Willow Springs Elementary School News and Information

For a translated version of this newsletter, please visit the Willow Springs website.

August 21, 2022

Willow and Kindergarten Friends

It was wonderful to see families at our Willow Welcome!

Willow Springs families,

Our first day of school is tomorrow, Monday, August 22. We are excited to see all our foxes back at Willow Springs as we kick off the 22-23 school year. Seeing so many families at our Willow Welcome on Friday was so nice. If you could not join us, please do not worry; teachers will send home news and information often to keep you informed throughout the school year.

As we all prepare for our first day of school, here are some reminders:

  • Please be patient with our WSES and FCPS employees. Our bus drivers, teachers, and staff want to ensure a successful first day, week, and year for all our students and families.
  • Our doors will open at 9 a.m., and classes will begin at 9:15 a.m. Students will dismiss at 4 p.m.
  • Please follow staff directions during arrival as we want to ensure the safety of all students.
  • We encourage you to use the Here Comes the Bus App to track your child's bus.
  • If your child has medicine that they need to take during the school day, an adult must bring that into school and complete the appropriate forms. Medication cannot be sent to school in your child's backpack.

We also encourage families to view our WSES website as daily updates, reminders, and celebrations appear throughout the week.

We look forward to partnering with you this year. Please reach out with any questions. We are excited to welcome your children tomorrow morning!


Dylan Taylor, Principal

Lesley Hassen, Assistant Principal

Ipsa Stringer, Assistant Principal

Congratulations, Ms. Stavros!

Flori Stavros - FCPS CARES

Congratulations to Ms. Flori Stavros, who we recognized as a Region 5 FCPS CARES of the month recipient. We were thrilled to honor Ms. Stavros alongside our Region 5 Executive Principal, Dr. Terri Edmunds-Heard, and a representative from Human Resources. Click here to visit our website and learn more about her nomination.

Welcome, Kindergarteners!

Popsicles on the Playground

We had an excellent turnout at our annual Popsicles on the Playground event as we welcomed our youngest Foxes. It was great connecting with so many children and families.

Willow Welcome Recap

Willow Welcome Photos #1

Students, staff, and families connected and reconnected this past Friday during our Willow Welcome. 

Willow Welcome #2

Laughter and excitement filled our classrooms and hallways throughout the morning. Students met their teachers and had the opportunity to see classmates and friends.

Willow Welcome #3

Our teachers and staff shared their excitement, hopes, and dreams for the 22-23 school year and welcomed our families with smiles, hugs, and high-fives.

Willow Welcome #4

We are grateful to kick off the 22-23 school year with the most outstanding students and families!

Willow Welcome #5

Thank you to our families and community for sharing your children with us every day, and we look forward to partnering with you this school year.

Willow Welcome #6


Student Safety

Our team at Willow Springs Elementary School is excited to welcome students back into the building for another year of learning and making new connections. We know that feeling safe at school is at the core of students being able to focus on learning and building relationships. FCPS is committed to the safety of your children, trusted to our care every day. Please reinforce that message with your child, as well. Any time they share a question or a concern, remember to listen calmly and reassuringly, and share a message that you are someone your child can talk to, even in challenging situations. Please also remind them to seek out any trusted adult at school who will be there to help and to hear their concerns. 

We also recognize that some of our students, families and staff may be feeling anxious about the new year. In addition to first day jitters, there may be heightened concerns around student safety and well-being in light of the information Superintendent Reid shared regarding the serious situation at Glasgow Middle School. We want to reassure you that all new staff will have completed a full background check before they enter any school or classroom.

At any time during the school year you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to to our administrators or call the school at 703-679-6000.

Buses and Delays

Please be aware that all of us are getting used to new routines at the start of the school year. Thank you for your patience as those routines are established.

If a student’s bus is delayed, parents may access the Bus Delay Notification System or use the Here Comes the Bus mobile app to receive the delayed bus report. E-Notify (School Messenger) email messages will also be sent to announce significant bus delays. Contact the Transportation Office at 703-249-7000. For any concerns after hours (after 5:30 p.m.), contact Safety and Security at 571-423-2000.

Arrival and Dismissal Procedures

Kiss and Ride

  • Load and unload in the Kiss & Ride area only (drop-off is located in the main parking lot).
  • AM drop-off is 9 a.m.
  • PM pick-up begins at 4 p.m.
  • Pull forward as far as possible into the designated Kiss & Ride lane before loading or unloading.
  • In the Kiss & Ride line, stay in a single line (it is unsafe to pass other cars).
  • Children should enter and exit cars from the passenger side ONLY.
  • Parents, please stay in your car.
  • Please refrain from using cell phones in Kiss & Ride.
  • When pulling into and out of Kiss and Ride, please drive slowly.
  • When picking up from Kiss & Ride in the afternoon, please place the placard in the front window of your car that was given to you at Willow Welcome (if you missed Willow Welcome, it would go home with your child on the first day of school).


  • Please use Door #1 in the morning. Doors will open at 9 a.m.
  • Students exit through the gym doors at dismissal and meet their parent/guardian on the blacktop.  
  • Students will dismiss at 4 p.m.

Bus Riders

  • All bus riders will enter and exit through Door #1 during arrival and dismissal.
  • Staff members will be present to assist students in finding their buses.

Band & Strings Registration

Registration for band and strings has now started! Band is offered to all 5th and 6th grade students. Strings is offered to all 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students. No previous experience is necessary. Students will learn about their instrument choices on the first day of school. To sign up, please fill out the registration form by Thursday, August 25.

Questions? Please contact:

Band: Ms. Kathy Van Horne (klvanhorne@fcps.edu)

Strings: Ms. Eleanor Aban Plunkett (eaplunkett@fcps.edu) & Ms. Katie Venne (kavenne@fcps.edu)

PickUp Patrol: Action Required

PickUp Patrol

Willow Springs uses PickUp Patrol for parents to report absences, late arrivals, and early pick-ups.

WSES values PickUp Patrol as it ensures a safe dismissal for all students based on the child's default plan. Please use the link here. 

Numbers after WC are the bus#, 05 in this example: Bus Route WC05AMAOB.

To update your child's default plan to "virtual", "bus rider", "kiss and ride", or "walker," simply log in and select a dismissal option. Then hit submit and that’s it! Your child's teacher and the main office will be notified. Updating your child's default plan is a one-time action. Use PickUp Patrol regularly to report a plan change, absence, late arrival, or early pick-up. A default plan is NEEDED for all students.

RETURNING PARENTS: Please enter and confirm your students default plan here: https://app.pickuppatrol.net/parents

NEW PARENTS: You will receive a registration email

Please contact our main office if you do not have an active account and require a new welcome activation email.

Below are additional resources:

Parent Flyer

How to use the PickUp Patrol app

Breakfast and Lunch $ Account

Have you deposited money in your child's meal account? Add money to your child's account using www.MySchoolBucks.com. Once the account is open, parents can check the fund account at anytime. 

SOL Test Results

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has announced 2021-22 Standards of Learning (SOL) data for school divisions that shows Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has made steady progress towards a return to pre-pandemic levels.

FCPS annual pass rates for 2022 indicate that, while the road to recovery continues, FCPS students made promising gains in reading, mathematics, and science over the course of the 2022 school year. Read more about our plans for continued improvement of the SOL pass rates.

COVID Updates

Earlier this week, FCPS sent an update on COVID-19 layered prevention strategies that will continue to be in place this school year. While we had hoped that the pandemic would be behind us, it seems that COVID will be something we must manage as a community for the foreseeable future. FCPS will continue to follow the guidance of national, state, and local health experts when determining the layered prevention strategies that are needed to keep our schools safe and open for learning. It is important that we all work together towards this goal. 

Highlights from that guidance include: 

  • FCPS continues to require families to review the Daily Health Screening before sending students to school. 
  • The 5 Day Isolation Period will continue for COVID positive students and staff.
  • The CDC recommends the COVID vaccine as a safe and effective way of significantly lowering your risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death if you get infected. Vaccines are now available for our youngest students. However, COVID vaccines are not part of the required immunizations for school entry. 
  • At this time, masks are not required. The current CDC COVID-19 Community Level for Fairfax County is low. However, should the community level rise to “high,” FCPS would then require all students, staff, and visitors to wear a face covering when indoors on school property (to include the buildings, school buses and other school provided vehicles; except while actively eating/drinking). The Code of Virginia allows parents/legal guardians to elect for their child not to wear a face covering while on school property.
  • Diagnostic testing will be available beginning Tuesday, August 16, for FCPS students and staff who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. Information on diagnostic testing will continue to be updated on our website.
  • FCPS will no longer send a daily or weekly COVID case update. Parents/Guardians will only receive an email from their child’s school when several cases of COVID-19 occur in a single classroom, sports team, or extracurricular activity within a 14-day period. Individual case reports will be available on the FCPS COVID-19 Dashboard on our website.

To stay up to date, please continue to review our Health and Safety Guidance on our website.

Text Messages for Parents

Parents can Receive Text Messages from FCPS for Emergencies and Essential Information

Make sure your cell phone numbers are listed in the parent/guardian contact information section on the emergency care information form for each of your children. Parents and guardians can view and update emergency contact information online using weCare@school

Text messages will be sent in the event of emergencies, delays or school closings, if buses are running more than 30 minutes late, if your student missed the morning attendance deadline, and for other important reminders. 

Standard message and data charges may apply for text messages depending on your cell phone service plan. More about text messages is available online.

Lightspeed Parent Report on Child’s Device Activity

FCPS has tools to help parents and guardians know more about their child’s activity on any FCPS device. These tools are provided by Lightspeed, our internet content filtering service, at no cost to families. You may sign up for a weekly Parent Report, which will provide a list of the top sites your child visited. If you want more detailed information, sign up for the Internet Use Parent portal and log-in anytime to see more detail about your child’s browsing and “pause” access to the internet during non-school hours. Find out more and sign up for these services on our website.

Annual Notice of Survey, Records, Curriculum, Privacy, and Related Rights

Fairfax County Public Schools wants all parents to understand its policies regarding surveys, records, curriculum, privacy, and related rights.

Please look for an email that you should have received August 18 in which FCPS shared the Annual Notice of Survey, Records, Curriculum, Privacy, and Related Rights and Opt-Out Forms (Annual Notice), FCPS provides explanations of the rights listed above as well as forms that may be used to exercise opt-out choices. Two versions of the Annual Notice are available—a grades K-8 version and a grades 9-12 version. If you have children at different grade levels, please read each applicable version of the Annual Notice because the notices and opt-out rights vary depending on the student’s grade level.

Get more information and view the 2022-23 Opt-Out Booklets.

Dining Room Assistant Opportunities

lunch bag

Willow Springs is currently seeking a dining room assistant. Dining Room Assistants support students during lunch time. They supervise student clean-up, assist students in the cafeteria, and dismiss students to their teacher.

Qualifications include, friendly, energetic, able to maintain expectations for cafeteria behavior, and loves working with children.

Please pass this information along to anyone you may know. Interested applicants should send resumes to lhhassen@fcps.edu or contact Willow Springs at 703-679-6000.

14th Annual Asha-Jyothi 5K + 1K

14th Annual Asha-Jyothi 5K + 1K


We are pleased to share that we are partnering with a non-profit named Asha-Jyothi  (https://www.asha-jyothi.org/ ) to support their 14th Annual 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, September 18th, at Fairfax Corner at 8 a.m. All proceeds that we raise will go towards STEAM resources and opportunities at WSES. Asha-Jyothi has generously agreed to donate back 100% of the registration money to each participating schools AND:

  • An additional $500 for 25+ registrations
  • An additional $1000 for 50+ registrations
  • An additional $2000 for 100+ registrations

To sign up, participating staff, students and/or their families visit the webpage: https://asha-jyothi.redpodium.com/2022fairfax5k. Simply enter the code “AJ4schools” and select your school from the drop down menu. A discounted price of $10 for the 5K will be given to all participants.

WSES PTA News and Information

  • Join the PTA - Be empowered, be informed, and be responsible. It's a great way to connect with other Willow families while making visible and tangible differences at our school. Our PTA meetings will take place on the first Tuesdays of every month @ 7 p.m. Join now by clicking HERE.
  • Clubs & Activities - Visit our WSES website to stay updated on clubs and activities.
    • Girls Scouts - The Girl Scout Troops of Willow Springs will have a Troop Organization meeting for girls who wish to learn about or join troops on September 6 in the cafeteria at 7 p.m. Email rvesilind@gmail.com for more information. 
    • Cub Scouts - for boys and girls. Email pack1858@gmail.com for more information.
    • RunFits Kidz - Running Club will take place on Wednesdays 4:05-5:20 p.m. starting September 21. Register now: Home (runfitkidz.com)
    • Math Olympiad (5-6th grades) & Science Olympiad (3rd-6th grades) - Interest Meeting on 8/22 @ 7 p.m. in the cafeteria. 
  • Spirit Wear Store - Check out our Willow Springs PTA spirit wear store. We have many spring options from t-shirts to shorts and hats to protect your head by clicking HERE. Purchase spirit wear before our first spirit day happens! Don't miss out! 
  • Movie Night is Friday, August 26 - Come hula dance at 6 p.m. Bring your picnic blankets and lawn chairs! The movie will start at 7:30 p.m., and we will be screening Moana. You can pre-order pizza by clicking HERE.

Looking Ahead at WSES

Visit our WSES website

2022-23 Standard School Year Calendar

News You Choose

Visit our WSES PTA website 



  • August 22 First Day of School
  • August 26 PTA Back to School Movie Night from 6-9 p.m.
  • September 2-5 Holiday - Labor Day Break – All FCPS schools and offices closed
  • September 12 School Portraits
  • September 18 14th Annual Asha-Jyothi 5K + 1K
  • September 26 No School for Students, Rosh Hashanah, Teacher Workday
Willow Fox Mascot