November Newsletter

Dear Fairfax County Students, Staff and Families,

Winter is definitely approaching with the chill in the air! I hope you and your loved ones are warm and well. It has been a very busy time with School Board work but I recently had the opportunity to attend the Virginia School Boards Association conference. It was great to catch up with school board colleagues from around the Commonwealth and learn about many interesting topics such as the latest information about educational success, teacher recruitment and retention, finance, strategic planning, mental health support and more.  

The School Board will be focusing on many important issues in the upcoming months, including the calendar, budget, CIP and much more. Please continue to stay engaged and share your thoughts with me. Please also see below for opportunities to share your thoughts on the calendar, FLE, strategic plan, and secondary world languages basal resources. 

And finally, happy almost Thanksgiving! I hope you, your families and friends have an opportunity to gather together and enjoy this opportunity to be thankful and enjoy some great food! I know I am looking forward to time with family and friends and lots of deliciousness! More than anything, though, I am looking forward to a chance to stop, take a breath, and just be thankful for everything I am lucky to have and those I am lucky to call friends and family.

Sometimes it seems every day I wake up to the news of a senseless and often preventable tragedy, to the anger that still seems to fill the air, where conversations are too often about what divides us rather than what unites us. It can be easy in the midst of all that to forget how lucky I am to do the work I love; the work of educating our students for, as our superintendent often says, careers yet to be imagined while still being able to help my own kiddo adjust to life as a college freshman in a world that hasn’t yet figured out how to fully make room for his lived norms. This year, I am ever so thankful for the opportunity to serve the FCPS community, to watch my son persevere, overcome, and shine, and to live in a county that stands strong behind its schools and our students who are our future. I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with space to reflect, be thankful, and with many moments that bring you joy and gratitude.

Just a reminder, schools and offices will be closed November 23-25 for Thanksgiving. Have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving! Classes will resume on Monday, November 28. Learn more about the first Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Warmest regards,


Below you will find information on:

School Board News

Academic Matters Updates

At the November 3 School Board meeting, a new feature was introduced called Academic Matters. During this portion of the Board meeting, updates will be provided on important academic topics. Dr. Reid talked about some common misconceptions concerning the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessment. The bottom line is that those results are not broken down within a state so we do not know how FCPS students performed and, more significantly, only 476 FCPS (1.8%) took the NAEP test. The Virginia NAEP results don’t give us much information about how our FCPS students are doing.  Dr. Reid’s slides show that FCPS students continued to outperform the Virginia rates for SOLs, and outperform state, national, and global (where administered) in PISA, SAT and ACT exams. FCPS still has challenges and work to do and our amazing teachers are doing that work to serve our students.  Watch the presentation on YouTube. 

At the November 14 School Board meeting, Superintendent Reid discussed the innovative assessment practices happening in FCPS as part of our School Division of Innovation designation from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). This recognition means that VDOE has approved a plan to improve student learning, educational performance, and college, career, and citizenship readiness skills. It positions FCPS as a state leader in innovative practices with the opportunity to impact statewide policy decisions. Watch the presentation.

Work Session Discussions 

Grading Policies

The November 15 work session included a discussion of an ongoing review of high school grading policies and practices that aims to provide consistency and clarity across high schools and align with evidence-based practices. Board members were able to share questions and concerns with staff and I look forward to learning more information over the next several months. View the agenda and the recording.

Framework for Special Education Enhancement Plan

We also discussed the framework for making changes to address the issues brought up by the external review of FCPS’ special education program that was conducted by the American Institute for Research (AIR).  This is important work and I look forward to seeing meaningful changes that are responsive to the AIR report. View the agenda and recording.

Key Votes 

Secondary Course Offerings

The School Board voted to approve changes to the list of middle and high school course offerings for the 2023-2024 school year, as recommended by the Course Review Committee, and as detailed in the agenda item.  I am pleased that, not only will our students have additional course offerings, those who engage in certain advanced electives, including fine and performing arts, will now be able to receive additional grade weighting that reflects the advanced nature of these courses.

Fairfax County School Board State and Federal Legislative Agenda

That School Board adopted the 2023 Fairfax County School Board State and Federal Legislative Program and Priorities with amendments that can be viewed in Board Docs. I look forward to meeting with our state and federal delegation this week to discuss our important priorities and partner with them on legislation that supports our schools. 

Solar Power Purchase Agreement for Annandale High School

The School Board approved the implementation of a rooftop solar power purchase program at Annandale High School. More information can be viewed in Board Docs. This is the pilot program in an important effort that has been a long time coming.  We hope to be able to roll out additional solar installations at other schools in the near future.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • Tuesday, November 29 at 10:30am – Work Session: ESSER Spending, ACSD Annual Report
  • Thursday, December 1 at 7pm – Regular Meeting
  • Tuesday, December 6 at 11am – Work Session: Goal 1 Student Success Report; Goal 2 Caring Culture Report
  • Tuesday, December 13 at 11am - Work Session:  FY23 Midyear Budget Review, Strategic Plan Update
  • Thursday, December 15 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.

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

Visit the Community Participation webpage to sign up to speak at a regular meeting. Visit BoardDocs for more meeting logistics, agendas, and handouts.

Interested in School Board action items? Sign up to get an update on School Board votes the morning after the School Board meeting.

State Education News

The Virginia Board of Education is considering many topics that will have an impact on FCPS students, including revisions to the state accreditation system and standards of learning cut scores.  Additional information about these topics can be found at

The Board was also considering newly revised draft standards for history and social studies. At its November 17 meeting, the Board of Education called for another draft of revised history and social studies standards. I encourage you to stay informed about actions at the state level as they will impact your student in FCPS.  You can view agendas for Board of Education meetings here.


School Improvement and Innovation/ESSER III Plans

Teacher working with two students


Wondering how ESSER funds are being spent at your school? The Fall 2022 School Improvement and Innovation (SIIP)/Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) plans are available online. Plans will be updated periodically as schools have opportunities to adjust their strategies and budgets.

To learn more about divisionwide ESSER plans, view the presentation from the November 3 School Board meeting.

Free, On-Demand, Online Tutoring graphic


Did you know?

  • Students who’ve used have provided positive feedback.
  • Unless they’ve been opted out, students can access through Schoology. 
  • Every session is personalized to meet students’ needs from remedial to advanced levels. 
  • Sessions focus on conceptual learning and critical thinking—not quick answers. 

Learn more on FCPS’ webpage

Post-Thanksgiving COVID Diagnostic Testing

Covid Test


COVID diagnostic testing will be available for FCPS teachers, staff, and students at five locations across the county November 28-30 from 5 to 8 p.m. This testing is for those who are either experiencing COVID symptoms or have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID. Appointments are not required, but registration must be completed before testing. Visit the COVID testing webpage for more information

Purple Star Schools Support Military-Connected Families

Military Family


Forty Fairfax County public schools have been recognized by the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children as 2022 Purple Star Schools. The Purple Star designation is awarded to military-friendly schools that have demonstrated their commitment to meeting the needs of military-connected students and their families. The School Board recognized our Purple Star Schools at the November 14 Regular Meeting. See the full list of schools.

FCPS Receives $2 Million Grant to Fund STEAM

Student working on STEAM activity


FCPS has been awarded a $2 million Department of Defense Education Activity Military-Connected Local Educational Agencies for Academic and Support Programs grant that will support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) and computer science integration to advance math learning goals. This grant project, Code UP!, is a five-year grant program that officially began last month. 

Visit the website to learn more about Code UP! and see which schools will implement the program.

Congratulations to VMEA Performers!

The Virginia Music Educators Association sponsored three honor groups at the state music conference November 17-19 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Students throughout the Commonwealth went through a rigorous audition process to compete for a position in these groups.  

Fourteen FCPS students were invited to participate in the All-Virginia Jazz Band Concert, one FCPS student was selected for the All-Virginia Guitar Ensemble concert and thirty-one FCPS students were chosen for the Senior Honors Choir. See the full list of names.

Feedback Requested

How FCPS Develops Its School Year Calendar

Children in library with Calendar Development Title


In an annual planning process, Fairfax County Public Schools uses input from the community to help develop the school year calendar for the following year. Our framework for creating the calendar is available online to ensure transparency, as we work to build a calendar that is inclusive and equitable. The calendar survey was sent to parents/caregivers, employees and students -- be sure to complete it by December 1 so your voice is heard.

FCPS Strategic Planning that Reaches All

The strategic planning process is a community-wide effort. There will be many opportunities to share feedback or participate in a community meeting. We want our community to stay informed and be involved. You can help! 

If you are an active member of a community organization or group who people look to for information, please consider signing up to be a key communicator during the strategic planning process. FCPS key communicators should have an interest in sharing information about the school division and encouraging involvement. Key communicators will:

  • Receive regular updates including news, information, future events, and engagement opportunities. 
  • Share the information they receive with their group in a timely manner.
  • Encourage group participation in engagement and feedback opportunities where appropriate and possible. 

If you or someone from your organization would like to serve as an FCPS key communicator during the strategic planning process, please submit this form by Monday, November 28.

Learn more on our Strategic Plan webpage

Feedback Welcome on Proposed Family Life Education Changes

The public may review recommended changes to the Family Life Education (FLE) curriculum and share feedback through Thursday, December 1. Recommended changes are based on leading education and child development research, and expert advice. The goal is to create a more inclusive learning environment, support higher academic achievement for students, and improve school climate. 

Please review the recommended changes on our website and complete the brief feedback form. Public feedback will be shared with the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee and the School Board. FCPS staff and the Board will consider all feedback but are unable to provide replies to individuals. 

Community Review of Secondary World Languages Basal Resources

FCPS will adopt new Secondary (Grades 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 run through Thursday, December 8. A review committee made up of community members, administrators, and teachers will meet in November and December to evaluate the materials under consideration as well as feedback from the community. Find more information on FCPS’ website.

FCPS Resources

FCPS Parent Resource Center & Upcoming Webinars

parent resource center

The FCPS Parent Resource Center provides access to information and resources to support the success of all students, including those with learning challenges, special needs, and disabilities.

It has a free lending library of over 10,000 materials as well as access to digital resources.

It also offers free family and educator webinars and maintains a list of tutors who can be hired by families.

Upcoming webinar: Meet the Author Series: The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively by Dr. Gary Chapman – Friday, December  2 - 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

To register for these webinars and view more upcoming webinars, visit the FCPS Parent Resource Center Webinars webpage.

The Parent Resource Center also offers free, confidential consultations by videoconference and phone for families and FCPS staff. 

To learn more about their services, visit the Parent Resource Center website.

Parent Advocacy Handbook Available Online

The Parent Advocacy Handbook is for parents and guardians -- a child’s first teacher and advocate.

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 Fairfax County School Board’s Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee (MSAOC).

Visit the Parent Advocacy Handbook website for more information and to access the Handbook in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish.

November is …

November Is National Family Engagement Month

Student and Family Member


Families are children's first and most important teachers, advocates, and nurturers. More than 35 years of research shows that the most effective way to increase student achievement is for families to be actively involved in the education of their child. Strong parental and family support is vital to the well-being and success of students. FCPS has many resources for families designed to increase engagement and partnerships with families while fostering academic success and social-emotional growth.

The updated National Standards for Family-School Partnerships provide essential guidance for building strong partnerships between families, educators and schools to support student success. These standards include impactful edits to goals and indicators for the six key tenets: Welcome All Families, Communicate Effectively, Support Student Success, Speak Up for Every Child, Share Power, and Collaborate with Community. 

Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month


Native American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. It is also a time to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.  Learn more:;

Community Opportunities and Events

Upcoming SEPTA Event

SEPTA is launching Inclusive Schools Week 2022 with an in-person event on December 3rd from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. designed to help families and staff learn more about critical aspects of the IEP process. Attendees will experience a simulated IEP meeting and learn more about various parts of the IEP process in breakout rooms (ex: writing goals, accommodations, prior written notice). FCPS will provide continuing education credits to staff and will coordinate language interpretation services as needed. Register for IEP Palooza.

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

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.


Many FCPS high schools participate in the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Critics and Awards Program for High School Theatre, also known as the Cappies. It is one of my favorite events! The Cappies is a program through which high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. Josie Amspaugh, from Langley High School, wrote this review of Woodson High School's production of One Man, Two Guvnors.

Many of the high school productions are over for the fall but below are a few remaining ones before winter break. 

And be sure to check out the Fine and Performing Arts Calendar on the FCPS website. Individual listings for many middle and high school theater events are featured. Users can subscribe to the calendar to be notified of upcoming performances, and each event can be added to a calendar or shared on social media.

Chicago Poster

Falls Church HS, Chicago:  Teen Edition,

Thomas Jefferson HSST, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, December 1-3,

A Midsummer Night's Dream Poster
The Play That Goes Wrong Poster

Westfield HS, The Play That Goes Wrong High School Edition, December 1-3,

Good News!

Region 1:  Kudos to Cooper Middle School students who collected over 4,000 pairs of socks over the month of October in their sock donation competition called “Socktober”!  The students donated these socks to Bailey’s Shelter and Supportive Housing in Falls Church. 

Cooper Students


Region 2:  Read about the Kilmer MS student, Erdem Dulguun, who held spelling classes with students of Mongolian descent across the country and organized a spelling bee just for the Mongolian community.  The bee was held on October 22 and 34 students from eight states competed!  Amazing work, Erdem!



Region 3:  Congratulations to Key Center and Franconia ES!  Because of the great work their administration and teachers are doing, both schools were featured as stops on the Virginia Lottery Teacher Tour! 

Region 4:  Many of our schools held special events to honor the service of veterans on Veteran’s Day.  Orange Hunt ES, where one-third of students come from families with a parent who is active-duty in the military, held a celebration that recognized the range of duties involved in military careers. 

Region 5:  Congratulations to the Fairfax HS field hockey team that competed and won its first Class 6 state championship! Great persistence and strength! 

Field Hockey Team

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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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