June News: Congratulations Class of 2022 and Welcome Summer!

Hello, Springfield District!

I’m so hoping your summer has gotten off to a good start and that your plans include at least a little time off! I ended the school year by attending 10 graduation/transition ceremonies. It’s such a joy to start graduation season with our ceremony to honor all of our Firefighter academy graduates. Our outstanding students exhibit incredible tenacity, strength, and dedication to make it through such a tough program. In addition to attending graduation ceremonies at Eagle Bank Arena for West Springfield HS, Woodson, Robinson, Chantilly, Lake Braddock, South County HS, and Centreville HS, I was also honored to attend the transition ceremonies at both Davis and Pulley Career Centers. I felt so fortunate that I had been able to see our students in action at their job sites earlier this year and then got to watch many of them take the next step toward independence! At each of these ceremonies, family and friends cheered and clapped to celebrate their graduates. The student speeches were outstanding and each student spoke about perseverance and lessons learned from the pandemic. Many of the students spoke about finding one’s purpose, of making an impact in the world. The Class of 2022 has certainly left behind a legacy that will be hard to match. I can’t wait to see what’s next as they take on the world outside of FCPS.

June also brought an opportunity to visit Greenbrier West ES and present them with their 50th Anniversary Resolution. I’m so fortunate to get to share GBW with my colleague, Stella Pekarsky (a former PTA President there!), and was excited for both of us to get to review new plans for their upcoming inclusive playground. Congratulations to Principal Andrew Blount, the amazing staff, and the outstanding families of GBW on celebrating 50 years!

I also had the chance of a lifetime to get to be a presenter at the Kennedy Center for our annual Cappies Awards Ceremony! The Cappies are the “Tony Awards” for our local high school students. I got to present “Lead Actor in a Female Role in a Musical”. The winner was Katie Phillips from Independence High School in her role as Mary Poppins. The nominees put on incredible performances certainly worthy of any Broadway stage. Congrats to all the nominees and winners!

This month, the Board celebrates Pride Month, Juneteenth, and Immigrant Heritage Month and many of us have had the opportunity to attend events in our community lifting up these important occasions. I am so grateful to be included and welcomed in communities I am a part of and those where I am merely a guest. Seeing our communities come together to celebrate where we are and to mourn the path it has taken to get even here has been incredibly meaningful to me. I hope you will all find time this month to learn, celebrate, and work to ensure that we continue to move forward.

Thank you again for allowing me to serve your family and this district. It is my distinct honor and privilege and one that I carry in my heart always.

Happy Summer-

Laura Jane

Photo collage of Laura Jane Cohen at Greenbriar West Elementary School, the Cappies Awards, and a Juneteenth celebration

Clockwise from top left: Juneteenth Celebration at First Baptist Church of Vienna; Greenbriar West students with Principal Blount, myself, and School Board Chair and Sully District Representative, Stella Pekarsky; and Presenting at the Cappies Awards Ceremony

 

This newsletter includes information on the following issues:


Congratulations Class of 2022!

Picture collage of graduation ceremonies

I was thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of so many Springfield District students as you ended your career in FCPS and started out on your next journey! I am so proud of all of you for your grit and perseverance during such challenging times and hope that your experiences beyond high school are well served by all you have learned in FCPS. I wish the Class of 2022 the very best in your future endeavors!


February 10, 2022 Picture of FCPS Board

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • June 28 at 5:00 p.m. - Work Session: Committee Reports; Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee (MSAOC), School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), and Human Resources Advisory Committee (HRAC)
  • June 30 at 6:00 p.m. - Educational Employees’ Supplementary Retirement System of Fairfax County (ERFC) Housekeeping Items, ERFC Appointment of Individual Trustee, ERFC Appointment/Reappointment of the Board of Trustees, Facilities and Transportation Services Authorization of Signatures in Absence of Division Superintendent, and No Change Memo
  • June 30 at 8:00 p.m. - Oath of Office: Incoming Superintendent, Dr. Michelle Reid
  • July 12 at 11:00 a.m. - Work Session: Educational Equity Policy and Controversial Issues Policy
  • July 14 at 7:00 p.m. - Regular and Annual Organizational Meeting: FY23 Office of the Auditor General (OAG) Risk Assessment and Audit Plan and Committee Charges

Please note, that 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.


School Board Work

Student Recognitions

Before the June 16 regular meeting, the Board recognized the accomplishments of FCPS’ 2021-22 Virginia High School League (VHSL) and non-VHSL state champions who were not previously recognized. Among the teams and groups recognized were:

Athletics

  • Oakton High School - Boys Cross Country and Boys Tennis
  • Robinson Secondary School - Wrestling
  • South County High School - Girls Track and Field

Activities

  • Chantilly High School - Forensics
  • Lake Braddock Secondary School - Lair Yearbook Trophy Class winner and recipient of Charles Savage Award
  • Thomas Jefferson HSST - Debate and Scholastic Bowl

Non-VHSL Activities

  • Chantilly Academy - Cyber Patriot, first place Gold Tier
  • Mount Vernon High School - Cyber Patriot, first place Gold Tier
  • Oakton High School - Brandon Victor Dixon Award for Best Musical, “The Addams Family”
  • Thomas Jefferson HSST - tjTODAY, winner of National Scholastic Press Association Newspaper Pacemaker and Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown
  • West Springfield High School - Mid-Atlantic Concert Band Festival
  • Woodson High School - Mid-Atlantic Concert Band Festival

 

Student Rights & Responsibilities

Fairfax County Public Schools' Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R, Regulation 2601) document explains expectations for student behavior and adult responses to enhance school safety and create a fair, equitable, and supportive school environment. Each year, the SR&R undergoes a review process, and the Fairfax County School Board votes on proposed changes. On June 16, the School Board approved changes to the SR&R for the 2022-23 school year. 

Key changes include:

  • Detailed information about orientation or training stakeholders including school-based administrators and staff, transportation staff, coaching staff; students; and families.
  • Adding rights to protect citizenship and immigration status from unauthorized sharing.
  • Changes to FCPS’ Acceptable Use Policy Regulation for Technology.
  • A new section on cell phones.
  • A clarification on the response to substance misuse violations.
  • A clarification on the purpose of individualized education program (IEP) meetings when students with disabilities are reassigned for disciplinary reasons following referral to the superintendent.

Cell phone usage has been a popular topic. Key highlights of related changes are below for your convenience:

  • Grades K-8: Phones must be silenced and put away for the duration of the school day.
  • Grades 9-12: Phones must be silenced and put away during all instructional periods.
  • Students are prohibited from using phones, tablets, and other mobile devices in restrooms and locker rooms unless there is a medical necessity or emergency.
  • Parents/Guardians, multi-disciplinary team members, or other persons with knowledge of students who require access to personally owned devices as an accommodation shall make requests for such accommodations through their respective multi-disciplinary team. 

FCPS believes that students learn best when expectations for behavior are clear, consistent,  fair, age-appropriate, and build on strong student-teacher relationships. Please visit the SR&R webpage for additional information.

 

Gun Policy

At the June 16 School Board Meeting I was pleased to second the motion put forth by my colleague, Mr. Frisch, to approve a policy for Safety Procedures - Gun-Free Schools and School Board Buildings and Property. The policy affirms that FCPS school zones are gun-free and deem gun-free any non-school zone building or property that the School Board owns or leases. This policy is part of the Board’s work to prioritize safety against gun violence for all FCPS students and staff.


FCPS and Community News

Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications Due This Summer

Free and Reduced-Price Meals graphic

For the past two years, the federal government has provided no-cost meals to all public school students without the need to complete the annual Free and Reduced-Price Meal application. The extension of the no-cost meals benefit to all students is expected to expire at the end of this school year, meaning families must submit an application and be approved to be eligible for free and reduced-price meals for the 2022-23 school year.

Eligible families are encouraged to submit the Free and Reduced-Price Meal application before the first day of the 2022-23 school year. The online application will be available later this summer and accessible via the FCPS homepage.

Students approved for Free and Reduced-Price Meals may qualify for additional benefits such as waived or reduced fees for instruments, uniforms, field trips, FCPS class fees, and Parktakes classes. 

Summer Meal Service

Summer meal kits will be offered on Tuesdays at several sites through August 9. Meal kits contain seven days of breakfast and lunch items packed in bulk. All meals are available at no cost to FCPS students and children 18 years of age and under. Visit our Meals for Students website for more details on pick-up locations and times. 

 

Religious and Cultural Observance Days Regulation Revised

In response to a request from the School Board, FCPS has updated its regulation related to religious and cultural observance days (“O” Days). Changes to the regulation include:

  • New material can be introduced on religious and cultural observance days provided that the content is made accessible in Schoology and teachers support absent students. 
  • Graded assignments or activities may occur as long as there are opportunities for students absent because of a religious and cultural observance to make up the assignment or activity.
  • Details are provided for days on which an observance begins at sundown (1/2 O Day).

The regulation was drafted with input from principals who were charged with making recommendations to prioritize instruction while honoring religious and cultural observances.

 

Families Will Receive Reports Throughout the Summer for Spring Assessments

Spring assessments help teachers and schools check on students’ learning and skill development. Families will access results from end-of-year assessments in different ways. For most assessments, FCPS provides custom reports to share scores with families.

Look in SIS ParentVUE for these reports by the end of July:

Watch the mail for these reports by the end of the indicated month:

Other scores come from the school or testing organization. These include Advanced Placement (AP) scores accessed through students’ College Board accounts.

Go online or contact your student's school for additional information about FCPS assessments. You can also learn how to activate a SIS ParentVUE account to access scores. Schools will mail SIS reports to families without ParentVUE accounts.

 

Preview Your Student’s Spring SOL Scores in SIS ParentVUE

Want to know how your student did on their spring SOL tests before the official report? Families can see SOL scores in the Test History section of SIS ParentVUE. To access Test History, log into your ParentVUE account using a web browser (not the app). You will see spring SOL test subjects, performance levels, and overall scores. Families will also receive an official SOL score report letter with more details by the end of July. 

Additional information about SOL assessments is available online. You can also learn more about SIS ParentVUE and how to activate your account.

 

MiFi Program Continues Over the Summer  

As of June 13, we have approximately 3,100 MiFi’s checked out to students. Those students who wish to keep the MiFi for summer learning will be able to do so. Any students that no longer need the MiFi can check it back in with their school. For the past two years, we have been able to leverage Vision and ESSER grant funding to cover the cost of the MiFi’s. The program is currently grant-funded through September 30, 2022. We have submitted an application for the third round of federal Affordable Connectivity Program funds that, if awarded, would fund the MiFi program through December of 2023.  Applications are currently being reviewed. The annual cost of the MiFi program at its current level is approximately $835K.  

The MiFi provides hotspot devices, with internet content filtering included, for safe student use. The hotspots operate off of a Verizon cellular signal and provide average download speeds of 40-60 Mbps, which easily meets the recommended minimum for HD video streaming of 18Mbps. This capability allows students to participate in virtual learning as needs arise. Each individual MiFi can accommodate up to 5 device connections, making it useful for family needs. As always, adequate cell signal reception is necessary for a strong connectivity experience. As a part of their commitment to healthy screen time habits for students, our MiFi partner Kajeet requires that MiFis have a minimum 5-hour black-out period. FCPS MiFis shut down from midnight to 5:00 a.m. each day. 

Any student that needs a MiFi for summer learning can reach out to their school administrator or TSSpec to request one.

 

Enjoy Our School Grounds this Summer

Many of you enjoy using school grounds for activities over the summer. Please keep the following in mind when using these facilities:

  • Use is allowed from dawn to dusk, except during school hours or when being used for school activities or other scheduled programs.
  • Facilities must be shared with anyone else who wishes to use them.
  • Please leave the facilities as you found them. Remove any waste or debris from the property. 

Visit our availability webpage for more information on the usage of school grounds and facilities. Community users are prohibited from having the following activities in Fairfax County Public Schools including in school buildings, on playgrounds, and fields:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Animals. Service animals are allowed. However, the user shall clean up any school grounds used by service animals participating in scheduled events.
  • Car wash
  • Drones
  • Fireworks and sparklers (except by Local Government)
  • Gas or charcoal grills
  • Illegal drugs
  • Moon bounces
  • Paintball
  • Rocket launch
  • Tobacco products or smoking devices

Visit our Community Use webpage for a full list of prohibitions and more information on reserving facilities. Groups interested in formally reserving school facilities should contact fcpscommunityuse@fcps.edu or call 571-423-2340. 

 

Picture of Dawn Clements

Dawn Clements Named as Fairfax County Public Schools Ombudsman

Dawn Clements, currently the assistant ombudsman for special education, has been named as the new ombudsman for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). Her official start date is July 1. 

Clements has been the assistant ombudsman for special education since 2019. Prior to her serving in this role, she was a procedural support liaison in the Office of Special Education Procedural Support from 2009-2019. During her tenure with FCPS, Clements has also served as a LEAD Fairfax administrative intern at Fairfax High School as well as Carl Sandburg Middle School, and as a special education department chair and teacher at Hayfield Secondary School.

In her current role in the Office of the Ombudsman, she has been able to serve as a resource and provide support to families, employees, students, and community members in partnership with the ombudsman. She has fostered many relationships, both internal and external, and has been able to build trust with all stakeholders. Clements has been instrumental in tracking and analyzing data disseminated in the quarterly Ombudsman reports as well as developing and delivering presentations to various stakeholder groups around the outreach work of the Ombudsman’s Office. Clements firmly believes that all stakeholders should be heard and valued and treated with respect. She also makes sure that each inquiry and stakeholder is viewed through the lens of equity.

Read the full news release.

 

Audit Buzz Newsletter

In the June issue of Audit Buzz, the Office of Auditor General (OAG) summarizes the status of current engagements, and spotlights the Local School Activity Funds (LSAF) audit process in the Knowledge Hive. They will take a short summer break after this newsletter, and will resume in September 2022. Stay up to date with Office of Auditor General (OAG) current and future work by subscribing to Audit Buzz. 

Prior editions of Audit Buzz are archived here on OAG's website.

Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline:

(571) 423-1333 (anonymous voicemail)

InternalAudit@fcps.edu  (email is not anonymous)

 

Support Students This Summer With the Collect for Kids School Supply Drive

To ensure that every child in the school district is prepared for school, Fairfax County Public Schools and Educate Fairfax are once again leading the Collect for Kids effort, a consortium of not-for-profit, for-profit, and government entities providing school supplies to benefit FCPS students who otherwise might go without them.   

More than 56,000 (31%) FCPS students qualify for free or reduced-price meals and struggle to afford basic necessities. Your donation will help provide the school supplies these students need to be successful at school. 

Contributions can be made online through Educate Fairfax. Donations will be used to purchase bulk school supply kits at highly discounted pricing. For more information, visit the Educate Fairfax website.

 

Student Input Needed for Fairfax County's Mental Health Programs

Deadline- June 25th

Healthy Minds Fairfax, a county initiative to increase equitable access to quality behavioral health services for children, youth, and their families, is working on putting together a plan for Fairfax County, and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church to make sure that children, youth, and their families can easily get the services and support they need to take care of their mental health. We want to understand more about your experiences with mental health, what might make your mental health worse, where you turn for help, and the things that make it easier or harder to get help.  We are gathering information through surveys and focus groups. If you are a middle or high school student interested in adding your thoughts through a youth focus group, please submit this Interest Form for Young Persons Meeting by June 25.

 

Win Prizes With the Public Library Summer Reading Adventure

The Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) summer reading program will take place from June 10 to August 12. Children, teens, and adults can sign up now on Beanstack where they can track their summer reading.

Participants will have the chance to earn prizes when they read and complete activities. There are different challenges for preschoolers, K-5 students, teens, and adults. 

Prizes will be awarded after the completion of the Summer Reading Adventure. If you don't want to use Beanstack to log your reading, paper reading logs will be available beginning June 10 online and at your local library branch. Fill out your reading log and return it to your local library by August 12 to be eligible for prizes. 

More information about the FCPL summer reading program is available online.

 

Northern Virginia's Pride Prom Is Back!

Safe Space NOVA’s Pride Prom is an opportunity for LGBTQIA+ students from throughout the region to attend a prom with pride, dress however they are most comfortable, and dance with whomever they choose without fear. Students selected “Once Upon a Prom” as their theme this year because, after a 2-year hiatus, the idea of being able to attend a prom for LGBTQIA+ students almost seemed like a fairy tale come true!

Pride Prom takes place on Friday, June 24th, from 7-11 p.m. at The St. James in Springfield, Virginia. This year, in addition to the prom itself, tickets also include access to a party with a trampoline park, virtual reality games, food, an obstacle course, climbing towers, and more! A quiet board game room with crisis counseling and sensory aids is also available. Tickets are now on sale. Find more information on their website.

 

We Speak Public Speaking Summer Workshop

We Speak is a free public speaking summer workshop for upcoming 6th - 8th graders sponsored by three Oakton High School rising senior students. At We Speak, students will learn strategies to overcome public speaking anxiety and oration techniques to engage audiences. We Speak is a great opportunity for students to practice their public speaking skills and improve their public speaking confidence to prepare for high school and higher-level classes.

Already have summer plans? Not to worry! We Speak does not require a large time commitment. We Speak will be running from June 25 to July 23 and only meets once a week on Saturdays from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. Snacks will be provided! We hope to see you this summer! Please click here for more information or contact us by email at: wespeakworkshop@gmail.com

 

Children Under 5 now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccination has now been approved for emergency use for children under ages 6 months to 5. Pfizer’s vaccine, for kids younger than 5, is one-tenth of the adult dose. Three shots are needed: the first two given three to eight weeks apart and the last at least two months later. Moderna’s is two shots, each a quarter of its adult dose, given four weeks to eight weeks apart for kids under age 6. Read for more information and find a vaccination location.

   

Families Needed to Host French High School Students July 6-29

Give the experience of an American summer to a French teen by becoming a host with Compass USA!. Host families are urgently needed. Fifteen French high school students dream of coming to Washington, D.C., and hope to discover the American way of life, integrate into the community, meet new friends and improve their English. They will arrive at Dulles International Airport on July 6 for this three-week program. 

As a host family, all you need is a spare bed, to provide three meals a day, and a willingness to welcome a student into the normal rhythm and activities of your home. Compass USA will provide sightseeing trips on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the French students and any interested host siblings. If your family has planned a vacation for July, your student can travel with you. 

Visit https://www.compass-usa.net for more information about the summer homestay program and hosting. If you are interested in hosting one of these students, please contact WTW parent, Kathleen DeCarlo, at kdecarlo@verizon.net or 703-388-6525.

 

LGBTQIA+ Pride Month graphic

LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

In June we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQIA+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQIA+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice.

In recognition of Pride Month, FCPS created a new webpage for students, staff, and community members to increase awareness about LGBTQIA+ resources and supports.

FCPS supports all students; watch this brief video to hear from those who have benefited from their inclusive school environments. View LGBTQIA+ Resources and Supports.

Visit the Smithsonian website for Pride Month events and resources.

 

Juneteenth Freedom Day graphic

Juneteenth (June 19, Observed June 20)

Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 that word of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War finally reached enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, effectively marking the end of slavery in the United States.

Visit the Smithsonian website for Juneteenth events and resources.


Springfield District Scene

Keene Mill and Orange Hunt Elementary School logos

 

Keene Mill and Orange Hunt Elementary School’s orchestra director, Ivan Hodge, received the 2022 Fairfax Arts Coalition for Education award! Bravo!

 

Chantilly Academy logo

Congratulations to Chantilly Academy for winning first place Gold Tier at the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot state competition!

Lake Braddock Bruins logo

 

Congratulations to Cadet Sonya Erickson of Lake Braddock Secondary School who received the DAR Bronze JROTC Medal!

 

Mount Vernon High School logo

Wow! Mount Vernon High School orchestra teamed up with a young composer from Arizona who flew to Northern Virginia last month to witness the world premiere of Free Fall, which she wrote especially for the students.

Read more about the collaboration. Watch a video capturing highlights of the practice and performance. 

Congratulations to Mount Vernon for winning first place Gold Tier at the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot state competition!

 

Oakton High School logo

Shout out to the Oakton High School’s Varsity Boys Tennis Team for winning the VHSL State Championship! Way to go guys!

Additionally, Oakton’s Theatre Arts Department won the Brandon Victor Dixon Award for Best Musical for their performance of “The Addams Family.” Great job!

 

Robinson Secondary School logo

Congratulations to the following Robinson Secondary School’s Antranig Kasbarian for his recognition for Outstanding Work in American History by the Daughters of the American Revolution!

 

 

South County High School logo

Wow! Congratulations to South County High School Crew for capping off a terrific season with four boats finishing in the top 20 in the country at the United States National Scholastic High School Rowing Championship! Shout out to the following rowers:

  • Alexie Van Meter - Varsity Men’s 4+ boat, 13th place
  • Kathleen Higgins, Celia Fujita, Emily Logan, Samantha Ashley, and alternate Carly Gladieux 
  • Suraya Suleman, Annabelle Logan, and Ana Gonzalez Dominguez - Girl’s Jr.-8+ boat, 8th place
  • Austin Chapman, Jae Rin Jung, Ross West,  and William Ngo - Men’s Junior Varsity 8+ boat, 14th place

Read more information about the team.

The winning continues with South County’s Women’s Track Team winning the VHSL State Championship! Way to go ladies!

 

TJHSST logo

Congratulations to Thomas Jefferson’s William Jiang for being awarded a National Merit Purdue University scholarship! He is one of fifteen FCPS students from six high schools and one of more than 2,600 finalists chosen for this award! View the full list of students.

TJ’s tjTODAY won the National Scholastic Press Association Newspaper Pacemaker award and was named the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown winner!  Fantastic!

West Springfield High School logo

 

Shout out to the West Springfield High School’s Boys and Girls Track 4x800 Relay Teams for winning the VHSL State Championship! In addition, West Springfield’s John O’Donnell claimed the state title for the individual 800! Way to go!

West Springfield Varsity Baseball’s Eric Fila displayed superior sportsmanship after the team’s tough loss to Herndon High School in the state championship playoffs. Despite the defeat, Eric, the team’s catcher, immediately turned to shake the umpire's hand and has become a viral sensation for doing so. I’m so proud of Eric and the entire West Springfield Varsity Baseball team! Read more in this Washington Post article. #MakeEricFilaFamous

Congratulations to West Springfield’s band for participating in the Mid-Atlantic Concert Band Festival!

 

Woodson High School logo

 

Woodson High School’s band participated in the Mid-Atlantic Concert Band Festival. Great job!

 

 

2022 Cappies Gala Honors Excellence in High School Theater

The Cappies of the National Capital area held its annual awards gala honoring excellence in high school theater on June 6 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Congratulations to the following Springfield District students who brought home awards!

Lake Braddock Secondary School’s “The Heidi Chronicles”

  • Liesl Winternitz - Lead Actor in a Female Role

Robinson Secondary School’s “Head Over Heels”

  • Katie Eagan and Haley Novotny - Lighting
  • Jessica Boalick, Andy Lawrence, and Ella Patterson - Costumes

South County High School’s “Puffs (Two Act Edition for Young Wizards)”

  • Dominique Monette - Stage Management

Read the full list of winners.

 

FCPS Honors Recognizes 2022 Outstanding Employees

Picture of Dr. Brabrand and staff at FCPS Honors

Exceptional employees from across Fairfax County Public Schools were recognized at the FCPS Honors event held Wednesday, June 8. Sponsored by Educate Fairfax, the 2022 celebration was hosted at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts. 

Annually, more than 700 employees in both instructional and operational roles are recognized through the Outstanding Employee Awards Program. This year, 71 finalists representing 12 categories were recognized during the special award ceremony. 

Congratulations to this year’s Springfield District winners and finalists:

Outstanding Elementary School New Teacher

  • Thea Fraser (finalist), First Grade Teacher, Hunt Valley Elementary School, Region 4
  • Charlotte Brochu (finalist), Deaf/Hard of Hearing Teacher, Canterbury Woods Elementary School, Region 5

Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher

  • Madeline Bishop (finalist), English Teacher, Mount Vernon High School
  • Zoë Volz (finalist), Music Therapy Teacher, Burke School, Region 4
  • Mike Kuykendall (finalist), English Teacher, Woodson High School, Region 5

Outstanding New Principal

  • Erica Loesch (finalist), Saratoga Elementary School, Region 3
  • Linda Peace (finalist), Keene Mill Elementary School, Region 4

Outstanding School-Based Operational Employee

  • Lotta Moschopoulos (finalist), Administrative Assistant II, Camelot Elementary School
  • Kimberly “Missy” Wilson (finalist), Administrative Assistant II, Laurel Hill Elementary School, Region 4

Outstanding School-Based Professional Employee

  • Blair Smith (winner); Assistant Director, Student Activities; Centreville High School
  • Leslie Leisey (finalist), School-Based Technology Specialist, Poplar Tree Elementary School, Region 5

Outstanding School-Based Leader

  • Jennifer Redford (finalist), Assistant Principal, Sangster Elementary School
  • Melanie Porter (finalist), Assistant Principal, Frost Middle School, Region 5

Outstanding Elementary School Teacher

  • Cheryl Sanavaitis (finalist), Kindergarten Teacher, Laurel Hill Elementary School
  • Kaitlin Wilson-Vogel (finalist), Learning Disabilities Teacher, Fairfax Villa Elementary School, Region 5

Outstanding Secondary School Teacher

  • Shiho Thompson (finalist), ESOL Teacher, Key Middle School
  • Margaret Miller (finalist), Multiple Disabilities Teacher, Robinson Secondary School, Region 4
  • Janet Bartling (finalist), English Teacher, Rocky Run Middle School, Region 5

Outstanding Principal

  • Kelly Sheers, (finalist), West Springfield Elementary School
  • Carolyn Floyd (finalist), Woodson High School, Region 5

Read the full list of winners, finalists, and school recipients.

 

Cox Education Heroes

In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week, Cox Communications and Cox Business awarded four FCPS Cox Education Heroes with $1,000 for a classroom makeover. 

The 2022 Cox Education Hero awards honor teachers because, according to Cox, teaching is a work of heart. 

I’m thrilled to share that of the four recipients, two Springfield District staff were selected. I’m so proud of you!

Anne Nolan, Fairfax High School

“Every time I ask her for a space to pray in the library because I am Muslim, she always has a space for me.” Those are the grateful words of Anne Nolan’s nominator, a student at Fairfax High School. “She makes me feel welcome, comfortable in my school.”

Nolan has been an educator for 22 years; 18 of those have been with FCPS. She remains committed because of a passion to serve that was passed down by her parents. When asked about heroism, Nolan does not deflect, she reflects. “I think of my mom and dad as heroes – public servants who did their work faithfully, without fanfare, and contributed to the common good of our nation, and building up the next generations to do the same.”

She adds, “A student thought of nominating me for this award, and it makes me happy to know that our efforts had the desired effect – the student feels welcomed and valued.” This exemplifies her points about contributing to our country and nurturing our children to do the same. 

Nolan believes that libraries are important “third spaces,” shared communally with students, employees, and the community. Making that space safe and inviting for everyone was her goal. Working collaboratively with employees at every level at the school, it has become a collective goal.

Recognizing that each day people are faced with unique – sometimes personal challenges, Nolan differentiates her engagement and instruction. “None of us are in a position every single day to be receptive and open to learning and creating,” says Nolan. “We need to meet students where they are, provide them with a safe and stable place to learn, show them that we have confidence in them, that we believe in them, that we trust that they want to learn and grow.”

From supporting one student’s personal needs to collaborating across the spectrum of stakeholders, Nolan puts a high priority on the importance of public education and views the library as an integral part of public education’s role as a nation builder. 

Kevin Deans, Katherine Johnson Middle School

Before talking about Kevin Deans, we would like to tell you about one of his struggling 8th grade English Learner or EL students.

The student recently came to Deans’s class in tears. They had failed their math Standards of Learning (SOL) test. “When the student cried,” he said, “I knew that I had failed them.” 

Thankfully, Deans had an inkling of what to do next, and some “trust in the bank” with the student and their parents.

At the start of the year, Deans works to “build up” his students. As he puts it, “I like to make deposits early in the year by communicating successes, and I share those successes with their parents.” Without deposits, he explains, you cannot expect for discussion to be open or fully appreciated when challenges arise. Without banking deposits, he alludes, you are not a trusted partner.

Deans had built a rapport between the parents and the student by working with their school’s family liaison and using Google translate. With an SOL retake on the horizon, Deans began making withdrawals. He convinced the student to stay after school for tutoring and got their family to agree. He also looked at some data to understand why the student did not do well, and he found something. “It wasn’t the math that they didn’t understand, it was the reading,” he explained. “Whenever a math problem has two or more sentences, this particular student struggles. So, we focused our efforts on reading.”

Following the test retakes, Deans caught up with the student in the hallway. They broke down in tears again, but this time it was because Deans told them they had passed. As Deans put it, “That student traded 50 pounds of stress for a ton of confidence.”

“I learned so much from that experience,” Deans proudly exclaimed, “Relationships, empathy, giving, data, and patience.” 

Read the full list of FCPS Cox Education winners.

 

Picture of Keieownna Hightower

New Hunt Valley Elementary Principal

The Region 4 Office and I are pleased to announce that Ms. Keieownna Hightower, assistant principal at Eagle View Elementary School, has been selected as the new principal of Hunt Valley Elementary School, effective July 1, 2022. 

Ms. Hightower has over 20 years of experience in education, beginning her career supporting special education students at Newport News Public Schools. She also taught in schools in Texas and Georgia prior to moving back to Virginia and accepting a position in Arlington County Public Schools (APC). At APC, she supported a diverse need of students when she became a behavior specialist in central office. After serving in APC for more than ten years, Ms. Hightower joined Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) as the assistant principal at Eagle View ES, where she has been for the past 4 school years. 

As a former military spouse, Ms. Hightower’s work in a variety of states and school districts has developed her wide and well-rounded range of experience and perspective as a leader. She firmly believes that relationships and building trust with students, staff, parents, and community members are important components of leading a school.  She is passionate about providing an equitable and rigorous education for all students.  Ms. Hightower believes in the importance of a welcoming and culturally responsive school environment for students, staff, and families.  She looks forward to collaborating with staff and parents to nurture the academic and emotional well-being of students.  

Ms. Hightower is honored to serve as the principal of Hunt Valley Elementary School. She looks forward to meeting and working with the school faculty and staff this summer to prepare for the 2022-23 school year. She is excited to welcome and meet Hunt Valley students and family this fall. In her spare time, Ms. Hightower enjoys spending time with her daughter baking and participating in outdoor activities such as cycling, roller skating, or a great outdoor Zumba class.

Ms. Hightower holds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Psychology and Special Education from Hampton University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech & Hearing Communication from Kean University.  She earned her licensure in Administration & Supervision from Georgia State University.

Please join me in welcoming Ms. Keieownna Hightower as the new principal at Hunt Valley Elementary School.

 

Picture of Megan Counts

New Laurel Ridge Elementary Principal

The Region 4 Office and I are pleased to announce that Ms. Megan Counts, assistant principal at Frost Middle School, has been selected as the new principal of Laurel Ridge Elementary School, effective August 1, 2022. 

Ms. Counts has supported the development of Collaborative Learning Teams (CLTs), facilitated data dialogues, and developed practices related to Multi-tiered Systems of Support.  She has also led and supervised the work for the Special Education programs (e.g. Comprehensive Service Site, Deaf & Hard of Hearing program, Adapted Curriculum program, and Enhanced Autism Program) to ensure adherence to legal guidelines and mandates and to guarantee that all students are being supported to achieve at high levels and reach their potential.  Having worked at Laurel Ridge as a teacher and assistant principal, she is knowledgeable of the school’s Spanish Immersion program and Local Level IV initiative. She is ready to lead the work around equitable access to literacy in the coming year as a result of her strong literacy background. Ms. Counts has previously been recognized for her work at Laurel Ridge ES as the 2017 Outstanding Teacher for the Robinson pyramid and the 2020 Outstanding School-Based Leader at Laurel Ridge.  

Ms. Counts has supported the development of Collaborative Learning Teams (CLTs), facilitated data dialogues, and developed practices related to Multi-tiered Systems of Support.  She has also led and supervised the work for the Special Education programs (e.g. Comprehensive Service Site, Deaf & Hard of Hearing program, Adapted Curriculum program, and Enhanced Autism Program) to ensure adherence to legal guidelines and mandates and to guarantee that all students are being supported to achieve at high levels and reach their potential.  Having worked at Laurel Ridge as a teacher and assistant principal, she is knowledgeable of the school’s Spanish Immersion program and Local Level IV initiative. She is ready to lead the work around equitable access to literacy in the coming year as a result of her strong literacy background. Ms. Counts has previously been recognized for her work at Laurel Ridge ES as the 2017 Outstanding Teacher for the Robinson pyramid and the 2020 Outstanding School-Based Leader at Laurel Ridge.  

Ms. Counts is excited to return to and honored to serve as the principal of Laurel Ridge Elementary School. She will be working with the current Laurel Ridge team this summer to prepare for the strong start of the 2022-23 school year. In her free time, Ms. Counts enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, hiking, and a good yoga class.

Ms. Counts holds a Master of Teaching in Special Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, both from the University of Virginia.  She earned her licensure in Administration & Supervision from George Mason University. 

Please join me in welcoming Ms. Megan Counts as the new principal at Laurel Ridge Elementary School.

 

Picture of Scott Hawk

New Union Mill Elementary Principal

The Region 4 Office and I are pleased to announce that Mr. Scott Hawk, assistant principal at Bonnie Brae Elementary School, has been selected as the new principal of Union Mill Elementary School effective August 1, 2022.

Mr. Scott Hawk started his educational career with Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) as a 4th-grade teacher at Camelot Elementary School (ES). He moved on to become the advanced academics resource teacher at Waples Mill ES. He transitioned to the leadership path when he joined Kings Park ES in 2015 and served as the assistant principal for six years. Most recently, he’s been serving as the assistant principal at Bonnie Brae ES. 

Mr. Hawk’s drive to effectively lead a school is rooted in his passion and strong foundation in instructional leadership as a former elementary school teacher and assistant principal in two diverse schools.  He places priority on building relationships, problem-solving, and working with all stakeholders with a desire to foster a positive and culturally responsive school climate.  Mr. Hawk is considered a hands-on leader who enjoys being present and engaged with students and staff in school activities. He is a reflective, collaborative, and student-centered leader whose goal is to work alongside staff and families to serve and support students to reach their full potential.

Mr. Hawk is honored to serve as the principal of Union Mill Elementary School. He looks forward to working with the Union Mill team this summer to prepare for the welcome of the Bear students and staff this fall. He is doubly excited for the new school year as the new principal of Union Mill and as a new FCPS parent to a kindergartener. In addition to being an avid runner, Mr. Hawk enjoys spending time outdoors mountain biking and skiing.  He is a diehard Pittsburgh sports fan and can also be seen cheering on the Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers.

Mr. Hawk holds a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Fairmont State University.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Scott Hawk as the new principal at Union Mill Elementary School.


Family and Student Resources

Tutor.com—Online Tutoring Services Summer Access

Tutor.com summer graphic

FCPS students will continue to have unlimited access to 24/7, on-demand, online tutoring support services through Tutor.com this summer. Students can use Tutor.com to review and/or practice in subject areas of interest or need. Students may also choose to access other tools such as practice quizzes in a variety of subject areas, as well as self-paced study courses for SAT and ACT preparation.

Details about how students can access Tutor.com through archived courses in Schoology are provided in Summer Access at Tutor.com - Online Tutoring Services. Students enrolled in summer Credit Recovery Academy, Online Campus, Online Economics and Personal Finance, and TJHSST summer courses will be able to access Tutor.com via their active summer course in Schoology.

 

Summer Mental Wellness Consultations

This summer, the FCPS Office of Intervention and Prevention Services will offer virtual Mental Wellness Consultations from June 21, 2022, through August 5, 2022.  Parents and students will have an opportunity to schedule a 45-minute consultation with a school psychologist or school social worker by phone or videoconference. Consultations will be offered in two ways:

  1. Directly to parents of students in any grade level.  This consultation provides an opportunity for parents to receive guidance on how to support their child’s social, emotional, behavioral, and academic success.  Information about community resources will also be provided.
  2. Directly to students in middle or high school.  This consultation provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to receive guidance and support for concerns related to anxiety, mood, behavior, peer or family interactions, or school transitions and changes.  Strategies and tools can also be provided to address academic challenges such as organization and time management.

All parents and secondary students are encouraged to take advantage of this service by clicking here to request a consultation. You may also leave them a message at 703-503-2520.

Virtual Mental Wellness Consultations Available this Summer.

 

Bullying Education for Parents

The FCPS Bullying Prevention and Intervention public website has been updated to include a video to educate parents on what bullying is (according to the Students Rights and Responsibilities document) and what they can expect when a bullying allegation is reported to a school administrator.

 

Family Resource Center and Language Support

Please use this contact list if you speak another language or need support through our Family Parent Resource Center. Phone lines are available in eight different languages including Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Urdu, Arabic, Farsi, Spanish and Vietnamese. 

Questions about Fairfax County Public School foreign language graphic

 

Community & Family Day at Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Summer is here but it will be back to school time before you know it! The National Urban League, the Greater Washington Urban League, and GEICO Cares have got you covered. Join them on July 23rd for Community & Family Day at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Every K-12 student registered will leave with a free backpack stuffed with school supplies and a pair of brand-new sneakers. Plus, access to free health screenings, housing, job information, and resources to help your kids have a healthy and happy school year. Registration is required and supplies are limited. Your child must be present to receive a backpack and sneakers.

Registration Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/350614897597

 

Coordinated Service Planning flyer

 

Help With Costs of Food, Utilities, or Housing

Anyone currently residing in Fairfax County who is behind their rent should contact Coordinated Service Planning (CSP) at 703-222-0880. CSP will complete an assessment with the tenant and determine their eligibility for rental assistance. If they are determined to be eligible to receive assistance the tenant will be referred to one of the Community Based Organizations (CBO) in Fairfax County that are distributing these funds and payment will be sent directly to the landlord. 

 

 

FCPS Multilingual Family Podcasts

FCPS Multilingual Podcasts logo

Listen and subscribe to an FCPS multilingual family podcast to hear timely, important information related to school news. The podcasts are produced in conjunction with the Office for English as a Second Language (ESOL) Services and the Office of Professional Learning and Family Engagement.

Keep Your Child Active Over the Summer 

In this episode, hear about FCPS and Fairfax County Summer Programs designed to keep your child engaged in fun social and physical activities. Also, the hosts talk about summer learning opportunities. Use the links below for more detailed information. This will be the final episode for this school year. Be safe and enjoy your summer vacation.

Listen and subscribe:  

 

Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarship Guidance

Below you will find a list of scholarship programs from Scholarship Guidance’s weekly scholarship newsletter. These scholarships are awarded during the 2021-2022 school year and all students are eligible.

SCHOLARSHIPS DEADLINES BETWEEN:

June 30 - August 31, 2022

1) Automotive Hall of Fame Scholarships - $5,000 – 4 Awards (Deadline: June 30, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be accepted at an accredited college, university, or trade school within the United States
  • Be a United States citizen or in the United States on a Student Visa and have a 3.0 GPA or higher

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/27174/automotive-hall-of-fame-scholarships 

2) American Indian Services Scholarship - $2,000 - 3500 Awards (Deadline: July 1, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be at least one-quarter member of a Federally Recognized Native American Indian Tribe
  • Be enrolled at an accredited University, College, Junior College, or Technical school by the fall

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/27316/american-indian-services-scholarships 

3) Warren E. Burger Scholarship - $5,000 - 1 Award (Deadline: July 1, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be 16 years of age or older
  • Be enrolled in a college/university or registered in a qualified high school

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/38145/warren-e-burger-scholarship 

4) JFLF’s Welding Awards Program - $1,000 – 95 Awards (Deadline: July 1, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be 18 years or younger and currently enrolled in a school or training program
  • Submit written reports about the welding projects you have completed (The welding project may be a structure, a repair, or an item made for a home, farm, or shop.)

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/30444/jflfs-welding-awards-program 

5) Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship - $5,000 - 10 Awards (Deadline: July 15, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a current high school senior or first-year college student whose academic, extracurricular, or career pursuits are consistent with the goals of the scholarship program
  • Demonstrate an active commitment to community justice work

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/31828/pedro-zamora-young-leaders-scholarship 

6) Novus Biologicals Scholarship Program - $1,500 - 2 Awards (Deadline: July 20, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Plan on obtaining a degree in a science-related field (Life Science, Medical Science, Health Science)
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment (baccalaureate, graduate, associate degree, or diploma)

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/36618/novus-biologicals-scholarship-program 

7) Secular Student Activist Scholarship - $3,000 – 25 Awards (Deadline: July 31, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a full-time student enrolled in a high school or college in the United States (*Scholarships are designed to support students who in addition to pursuing excellence in their academic studies, are also activists for secular values on their campus and/or in their community.)

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/35273/secular-student-activist-scholarship 

8) Minecraft Scholarship - $2,000 – 1 Award (Deadline: July 31, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a United States citizen and enrolled in college or high school
  • Have a 3.0 or high GPA

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/31381/minecraft-scholarship 

9) Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship for Autism - $5,000 - 1 Award (Deadline: July 31, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Have been diagnosed with a form of autism, including Asperger Syndrome
  • Be an enrolled student at an accredited college, university, or vocational school, or be accepted to begin school at an accredited college, university, or vocational school

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/29584/avonte-oquendo-memorial-scholarship-for-autism 

10) U.S. Ghost Adventures Scholarship - $2,000 - 2 Awards (Deadline: July 31, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be enrolled in an accredited college in the upcoming fall semester
  • Submit a scary story on or before the posted deadline

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/38005/us-ghost-adventures-scholarship 

11) Spirit of Giving Scholarship - $1,000 – 3 Awards (Deadline: July 31, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be 16 years of age or older and in good academic standing
  • Be enrolled in a public, private, or parochial high school or home study program in the United States

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/37406/spirit-of-giving-scholarship 

12) Jameela Jamil x I Weigh Scholarship - $5,000 – 3 Awards (Deadline: August 17, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be 16 years of age or older and in good academic standing
  • Be enrolled in a public, private, or parochial high school or home study program in the United States

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/36970/jameela-jamil-x-i-weigh-scholarship 

13) Future Educator Scholarship - $1,000 - 1 Awards (Deadline: August 18, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be interested in a career in the education field
  • Be currently enrolled, or recently accepted, as a full or part-time student

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/33775/future-educator-scholarship 

14) LawnStarter Lawntrepreneur Scholarship - $1,000 - 2 Awards (Deadline: August 20, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be a high school senior or full-time college student enrolled in a two-year, four-year, or graduate program and own or have owned a lawn care business

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/37532/lawnstarter-lawntrepreneur-scholarship 

15) Leaders Save Lives Scholarship Program - $2,500 - 10 Awards (Deadline: August 31, 2022)

To be eligible for the scholarship a student must:

  • Be currently enrolled in high school, college, university, technical school, trade school, or community college.
  • Host an American Red Cross blood drive in the United States scheduled between June 1 – August 31, 2022

Applications can be found by going to:

https://scholarshipguidance.com/scholarships/37529/leaders-save-lives-scholarship-program 


Calendar Reminder

Calendar graphic

2022-23 School Year to Start on August 22 

With the school year winding down and many families making plans for summer camps, vacations, and other activities, be sure to note that the first day of school for the 2022-23 school year will be Monday, August 22. See the complete 2022-23 school year calendar.


What’s in a Name?

Each month I will feature a different Springfield District school from the What’s in a Name video series. This month let’s learn about the history behind Robinson Secondary School’s name.

History of Robinson Secondary School video showing picture of James. W. Robinson, Jr. in front of American flag

Click above to learn more about the history of Robinson Secondary School's name.


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