends at the annual Retirement Ceremony on May 11 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. The night’s program, photos, and video are available online.  

Thank you all for your years of dedication and service to our students and community!

Michelle Reid speaking on a stage.

On Tuesday, May 17, incoming superintendent Michelle Reid, Ed.D. was joined by families, employees, and community members for a multilingual virtual town hall. Dr. Reid answered questions submitted by audience members on many topics including equity, student success, student and employee social/emotional health, and more.

Watch the highlights of the May 17 virtual town hall in this short video. The complete town hall meeting video is also available online.

Missed this event? Dr. Reid will be hosting additional engagement sessions throughout the county after her official start date on July 1. Stay informed about community engagement opportunities by visiting our website

Do Your Part: Stay Home When Sick

Do Your Part - Hold Up

FCPS has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases recently as the county has transitioned to the medium community level. Schools continue to apply layered prevention strategies to maintain a healthy work and learning environment. However, each of us has a responsibility to do our part to help keep ourselves, our students, and our colleagues safe. As we enter the final weeks of the school year, we must stay vigilant so we can all enjoy the events and milestones ahead and be ready for a relaxing and healthy summer.

Easy ways to “Do Your Part” include: staying up to date on vaccinations and boosters, considering when and where to choose to mask up, practicing good hygiene, and monitoring symptoms daily. 

It is increasingly important to stay home if you feel unwell and testing is a critical strategy to slow transmission. Visit the Fairfax County Health Department website for information about COVID testing and testing sites. At-home testing is also a good option. Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order a third round of free at-home COVID tests; visit COVID.gov for details. 

Employees who are enrolled in the FCPS Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) program can purchase at-home COVID tests through the Optum Store using FSA funds.

Mental Health Acceptance Month and Day of Action

Mental Health Acceptance Month

May is Mental Health Acceptance Month. “The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a serious toll on the mental health of children in Virginia as young people continue to face physical isolation, ongoing uncertainty, fear, and grief,” says the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (VA-AAP). “Even before the pandemic, mental health challenges facing children were of great concern, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated them.” 

Between March and October 2020, the percentage of emergency department visits for children with mental health emergencies rose by 24% for children ages 5-11 and 31% for children ages 12-17. There was also a more than 50% increase in suspected suicide attempt emergency department visits among girls ages 12-17 in early 2021 as compared to the same period in 2019. Read more in this news release from the VA-AAP. 

Mental wellness is key to student success and the pandemic has added to mental health challenges facing children of all ages. We are joining the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and pediatricians across the Commonwealth in calling attention to this issue by participating in “Wear Green Day of Action” for mental health on Friday, May 20. Join us in “Wear Green Day of Action” this Friday to call attention to this important issue. For resources to support the students in your life, visit our website.

Employee Assistance Program Webinar–Understanding Depression

Understanding depression

Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Guidance Resources, will host a timely webinar for May’s Mental Health Awareness Month.

Understanding Depression

Many people still believe that the emotional symptoms caused by depression are “not real,” and that a person should be able to shake off the symptoms. Because of these inaccurate beliefs, people with depression either may not recognize that they have a treatable disorder, or may be discouraged from seeking or staying on treatment due to feelings of shame and stigma. As a result, many people with a depressive illness never seek help. But the vast majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better. This workshop will identify the symptoms associated with depression, possible causes, and treatments.

Please click the date and time for the session you would like to register for.

Additional EAP webinar recordings on a variety of topics, from mindfulness and resiliency to communication and healthy eating, can be accessed on the Hub EAP page.

For additional information, visit Guidance Resources online, and use Web ID: FCPS, or call our 1-855-355-9097. Sign up for the EAP-Wellness newsletter to get monthly updates and announcements of Employee Wellness offerings.

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 May 9 included:

  • Virtual Cybersecurity Fundamentals Training to Be Held on July 15.
  • Help Keep Schools Healthy for All.
  • FCPS Online Classifieds Free for Employees.

Thirty Students Named National Merit Scholarship Winners

National Merit Scholarship winners

Thirty students from six Fairfax County high schools have been named winners of $2,500 scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Scholarship winners are part of a group of approximately 2,500 National Merit finalists chosen to receive scholarships in 2022 primarily financed by the NMSC. 

See who received National Merit scholarships

FCPS Earns 2022 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year–Sustained Excellence Award

Energy Star logo on a window

Fairfax County Public Schools has received the 2022 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year–Sustained Excellence award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy.  

Each year, the ENERGY STAR program honors businesses and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through superior energy achievements. ENERGY STAR award winners lead their industries in the production, sale, and adoption of energy-efficient products, homes, buildings, services, and strategies. These efforts are essential to fighting the climate crisis and protecting public health.

More information is available online.

Interested in Becoming a Special Education Teacher?

Special education teacher and student.

Virtual Information Meeting to Be Held on May 25 

FCPS is excited to announce a new tuition sharing benefit as a part of a Grow Your Own (GYO) initiative to recruit, hire, and retain special education teachers. The GYO program includes 50-50 tuition sharing through a partnership with James Madison University (JMU). This program is designed for those wishing to achieve a bachelor’s degree and is targeted to paraprofessional candidates with either an associate’s degree or with 60+ college credits, and leads to dual licensure in Accessing the General Curriculum and Accessing the Adapted Curriculum.

JMU representatives will hold a virtual meeting on May 25  from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m. to share program information along with much more on eligibility and application details. Interested employees should submit this Google Form to register for the information session (FCPS Google log-in required).

JMU will also review transcripts before the information session for any interested candidates. Candidates are encouraged to submit this Google form if you would like to request a transcript review (FCPS Google log-in required).

Summer 2022 Academy Course Catalog Now Available

FCPS is committed to continuous, sustained professional development through the summer Academy Course Program. Courses include a variety of virtual offerings based on teacher feedback and FCPS priorities, such as: 

  • Supporting Students' Social Emotional Needs.
  • Addressing Unfinished Learning.
  • Literacy (K-2).
  • Adopting Culturally Responsive Instructional Practices.
  • English Learner Instruction.
  • Engaging Families and Communities.
  • Developing Students' Portrait of a Graduate (POG) Skills.
  • Leadership/Career Development. 

All courses are designed to enhance teacher knowledge and skills. 

To promote equitable access and to minimize potential summer program conflicts, most of the Academy courses will be offered from late June until early August and will start at 3:30 p.m. or later. 

Details including course syllabus, outcomes, and assignments are available today in MyPDE. Registration opens at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24.

Visit the Academy Hub page for more information or email Academy@fcps.edu for questions.

Celebrating Efforts to Make Websites Accessible

Drawing of people standing on different countries on a globe.

Thursday, May 19, marks the 11th Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which has us thinking about digital access and inclusion. Our families and students rely on our websites to engage with the division and learning. These are essential tools for a public school system.

Equity is at the core of our mission and ensuring everyone can access the information they need is a critical component. Our students, staff, families, and community are diverse in many ways. We can provide a website experience that meets their needs. 

Individuals with visual impairments, such as blindness, low vision, or difficulty seeing colors can be assisted by screen readers. Someone with arthritis, cerebral palsy, or other motor impairments uses the keyboard to navigate rather than a trackpad or mouse. Someone with little to no hearing can be helped with captions on videos. There are even ways to make a website more accessible and safe for a person with cognitive disabilities.

Providing an accessible website experience for all users strengthens our caring culture and reaffirms our commitment to equity. Within the last few months we have:

  • Conducted routine accessibility checks of our web pages.
  • Added accessibility checks for web pages and web-based applications as part of standard workflows.
  • Updated requirements for FCPS’ online web accessibility training.

Ensuring an equitable and accessible online experience for everyone requires a daily commitment. As we honor Global Accessibility Awareness Day this week, we would like to say thank you to everyone who works with our websites for their dedication to maintaining high standards for website accessibility.

If you would like to know how to make sure your online materials are accessible, please take the time to go through the accessibility training in MyPDE

Calendar Reminder: Schools and Offices Closed on May 30 for Memorial Day Holiday

Calendar Reminder

As a reminder, all schools and offices will be closed on Monday, May 30, for the Memorial Day holiday. Classes will resume on Tuesday, May 31. See the complete 2021-22 school year calendar

Staff Staples

Note: Intranet access is required to open some of the links in this email. If you're using a mobile device or working remotely, you can connect to the intranet via the Pulse Secure VPN (Virtual Private Network). Email ITServiceDesk@fcps.edu with questions. 

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