August Community Update

Welcome Back to School! 

Melanie Meren Back to School Video

In case you missed it, please listen to a brief back to school message from me. I hope the beginning of school has been a positive and smooth transition!

Michele Togbe Back to School video

I am thrilled to share the student voice of the School Board's own Student Representative, Michele Togbe! Michelle eloquently and enthusiastically speaks about the year ahead for all students, and I share and will support her vision!

Superintendent Community Conversations posterCollage of Melanie Meren

Health and Safety Updates

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.

Visit the FCPS Health and Safety Guidance Document for the 2022-23 school year.

Providing a Safe and Welcoming Space

FCPS is proud of its caring culture and strives to provide a safe, welcoming, and inclusive space for all students and families. The Fairfax County School Board recently approved a Trust Policy that solidifies our commitment. It aligns with Fairfax County Government’s Public Trust and Confidentiality Policy to ensure that FCPS students and families can access FCPS benefits and services without fear that information will be disclosed, directly or indirectly, to federal immigration officials. Please visit our Trust Policy webpage to learn more about the policy and regulation in multiple languages.

SR&R Updates Cell Phone Use at Schools

Following School Board approval in June 2022, the FCPS 2022-23 Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) includes new expectations for cell phone use that are specific to each school level: elementary, middle, high, and secondary. The new cell phone expectations were established to help foster a environment that is conducive to learning.

FCPS understands that students may need to access a cell phone or other personally owned device as an accommodation to access the curriculum, make progress toward their individualized goals, or address medical or other needs.

If you believe your child requires access to a personally owned device as an accommodation, please contact your child’s school team [i.e., 504 Committee, Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team, English Language Committee, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Team] to schedule a meeting so that the team can consider your request.

The Updates to FCPS’ Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) web page outlines changes to cell phone use for the 2022-2023 school year. Visit the SR&R web page to learn more and to log on to your SIS ParentVue account and sign to acknowledge the review of this document OR print, sign, and return this form to your child’s school by September 30, 2022.

ParentVUE App Available 

ParentVue app

Calling all parents! Did you know that there is a ParentVUE mobile app available to download? You can use this app to view critical student information easily from your mobile device.

While SIS Parent Vue wasn’t necessarily something elementary school parents may have visited often, for middle and high school students it becomes an important place to view students’ grades throughout the year.

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. 

Paperless Opt-Outs Available

As a part of ongoing efforts to streamline paper processes, parents can now select a number of opt-outs electronically via ParentVUE.  Once you have signed into your ParentVUE account, simply select the “Student Info” tab and click on “Edit Information.”  You will find opt-outs listed there.  If you need to set up your ParentVUE account, you can create one online via the FCPS ParentVUE Registration page.

Safe Streets - Dangerous Locations Survey

NoVA Families for Safe Streets logo

It's the time of year where thousands of children and adults are walking, biking, and otherwise commuting to school - over 180,000 children daily!

Hat tip to Wolftrap ES for sharing info about Fairfax's Families for Safe Streets: if you observe unsafe situations, please add your observations to this survey.

It only takes a moment to add your observations! The link already shows locations on the map that have received a lot of data.

This past school year, I worked with four Hunter Mill schools to improve safety - in two cases, after adults were hit in crosswalks going to get their students from school!

The data from the survey can help us advocate together to county, state, and federal transit agencies for updates and funding to make traveling to and from school safer. But let's also keep do our part as drivers - driving with focus and care, and educating new drivers how to do so, too.

Medication Lock Boxes

In light of local and national trends with drug abuse involving opioid abuse, one thing I did this summer was fill the medication lock box (pictured on the right) that I received for free from Fairfax County government, to store prescription medicines that could become addictive. While the box isn't totally tamper-proof, it is one barrier to keep children away from dangerous medicine. Click here for info on how you can obtain one.

Medication lock box

Gun Violence Prevention

During the previous school year, 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.

Register for Free Webinars from the Parent Resource Center

The FCPS Parent Resource Center (PRC) is offering free parent webinars:

"I Can't Focus!" When ADHD Impacts Your Child's Math and Writing Performance: A Webinar for Families

Math and writing are often difficult subjects for students with ADHD because both require extensive working memory. But with the right study hacks and strategies, almost anyone can master writing and math! Unfortunately, most students don't learn these important skills at school.

This academic year is just getting started, and effective strategies can make a difference between success and frustration. In this webinar, educator, author, and Educational Connections Founder Ann Dolin, M.Ed., will share with parents:

  • Research-based math study skills and strategies to use at home and in class
  • How to help your child get organized and get their thoughts down on paper
  • Tech tools to help students get started on assignments (and finish them!)
  • How virtual classes during the pandemic deepened math and writing learning gaps for many students with ADHD and what you can do to help your child get back on track this year

Choose from 2 sessions: 

September 8, 2022, 6:30 - 8 p.m. and September 9, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m.

Register for "I Can't Focus!" When ADHD Impacts Your Child's Math and Writing Performance: A Webinar for Families


Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders: What Families and Schools Need to Know

Join Katie Maki as she shares her experiences highlighting the following topics:

  • Signs and symptoms of eating disorders and how they differ in age groups
  • Facts and myths about eating disorders 
  • How to avoid negative messaging on body image and food in education
  • What parents need from school staff to support families fighting eating disorders

September 16, 2022, 10 -11:30 a.m.

Register for: Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders: What Families and Schools Need to Know

Parent Information Line Available in Eight Languages

Telephone graphic

Parents who speak Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Urdu, or Vietnamese can call a telephone information line for general information about FCPS and to receive support if they are having difficulty communicating with their children's schools due to a language barrier.

Sharing Our Success

Three smiling students

At the start of the new school year, we invite you to look back over the 2021-22 year and relive some of our greatest moments. From the announcement of Dr. Michelle Reid as our new superintendent, to welcoming students back to the classroom five days a week, there was much to celebrate!

Keep Track of Attendance - Absences Add Up

Absences Add Up FCPS attendance graphic

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.

colorful hands raised

Athletic Court Improvements at Cedar Lane School

FCPS went before Vienna's Board of Architectural Review to obtain approval for proposed exterior modifications, including new basketball hoops, a resurfacing, and added playing lines. 

Read more here.

Cedar Lane school blacktop

Upcoming Public Meetings & Topics

  • Thursday, September 1 at 7pm – Regular Meeting (FY22 Year-End Budget Review, School Board Committee and Liaison Assignments, Advisory Committee Appointments)
  • Tuesday, September 13 at 11am – Work Session (Family Engagement Survey Results, ERFC Annual Report)
  • September 15 at 7 pm – Regular Meeting (Opening of Schools Report, Legislative Program)



NEW! For Spanish speakers -- to watch recorded School Board meetings or live Regular Meetings on YouTube, you can visit the FCPS en Espanol YouTube channel.

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

New Chief Experience and Engagement Officer

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid has named Lisa Youngblood Hall to the role of Chief Experience and Engagement Officer. 

Ms. Youngblood Hall brings 29 years of experience to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in communications and community engagement work, including 14 years working in K-12 and higher education. Most recently, she served as the Chief Communications and Experience Officer for the Northshore School District in the state of Washington with Dr. Reid.

Learn more about Ms. Youngblood Hall.

Thomas Jefferson HS Continues to Increase Access for All

Two years after Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) initially took steps to improve equitable access to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), data confirms that the school is on a good path to becoming an accessible school to students from all backgrounds. 

TJHSST is a Governor’s school within FCPS that regularly ranks as one of the top public schools in the country. Admission was offered to 550 students from the class of 2026 from more than 2,500 qualified applicants. 

The prospective class of 2026 is diverse by every measure including geography, socioeconomic status, gender, English learners, and race/ethnicity. 

Components considered during the admission process are outlined on the FCPS website

Every FCPS middle school is represented among the students offered admission to TJHSST. The students accepted for the newest class continue to demonstrate they are well prepared for the rigorous academic requirements of the school. The class’s average GPA is 3.96. 

2022 Congressional App Challenge

Congressional App Challenge logo

 The  Congressional App Challenge offers middle and high school students who are interested in coding a chance to develop and demonstrate their skills and interests in computer science and STEM. Students may register as individuals or in teams of up to four. No more than four students are allowed to form a team.  Each district has its own challenge.  The Congressional App Challenge also has compiled a Learn To Code list of resources to assist participants in their efforts. 

The deadline to enter the Congressional App Competition is November 1. For additional details and to register, please visit this website.

Educate Fairfax Teacher Grants

Educate Fairfax is offering Teacher Grants for innovative classroom initiatives that focus on developing career-connected experiences for students. Funded projects should enable students to reinforce and deepen their classroom learning, explore future career fields, and demonstrate their acquired portrait of a graduate (POG) skills. Educate Fairfax invites teachers, counselors, and other school-based personnel to apply for this grant program for the 2022-2023 school year. Grants are for $1,000-2,000. Have an environmental project that fits the criteria? Learn more and apply for a Teacher Grant by September 16.

9-8-8 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Now Available

9-8-8 Suicide Crisis Line

A new 9-8-8 crisis and support hotline is now active across the United States, including here in Fairfax County.

Dialing either 9-8-8 or the existing NSPL number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will connect you to behavioral health care and support 24 hours a day.  Please note, if you call from an out of area cell phone number, your phone's area code determines the locality for services and your call would then be routed to Northern Virginia services.

GrandInvolve: School Volunteer Opportunities

Would you like to have a unique and interesting volunteer experience while making a difference in a school, classroom, family, or in one child’s life? Join in at GrandInvolve, a nonprofit program that facilitates volunteer opportunities in 25 of Fairfax County’s Title I Elementary Schools!

GrandInvolve is currently recruiting adult volunteers who are interested to provide classroom assistance with math, reading, and other simple educational tasks that the teacher requests. For a rewarding experience with flexible hours and various responsibilities, consider volunteering. For additional information, contact us at or go to the GrandInvolve website to learn more.

Job Opportunities 

Teacher Residency Program

A new FCPS teacher residency program is helping qualified educators bridge the gap to start teaching this fall while finishing up requirements to become fully licensed in Virginia. 

Learn more today!

FCPS teacher with student

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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