September Newsletter

Dear Fairfax County Students, Staff and Families,

We are a few weeks into the school year and I hope that everyone is getting settled into the routine and making time to participate in school activities to build important community connections. It’s been a busy and exhilarating time at the School Board.  We are in the early months of working with our wonderful new Superintendent, Michelle Reid, and are beginning work on a new strategic plan.  Dr. Reid has been very active in getting out into our school communities, most notably by having Community Conversations (more details below) in each high school pyramid this fall to hear what our students and families have to say.  I have been happy to join her at some of these events and find them to be very good ways to hear what is on the minds of our staff and families across the county.  

Another way that we have been able to hear from our community was through the results of the Family Engagement Survey that were shared at the September 13 Work Session. You can read more about the results below but we were able to get some insight into what has been going well (e.g., welcoming environments) and where we can take steps to improve (e.g., providing information families can use to improve their child's learning and support mental health and wellness at home).  Each region and each school has been provided with data about their responses and they will be able to take steps to address the needs of their families.

The results of the voluntary Youth Survey that is conducted jointly with Fairfax County Government have also recently been released. This survey provides extremely valuable information about youth needs and strengths that schools, the County and community partners can use to guide planning and programming.  You can read more details about the results below.  The mental health results stand out to me – 38.1% of Fairfax County students (48.3% of female students) reported feeling so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities. This is an increase from 29.9% in 2019.  We know our students are struggling.  FCPS has taken many steps to address our students mental health, including the following highlighted in Dr. Reid’s Opening of Schools Report:

  • Required training for all school-based staff on warning signs of a mental health challenge and appropriate responses 
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid and Teen Mental Health First Aid training for school staff, students, and family/community members
  • Tiered mental health interventions for students and targeted outreach to families
  • Availability of public facing mental health and wellness resources via
  • School-based and regional crisis response support
  • Telemental health support will be available for high school students during SY 2022-23

We know that addressing the mental health and wellness of our students goes beyond the targeted steps described above and requires partnership with families, County government, and community partners.  I hope that everyone is committed to working together for the betterment of our students. 

The Superintendent Community Conversations, Family Engagement Survey and Youth Survey results are just some of the many things that will be used in our work with Dr. Reid to develop a new strategic plan. The last strategic plan was developed in 2019 and it is a priority of our Board to work with Dr. Reid to take another comprehensive look at our system, and develop a thoughtful plan with goals and measures for our school system, even more important coming out of COVID and looking towards the future of education. A vital part of the process will be community engagement as we work together to develop our strategic plan. 

I look forward to hearing from our community during this process.  The Board held a Work Session on August 30 to discuss the strategic plan, and, at our September 15 Regular Meeting, we voted to direct the Superintendent to develop a project management plan which will facilitate the re-engagement of students, families, community, staff and Board and county partners in the development of a strategic plan focused on student success and the realization of the FCPS promise for every student in Fairfax County. We have committed to monthly work sessions to work on the strategic plan, which also includes an all-day retreat on September 20. 

Finally, I want to reassure all our families, students, and staff that FCPS maintains a caring climate and culture where each and every student, staff member, and family is welcomed, respected, valued, and supported.  This includes our LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and families.

I will leave you with some interesting tidbits that I recently came across and hope you and your families have a wonderful fall. As always, please reach out to share your thoughts, concerns and questions.  

Did you know?

  • FCPS has 1625 busses and 97% of busses were on time on first day.
  • FCPS facilities is completing $28 million in ESSER-funded HVAC upgrades.
  • FCPS Financial services was awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021 by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.  This is the organization’s highest recognition and FCPS has earned it for 27 consecutive years.  
  • FCPS received an Award of Distinction in the Annual Communicator Awards from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts for its multilingual family podcasts.  

Warmest regards,


Below you will find information on:

School Board News

School Board logo with gavel.


Superintendent Opening of Schools Report

Dr. Reid presented the Opening of Schools Report at the September 15 Regular meeting.  You can view the presentation and the recording.

Family Engagement Survey Results Work Session

The September 13 Work Session focused on hearing and discussing the results of the Family Engagement Survey.  FCPS administered its second Family Engagement Survey in the 2021-22 school year to better recognize, understand, respect, and address family strengths and needs in our school communities.  All families with students in preK through 12th grade were invited to participate.

Key findings include:

  • “My child feels safe at school,” was the highest-ranking item for elementary parents/guardians, with 95% agreeing or strongly agreeing with that statement.
  • 84% of participating parents/guardians indicated they were respected or very respected at their child’s school, and 83% indicated their child was respected or very respected at their school. 
  • 86% of participating parents/guardians said their child’s school recognizes and respects families’ cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity.

View survey results and recordings of the Work Session on the website.  

FY 2022 Year End Review

The School Board approved the revenue and expenditure adjustments at the September 1, 2022 School Board Regular Meeting. 

In recognition of the continued impact the pandemic has had on education and to promote retention of staff, the Fairfax County School Board voted in favor of a one-time bonus for employees. Full-time employees and hourly contracted employees will receive a $1,000 bonus in their paychecks at the end of November. Substitute teachers and other hourly employees will receive a $500 bonus (based on a yet-to-be-determined minimum threshold of workdays).

Budget adjustments will also be made to further fund construction projects and to help cover for the rise in paper, fuel, and electricity costs due to inflation. The School Board also plans to create an incentive to help fill substitute teacher positions, study the start time for middle schools, and engage with a third party to provide a safety and security review for all FCPS buildings. 

A detailed budget plan is available online

Superintendent Updates to the Board

The following Superintendent updates to the School Board may be viewed in the September 16, 2022 Board Briefing on BoardDocs.

Security Vestibules

In response to the follow-on motions from 12/19/19 and 5/26/22, staff has evaluated FCPS facilities and identified schools and/or centers in need of a security vestibule.  During FY22 year-end, the Office of Design and Construction presented a plan in a legal briefing for the design and construction of vestibules over the next five years with locations from each region. 

“That funding be identified either through the capital or operational budgets to provide vestibules for enhanced security at all remaining FCPS schools; and that Dr. Brabrand or his designee identifies a plan to accomplish this initiative over the next three years.” 

“I move that the School Board directs the Superintendent to prioritize the completion of the security vestibule program utilizing multiple funding sources to include local, state, and federal funding, and other revenue sources to include grant funding; and to provide the School Board with a plan and proposed schedule to complete the initiative as soon as possible.” 

Condition of Bathroom Facilities – Follow-On Motion

In response to the follow-on motion from 2/6/20, staff has evaluated FCPS facilities and identified McLean High School and Whitman Middle School as two schools most in need of student bathroom renovations.  The current estimate is approximately $1.5 million per site for a total of $3 million from the state construction grant included in the year-end budget. Bathrooms at these schools will be renovated in the summer of 2023. 

“Direct the Superintendent to review the condition of bathroom facilities at those schools that do not have near-term plans for overall renovations and do not provide privacy for all students.” 

High School Stadium Bathrooms – Follow-On Motion

In response to the follow-on motion from 2/6/20, FCPS and Fairfax County have collaborated on a scope of work and timeline to renovate these stadium bathrooms. The two agencies agreed to an even cost share of $7.5 million per agency in FY23, totaling $15 million for all project components.  The project is expected to take 2.5 to 3 years to implement in phases. The School Board dedicated $7.5M for its share in the FY22 year-end budget.  

“Direct the Superintendent to work with the County in examining the economic and equity impact related to the remaining 15 high school stadiums that do not have permanent bathroom facilities, as well as devising a financial plan to address this. The Superintendent is to report back to the Board prior to the completion of the Year-End budget review.” 

State Construction Grant – Follow-On Motion

In response to the follow-on motion from 2/10/22, plans were made available in the FY22 year-end for the State Construction Grant. These included: security vestibules, outdoor classrooms, bathroom upgrades, sensory room pilot, interior lock replacement, and non-ADA-compliant early childhood playgrounds. 

“I move to direct the superintendent to include and implement a plan for the additional $32.9M dollars that may become available from the state for facilities projects. The plan is needed so that work can begin immediately upon receipt of the funds in July 2022. The plan should include work on safety concerns, bringing older facilities up to the current educational specifications to include but not be limited to privacy in bathrooms, and provision of outdoor classroom spaces and spaces needed to enhance the health and wellness of our students and staff.” 

Holistic review of our safety and security protocols and procedures – Follow-On Motion

In response to the follow-on motion from 5/26/22, a plan to contract a third party to review FCPS safety and security protocols and procedures, beginning with an RFP, was presented at the FY22 year-end.

“I move that the Board directs the Superintendent to present a plan for Board consideration to engage with an external third party to provide a holistic review of our safety and security protocols and procedures in all FCPS buildings using year-end funds.”

Parent Advocacy Handbook Available Online

The Parent Advocacy Handbook is for parents and guardians -- a child’s first teacher and advocate. It is believed that parents and guardians should advocate and support their children’s academic, social, and emotional growth from preschool through high school, and beyond.

The handbook contains answers to the many questions parents may have about the school system and how they can best advocate for their student at the various stages of their school experience. Information and resources within the handbook are designed to help parents and guardians:

  • Learn about their rights and responsibilities as an FCPS parent or guardian.
  • Learn more about what is going on in the student's school.
  • Gain skills to advocate for your student at school.
  • Learn how to monitor and help your student at home.
  • Find extra help and resources.

The Parent Advocacy Handbook was created by the Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee (MSAOC) - a Fairfax County School Board advisory committee - and produced with the generous support of the Board. It is not intended to be, nor is it, a complete guide to all programs and practices within FCPS. In addition, information may change as policies and regulations are revised or updated. For additional, up-to-date information on FCPS programs and practices, always consult the FCPS website or speak with school or system administrators or staff. The handbook is available online and can be accessed in several languages.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • October 4 at 10 am - Work Session:  AIR Special Education Report; Legislative Program
  • October 6 at 7pm -  Regular Meeting
  • October 11 at 11am - Work Session:  Fiscal Forecast and Strategic Budget Planning
  • October 20 at 7pm - Regular Meeting

Please note, 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.

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


Superintendent Community Conversations Continue

Dr. Michelle Reid is hosting Community Conversations across the division to get to know our communities. Events will be held at the high school in each pyramid through November. Each Community Conversation will be held in person, allowing Dr. Reid an opportunity to better connect with participants. If you are unable to attend your pyramid's event, please consider attending another one. See the full schedule and register.

2021 Fairfax County Youth Survey

The Fairfax County School Board and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors work together to administer the Fairfax County Youth Survey. The county has posted the results for the 2021 survey

The survey is given to all students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 each fall. It provides a wealth of information about a variety of topics related to our youth that influence their physical and mental well being, from sleep and nutritional habits to substance abuse behaviors to symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts. The results provide a snapshot of our youth in Fairfax County but also serve as a barometer of our own effectiveness as a community in fostering healthy choices in our young people. Data from the Fairfax County Youth Survey is used as a measurement tool in the FCPS Strategic Plan Goal 2 - Caring Culture - Healthy Life Choices.

The survey is anonymous and voluntary. Visit our website for more information on the upcoming Fairfax County Youth Survey.

Special Education Handbook For Parents

FCPS Special Education Handbook for Families


The Special Education Handbook for Parents includes details of the special education process. This process occurs sequentially, over a period of time, with each step building upon the previous step(s).

It is important for families to understand how the special education process works, so they can effectively participate and collaborate with school staff members in making appropriate decisions regarding their child’s educational needs. Families are an integral part of the decision-making team.

The Special Education Handbook for Parents is available in Arabic, English, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese. Contact the Parent Resource Center (PRC) at 703-204-3941 or with any questions.

FCPS Career and Technical Education Opportunities

FCPS’ Career and Technical Education Program offers a variety of career and technical programs to all students at the middle and high school levels. The program areas include the following:

For more information about Career and Technical Education, please call 571-423-4526 or visit the Career and Technical Education website. Visit this policy website for more information on ADA accommodations or to request accommodations.

How to Access Free Resources from

Get free homework help with (small)

FCPS students continue to have unlimited access to live, 24/7, one-on-one online tutoring services through at no cost to families during the 2022-23 school year. Student participation is optional and parents/guardians can opt their student(s) out of accessing the services. Detailed information and FAQs are available on the Online Tutoring Services website. Students can access via a link in Schoology. 

Additional information about how to log in and access a tutor is provided to families via the following: Elementary - How It Works and Middle & High - How It Works. Questions not answered in the posted resources may be sent to

How to Receive FCPS Messages in Other Languages 

You may wish to read FCPS messages in a language other than English. There are several ways you can receive or view our communications in a different language.

FCPS This Week is distributed in other languages to parents/guardians who have filled out the Home Language Survey form and selected a language supported by FCPS as their preferred language for communication. Home Language Survey forms are available in the following languages: Amharic | Arabic (العربية) | Chinese (中文) | Farsi (فارسی) | Korean (한국어) | Spanish (español) | Urdu (اردو) | Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt).

Learn more about other communications that are translated. 

National Merit Scholarship winners

Two Hundred Thirty-Seven FCPS Students Are 2023 National Merit Semifinalists


Two hundred thirty-seven students from 18 Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) are among the semifinalists named by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for 2023. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), which also serves as the Governor’s Regional School for Northern Virginia, has 132 semifinalists.

All semifinalists are eligible to compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarship awards worth nearly $28 million, to be awarded in spring 2023. Semifinalists advance to finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and other requirements including a recommendation from a high school official.  Learn more.

Upcoming Parent Resource Center Webinars

parent resource center


The PRC provides access to a free lending library of over 10,000 resources on topics related to parenting and educating all children, free webinars (live and recordings of past webinars), confidential in-person, virtual or telephone consultations and a tutor list.  Learn more about their valuable services.

October webinars from the Parent Resource Center include The Social Emotional Learning Screener - What Every Family Needs to Know, Dads:  Stop the Power Struggles & Get the Respect You Want and Promoting Digital WellnessLearn more and register.

Become an AVID Tutor

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is hiring AVID tutors for various schools throughout Fairfax County for the 2022-2023 school year.

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) tutors work with small groups of approximately 5-7 middle school or high school students during the school day in an academic elective class called AVID. These groups use higher-order questioning strategies to help students develop a variety of college preparatory skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving. Tutors earn $18.42 per hour and must be currently enrolled in college or be college graduates. If interested, please email your resume to Karen Huffman.

World Languages

World Languages Credit Exam


The exam assesses reading and writing language proficiency in languages other than English. Students who take the exam may earn up to three World Languages credits for levels one, two, and three for the language of the exam. The credits may fulfill the World Languages requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma. The FCPS World Languages Credit Exam is also an approved assessment for awarding the Virginia Department of Education’s Seal of Biliteracy. The exam is offered one time per school year. A student may participate in the exam two times per language, once per year, between grades 7 through 12. In other words, students have two chances per language to earn credits by taking the exam.

The 2022 World Languages Credit Exam will be administered to students in grades 7-12 on November 3, 9, and 10, 2022. Thirty (30) languages will be included:  American Sign Language (ASL), Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin), Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Pashto, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Tigrinya, Turkish, Twi, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

Students must be able to read and comprehend exam instructions and writing prompts in the exam language and respond to the writing prompts in the language of the exam.

The exam is paper-pencil and students will respond in handwriting in the language of the exam. Students earn credit based on the level of proficiency demonstrated by their writing.

All students must register for the exam through their school counselor. Registration closes at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 6, 2022.

More information may be found on the World Languages Credit Exam webpage.

It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month


From September 15 to October 15, FCPS recognizes and celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of the members of our community whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.  See local celebrations and access more Hispanic Heritage Month resources.

See the School Board recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month.

School Board Recognition Photo

Community News and Resources

2022 Special Education Parent Involvement Survey

All parents of school-aged children and youth with disabilities who receive special education services in Virginia are encouraged to complete the Virginia Department of Education's (VDOE's) annual Parent Involvement Survey. The survey will remain open through December 16, 2022.

Parent Involvement Survey - English

Parent Involvement Survey - Spanish

Parent Involvement (Indicator 8) Survey - Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions regarding this survey, please contact Chiquita Seaborne, Family Engagement Specialist/Special Projects Coordinator, at or at (804) 225-3898.

Traffic Hazard

Safe Streets - Dangerous Locations Survey


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

If you observe unsafe situations, please add your observations to this survey.

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. 

For more information visit the Northern Virginia Families for Safe Streets website.

Calling All High School Students: Enter Your Device or App in the Fairfax Area Student “Shark Tank” Technology Challenge

The Fairfax Area 50+ Technology Committee is proud to announce the 7th Annual Fairfax Area Student “Shark Tank” Technology Challenge. The competition is open to all high school students in Fairfax County, Fairfax City and City of Falls Church. 

Students are challenged to develop an innovative device or app that will have a positive impact on the lives of older adults, adults with disabilities, or caregivers. Students are encouraged to be innovative and creative. Potential projects may be either a mobile app, web service, robotic, assistive device or any combination. Cash prizes will be awarded to the student winners by IntegrityOne Partners, the event sponsor.

Learn more about the technology challenge, the timeline and how to enter.

Read more here about the students from Chantilly High School who won first place winners for the 2021-22 Fairfax Area "Shark Tank" challenge. Their device, AutoTrem, is a walker to help Parkinson's patients.

FCCPTA Webinar:  Empowering Safer Kids (No Helicopter Required), September 26 at 7pm

Here’s the good news—you can make your kids safer anyplace they are! Join FCCPTA for a discussion about how healthy relationships increase the chance your child will ask for help when things go wrong. Learn what research tells us makes kids more susceptible to harm in organizations. Unpack a few damaging myths. Get tips on how to respond to sexting, when to ask more questions, and how to choose safer programs from a child protection professional who specializes in institutional abuse prevention.

Participants will:

  • Unlearn 5 myths that hurt kids
  • Learn tips for talking to kids about harm, online and in person
  • Identify parenting and organization behaviors that make kids safer
  • Understand how to identify and respond to children in need of help

Presented by Laurie Tasharski, the Director of Institutional Abuse Prevention for Stop Child Abuse Now of Northern Virginia (SCANVA). She facilitates Allies in Prevention, multi-disciplinary child protection teams, and the Loudoun County Trauma Informed Community Network (TICN). Laurie works with international child protection professionals, develops comprehensive safety programs for organizations, and has delivered professional development in more than 40 countries.  

Register in advance for this webinar (will be recorded and available on demand).

LearnServe Fellows Program

Calling all leaders, entrepreneurs, and changemakers!  Apply to the LearnServe Fellows Program for the opportunity to:

  • Join students from across the DC area for a dynamic introduction to social entrepreneurship!
  • Design, pitch, and launch your own social action project to solve a social justice or environmental need in your community
  • Meet in person once a week (Thursday afternoons 4:30-6:30pm, September - April) and earn community service hours!

Learn more about the LearnServe Fellows Programs.  Apply Online.

Reflections – Call for Entries


Explore the Arts and Express Yourself!  The 2022-2023 theme is “Show Your Voice!”

Students will submit their completed works of art digitally in one (or more) arts categories in response to the selected theme: Dance Choreography, Film Production, Visual Arts, Photography, Music Composition, and Literature. Students will participate in the appropriate division: Primary (PreK-grade 2), Intermediate (grades 3-5), Middle (grades 6-8), High School (grades 9-12), and Special Artist (all grades and also identify as having a disability and may receive services). 

The deadline for student entries is October 24, 2022.  Look for more information from your school's Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and on the Fairfax County Council PTA website.

Youth Conservation

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute

The Youth Conservation Leadership Institute (YCLI) is a program for 9th-12th grade students that focuses on volunteer service and environmental stewardship. Students are supported by a Soil and Water Conservation District partner and an environmental leader in their field serving as a mentor. Past students in our area have studied stream health, led youth environmental education programs, established bluebird monitoring programs, and much more! Learn more about YCLI. Apply by September 30

Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District Poster Contest

Calling all student artists! The 2022 Conservation Poster Contest theme is "Healthy Soil, Healthy Life." This contest is open to any K-12 student and participating scouts can earn a badge. There is also a new digital poster contest this year for students in grades 7-12. The application deadline is September 30. Learn more about the 2022 Conservation Poster Contest.

Election Day High School Student Program

Are you at least 16 years old, live in Virginia, and actively enrolled in high school? Would you like to learn more about the electoral process and earn service-learning hours that can be applied towards the Seal of Excellence in Civics Education?

The Office of Elections is offering you the opportunity to serve inside a Fairfax County polling place as an election page for the upcoming November election.

An application and mandatory training are required to participate. Applications and more details about the Election Page responsibilities can be found on the website for the Fairfax County Office of Elections: Election Day High School Student Program.

Applications received by Friday, September 30, will receive priority in the assignment process. The deadline to submit an application is Friday, October 7. After this date, the portal will close, and no additional applications will be accepted.

Students who will be 18 on or before the November Election and are registered to vote may work as an Election Officer. See additional Election Officer information and applications.

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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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