May Newsletter

Dear Fairfax County Students, Families and Staff,

When school ended last year with COVID numbers down and end of year celebrations that many of us feared wouldn’t happen, there was hope that this school year would be a “return to normal.” Unfortunately, COVID had other plans and the waves of COVID spikes have continued to create challenges in keeping students and staff in school.  The transition back into the building and classroom learning has created additional challenges as has the exhaustion from last year that has carried over into this year. 

Despite this, it has been gratifying to visit schools, see the learning and the happiness, appreciate the hard work of our principals and teachers who work tirelessly to support students, and engage with families at fun events. I’ve also been enjoying many opportunities to see our amazing students in action at plays, concerts and other events. Their joy in learning and connecting with each other is contagious. Even in these stress-filled times, seeing these many moments of normalcy and joy have been wonderful.

I have finished the last of my five student listening sessions – one at a high school in each FCPS region – and have very much appreciated hearing the thoughts, concerns and suggestions of our students to inform my work on behalf of all students, staff and families. There are certainly many common themes shared by our students - thoughts on advisory, mental health needs, creating a welcoming atmosphere for all, support for LGBTQIA students, concerns with Schoology, struggles to catch up academically, support for immigrant students, and much more. I have appreciated these thoughtful conversations and look forward to continuing my student listening tours and community town halls in the next school year. 

The School Board is working on many important items, including the FY23 budget and changes to our Students Rights & Responsibilities document.  Please see below for more details.  

Fairfax County is experiencing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.  Please keep children home when sick and consider wearing a mask to limit the transmission.  It’s a busy time of year for our students with testing and end-of-year celebrations and we want to make sure that kids stay healthy and can be in school and participate in these events. 

I wish you all good health and hope you are enjoying this exciting time of the school year! Congratulations to our seniors as they finish their year and celebrate with each other at prom and get ready for graduation! I look forward to attending many graduations this year to congratulate our seniors in person as they head off to college, careers, military or wherever their future takes them.

Warmest regards,


Below you will find:

School Board Updates

school board


FY23 Budget

The School Board is collaborating with the Fairfax County Government to adjust the Fiscal Year 2023 budget to ensure opportunities for affordable housing that will benefit teachers, school staff, and county employees. Learn more about this latest update in the budget process by watching the recording of the May 10 School Board Work Session.

Approval of 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

ES Language Arts Basal Instructional Materials

Staff has been notified that the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will provide a list of approved resources for evidence-based literacy instruction in the coming months. In anticipation of the VDOE approved list, FCPS will pause on the adoption of core materials and has provided recommendations for supplemental and intervention materials only at this time. These materials were presented and discussed at the School Board work session on April 26th and were adopted by the Board at the April 28th regular meeting.

Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R)

Regulation 2601, The Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R), is currently under annual review. Proposed changes for the 2022-2023 SR&R, including guidelines to articulate when personal cell phones may be used at each school level, are described in the staff presentation that was discussed at the Board’s work session on April 26th

Thank you to the many community members who attended the SR&R Forums and provided feedback forms. I know there are many thoughts and concerns regarding the newly proposed cell phone policy. I’ve been speaking to many families, students, and principals regarding this proposed policy. I know cell phones are a distraction to many students in classes and the use of unauthorized photos and videos as a form of bullying has become an increasing problem. There is a lot of research about the benefit of banning cell phones in the classroom. I am also aware that many special education students, EL students, and those with medical needs often use their cell phones for accommodations, translation and medical reminders/needs. Many students use phones for organizational or other accommodations - even if just to take pictures of lessons. 

My colleagues and I are working with staff to ensure the cell phone policy removes the distraction in the classroom and inappropriate use while ensuring students who have a documented need can access them without stigma or risk of discipline or violations of their privacy. I want to support our teachers and principals in their efforts to create a positive learning environment where students can focus on their learning, not their phones. And I know families want to be able to reach their students in case of an emergency. 

I believe cell phones are here to stay - I know I use mine for reminders, checklists, calendaring and much more. It is vital to teach our students digital literacy and digital citizenship so they learn to responsibly use cell phones.  We need to partner with families and caregivers in teaching our students these skills. 

It is also important that IEP and 504 teams are aware of these potential cell phone rule changes so they can document any cell phone access needed by a student for medical, language, or as disability accommodation. 

Action by the Board is scheduled for May 26.

Local Special Education Annual Plan

The 2022-2023 Local Special Education Annual Plan was presented to the Fairfax County Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities (ACSD) at the March 9, 2022 meeting. The plan was approved by the Board at the April 28th regular meeting.

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 chose to hold this event on this date because we wanted to wait until ALL the student activities and athletics concluded for the school year so we could honor as many students in person as possible.  

Office of Auditor General - Audit Buzz, April 2022

The April 2022 issue of Audit Buzz is available. This issue summarizes the status of current engagements, the upcoming Internal Audit Awareness Month in the Knowledge Hive, and highlights a recent peer review (i.e. "auditing the auditors") performed by Auditor General, Esther Ko. Stay up to date with OAG's current and future work by subscribing to Audit Buzz. 

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • May 24 at 1pm - Work Session: FLE Update, FY23 Budget, Advisory Committee Reports – Early Childhood, Foundation for Applied Technical Education (FATE), and Facilities Planning Advisory Council (FPAC). 
  • May 26 at 7 pm - Regular Meeting: FY23 Approved Budget, SR&R, FY23 OAG Risk Assessment and Audit Plan.
  • June 14 at 11am - Work Session:  FY23 OAG Risk Assessment and Audit Plan, Strategic Goal Reports 3 and 4.
  • June 16 at 6pm - VHSL Sport Recognitions
  • June 16 at 7pm - Regular Meeting:  FY23 OAG Risk Assessment and Audit

Please note, times and topics are subject to change. 

The work sessions and regular meetings will be broadcast live on Channel 99 (Verizon channel 11) and the FCPS website. Both will be recorded for future viewing and posted to the FCPS School Board YouTube page.

Visit the Community Participation webpage to sign up to speak at a regular meeting. Visit BoardDocs for more meeting logistics, agendas, and handouts.

FCPS News and Resources

Meet the Incoming Superintendent: Dr. Reid Community Engagements

Michelle Reid speaking on a stage.


Students, families, and staff gathered for an opportunity to get to know Dr. Michelle Reid, incoming superintendent, on Tuesday, May 3 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. View the recording.  Earlier that day, Dr. Reid met with roughly 200 FCPS students earlier in the day, during a forum held at Thoreau Middle School.  

On Tuesday, May 17, Dr. Reid 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. View the recording.

These were the first of many opportunities for the FCPS community and Dr. Reid to engage with each other.  Stay informed about community engagement opportunities and view recordings.

Monitor COVID-19 Symptoms and Stay Home When Sick

sick child


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 is medium 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.


The Code of Virginia mandates that schools cannot require universal masking without allowing the parent/legal guardian to elect for their child to not wear a face covering while on school property (to include FCPS buildings). 

Health experts agree that wearing a well-fitting mask is an excellent practice for avoiding COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. If you are immunocompromised or at high risk of severe illness, or live or have social contact with someone in this situation, speak with your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask or take additional precautions. See a full list of masking recommendations on the CDC website.

Tutor.Com Update

Get free homework help with (small)


Starting April 14, 2022, students have had unlimited access to 24/7, on-demand, online tutoring support services through at no cost to families.  Students can connect online any time, any place, and in most K-12 subjects for however long they need. Tutoring may be on-demand and/or scheduled at a time convenient for the student and/or family.  See more details

As of 5/2/22, there have been 5,001 tutoring sessions. Student feedback has been very positive, a few examples are below:

  • “This really helped cover simple topics that I missed or forgot during quarantine. I am so glad I have this and think it will help me be more confident during my SOLS.” (6th Grade Math)
  • “I have loved every tutor so far and they have all been a really big help. And helped me understand what I am working on. Overall, this service is the best. I hope you continue doing . It's really helped me destress and my grades have gone up in math and history because of it. Thank you so much.” (Math 7)
  • “I was kind of suspicious about this, and I didn't think it would help. But I'm really surprised the service was really quick and helpful, and I would definitely recommend this to others. I can't believe that this kind of help is available. You guys have no idea how much I appreciate this as someone who doesn't understand math. I mean this is REALLY REALLY REALLY good quality for something that is offered by the school for free. Thank you so much!” (High School, Geometry)

Students will have continued access for the next two years, including the summer months, as funded by the ESSER 3 Unfinished Learning Grant.  

FCPS Family Return to School Survey Is Coming Soon

Now that FCPS has transitioned back to a more typical school experience, the school division is interested in hearing from parents/caregivers about how the school year has gone for their students. You will have an opportunity to provide your feedback on our Family Return to School Survey which will open Tuesday, May 31, and close Friday, June 10. 

The survey is being administered by the FCPS Office of Research and Strategic Improvement, which provides objective research and data-based information back to the school division’s leadership. The survey is part of the office’s continuing evaluation of the pandemic’s impact on our school division. We encourage all FCPS parents/caregivers to respond to the survey and share their experiences whether positive or negative. The information you and other families provide will be used, along with other data, to inform FCPS leadership about the return to five days a week of in-person instruction, and support FCPS’ efforts to make improvements that support schools, students, and staff. It will also be included in ESSER III reporting.

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 these efforts.

FCPS also has been named a 2021 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year: Sustained Excellence, the highest honor among ENERGY STAR awards. This is the fifth consecutive year that FCPS has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy for its continued efforts to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings and facilities.  Read more.

FCPS High Schools Ranked Among the Best in Virginia and the Nation by U.S. News and World Report

Fairfax County Public Schools high schools have been ranked as some of the best high schools in Virginia and the nation according to U.S. News and World Report. The rankings evaluate more than 17,800 schools at the national, state, and local level and are based on six factors, including college readiness, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth, and graduation rates. 

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) was named the number one high school in Virginia and the United States for the fourth consecutive year, and several other FCPS high schools were ranked among the nation’s best.

Multilingual Parent Podcasts: Meet the FCPS Ombudsman and Assistant Ombudsman for Special Education

multilingual podcast


In this episode, meet Armando Peri, FCPS ombudsman, and Dawn Clements, assistant ombudsman for special education. They explain their roles and responsibilities, how they help parents navigate difficult situations, and what parents can expect when they contact the ombudsman. To contact them, call 571-423-4014 or email 

Listen and subscribe:

Educate Fairfax Inducts Inaugural Class to FCPS Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame


On Wednesday, May 4, Educate Fairfax (formerly the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools) inducted the inaugural class of eight members of the FCPS Hall of Fame, established to honor distinguished alumni of Fairfax County Public Schools.

The inductees for the FCPS Hall of Fame’s 2022 class include:

  • Elizabeth Moore Aubin (Langley High School), U.S. ambassador to Algeria.
  • Christian Burbach (Langley High School), decorated military veteran and business leader.
  • David Guernsey (Falls Church High School), business owner and non-profit leader.
  • Shea Megale (Westfield High School), an author, film director, and advocate.
  • Paul Misener (Annandale High School), business leader, engineer, and inventor.
  • Jeffrey Platenberg (West Springfield High School), assistant superintendent, FCPS Department of Facilities and Transportation.
  • Lynn Symansky (James Madison High School), an international equestrian, trainer, and Olympian.
  • Les Williams, Jr. (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology), an entrepreneur, engineer, and nonprofit leader.

Educate Fairfax is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that works to make a positive difference in the lives of FCPS students and teachers. For more information, or if you would like to donate, visit the Educate Fairfax website.

Sing, Dance, and Design With FCPS Summer Programs

IFTA and E-IFTA registration now open


All students with an interest in continuing to explore the arts are eligible for two summer enrichment programs. Registration is now open for the Elementary Institute for the Arts (E-IFTA) and Institute for the Arts (IFTA) Summer enrichment programs. 

Elementary Institute for the Arts (for rising 3rd through 6th graders) and Institute for the Arts (for rising 7th through 12th graders) will be held July 5-29 at Lake Braddock Secondary School from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Classes are offered every day related to dance, music, theater, and visual art. Both programs have fees. Waivers are available for students eligible for free and reduced-price meals.  

For more information or to register, visit the Summer Learning webpage.

May is the Month of …

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, celebrating the histories of Americans hailing from the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, and across the Asian continent. People with ancestral roots in Asia and the islands of the Pacific have been integral to the story of America. To celebrate their heritage and contributions, in 1992, May was designated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  Visit to learn more about the many contributions and achievements of individuals within this diverse and varied group.  

I am proud to be the first Asian American woman and the first Indian American to serve on the School board.  Representation matters, as does having people with diverse backgrounds and experiences at the table, especially given our multicultural community here in Fairfax County.  

Jewish American Heritage Month

Jewish American Heritage Month


May is a national month of recognition of the history of Jewish contributions to American culture, acknowledging the diverse achievement of the Jewish community in the U.S.

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Jewish Americans who helped form the fabric of American history, culture and society. Learn more here and find upcoming events.

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. For resources to support the students in your life, visit our website.

Honors and Recognitions

National Merit Scholarships

Nine FCPS students have been awarded 2022 corporate-sponsored scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The students are part of a group of more than 1,000 National Merit finalists chosen to receive scholarships financed by corporations, company foundations, and other business organizations. See who received corporate National Merit scholarships.

Thirty FCPS students have been named winners of $2,500 scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).  See the full list of these winners.

TJHSST Senior Named 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar

Helen Dunn, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), has been named a 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Dunn is one of 161 students from around the country—and one of five Virginians—selected for the honor. 

Twenty-Six Students Receive Scholarships from FCPS Hispanic Leadership Alliance

The Hispanic Leadership Alliance—a certified employee group of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) employees—presented scholarships to 26 students on Tuesday, May 3.  Scholarship recipients were recognized for leadership and mentoring skills in their educational and social activities. Candidates are committed to furthering their education while improving their communities. Each of the applicants will be the first in their families to attend a postsecondary institution.  See the list of winners.

FCPS Students Selected for 2022 All-Virginia Band, Orchestra, and Chorus

Close up of someone playing a violin.


One hundred ninety students from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) high schools have been named to the 2022 All-Virginia Band, Chorus, and Orchestra. The students performed with other premier musicians from across the state April 20-23.

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

FCPS Student Publications Win NSPA Pacemaker and CSPA Gold Crown Awards

Student journalists from four FCPS schools have been named award winners by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. See which schools received awards.

FCPS Students Take Top Honors at Virginia FBLA State Leadership Conference

Students from twelve Fairfax County public schools won first place awards at the 2022 Virginia Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) State Leadership Conference held recently in Reston. More than 90 students placed in the top four in their event and qualified to compete in the FBLA National Leadership Conference in Chicago in June. See who won FBLA state awards.

Five School Counseling Programs Awarded 2022 RAMP Designation

Five Fairfax County Public Schools school counseling programs have been recognized by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) as model programs and were awarded the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) designation for 2022 for successfully demonstrating how their comprehensive school counseling programs benefit all students. 

See which schools received the RAMP designation.

2022 Virginia History Day Competition

Students from Fairfax County Public Schools won 20 category awards in the 2022 Virginia History Day competition, held at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in Richmond, and based on the theme, “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.” Ten students won first place awards.  The top two entries in each category and age division at the state level will compete at the National History Day finals.  In addition, Jill Shull from Haycock Elementary won the Brenton S. Halsey Teaching Excellence Award, and Kathleen Stankiewicz from Langley High School won the District 5 Teacher of the Year Award.  See the full list of winners.

Good News!

Region 1:


Terraset principal, Lindsay Trout, has been named a finalist for the Washington Post Principal of the Year Award


Region 2:

Principal Nick Zapadka of Freedom Hill ES traveled to Germany over spring break to volunteer at a refugee camp for Ukrainian families fleeing the war.  While there, he hand delivered cards written by students (some in Ukrainian) and hats knitted by a teacher’s mother.  Thank you, Principal Zapdka, and the Freedom Hill community for showing care and trying to help others.  Read more.



Region 3:

“Mount Vernon Theatre Arts' cast and crew has created a spirited, energetic production, perfect for anyone who never quite felt like a prince or a princess in childhood.”  Read the full Cappies review of Mount Vernon High School’s production of Matilda the Musical

The Cappies, often called the Tony awards for high school theater, 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 newspaper and nominate their peers This culminates in a black tie awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center on June 6th! Best of luck to all the Cappies nominees. You can read more about the Cappies and see the list of this year’s award nominees here 

Region 4: 

South County HS’s Elder Outreach Club cheers up local seniors with letters, artwork and visits.  The students have sent over 1,000 letters and drawings so far!  Great work helping your community! 

Region 5: 

Chantilly Jazz had the honor of being the opening act for James Madison University’s Jazz Ensemble.  Each year, the JMU Jazz department invites one outstanding high school ensemble to play with its Jazz Ensemble on the professional caliber stage with a fantastic sound tech.  Watch the concert

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