October Updates

Dear Fairfax County Students, Staff and Families,

I hope you are doing well and enjoying the many signs of fall we are experiencing, especially the beautiful changing color of the leaves.  I know many of our high school students have been enjoying Homecoming festivities.  I love seeing the different traditions and celebrations by our schools and I was happy to be able to participate in some. Here are a few pictures from the Westfield HS Homecoming parade:

Westfield HS Homecoming


I was also thrilled to participate in one of my favorite events with a few of my colleagues:  Oakton High School Candidates Day where seniors get to meet and ask questions of their elected officials and candidates. The questions were thoughtful and I left the event with a strong feeling of confidence and hope knowing that these students are our future.

All students and everyone else in our community will soon have a chance to share their input into the future of FCPS. As I mentioned in my last newsletter, we have begun the process of creating the next strategic plan for FCPS that will serve to guide the division for the future. You can read more about the process below – I sincerely hope that everyone will participate in the process. We want all voices to be heard.

And, while you are waiting for that engagement process to happen, be sure to attend one of Superintendent Reid’s Community Conversations that are continuing through November – more details below. It’s a great way to share your thoughts directly with our new superintendent.  

Enjoy the fall!

Warmest regards,


Below you will find information on:

School Board News

School Board logo with gavel.


Special Education Review: Final Report

FCPS is committed to providing excellence for all students, and continues to seek ways to improve and ensure the highest quality of special education and related services for students and families. At the request of the School Board, the FCPS Office of Auditor General engaged a consultant to conduct an independent, third-party review of FCPS’ special education program in October 2020.

American Institutes for Research® (AIR) presented their final report during the School Board’s October 4 Work Session.  The report contains some good news and some challenges and the researchers have made a series of recommendations. Watch the video of AIR’s presentation and visit FCPS’ Office of Auditor General webpage for more information.

The School Board will hold a second session to discuss a framework for the Special Education Enhancement Plan at the Tuesday, November 15 Work Session.

ESSER Updates

At the October 6 Regular Meeting, the School Board approved reallocation of ESSER funds that were unused because of unfilled positions towards COVID case managers/supervision monitors that have been very helpful for schools as well as additional academic support to ensure that efforts are tailored to the specific needs of each school’s students. See the details.  

Statement of Continued Support for Transgender and Gender-expansive Students, Staff, and Families

At the October 6 Regular Meeting, the School Board reaffirmed our commitment to our current policies and regulations that provide a welcoming, inclusive and accepting school environment. Read the full statement.

FCPS News and Resources

Get to know the Office of the Ombuds

Did you know that FCPS has an Office of the Ombuds that is available to support you? An ombuds is someone who helps resolve conflict by facilitating communications and sharing available resources. The Office of the Ombuds works as an independent confidential resource to help students, families, community members, and employees get questions answered, resolve concerns, and voice complaints regarding FCPS matters. The ombuds is available to: 

  • Share strategies for parents to improve communication with, and between, school and home.
  • Help to resolve disagreements between parents and schools or disagreements involving employees in the workplace.
  • Provide ideas to foster parent participation in Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Plan meetings.

They do not change or make decisions, policies, or regulations; take sides; or provide legal advice.  If you have concerns, questions, or complaints to share with the Office of the Ombuds, please call 571-423-4014, email ombuds@fcps.edu, or visit their webpage, You may also submit a question

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Applications Open

Thomas Jefferson HSST


Middle school students who have an aptitude and passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are encouraged to apply for admission to the Class of 2027 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST). 

The application is available on the TJHSST Admissions Office webpage.  Applications must be started by 4 p.m. Wednesday, November 16, with a deadline to submit the application by Friday, November 18, at 4 p.m. Visit the TJHSST registration website for more information.

Your Voice is Needed: Strategic Planning

Four kids in front of a mural of kids holding hearts. "FCPS Our Voices, Our Future. Strategic Planning"


As mentioned in previous newsletters, FCPS is developing a Strategic Plan that will serve as our roadmap for the future. We encourage every parent/caregiver, student, employee, and community member to participate in this important work. 

Our first engagement opportunity will be an optional survey, which will be open to students in grades 3-12. Knowing what is important to students will be very helpful to the development of the strategic plan. Schools will administer the survey—and determine the appropriate time during the school day to do so—between November 2-18. If you would prefer that your child not participate, you may opt your child out of taking the survey.

Learn more on our website.

Schools Adopt Text and Translation Platform

FCPS has recently approved the use of TalkingPoints, a two-way messaging app that allows parents and caregivers to communicate with teachers and schools. Look for messages from your child’s school on how they will be using the app. For more information, visit the FCPS TalkingPoints webpage.

The app translates messages, so teachers can input messages in English, and parents can respond in their preferred language. TalkingPoints supports 125 languages, making it easier and faster for our FCPS families to connect with their schools. If you need to update your preferred correspondence language, contact the front office at your child’s school and ask for the registrar.

Community Conversations Continue

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid has been hosting Community Conversations across the division since August to get to know our school communities. The events continue through November. We invite you to register to attend your school pyramid event or, if you have been unable to attend a previous event in your pyramid, register for a location and date that is convenient for you. See the schedule and register for an event.

Employee Excellence Awards

More than 120 FCPS employees received Excellence Awards at a recognition event at Fairfax High School.  Excellence Awards celebrate the efforts and achievements of employees whose job performance produces exceptional results that support the mission and vision of FCPS.  Learn more about the recipients and celebration.

HVAC Systems and Updates

In 2020, FCPS conducted a survey of all HVAC systems to ensure they provide sufficient outside air ventilation in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the manufacturer’s recommendations. The CDC recommends schools set HVAC systems to bring in as much outdoor air as each system will safely allow. FCPS uses mechanical ventilation instead of opening windows to provide outside air as the air coming through mechanical systems is filtered. Air filters are changed every 90 days. 

School HVAC systems average between six and 10 air exchanges per hour, providing more than 100% fresh outside air to the space every hour. Schools do not need to leave classroom doors and windows open to help ventilate the space, but are permitted to open windows for increased ventilation when outside conditions allow.    

New safety measures include conducting carbon dioxide (CO2) monitoring in schools to identify lack of sufficient ventilation and spending $28.9 million in ESSER funds for HVAC upgrades during the last school year. 

Student Bus Passes

Student Bus Pass


Did you know: All Fairfax County middle and high school students can get a Student Bus Pass to ride the Fairfax Connector and Fairfax CUE bus for free. Fares are free from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, all year, with the pass. Learn more about Student Pass online. Complete the application and return it to your school office. 

Additionally, Connector and Metrobus are issuing SmarTrip cards to students at Justice, Annandale, Falls Church, and Marshall High Schools, and the Davis Center for use on specific routes in Northern Virginia. Visit the website to learn more and view the routes. Complete the application and return it to your school office. 

I was honored to be part of the event to celebrate the expansion of student bus pass and Metrobus service to these four additional high schools. The program is intended to give students more independence as they go to and from school, participate in after-school activities, and work jobs. I am excited that more of our students will now have expanded opportunities to complement their in-school education with outside activities that can help them support their needs and learn and grow.  

Model Policy Comment Period

A new proposed model policy (pdf) was recently proposed by the Virginia Department of Education regarding the “privacy, dignity, and respect for all students and parents in Virginia’s Public Schools.” A 30-day public comment period on the model policy began September 26 and closes October 26. You may provide feedback to the Virginia Department of Education on the new drafted policy. If you missed Superintendent Reid’s message regarding the new proposed model policy, please view it on our website

Community Review of Secondary World Languages Basal Resources

FCPS will select new Secondary (6-12) World Languages Basal Resources for the 2023-24 school year. Basal resources are the primary instructional resources used to teach a given subject. The process for selecting new resources includes an opportunity for the public to review the instructional materials being considered. Public review will begin Monday, November 7, and end Thursday, December 8. Find more information on FCPS’ website.

Want to see an FCPS Play or Musical?

Find out when they are!

FCPS schools produce amazing plays and musicals each year - the quality of these productions always amazes me! Want to find out when they are? Sign up for this calendar to keep you informed of FCPS productions. These productions are inexpensive entertainment and a wonderful way to support the arts in FCPS! 

Here are just a few of the upcoming productions:

Region 1:  Herndon HS, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, November 18-20, https://herndondrama.org/

Herndon HS play
Justice HS play

Region 2:  Justice HS, Pippin, November 10-12, https://wolfpacktheatre.org/.

Region 3:  West Potomac HS, Peter and the Star Catcher, November 3-12, https://www.westpotomactheatre.org/

WP Play
South County play

Region 4:  South County HS, She Kills Monsters, Young Adventurers Edition, November 17-19, https://www.schstheatre.com/home

Region 5:  Woodson HS, One Man, Two Guvnors, November 4-5 and 11-12,   http://wtwdrama.org/index.html

Woodson play

October is the Time to Recognize …

October Is Dyslexia Awareness Month



The FCPS Dyslexia Handbook provides information and resources for families. It reflects a divisionwide commitment to ensure that the needs of students with dyslexia are met as a result of collective responsibility and collaboration across general and special education contexts.

October is Bullying Prevention Month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying in FCPS’ Students Rights and Responsibilities is defined as: “Any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. Bullying includes cyberbullying. It does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.”

For more information on how FCPS handles a bullying situation, please visit the FCPS Bullying Prevention and Intervention webpage. Our goal is to ensure all students feel safe and welcome at school. If you have questions and/or concerns about something going on at school, please contact the front office, so they can support you, and most importantly, your student.  

Parent Resource Center Webinars Address Bullying

On October 27, at 7 p.m. the Parent Resource Center (PRC) will host a “Meet the Author” event with Nalani and Leila Butler, graduates of Hayfield Secondary School, who will read their book Paige Saves the Day. The book addresses overcoming bullying. Register online for this webinar. Adults and children are welcome. 

The PRC will also host a webinar on Bullying Prevention on November 18 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Register online. 

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month

Observed annually in October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) celebrates the many contributions of America’s workers with disabilities and is a time to highlight inclusive employment practices that support these workers and allow them to contribute to our country.  Learn more:  https://www.loc.gov/disability-employment-awareness-month/about/ and  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/initiatives/ndeam

October is LGBTQIA+ History Month

LGBTQIA+ History Month


LGBTQIA+ History Month is recognized in October nationwide. We acknowledge and celebrate that LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and families are an integral component of our nation.

Community News

Safe Community Coalition Event

Safe Community Coalition logo

The Safe Community Coalition welcomes noted Washington Post parenting columnist, Meghan Leahy on Wednesday, November 9th at 7:00 pm at The McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave, McLean, VA.

A self-described “heart-centered parent coach in a data-driven world,” Meghan is passionate about working with children and families and will share her latest talk, “Connections.”

Smart, savvy and non-judgmental, Meghan helps parents tackle issues big and small. Focusing on connections, Meghan addresses how children connect to their caregivers and ways caregivers can facilitate communication, cooperation and joy by understanding these connections. With a little bit of neuroscience and development theory and a lot of humor, Meghan helps equip caregivers with strategies on how to better connect with the children in their lives.

Connections is recommended for all caregivers (parents, grandparents, nannies, teachers, etc.) and addresses all ages of children. This event is FREE, but registration is required. To register, please visit  www.mcleanscc.org.

Help Shape the Fairfax County Park System

There is still time to have your say and make an impact on the Fairfax County park system of the future! You can still join in the conversation online at two approaching workshops.The public is invited to participate in upcoming virtual public workshops and help shape the future of our local park system. FCPA invites participants to preregister using the links below.  Workshops will take place on:

495 NEXT Community Grant Program - Apply Now

Transurban, developer and operator of the 495, 95 and 395 Express Lanes, has launched a new competitive grant program to benefit the local community as part of the 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension (495 NEXT) project in Fairfax County. The 495 NEXT Community Grant program will award multiple grants each quarter worth up to $3,000 to non-profit organizations, educational institutions and other entities that sustain, enhance or protect the local environment and neighborhoods in proximity to the 495 NEXT project corridor. Over the past decade, Transurban’s Community Grant programs have contributed more than $2.3 million to more than 350 organizations, creating healthier communities across the region, including those providing educational programming, support to the vulnerable, environmental sustainability, and other critical services.

Successful grant applications will support an organization or neighborhood; provide benefits to a directly-affected community near the 495 NEXT corridor; or demonstrate social, environmental or safety benefits within the corridor.

Deadlines to apply for a community grant program occur quarterly, with the next deadline on December 31st. To learn more about Transurban’s Express Lanes Community Grant programs and how to apply, visit https://www.expresslanes.com/about

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. The Final Project Submission Form found in the Challenge Packet must be returned to us by Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023.

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

Good News!

Region 1:

The 2021-2022 fourth grade class at Louise Archer ES submitted Louise Archer as a historical marker for consideration as part of Fairfax County’s Black/African American Experience Project.  Their submission was recognized as an outstanding submission as part of the Historical Marker Project and has been published on the county website!  Great job researching and elevating an important part of our County’s history!  https://twitter.com/LAES4th/status/1575224564988096512

Region 2:

Staff and families at Beech Tree ES created sensory pathways to transform the blacktop into a playful and vibrant space that would engage children physically and mentally.  Great work!    https://www.fcps.edu/blog/new-way-play-elementary-school-creates-sensory-experience-blacktop#.Y1FPjGTDBUk.link

Beech Tree


Region 3:

Annandale HS teacher, Meredith Hedrick, was named a finalist for this year’s March of Dimes Heroines of Washington award.  Learn more about her humanitarian efforts to assist in feeding Ukrainian refugees. 

Region 4

Former Lake Braddock Secondary School exchange student, Sarah Beale (class of 2000) returned for a visit! After running track at Lake Braddock Secondary School, she returned to England and played Rugby in college and then joined their professional team; playing in the World Cup in 2010. Tradition is to take a jersey worn in the game back to one of their schools and Sarah chose Lake Braddock.  

LBSS jersey


Region 5

Greenbriar West ES students planted native plants to improve water runoff and learn about and support the local ecosystem.  Way to do your part, Greenbriar West students!

native planting

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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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