May 2022 Newsletter

Mason District Community,

This week, our hearts weigh heavy given the tragic events in Uvalde, Texas at Robb Elementary School that resulted in the loss of the lives of 19 children and 3 adults. There are no words that can be expressed to fully reflect the trauma being experienced by their families and community. There are no prayers that will return or replace the smiles and light that have recently been extinguished. Along with so many, I also offer my condolences, but how many times must this scenario be replayed before a commitment for effective action is in place to effectively prevent these tragic incidents from occurring so frequently? Once again, we find ourselves in a state of anxiety, and deep concern about daily and routine activities such as attending school and grocery shopping.

Gun violence and school shootings are complicated topics that affect each of us in different ways. The following resources may be helpful as we all process Tuesday’s events:

Gun Violence Prevention

Student Safety and Wellness

I value the input I receive from the Mason Community and am happy to address questions or concerns via email or phone. 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.


Congratulations to the

Class of 2022!


I am looking forward to attending many graduation ceremonies in the coming week. I couldn’t be more proud of the resilience and determination shown by the class of 2022. They have persevered during the uncertainty and change brought on by the pandemic. They adapted, shifted, and grew. Best of luck to the Class of 2022 as they begin this new and exciting chapter!

Keeping It Green

I had a delightful opportunity a few weeks ago to join students at Justice High School to plant native species in their courtyard. This unique educational experience connected students and ecologists from Fairfax County DPWES to install several hundred plants.



2022-2023 Student School Board Representative

Michele Togbe, a junior at South County High School, has been elected by the countywide Student Advisory Council (SAC) to serve a one-year term as student representative to the Fairfax County School Board, beginning July 1. Togbe will participate in School Board meetings as a nonvoting member, filling the position currently held by Pranav Choudhary, a senior at Langley High School. She will be the 52nd student representative to the School Board. Learn more about Michele.


New Region 2 Executive Principal

The Region 2 Office has announced that Ms. Megan Vroman, current principal at Ida B. Well Middle Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, has been named the new Executive Principal of Region 2. Her official start date will be July 11, 2022.


FY 2023 Budget

Last night, the School Board adopted the FY 2023 Approved Budget.

I am very excited about some particular components, including the administrative needs-based staffing, the family liaison compensation adjustment, and the special education novice teacher support.

I realize there is more to be done to ensure that all of our employee groups are competitively compensated, including but not limited to, bus drivers, food service employees, custodians, and other support staff.

Upcoming School Board Action

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 were presented by staff at the April 26th work session. Action by the Board is scheduled for June 16th. Please review the presentation and regulation and share any feedback that you may have with me via this form

Family Life Education

The Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC) met seven times during the 2021-2022 school year. The recommendations from the committee were presented to the Board during the May 24th work session. Due to the substantive curriculum changes that were recommended by the committee, the Board chose to hold recommendations until after engaging in further study and an extended community review period in school year 2022-2023. The recommendations are available on BoardDocs. Please review this document and share any feedback that you may have with me via this form.

Safety & Security

Because of the potential for both intended and unintended threats to our schools, FCPS has focused a great deal of attention to emergency procedures and is vigilant about protecting the safety of its students and employees. 

The school division has spent considerable time and effort in planning and practicing day-to-day safety and security measures, as well as addressing the response to a major critical incident. Included among these measures are Physical Security (Locked doors, intrusion alarms, electronic door access, CCTV), Visitor Management System and Procedures, Emergency planning coordination with police, fire, and emergency management offices and Individual school crisis plans.  

Safety and security is everyone’s job. Staff, students, parents, and the community at large are reminded to incorporate safety and security awareness as routine, and to immediately report any unusual activity to the authorities.

Health and Safety

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.

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. 

A single booster dose is now authorized for children ages 5-11, at least five months after completing a primary series with the Pfizer vaccine. Learn more about scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment or find a walk-in option on the Fairfax County Health Department’s website

Middle School Grade Level Configuration

FCPS recently engaged the Mason District community in efforts to assess the position of Mason District parents/caregivers regarding the grade level configurations of the Mason middle schools. This work is in support of the School Board follow-on motion, as part of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) process in February 2021.

Engagement activities were held from March 10 to April 15, 2022, and included virtual meetings with live polling, focus groups, and a survey. The analysis of the parent/caregiver engagement is now available online. A version in Spanish is expected to be posted to the website soon. 

The findings of the report across all engagement activities include the following:

  • 42.5% of parents/caregivers prefer or strongly prefer the grades 6-8 configuration.
  • 42.4% prefer or strongly prefer the grades 7-8 configuration. 
  • Approximately 15% remained neutral in their preferences.

As outlined in the report, based on the data, FCPS staff does not have a specific recommendation for next steps at this time. Staff proposes developing follow-up plans to ensure school communities know about any next steps that may be proposed by FCPS and/or the School Board, as a result of discussion about the engagement report/follow-up motion.

Please visit the Middle School Grade Configuration webpage for more information.

Virginia Department of Education - May 2022 Report

Earlier this month, the VDOE published a report outlining their approach to education in Virginia and their plans to close existing achievement gaps. The report details the current state of Virginia’s public education and VDOE’s commitment to improvement. Seven principles represent their approach:

  1. Establish and maintain high expectations for students, schools, and ourselves.
  2. Advance parent and teacher empowerment to best serve students in partnership.
  3. Demand zero-tolerance for discrimination in education and beyond.
  4. Foster innovation in all education environments.
  5. Provide transparency and accountability, so that each child is seen and receives what they need to succeed.
  6. Ensure post-secondary readiness so that all learners can succeed in life.
  7. Protect and nurture freedom of speech and inquiry to ensure every student is taught how to think, not what to think.

See the full May 2022 report for details.


PreK & Early Head Start - Accepting Applications!

FCPS PreK and Early Head Start now accepting applications for School Year 2022-23!  PreK and Early Head Start are income eligible programs. PreK serves children ages 3 or 4 by September 30 in multiple classrooms across the county, including 11 Mason District elementary schools. 

Early Head Start, for ages 6 weeks to 2 years, is located in the Reston, Herndon and Springfield areas.

Please watch this video to learn more about the program and to see if your child may qualify. English video, Spanish video.

To Apply Online visit the PreK and EHS Application website.

More information: 703-208-7900 (English) ; 703-208-7901 (Spanish); PreK email:

Family Return to School Survey Is Coming Soon

The school division is interested in hearing from parents and caregivers about their students’ experience during this school year.  An opportunity will  be provided to offer feedback on the Family Return to School Survey which will open Tuesday, May 31, and close Friday, June 10. 

The survey,  administered by the FCPS Office of Research and Strategic Improvement, is part of the division’s continuing evaluation of the pandemic’s impact on our schools, students and families. FCPS encourages all parents/caregivers to respond to the survey and share their experiences whether positive or negative. The information provided will be used to inform  leadership about the return to five days a week of in-person instruction and support efforts to make improvements that support schools, students, and staff. The survey results will also be included in ESSER III reporting.

TJHSST WISE Club Hosts Weyanoke Students


A TJHSST student and a fifth-grader from Weyanoke ES watch as they successfully complete a chemistry experiment that led to their water bottle glowing like a lava lamp.

The Women Interested in Science and Engineering (WISE) club members at TJHSST host a group of about 20 girls from nearby Weyanoke Elementary School each Friday, with the goal of encouraging more young women to consider STEM studies and careers. Each week, the older students lead the Weyanoke fifth-graders in hands-on science projects, promoting critical thinking and problem solving, while developing friendships along the way.

Read more about this unique mentoring program.

Therapy Animals at FCPS


Teddy the mini horse at Glasgow Middle School and alpacas at Woodson High School.

Across Fairfax County Public Schools, animals are helping students lower their stress levels.  Some schools utilize ESSER III funds to help pay for therapy animal visits, while others rely on teachers to care for and feed the animals. Students of all ages agree that spending time with animals puts a smile on their face and helps them to relax. 

Read more about how a few FCPS schools are connecting students with the animals.

Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID)


I was so pleased to have participated in the AVID recertification process at Justice High School last week. The AVID team of teachers, led by Mr. Welch, facilitated an opportunity for various stakeholders to gather feedback and evaluate the program. Current students and graduates spoke extensively to the benefits of the program. Graduates presented the skills they continue to use in college such as time management, essay writing and study skills.  Justice High school maintains the largest AVID program in FCPS and the results are impressive.  

Self-Directed Online Economics and Personal Finance

Be sure to register by June 3rd, if your high school student is interested in completing the Economics and Personal Finance course requirement online during the summer.  

The course is self-directed and is only offered with a pass/fail option. Tuition discounts are available to eligible students. Find out more and register before June 3rd.

Webinar on Opioid Use Trends and Support 

Opioid overdoses are on the rise in the Fairfax Health District, which is consistent with national and state trends. 

Fairfax County Public Schools is partnering with Fairfax County Government to provide an educational webinar on substance use trends and supports June 7 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Register for the June 7 webinar

The webinar will cover topics including:

  • Most Commonly Used Substances.
  • In Depth Opioid Information.
  • Reasons Why Youth Use Substances.
  • Ways Parents Can Support their Children.
  • Available FCPS and Fairfax County Resources.
  • How to connect with Support Providers.

Language interpretation will be available in Spanish, Arabic, Amharic, and Korean. American Sign Language (ASL).  

Learn more about what you can do to help and prevent overdoses on the Healthy Minds blog.

Summer Camps and Opportunities

Summer Learning Opportunities with FCPS and Fairfax County are plentiful. See below for some of the offerings available for 2022. In addition, the FCPS Summer Learning webpage includes links to information about credit recovery, tutoring, ESOL services, ESY services, and more.


Special Needs Camps

The FCPS Parent Resource Center has compiled a wonderful 2022 Special Needs Summer Camp Guide, complete with descriptions and contact information for each camp. A pdf version of the guide can be downloaded by clicking on the sunshine image.


FCPS Summer Enrichment Programs for the Arts

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.

Tech Adventure Camp at Home - FREE!

Explore Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses from home at your own pace! This FREE resource includes activity guides and supply lists needed to create several fun projects in STEAM, cooking, health, trades, business and marketing areas. 

Students can access these guides by visiting the Enrichment Activities Google Site. Students must log in using their FCPS G Suite account (a student's ID number followed by


Teens in Action - FREE!

Teens in Action offers an engaging, healthy and affordable recreation program for youth ages 12 to 18 to learn, play and serve. Activities include team sports, games, arts and crafts, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programming, service projects, cultural field trips and much more! Free nutritious lunches and snacks are served. Admission to Teens In Action is FREE. Some activities and field trips will require a fee in order to participate. Please contact your Teens In Action location for details. Three locations in the Mason District: Bailey’s Community Center, James Lee Community Center, and Willston Community Center. More information is available on the County webpage.


Rec-PAC is a six-week, structured recreation program operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority for elementary school children. Participants enjoy activities such as fitness, indoor and outdoor games, team sports, nature, crafts, special events, talent shows and play sessions. Weekly activities incorporate character-building activities. Scholarships available for eligible students. Two locations in the Mason District: Belvedere Elementary and Woodburn Elementary. Learn more here.


CTE Summer Academy

Students are able to personalize their experience by choosing which CTE classes they will take!

CTE Summer Academy (CSA) is a weekly enrichment program that allows students to:

  • Dive deeper into Career and Technical Education (CTE) program areas
  • Encourages skill development
  • Begin career exploration

Open to rising 8th - 12th grade students. Space is limited, and registration is on a first-come basis until seats are filled. Fee waivers are available for eligible students. 


Camp Fairfax

This camp is a full-day program for  rising 1st- through 7th-grade children residing in Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax. It  features exciting opportunities in outdoor adventures, performing arts, sports and recreation, visual arts, science, technology, engineering and math exploration and much more! Several camp locations are in the Mason District! Visit the County website for more information.

English Classes

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (LCNV) has announced their summer classes. LCNV provides a beginning-level English class for adults that will be offered both morning and evening at the James Lee Community Center. Registration is in-person. See the complete schedule for registration, class dates/times, and additional locations.  

LCNV is also offering a FREE conversation class on Monday evenings at the James Lee Community Center. You must register by June 10th for this class. Details can be found at the bottom of the summer schedule.

More information about LCNV and summer classes can be found on the LCNV website.

Symposium for Early Childhood Educators


Early childhood educators and organizations involved in Virginia’s early childhood system are invited to attend the 18th Annual School Readiness Symposium on June 4th, 9-11 a.m. (virtual webinar). Register online. Presented by Fairfax Futures and Fairfax County's Office for Children.


Office of Auditor General

The latest issue of Audit Buzz includes an update on current engagements, spotlights a fraud scheme, and highlights a recent peer review.

Congratulations to Mason District Honorees

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. Congratulations to Helen, a Mason District resident!

All-Virginia Musicians

190 students from FCPS high schools were named to the 2022 All-Virginia Band, Chorus, and Orchestra. The students performed with other premier musicians from across the Commonwealth last month. Congratulations to the Mason District musicians:


Justice High School - Andre Farkas, Benjamin Loeffler, Eamon Maloney

TJHSST - Prashanth Kumaran


Annandale High School - Jessup Gravitt, Esteban Rambal-Pinero, Jasson Rodriguez-Regalado

Falls Church High School - Mariela Palencia


TJHSST - Serenna Semonsen

All-Virginia Middle School Honor Choir

Students from throughout Virginia went through a rigorous audition process to compete for spots in the 2022 All-Virginia Middle School Honor Choir. Students selected for the ensemble rehearsed with nationally recognized conductors to prepare for their performance at Fairmount Christian Church in Mechanicsville on Saturday, April 23. 

Congratulations to the Mason District students selected for this elite choir:

Glasgow Middle School - Max Hoffmann, Rahel Kassa, Lina Rosenbaum, Saron Walelign

Holmes Middle School - Lina Abu-El-Hawa, Julia Albertani, Lucine Baboyian, Sylvie Bankester

Poe Middle School - Alice Banks

Virginia FBLA State Leadership Conference

The 2022 Virginia Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) State Leadership Conference was held recently in Reston. More than 400 students from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) high schools competed in 55 events ranging from 3-D Animation and Accounting to Cyber Security, Computer Problem Solving, and Public Speaking. FBLA is the largest career and technical student organization in the world. Each year, the organization helps over 230,000 members prepare for careers in business.

Congratulations to the Mason District students who placed in the top five in their category:

Annandale High School - Marc Akl, Alman Iqbal, Adnan Masri

Edison High School - Alana Dillon, Imran Hussein, Abdi Kusata

Falls Church High School - Eric Rivera, Ngan Tang, David Truong, Megan Vo

FCPS Hispanic Leadership Alliance Scholarships

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 family to attend a postsecondary institution.

Congratulations to the scholarship recipients from the Mason District:

Falls Church High School - Nicole Claure Palaguerra, Sheila Valenzuela

Justice High School - Tracy Echais Ramos, Neida Giron Mazariegos, Keylin Reyes Amaya, Frank Saldana-Moreno

school physicals

Upcoming School Board Meetings

Regular School Board Meetings (Luther Jackson Middle School)

  • June 16, 2022 at 7 p.m.

Work Sessions (Gatehouse Administration Center)

  • June 9, 2022 at 5 p.m.
  • June 14, 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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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.

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