July Community Update

Dear Community Members,

2021-2022 School Year Accomplishments

Welcoming New FCPS Superintendent, Dr. Michelle Reid

Dr. Michelle Reid has sworn to serve Fairfax County Public Schools as our new Superintendent! I was thrilled to witness her public oath of office on June 30, conducted by Hunter Mill resident, Judge Steve Shannon. This is an exciting new chapter for our public schools! You can read more, here. 

In addition to swearing in Dr. Reid, the School Board honored outgoing Superintendent, Dr. Scott Brabrand, as well as outgoing Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Transportation, Jeff Platenberg. Thank you both for your time and dedication to FCPS and public education as a whole.

Collage of pictures from Dr. Reid's Oath of Office Ceremony

Closing the Gun Ban Loophole

The Fairfax County School Board unanimously approved a new policy affirming that all FCPS school zones are gun-free and, for the first time thanks to new state law, deeming as gun-free any non-school zone building or property that the School Board owns or leases, which includes noninstructional facilities like the Gatehouse Administration Center that house central office staff, the Superintendent, and School Board offices. 

This policy is a continuation of the School Board’s critical work to keep students and staff safe. From requesting an audit of security practices and procedures to reviewing gun violence and suicide prevention curriculum, from encouraging the completion of our security vestibule program to notifying parents and guardians annually about their legal obligation to securely store their guns, the School Board has taken several gun violence prevention steps this year. [ADDITIONAL DETAILS]

Updating the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R)

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

  • Detailed information about orientation or training stakeholders including school-based administrators and staff, transportation staff, and 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 was one of the most discussed topics this year. Key highlights of related changes include:

  • 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. [ADDITIONAL DETAILS]

Every FCPS School to Have an Outdoor Learning Space

While some schools already do, not all have an outdoor space for learning. And yet, spending time in nature enhances educational outcomes by improving children’s academic performance, focus, behavior, and love of learning! That is why this past fiscal year (essentially mirroring the school year), I worked with School Board Members, the Superintendent, and staff to identify funding to bring an outdoor space to every FCPS school!

Now, funds are being allotted for outdoor learning spaces! The funding will come from the expected $24.2 Million from State Construction monies in the School Construction Fund (see p.3 in the link here) along with a bevy of other deferred facilities initiatives. This is outstanding news! This is exactly the kind of investments our students need to be successful in academics and life!

This investment builds on work I’ve conducted this past year to support specific schools in the Hunter Mill district who are already on a journey to creating outdoor learning space. However, I sought to ensure that all schools have access to this opportunity. Outdoor learning spaces will be safe and accessible for all students and staff. Educators will also receive professional development and training to maximize this space. More info to come!

Eliminating Opportunity Gaps in Reading

Adopted a systemic, research and science based approach for literacy instruction to ensure success for all students.

Investing in Infrastructure

Allocated nearly $150 million in school renovations, construction, and improvement projects at schools attended by students living in Hunter Mill District and wider Fairfax County system.

Promoting Mental Wellness

Initiatives to promote a renewed emphasis on learning practices that are grounded in an understanding of trauma and its impacts, and that are designed to promote resilience for our students. Increased focus and funding on social emotional learning and mental health supports, universal behavioral supports, restorative practices, cultural relevance and relationship building. 

Addressing COVID Learning Loss

Invested more than $188 million in ESSER funds to address pandemic learning loss with increased academic, social/emotional, and mental health supports, including unfettered access to tutors. Offered robust summer school offerings to students across the district.

Boosting Teacher and Staff Pay

Provided teachers and other staff increased pay and bonuses, and committing to work toward establishing a living wage for all school division employees.

Supporting Immigrant Families

Protected immigrant students and families privacy by keeping their personally identifiable information confidential and prohibiting voluntary cooperation with immigration officials unless there is an imminent safety concern.

July 14 School Board Meeting Update

New Chair and Vice Chair Elected

We elected Rachna Sizemore Heizer (Member-at-Large) as Chair and Tamara Derenak Kaufax (Franconia District Representative) as Vice Chair for a one-year term. Read more on our website.

Key Votes

  • The School Board approved the FY23 OAG Audit Plan.
  • The School Board approved the Charges for 2022-2023 for the following School Board Citizen Advisory Committees: Adult and Community Education, Advanced Academic Programs, Career and Technical Education, Facilities Planning Advisory Council, Human Resources, Minority Student Achievement Oversight, School Health, and Students with Disabilities.
  • The School Board has directed the superintendent to develop, as part of the work in preparation for strategic plan development, bias-related incident accountability infrastructure for the division, and to present this to the School Board no later than December 2022.

Watch the full meeting on the FCPS YouTube channel.

Hunter Mill Happenings

 School Board Advisory Committee Opportunities 

If you are interested in serving on a School Board Advisory Committee, I have vacancies for the Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee (MSAOC) and the School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC). To learn more and apply click here.

The School Board is scheduled to confirm several appointments to our many Advisory Committees at the September 1 Regular Meeting. Additionally, nominees for the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC) were added as New Business, and scheduled for action at the September 1 Regular Meeting. I am thrilled to share that I have selected Hunter Mill constituent, Kripa Patwardhan, as my FLECAC appointee for the 2022-2024 school years.

Thank you to the following Hunter Mill appointees who have agreed to serve another term:

  • Helen Cole
    • Adult and Community Education Advisory Committee (ACE)
  • Kumar Gnanamurthy
    • Advanced Academic Programs Advisory Committee (AAPAC)
  • Lauren McCaughey
    • Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities (ACSD)
  • Paul Berry
    • Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee (CTEAC)

Hunter Mill Supervisor Office Advisory Committees 

The Hunter Mill District Office has openings on several Boards, Authorities, and Commissions (BACs). If you are interested in serving your community and meeting new neighbors, contact Gwenn Minton in Supervisor Walter Alcorn's office about a position on one of these BACs:

Noise Interfering with Students' Sleep in Vienna

On behalf of their children’s health, residents in Vienna on Park St NE and surrounding streets have been advocating to the Mayor, Town Council Members, and Town Staff Leaders to enforce and also revise the Town’s noise ordinance (Sec. 10-20.1). The Code was last revised in 2011. Town Code states that the “the loading or unloading of commercial vehicles within 300 feet of any residence between the hours of 11:00pm and 6:00am” is a “public nuisance”; however, residents are experiencing and documenting commercial activity nearby that is happening beyond that time frame, and also during that time frame at excessively loud levels. Residents state that the early morning and late night noise routinely disrupts the sleep of dozens of children, and have signed a petition stating as much.

Due to advocacy from constituents and my office, the Town Council will be reviewing the Noise Ordinance at a public work session, yet to be scheduled. Read more about the issue in this FFX Now article.

Recognizing VHSL Champions

At the June 16 Regular Meeting, the School Board recognized the accomplishments of FCPS’ 2021-22 Virginia High School League (VHSL) and non-VHSL state champions who were not previously recognized. A special congratulations to the following Hunter Mill teams and groups:

  • Madison HS Girls Basketball
  • Madison HS Softball
  • Madison HS Boys Lacrosse
  • Madison HS VMBC State Marching Band
  • South Lakes HS Boys Indoor Track and Field
  • South Lakes HS Cyber Patriot Team

Oakton HS Boys Tennis Wins State Championship

The Oakton High School Boys Tennis Team won the Class 6 State Championship trophy for the second straight season. Way to go Cougars!

Oakton High School Tennis Team

Madison HS Takes Three State Championships

Madison HS Boys State Champs

Madison HS teams won three State Championship titles all in a days work! Congratulations to the boys lacrosse team, the girls softball team, and Simone Bergeron for individual tennis champ.

Kilmer Student Recognized in 3M Science Challenge

3M Young Scientist Challenge

Congratulations to Isha Joshi of Kilmer Middle School for being recognized with an Honorable Mention Award from the 2022 3M Young Scientist Challenge!

The 3M and Discovery Education competition features innovations from students ages 12 to 14, who submitted a one to two minute video communicating a solution to an everyday problem in their community or the world, and the science behind their solution.

Hunter Mill Employees Recognized at FCPS Honors

Over 730 employees, including 71 finalists and 12 winners in 12 different award categories were recognized at FCPS Honors, which was held on June 8, 2022, at George Mason Center for the Arts. Congratulations to the Hunter Mill winners: 

  • Amy Miller, Kilmer MS
    • Outstanding Principal
  • Kathleen Jacoby, Herndon HS
    • Outstanding Secondary Teacher
  • Matthew Fredericks, Hughes MS
    • Outstanding New Secondary Teacher

I was deeply grateful to attend this event to recognize the outstanding employees that serve our school division. 

FCPS Honors

Louise Archer ES One Step Closer to Renovation

Louise Archer Elementary School

The Louise Archer ES Renovation project was awarded with a construction start of August 1, 2022 to include the contractor fencing and initial setup by August 15, 2022.  FCPS has already installed temporary classroom cottages behind the school.  The main work is expected to start with the new 2-story classroom addition in early September 2022.  For more information or questions, please contact the FCPS Office of Design and Construction at 571-423-2210.

Thank you to Fairfax County taxpayers for supporting the bond when you vote - it's the only way school construction projects are funded!

Upcoming Public Meetings & Topics

The School Board will be taking its annual recess from July 15 to August 15. There will be no public Regular Meetings or Work Sessions during this time. The 2022-2023 School Year Regular School Board Meetings dates can be viewed here (scroll to the bottom and choose the last attachment).

Please note, times and topics are subject to change. 

Accessing Board Meetings

View this link for a comprehensive list of upcoming meetings and associated information.

Click here for meeting logistics, agendas and handouts (to view the slides and materials, scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Regular Meetings and Work Sessions are live-streamed on the FCPS website and televised on FCPS Cable Channel 99. Meeting recordings can be found on FCPS YouTube. For more information about signing up to speak at a regular meeting, click here.

School Board Members sitting at dais

Other Information of Interest

August 22 is the First Day of the 2022-23 School Year

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.

High Costs of Private Services Impact Public Education Funding

Funding of $4.7 million is required this coming school year, due to an increase in electricity rates charged by Dominion Energy. FCPS was notified that the significant increases in fuel and energy prices experienced by Dominion Energy will result in an increase of 25% in overall electric costs! This news comes despite efforts and strides to electrify the FCPS school bus fleet (there are 18 electric busses), and with funding for those buses by Dominion itself. See p.4. here for more info.

Enjoy FCPS School Grounds

Children playing on school grounds

School blacktops, playgrounds, outdoor basketball and tennis courts, and tracks are available for use by individuals (not organized groups) without being scheduled. 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;
  • Use of these facilities cannot impede scheduled use on fields and tracks.

Visit the Community Use webpage for a full list of items and activities that are prohibited on school grounds and more information on reserving facilities. Groups interested in formally reserving school facilities should send an email to fcpscommunityuse@fcps.edu or call 571-423-2340. 

Summer Meal Service

Food graphic

No-cost summer meals will be served to students enrolled in summer school at all FCPS summer school locations this year.

Summer Meal Kits will be offered on Tuesdays at several sites beginning June 14 and ending August 8. Meal kits contain seven days of breakfast and lunch items packed in bulk. 

The meal kits will be available for pick up Tuesday mornings. 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. 

Free and Reduced-Price Meals

Free and reduced

Families must submit an application and be approved to be eligible for free and reduced price meals for SY 22-23. 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. However, the extension of the no-cost meals benefit to all students is expected to expire at the end of this school year.

We encourage you to submit the Free and Reduced-Price Meal application prior to the first day of the 22-23 school year. The online application will be available later this summer. Watch your email and our website for more information. Learn more about the Free and Reduced-Price Meal program online.

Student Immunization Requirements for 2022-2023 

Please check to make sure your student(s) meet the Virginia school entrance requirements to attend school during the 2022-23 school year.

The Code of Virginia requires all students to be immunized against certain communicable diseases to attend school in the state of Virginia. It is important for all students to receive the required immunizations. Please talk to your family health care provider about whether or not your children are up to date on their vaccines before the new school year begins. Please contact your child’s school as soon as possible to submit updated immunization records, on or before August 22, 2022 to ensure accurate documentation of your child’s immunizations.  

Please click the below links for information regarding immunization guidelines and requirements. 

School entrance immunizations can be accessed through a number of resources to include your healthcare provider, the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD), and Inova Cares Clinics. Get more information about FCHD and Inova clinic locations and dates.​​​​​​​

If you have questions regarding your child’s school entrance compliance, please contact your child’s school for assistance.

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 us a message at 703-503-2520.

Mental Health Resources


Family Engagement with Language Supports

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

Parent information phone lines

Office of the Auditor General

The June 2022 issue of Audit Buzz is available.  

Bumblebee graphic

Job Opportunities

Interested in joining FCPS? Explore opportunities for:

Visit Current Job Openings for all posted positions.

Contacting Me

I prioritize responses to Hunter Mill constituents, so please be sure to identify yourself as such if you contact me. If you are unsure of your county magisterial district, you can look that information up here.

To contact me, it is most helpful to please use the official School Board contact form. This form prioritizes emails to me from constituents, and helps me track communication so I can be sure you receive a response. Thank you for your cooperation.


Please take good care,

Melanie Meren


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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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